Frontenac Turtle

Hiking Frontenac In the Shoulder Season

In Wild Landscapes by Dale Sinclair

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To be fair, I have never actually hiked Frontenac Provincial Park in the height of Summer as the park campsites always seems to be booked weeks, if not months in advance. Hiking Frontenac is best done in the shoulder seasons for this reason. For me, I prefer the Autumn when the leaves are changing, the bugs are gone and the evenings are brisk and great for sleeping.

However, there are a limited number of campsites in the park; not quite 50. So, if you do manage to score yourself a reservation in August you will find a decent amount of solitude, save for the day hikers.

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When hiking the trails in the past, I have come across several deer, a variety of birds and this time, a very large snapping turtle. The fellow pictured above, was basking in the late, warm afternoon rays as he curiously eyeballed my camera and I.

Pictured below is a typical setting within the 5,355 hectare wilderness park (1 hectare being 10 square kilometers).

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The Frontenac lakes are etched out of the landscape by ancient glaciers much like a bear's claw marks scratched down the side of a tree. You can see this for yourself if you take a look at any topographical view of the area.

If you only want to do a day hike and don't care to sleep on the ground or with the bears, there are some nearby villages in the area where you will find an assortment of B&Bs. A little bit further on, Kingston is only an hour's drive to the South and Ottawa is less than 2 hours away .

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Day hikes can easily range from 10km to 25+. And if trail running is your thing, there is over 100km of easy, moderate and rough terrain.

Salem (pictured above) and I discovered the hardest section of trail in the park about 2.5 hours before sunset. Of course, I just looked at the map thinking it was an easy 2 hour loop from our campsite.

I am one of the last people you will find that goes unprepared into the wilderness, but for some stupid reason, we didn't bring a light source.

Now consider this- it is one thing to be stuck in a forest trail at night, but add in overcast, no source of light and most of the leaves on the trees have fallen off the branches. The leaves now cover everything, including the path. At night, every direction will look identical. There would have been no way to find the trail.

We absolutely started to get concerned at about the half way mark; very much the wrong time to start being concerned about such a problem. Thankfully, we still managed to make it back just inside of 3 hours. It was close.

For more great information about Frontenac Provincial Park visit the Ontario Parks website or the Friends of Frontenac website. And please, check out the rest of my photographs in the gallery below - if you can picture any of my landscape shots as a canvas adorning your walls or you are looking for commercial photographs, do not hesitate and contact me.