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  FRONTENAC PROVINCIAL PARK - Big Salmon, Labelle, Big Clear, Devil, Kingsford, Birch, Little Salmon Lakes


Thursday, September 23, 2004:
Left Woodstock at 3:00 am
Drive to put in on Big Salmon Lake (UTM 378,530E, 4,931,630N [Based on UTM Zone 18N, NAD83])
NE on Big Salmon Lake
Camp on site 5B (UTM 382,770E, 4,993,770N)

Today's Portage Distance: 0.0 m
Total Portage Distance: 0.0 m
Today's Paddle Distance: 5.0 km
Total Paddle Distance: 5.0 km

Friday, September 24, 2004:
S on Big Salmon Lake
P 491m to Labelle Lake
E on Labelle Lake
P 190m into Big Clear Lake
N then W on Big Clear Lake
Camp on site 13C (UTM 383,340E 4,934,950N)

Today's Portage Distance: 681 m
Total Portage Distance: 681 m
Today's Paddle Distance: 5.5 km
Total Paddle Distance: 10.5 km

Saturday, September 25, 2004:
N on Big Clear Lake
P 898m to Hardwood Bay (Devil Lake)
E then N then W on Devil Lake
P 761 m around Kingsford Dam
SW through Kingsford Lake
SW through Birch Lake
Camp on site 7C (UTM 376,420E 4,932,960N

Today's Portage Distance: 1659 m
Total Portage Distance: 2340 m
Today's Paddle Distance: 13.9 km
Total Paddle Distance: 24.4 km

Sunday, September 26, 2004:
E on Birch Lake
P 1138m into Little Salmon Lake
SW on Little Salmon Lake
P 974 to Big Salmon Lake
S to put-in

Today's Portage Distance: 2112 m
Total Portage Distance: 4452 m
Today's Paddle Distance: 5.0 km
Total Paddle Distance: 29.4 km

Maps & Info:
  • Click here to see the pictures that Matt took on this trip!

  • Darren Cope
  • Matt Fallowfield


Thursday, September 23, 2004:

On Wednesday, I drove back to Sweaburg after work for some supper. I then packed up some of my gear, and headed to Matt's apartment in Woodstock. We packed everything into the packs, and loaded the trailer. Then, we tried to get a bit of sleep, before getting up at 3:00am on Thursday. We stopped at the bank, then at Tim Horton's and were on the 401 by 3:45am. We stopped at a service center on the other side of Toronto for a washroom break and some cookies. We then stopped in Napanee for breakfast. At the Flying J truck stopped, we took the packs and stuff out of the trailer so they wouldn't be stolen. Matt noticed that one of the seat stays on the canoe was broken off, and lying in the bottom of the trailer. Upon further inspection, it turned out that two of the bolts holding the bow seat were snapped, and the seat was just hanging on. We decided to eat breakfast, and discuss what to do. We decided to check out a local store to get some bolts, and stop at Frontenac Outfitters on the way into the park too. We had a nice breakfast buffet, and then headed to Home Building Centre to get some bolts. We found some " by 6" carriage bolts, some nuts and washers that we figured would work. We hit the road again, and took Hwy 19 North to 38, then to 19 again. We stopped at Frontenac Outfitters to see what they had to fix us up. The guy there gave us two smaller diameter bolts, which were a better fit. We thanked him, and headed into the park. Once in the park, we stopped at the trail center to register. We got the full-out lecture about no trace camping, etc. etc. I think the ranger assumed we had never done this before. He told us that some of the portages were "treacherous" which we doubted. Immediately after leaving the trail center, we saw two deer almost right beside where we had parked the car! The first wildlife sighting of the trip!

We drove to the Big Salmon Lake access point, and parked the car and trailer. We took the canoe off the trailer and set out to fix the bow seat. The " bolts were a bit too big, so it was lucky we got the smaller ones from Frontenac Outfitters. However, we found that three of the bolts were broken! One of the big bolts was used, and it didn't fit well through the seat, so we just threaded it in and didn't put a nut on it. It held up well. Matt vowed to replace every bolt on the canoe as soon as he got home (and he did!). After fixing the seat, we portaged everything down to the put-in. We paddled about 5 km to our site (5B) on the end of Big Salmon Lake. On the way, we stopped to check out the shoreline (some cliffs) and Devil's Oven Rock. We put up the tent and then had some lunch (bagels, cheese, ham, tomato, onion, mustard). After finishing lunch, we set out to explore Camel Lake, and the northern lookout. We scouted out the area to find two porcupines in a tree. We stayed and watched them until they both walked away. Further along the trail, we saw a large black water snake, some red squirrels dropping pine cones from trees, lots of frogs, and then two more deer! This was already turning out to be the most wildlife we've seen on one trip! After exploring, we headed back to the site for some supper. Pita pizzas on the fire, topped with pizza sauce, mushrooms, pineapple, onion, pepperoni, cheese, and tomato. Mmmm good, but a bit messy. After eating, we headed out for a bit of a swim, and to pump some water. We then went back to the site to hang the bear bag. We had some issues getting the rope where we wanted it, so I climbed the tree to see if I could help out. I had no problems getting up, but then couldn't figure out how to get down again. I eventually got down, although it took me a while. We headed to the tent shortly afterwards to get some sleep.

Friday, September 24, 2004:

We got up a bit later than usual, and had a quick oatmeal breakfast. After cleaning everything up, Matt went out to pump water while I packed all of the gear except for the tent which we left to dry for a bit. We hiked up to the top of the lookout beside our site to find a great view of Big Salmon Lake, and took some great pictures. Then, we hiked back down, took down the tent, and loaded the canoe. We paddled to the P491 m to Labelle Lake. While looking for the portage, we saw two more deer! We realized we had left two cans in the fire pit, so I paddled back solo to get them while Matt carried the pack over the portage. While carrying the pack over, Matt saw another deer. After I got the cans, I paddled back to the portage and carried the canoe over. We then paddled NE to the P190 m into Big Clear Lake, and then paddled to campsite 13C. We went for a swim, had some lunch, and then set up the tent. We saw a garter snake eating a frog, and got lots of pictures! We watched it for at least 20 minutes as it inched its jaw around the frog and swallowed it alive. We set out to do some hiking, and headed SE on the trail to the lookout, then continued to the McComish homestead on the service road/trail. Along the way, we saw a bright green "jumping snake." At the homestead, we found a wide stone foundation and a dilapidated shed. We then headed North to Hardwood Bay Farm, where we found parts of a truck, a water well, some gate posts, and fields what have grown in with Sumac. On the way back S on the trail, we sat down for a break, and saw a park ranger driving down the service road. He had a Grumman canoe tied in the bed of the truck with only one rope, and it was bouncing high out of the bed every time he hit a bump. He stopped to ask us if we were ok, then continued on. We headed S/SE to the Green Homestead, and saw a woodpecker along the trail. We found "Old Thor," and old International [smart like] Dump Truck, two sets of gateposts, and a collapsed barn full of door and window frames. We then saw another snake eating a frog-what are the odds of seeing that twice in one day?!? We then hiked back down to the campsite, pumped some water and started rehydrating dinner. After dinner (freeze dried "mash"), we cleaned up, wrote in the journal, and hung the bear bag. I spent a bit of time paddling solo around the bay in front of the campsite while Matt fished a bit from shore. We headed for bed just after dark.

Saturday, September 25, 2004:

After a very clear, warm night, the morning dawned cloudy. We made breakfast of oatmeal, and packed up before heading off. We headed NE, then NW on Big Clear to the P 898m to Devil Lake. The portage was "treacherous" as the warden said (actually it was no problem at all). We checked out Hardwood Bay for remnants of the log dump, but all we could find was an anchored floating raft. On up the North shore of Devil Lake..two deer were spotted in the bush along the shore. They "screamed" which was a very human-like cry. Apparently, deer do this when threatened, but we don't know why they were threatened unless it was simply our presence. The George Green Homestead, a still occupied cottage, was very well maintained, and looked like a nice place! We continued N, then W on Devil Lake to the marble cliffs. Here we spotted a small lizard or snake (could only see its head, so not sure which) hiding among the rock on the cliff. Further W, we looked for the Antoine Mines, but found nothing other than a possible mine shaft. The map shows a building, but we never did find evidence of that. West again, to the stream near the Crab Lake Mines. We hiked up beside the stream (and found some cool fungi) until we met the trail. Following the trail to the mines and buildings led us to the open mica mine. Across from the mine was "Marks Cabin" In the cabin was an old woodstove, and a bed. We headed NW to the mouth of Devil Lake Creek, and took the P761 m to Kingsford Dam. We stopped for lunch at the dam, and ate lunch (stoners, cheese, summer sausage) on the bridge just above the dam. We then went for a hike to find the homesteads and lookout. This turned out to be nothing more than a nice walk in the woods, as we found neither. The lookout appeared to be non-existent, although we found a spot where the trail branched off. There was no view though! We saw a sign discussing a "deer exclosure" which the park was using as part of its research. After looking a bit harder, we found the exclosure-a fenced in area about 10m long by 5m wide. I thought it was a bit too small to get a statistically accurate sample from, unless they had many more of the sites spread throughout the park.

We paddled part way down Kingsford Lake, and Matt saw a black cat-like animal on the shore. It was too hard to see to identify, but it appeared to move like a cat, despite being large-dog sized. We then heard/saw a tree fall into the water, and paddled over to find very fresh beaver sign, although the beaver was nowhere to be seen. We continued down Kingsford Lake to Birch Lake, and then SW to campsite 7C. The site was rather awkward to get to, as it was 100m from the access, up a hill. We set up the tent, went swimming, and pumped some water. We then headed back to camp to rehydrate supper, and write in the journal. Supper of freeze dried stew. Saw a woodpecker on a tree close to camp. We washed up dishes, and hung the bear bag in the dark (always entertaining) and them went to bed.

Sunday, September 26, 2004:

We both woke up in the night to the sound of an owl very close by. We learned later that it was a Barred Owl ("who cooks for you, who cooks for all of you"). It was a bit colder overnight. We packed up, and had breakfast. We were on the water shortly, and paddled NE to the P1138 m. This portage actually was "treacherous" as the warden would say. It is very steep at the start and end, and the footing is poor on the steep parts. In Little Salmon Lake, we pumped some water, and had a GORP break before stopping to look at the Amey Mica Pits. There were some larger pieces of mica here, and we snapped some cool pictures. The P974 m back into Big Salmon Lake was also steep at the start, but not as bad as the previous trail. We paddled back to the access point and took out. We carried everything up to the car, loaded up, and got changed. We drove back to the trail center to look around and return our permit before heading home. We stopped again in Napanee for Sunday Brunch at the Flying J (10:45am). Traffic made us two hours later than anticipated (stuck just east of Pickering on the 401 due to a transport accident.) Once back in Woodstock, we headed to Matt's apartment to unload at around 6pm. We sorted out our gear, and Matt burned me a CD with his pictures on it. Matt then drove me back to Sweaburg, and went to his grandparent's to drop off his canoe. I cleaned up a bit before heading back to Waterloo (arriving in Waterloo at ~8:30pm).

Overall, another very good trip, and the most wildlife we've ever seen!

  This page was last updated on June 26, 2005 at 03:33 PM