Canuck Canoe Crusing: Frontenac Style!

So what do you get with six fun people, a beautiful four day weekend, three sturdy canoes, and one idyllic park?  A hell of a time, that's what.

The people? Christina, Ignace, Jacqueline, Matt, Siqi, and (obviously) me.

The place? Frontenac Provincial Park.

The mission? Fun!  And we all chose to accept it.

So, for those who have never been up to the Canadian Shield, a bit of background info.  Originally a highly active volcanic region, billions of years of exposure, glacier activity and similar have shaped a vast region of tall cliffs, rolling hills, lakes, forests, bogs and more.  The relatively sparse population has also allowed the local wildlife to thrive (especially the flies...), combining to make a wonderful location for canoeing and camping (but bring bug spray).  Packing our gear and shouldering our canoes, that's exactly what we decided to do.

Convening at the park Friday afternoon, we loaded up the canoes (the "Sally Ho", the "Marcus Polo", and the "I Don't Care") and paddled out to our first campsite.  Arriving at dusk, we unloaded the canoes, set up camp, and had a nice dinner cooked over a roaring fire.  After relaxing for a bit, we got back in the canoes and took advantage of the nice bright moon to paddle out and get a good look at the starry night, with a bit of auroral glow on the horizon thrown in for good measure.  All in all, a good start to a great trip.

The next morning, we woke up and prepared a hearty breakfast for the strenuous day ahead--fire fried bacon, eggs, sausage, bread, and more.  After filling, cleaning and packing up, we jumped back in the canoes and set out for the next camp site.  Paddling and portaging past plentiful turtles and trees for several hours, we arrived at what was to be our home base for the next few days.  We set up camp and, with a few hours of daylight left, split up to spend some time hiking, fishing, "swimming" (if you can call quick dips in the freezing cold water that...), and generally just relaxing.  Shortly after a beautiful sunset, we reconvened for dinner (sadly with no fresh fish) and the start of the night's fireside fun.

A few hours later, our group's intrepid fishermen decided to try their luck again with some night fishing.  While big juicy fish (and some crayfish and frogs) were clearly visible in the water, not a single one got hooked.  Rarely have I seen less hungry fish.  Or less enthused fishermen.

The next day, somewhat different fun was planned.  Rather than packing up camp and canoeing out to a new site, we took advantage of our already remote location to enjoy some hiking through the woods.  While the weather was less than ideal, with scattered showers most of the day, we refused to let this dampen our spirits.  We spent the day wandering through thick forests, trekking over rolling hills, scrambling up jagged cliffs, admiring beautiful vistas and more.  Our most determined fishermen even futily tried to fish again.

Getting back to camp and realizing just how much food we had left (even with the lack of fish), we had a veritable feast.  No point carrying it all out on our backs when we could enjoy it first and just carry it in our stomachs.  Followed by more fireside fun, we made the most of our last night in the woods.  And what a night it was.

The next morning brought the beginning of the end.  And what an end it would be--beautiful warm sunny day with a gentle breeze to help push the flies away.  After packing up camp, we paddled and portaged our way back to the park entrance.  At the start of the last portage, though, a minor miracle happened: I caught a fish.

One might wonder how such an occurence could happen, and one would be right to do so, so let me explain.  After unloading the canoe, I bent down to pick the canoe up out of the water.  As I lifted the canoe, the rock under my feet detached from the ground it was lodged in and sent us all tumbling into the river--boulder, boat, and boater.  Upon righting the canoe, lo and behold: a fish!  The fishermen were not pleased.  Maybe I should have tried fishing earlier on the trip...

Arriving back at the boat dock, we packed the cars, loaded the canoes, went for one last swim and headed out of the park.  After dropping off the canoes, we proceeded to the local fried food truck for an extra dose of grease.  Then we got ice cream.  Fitting end to another awesome adventure.

Late arrival, fast unpacking. Stoking the fire Bacon! The faithful canoes. Beautiful lake.
Beautiful lake. The lake calling us. Saving the bacon fat. Finishing up breakfast. Squirrel!  No...Chipmunk!
Christina ready to go. Shoo fly, don't bother me! Siqi and Ignace. Turtles! The intrepid fishermen.
Fallen wood. Beautiful landscape. Beautiful landscape. Beautiful landscape. Portrait of pollen.
Beautiful landscape. Beautiful landscape. Crumbling cliffs. Nice house on the water. Dragonfly.
Lonely flowers. Fresh green woods. Glowing moth. Bushes and trees. Clinging to life.
Just keep fishing. Flower in bloom. Fabulous flames. Hiding from the flies. Sunset.
Sunset. Sunset. The beautiful moon. Wet. Green.
Dinosaur swamp. Dinosaur swamp. Beavers were here. Spring bloom. But it looks so inviting!
Time for lunch. Musk rat. Geese flying overhead. Beautiful lake. Rock island.
Christina relaxing by the lake. Ignace scouting for fish. Not giving up on those fish! Siqi fishing. Matt looking for bait.
I've been spotted! Glass smooth water. Back to hiking! Even more lakes. Up to the top!
The ultimate cast. Forests as far as the eye can see! Trees of all sorts and sizes. Frontenac laid before us. Posing for a picture.
Matt taking in the view. Eyes like a hawk. Whew, what a hike! Ignace on top of the world! Christina on high.
Rocky outcrop. Just keep swimming.