Friday, May 29, 2015

PAD20 Frontenac Park Hiking trip reflection
by: Clayton McWilliams

Throughout the three days we were at Frontenac Park, I found it quite a relaxing and fulfilling experience. We hiked for 3 days, which brought us to some beautiful sites and we could see the amazing wilderness that Canada has to offer. There were some challenging parts but as a group we pushed through and successfully completed the trip.

view from our platform at campsite 12
    The trip started with our whole group hiking about 5 kilometers to a junction where two groups would go to the first campsite, which was campsite 12, and the rest of the hikers would go to campsite 9. My group was Aidan, Cooper, Thomas and Patrice, as a group we decided to go to campsite twelve because we were tired and wanted to spread out the hiking into the three days. Although it wasn’t the best swimming lake, it had an outstanding view, and there weren’t many bugs. The next morning we packed up our campsite and went to meet the rest of the group at campsite 9. We then traveled to Big Salmon lake and stopped to have lunch at the lookout of campsite 5. Again, as a group we decided to stay at the first campsite to even out the amount of hiking we would do, as the rest of the hikers went on to campsite 4. Finally, on the third day, we packed up our tent for the last time, to meet up with the rest of the group and then hike to our original location and to take the bus back home.

The first day was both fun and difficult. To start it took me awhile to get used to wearing my backpack because it was heavy and very restricting to my mobility; it was also fairly difficult to get used to walking and paying attention to where I needed to step so that I wouldn't roll my ankle on a root or rock. But on the other hand, it was something I had never done before so I was having a lot of fun. I found that when you were hiking if you talked to other people, it made it easier to hike and it also helped pass the time. The second day was easier because I had already hiked a few kilometres and was now used to how it felt. The second day also contained more scenery which made the hike far more interesting, I enjoyed looking at the different ecosystems and how life in a forest functioned. At lunch we ended up at the lookout which had an amazing view. It was at least 50 feet high and it looked over the lake that campsite 5 was situated. I thought it was a very fun night at that campsite because we had an excellent view of the sunset. To help pass the time we played lots of fun card games, we also had fun skipping rocks off the shore, which was surprisingly fun. We also decided to try swimming in the lake, but swimming ended up being running in, dunking your head and then running back out because the water was freezing, we ended up doing this a number of times because it was so fun.

The first two days my group stayed at the front of the pack to help navigate and lead the way, but because we were all strong hikers we would get too far away from the back of the group which would force us to stop as to not lose sight of the last day we decided to have some stronger hikers at the back of the group and at the front. I decided to go to the back to help some of the slower hikers to keep up a steady pace. This worked out very well and we only had to take a few breaks. As a group we powered through the last few kilometres to the finish.

Collectively as a group I found we came well prepared and with a positive attitude to take on this hiking trip. We decided that we were going to bring two tents, a 3 person tent for two people and a 4 person tent for three people, this made sleeping far more comfortable. We also shared the load fairly evenly so that one person wasn’t carrying everything. We separated the poles and pegs out of the tent so that the weight was more balanced. I took a bag of poles and a bag of pegs, which I did not mind because we were going to be far more comfortable to sleep. We also divided up the food so everybody had some snacks to eat when we were hiking, this helped out alot because then one person didn’t have to open their bags all the time to get stuff out. Nobody complained about having an uncomfortable sleep because we all came with sleeping pads, sleeping bags and extra clothes. The chores we had to do mainly had to do with the fire. We had to collect firewood and then cut it to keep our fire going, the only other chores we had to do were packing up our tents and then cleaning up our garbage. Because our group had a positive attitude and strong work ethic I believe that made our trip far more enjoyable.

Aidan, Cooper and I at the lookout
I also learnt many things about hiking, camping and about protecting the environment. I learnt that you should always keep a look out to where you’re walking and to also enjoy the scenery. I also learnt how to properly set up and take down the tents. In addition I learnt how to build and lite a fire to cook your food, which would be a very useful skill if I was ever lost in the wilderness, the key to a good fire is the wood you use and that's another thing I learnt on the trip. Some things I would do differently would be to bring less clothing because I didn’t have to change my clothes until the next day and that would have left room in my bag for more essential items. I also would have brought less pasta because we had way too much and it was very heavy to carry. I would have also packed my bag more efficiently so that items I would need more often were at the top and less essential items were at the bottom.  

This was a very successful trip and I definitely look forward to doing something similar with outdoor ed in the future. I do recommend that you and your group work together to mentally and physically prepare yourself because it would be no fun to be mad the whole trip and miss out on this outstanding experience.



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