Friday, May 29, 2015

Frontenac Trip Reflection

Frontenac Hiking Trip Reflection

The Frontenac hiking trip was my first experience of interior camping. From the moment I arrived until the moment I departed from the park, I have collected several positive moments I can now happily reflect upon. The beautiful lookouts and lovable bonding moments created amazing memories that overpowered the few bad moments of hiking. Personally, I didn’t find the travelling portions of the trip to be much of a negative experience for me. Part of this may be because  over time, I learned that keeping a straight posture and adjusting the pack higher on my back allowed me to hike with less weight and pain specifically focused on my shoulders and better distributed it around my body. I noticed that some of my fellow hikers had yet to discover this and thus had a less ideal hiking experience. This was important because the distances traveled, especially our first day’s 11k, can result in aching muscles that impede my hiking abilities. I made sure that comfort was one of my priorities during this trip.

One issue that didn’t take long to arise occurred during the first “pit stop” made on the trip. I was nearly out of water! I was very shocked by the fact I consumed so much water in such little time with little regard to preserving it for later meals or trips. Fortunately, we had access to the luxury of water purification systems. Without this unexpected necessity, this may have been a very different experience. The only other method of water purification I am aware of (that we had access to) would be to boil the newly collected water source, which is an extremely inconvenient method that takes a lot of preparation and set up. In the event that the water purification systems are not available, have to learn to pack a more appropriate amount of water that has the ability to last for at least 2 days. the battle of dehydration is a dangerous game you don’t want to play during your first hiking trip.

The first night of the hike was the high point of the trip for e and my tent group. When arriving at our first campsite, we decided to remain there instead of venturing further to the next site given the questionable weather. Anticipating rain, we began setting up our tent immediately. We also prioritized securing a rope on the branch of a tall tree to hang our food from. I was extremely impressed with the efficiency and communication that took place in completing these two tasks. I think that doing the essential things as soon as possible ultimately works well because it allows us to be prepared and have room for error. We were very organized and eventually enjoyed a great dinner of precooked burgers. We later at night accumulated firewood with the other tent groups at our site to create a shared, large fire. During this time I aided another group in hanging their food bag. This moment proved to me that my system of completing necessary tasks beforehand works much better as it was really difficult to hang that rope on a good branch in the complete dark with the obstacle of rain to add pressure.

The following morning began with an early awakening that, once again, had us steps ahead of the game. Our breakfast required a bit of time, but that was okay considering our quick actions to prepare for the next trek. The day upcoming was quite the scorcher and resulted in some pretty sudden fatigue for certain people. However in the end we were blessed to see the most overwhelming lookout that placed itself on a cliff. I conveniently packed my phone in the top of my bag for these moments. This saved me the hassle of emptying my pack for a small item. After a quick lunch break, my tent group along with others continued our journey to campsite 5 while the remaining hikers stayed back at campsite 4. For the journey to campsite 5, I was finally given the honour to lead the pack and navigate the way. I learned to look for water bodies, obvious contours, and noticeable land features to help pinpoint my location on the map. Another technique that I used effectively was to memorize the route turns so that I would avoid constantly slowing down or even stopping to consult whether I turn left or right. Navigating the pack was a fun position that I enjoyed because I have confidence in my mapping and navigational skills. It also gave me a true chance to clearly observe the upcoming scenery without my vision be obstructed by the proceeding hiker.

The following evening, our dinner plan suffered serious issues when our pasta seemed eternally under cooked and had a much too high concentration of water. To improve this meal, I would think about bringing a strainer of some sort to relieve the pasta from excessive water. I would also precook the pasta and bring some sort of sauce or cheese to go on top. This meal left many of us hungry as we in no way wanted seconds…

Frontenac was an amazing experience for me. I was proud of what I accomplished over the trip and frankly surprised myself with some of those accomplishments. I learned a lot as well, and hopefully next year I can avoid repeating the mistakes I made. For instance, I would definitely consider bringing more water, and even my own water purification system. I would also better plan packing the equipment for my menu plan. Or, choose a menu plan that does not require bulky equipment that is questionable to pack. All in all, I could not have expected a better outcome. Thankfully, I had an amazing tent group of Daniel Knight, Devan Larkin, Jakob Legasse, and Brendan Patch to make that statement true.

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