In this adventure I am headed off into the wilderness for my second back country camping adventure at Frontenac Provincial Park in Ontario Canada, this time I spent two nights at site 4b.
On my first back country camping trip to Frontenac Provincial Park in the Summer of 2022 I carried far too much gear with me for the amount of ground I would be covering. On that trip I carried roughly 65 lbs over a combined distance of about 45kms over three days to two different camp sites.
This time I decided to simplify things, I got my pack down to about 50lbs, I stayed at the same camp site for both nights, I started my hike from the closer of the two parking lots and I picked a site that wasn’t so deep into the park.
This trip ended up covering roughly 30 km’s in total
Back Country Camping Adventure at Frontenac Provincial Park - Day 1
I left home at around 830am, getting me to Frontenac Provincial Park at around noon to check in.
By the time I checked in, gathered my gear and started my hike it was 12:22. taking off from the Big Salmon Lake parking and portage area I headed into the woods. My pack felt comfortable, it was a very warm Fall day and the colours were amazing!
I could already feel the difference between a 65lb pack and a 50lb pack, it was so much easier to walk and climb.
The terrain was mostly flat on the walk in with a few inclines and declines. The first third of the hike is along Big Salmon Lake, then we come to a point where the trail heads into the park, away from the water, deeper into woods and along marches and smaller bodies of water. After some time in mostly boring terrain, I came to another junction to complete the final third of my hike towards sire cluster 4.
This hike was much better, lots of colours, beautiful trees, rock formations and small bodies of water. I avoided looking at my map, I don’t like knowing how close or how far I am, I enjoy the anticipation of the moment my site appears.
After 1 hour and 43 minutes, 19,282 steps and 4.7 kms I finally arrived to site cluster 4, site b at Frontenac Provincial Park.
The reviews I read were accurate in that the sites in this cluster are very close together, but the view of the lake (Big Salmon Lake) was beautiful and the fall colours were as vibrant as you could imagine!
I quickly got busy, unpacked my tent and set up my sleeping arrangements, set up my hammock and got water boiling for a hot coffee, it was a bit chilly out!
Once I was set up and unpacked I headed into the forest to find some dead wood to use for camp fires. In the summer I had no need for fire as it was warm, but the temperatures would be dropping at night so fire would be critical. I got lucky and managed to find a really good supply of kindling and dry logs that would last me both nights.
I spend most of my fist night in my hammock by the fire sipping coffee and digesting my meal of freeze dried creamy pasta and chicken by Readywise. I didn’t enjoy this meal and I’ll not be buying it again!
After a very busy and active day I headed into my tent early at 8:20pm, my neighbours were talking non-stop and playing music which didn’t make for a very peaceful night.
Back Country Camping Adventure at Frontenac Provincial Park - Day 2
I woke up around 9:50am after a long night of broken sleep, but I was warm. I picked up a new sleeping bag from Sail that is good for temperatures as low as -10, so I was warm most of the night.
My loud neighbours had already packed up and left, the water was calm and the air was crisp. I put on some water for coffee and oatmeal and put in some hammock time enjoying the scenery with my hot camping coffee.
I packed my bag for the day with water, trail mix, a bar, rain gear, my camera and my map and I headed out for a whole day of exploring as much of the park as I could.
At 11:49 I was packed and ready to go, I headed off for the trails to my 1st destination, the Mink Lake Lookout.
It was about a 1 hour hike through some beautiful terrain, so many colours, small lakes and bodies of water as well as some challenging inclines to get up and over.
Finally I arrived at the incredible lookout point, overlooking a vast space of colorful trees, rock formations and Mink Lake off in the distance – then the skies opened up and it started to rain.
I headed into the woods and found a rock to sit on with some tree cover to keep me dry. I wanted to enjoy this view so I decided to wait out the rain, which took about 45 minutes.
Returning to the lookout I enjoyed the moment, snapped some pics of my with pack and my new Baerskin Hoodie, enjoyed the moment and then moved on to my next destination.
My next destination was Labelle lake, I was told that it was a great peaceful area where I could hike and take in the sights. I had to backtrack since Mink Lake was deeper into the park, I had to go about 30 mins back where I came from to get back on the Big Salmon Lake loop.
There weren’t many interesting photo opportunities on this hike so I just continued on hiking and hiking and hiking. I got to a point where I wondered where I was on the map, it turned out that I had totally missed the portage trail to Labelle Lake and I was now at the Big Salmon Lake lookout – this was a very happy accident.
This error had brought me to the most beautiful ravine at site 5. Down a steep incline to a small foot bridge, Big Salmon lake could be seen to the left and a small body of water to the right and totally surrounded by trees, rocks and fallen leaves.
I enjoyed this sight for a while and then headed up to the lookout point on a small side trail that takes you right to the farthest end of Big Salmon lake, the total opposite end to where I started my hike on Friday morning, day 1.
I sat on a rock, had a bar, some water and took some photos while just enjoying the scenery, it was just then that the clouds cleared up and the sun same out making the rest of my day sunny and warm!
It was 2:45pm, about 3 hours of hiking so far, I decided to start making my way back, making stops along the way and to find Labelle Lake.
The sunny hike back was much more enjoyable as the colours were more vibrant and it was no longer raining.
I still had a long hike ahead of me to get back to my site but I decided I may as well take the detour to see Labelle lake, since I did come here to hike and explore afterall!
I found the portage trail that takes portagers from Big Salmon over to Labelle lake, I had actually looked right at it while hiking earlier and I mistook to arrow for pointing straight for pointing to the right. I remember the sign said “Labelle lake 620 metres”, and in my head I said oh perfect, only half a kilometre….then I found myself much farther than half a kilometre.
Anyway, the side trail to Labelle was nice and the lake was beautiful, secluded and very peaceful, making me wish I had a canoe or a kayak. I stayed back a bit hiking around the lake when at 4:00pm I decided to head back, it was only about a 1 hour hike back to site 4b.
I made it back to my site much quicker than I thought, not stoping to take photos and just hiking skimmed lots of time off the hike. I made it back to the site at 4:40pm.
The stats for today were:
- 26,885 total steps
- 10.84 km’s hiked
- 4 Hours and 43 minutes total time spent hiking
I retired to my tent at 7:30pm and i woke up at 8:00am
My sleep was not the greatest, I put my sleeping bag inside one of those emergency blanket things, made for sleeping bags and while it did keep the body heat in, it also made a lot of condensation and my sleeping bag was damp on the outside all night.
I also heard every single noise from my two sets of neighbours all night from snoring to talking to the opening of zippers on back packs.
The frustration of bad nights sleep went away as soon as I opened my tent, the lake was dead calm, crystal clear and the leaves were so bright on the trees. It was a beautiful morning and it only got better as the sun started coming up over the horizon and through the trees. I put on coffee and oatmeal and was in no hurry to pack up and leave, not with views like this!
I enjoyed the morning and then started packing up, I had to hang my sleeping bag up to dry from all the condensation, so I packed everything up, and got ready for the hike out.
By around 10am I was ready to go, just had to burn my garbage and start the hike out.
It was a pretty easy hike, I was a bit sore from the day before and tired from the bad sleep but it’s a pretty easy hike out and I was in no hurry. I managed to get back to my carat 12:00 noon, my hike out stats were:
- 16,189 steps
- 1 hour and 25 minutes
I managed to shave some time off from my hike in, but I was tired and drenched in sweat!
In the summer, my body was so tired and battered, I needed. a good meal so on the way home I stopped in Napanee, Ontario and destroyed a steak.
I decided to make this a tradition after my back country adventures so I drove. 1 hour to the same Chucks Roadhouse for a New York Strip Steak, it was just what my body needed after this three day adventure!
On this backcountry adventure I was given a new Hoodie to try out by a new sponsor.
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The Baerskin Hoodie 2.0 was made for people like me who love the outdoors
The Baerskin hoodie kept me warm, comfortable and gave me plenty of room to store my critical items.
See a full review at the end of the video and click the link to get your very own Baerskin Hoodie 2.0, use the code “10dave” and get 10% off your hoodie