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

Route:

Thursday, July 21, 2005:
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
P 491m to Labelle Lake
P 190m to Big Clear Lake
NE, then W on Big Clear Lake
Camp on site 13C (UTM 383,400E, 4,934,980N)

Today's Portage Distance: 681.0 m
Total Portage Distance: 681.0 m
Today's Paddle Distance: 8.9 km
Total Paddle Distance: 8.9 km


Friday, July 22, 2005:
N on Big Clear Lake
P 898m to Devil Lake
N then W through Devil Lake
P 761m to Kingsford Lake (around Kingsford Dam)
SW through Kingsford Lake
S through Birch Lake
P 1138m into Little Salmon Lake
Camp on site 6C (UTM 379,810E, 4,933,380N)

Today's Portage Distance: 2797 m
Total Portage Distance: 3478 m
Today's Paddle Distance: 15.0 km
Total Paddle Distance: 23.9 km


Saturday, July 23, 2005:
SW through Little Salmon Lake
P 974m to Big Salmon Lake
S to take out

Today's Portage Distance: 974 m
Total Portage Distance: 4452 m
Today's Paddle Distance: 2.4 km
Total Paddle Distance: 26.3 km




Maps & Info:
Photos:

Participants:
  • Darren Cope
  • Matt Fallowfield
  • Hilisha Schooley
  • Mike Proper

Journal:

Thursday, July 21, 2005:

I woke up at 1:50am, and got dressed to go. I threw my car pack in the car, and was on my way into Woodstock before long. I drove to Matt's apartment, where I picked up Hil. We loaded the frozen food (steaks) into a cooler for the drive up, and grabbed some cutlery so we didn't have to eat with our fingers. We took highway 2 into Paris, where we picked up Mike at around 3am. Mike had dropped off most of his stuff earlier, so it was already in the trailer. We drove to the service centre on the 401 where we were to meet Matt. We found him napping in the car in the parking lot. After chatting a bit about the route we were going to take, we were off. We made good time, stopping only once before Napanee, where we stopped for breakfast at the "Country Market" restaurant at the Flying J truckstop. They have an all you can eat breakfast buffet, with all sorts of good stuff, including fried chicken, which is just what I always feel like at breakfast! After stuffing our faces, we were ready for the last little drive up to Frontenac Park.

We arrived at the park just before 8am, and went to the Trail Centre to register. However, they were not open until 8, so we sat on the picnic table in the parking lot for a while. When we saw the rangers arrive, we walked back down to the office to register. This time, we didn't get the full 45 minute lecture about how "treacherous" the portages were, and were soon on our way. We hopped back into the cars, and headed down Big Salmon Lake Road to the main put-in on Big Salmon Lake. Matt backed the trailer right down to the edge of the water, and we were soon unloaded. After parking the cars in the lot, and loading up the canoes, we were on the water! Our plan was to head to our campsite (13C)) on Big Clear Lake via the same route Matt and I took a year ago when we were here. First, however, we paddled to campsite 5 at the end of Big Salmon Lake. On our way down the lake, we saw something swimming across in front of us. We thought maybe it was a beaver. However, as we got closer, we noticed it had two ears sticking up, and we soon determined it was a deer! When it climbed up the shore, we noticed that it was a very small baby. Maybe it's mother had crossed just before. It tried to climb a very steep portion of the shore, and couldn't, so had to come back down and find an easier way. We watched it until it went out of sight. Upon reacing campiste 5, we asked the people staying at the site if they minded if we tied up our canoes and hiked up to the lookout. They said it would be fine, so we hiked up to the lookout for some pictures and to enjoy the view. This is a highly recommended stop, as it's just a short hike, and the view is great!

After hiking back down from the lookout, we paddled to the first portage of the trip, the 491m into Labelle Lake. This is an easy portage. We loaded Matt up with the big red pack and his canoe. Mike took the other big green pack and the heavy food pack. I took the second day pack and my canoe, while 6 month pregnant Hil took a day pack. We single-tripped the portage fairly easily, and were soon in Labelle, which is a nice, albeit small, lake. At this point, we were all very hot, so we took a swim from the rocks directly across from the end of the portage. The water was amazingly warm (28o or more I would say.) After a very short paddle, we came to the next portage--a 190m into Big Clear Lake. This again is a very easy portage. Big Clear Lake is partially in the park, and partially outside, so you will see some cottages, and quite a few motor boats, unfortunately. We paddled towards the campsite (13C) and generally just relaxed and enjoyed the beautiful clear weather (although five degrees or so cooler would have been preferable for me.) Upon reaching our site, we went for a swim. The site itself doesn't present a great location for swimming, so we paddled the canoes across the bay to the rocks on the other side, where we had a nice swim. We decided, just for fun, that we would swim across the bay back to the campsite. We all took lifejackets, except for Mike, who wanted to swim it all by himself. When we reached the campsite, Matt and I went swam back and paddled the canoes back solo to the campsite.

By this point, we were all pretty much exhausted and hungry, so we started cooking some dinner. Luckily, we had tonnes of food (as always.) Matt and Mike collected some wood and got the fire going so we had some nice coals to grill the steaks on. While they were doing that, I was boiling water to cook up the couscous, and then frying the mushrooms and onions. It was a great meal, and we were all stuffed before it was over. Shortly after eating, a storm started blowing in, and soon we were in the middle of a thunderstorm. We went into the tents to wait it out, and of course fell asleep since we hadn't had much sleep the night before. After the storm someone (Hil?) woke up, and soon we were all up again. We cleaned up the campsite and hung the bear bag, then stood around and chatted for awhile before deciding to turn in for the night. We were all out cold in a matter of minutes, and had a good sleep.


Friday, July 22, 2005

We woke up fairly early (not sure when...) to a nice morning. We had a quick breakfast of oatmeal, and started rehydrating the spaghetti sauce and dried fruit for supper. After taking down the tents and packing everything up, we were on the water. We paddled to the portage into Devil Lake, which is almost directly behind the campsite--up and around the corner and back into another bay. This portage is not difficult, but it's longer than any from yesterday (898m.) It's actually longer than it needs to be, as it loops around to stay inside the park boundary (at least so it looks on the map...the portage actualy goes through two fences, so I think it may actually may leave the park and come back in...)

Devil Lake is the largest lake on our route, although we only paddle through a small part of it, sticking mostly to the west shore. The portage into Kingsford Lake is 761m, and starts in a swampy littly bay. It ends at a bridge just upstream of Kingsford dam. At the bridge, we stopped for lunch of stoners, hot salami, cheese, apples, granola bars, etc. Mike and I walked onto the dam to check it out. There's a benchmark set in the concrete of the dam. After lunch, we set out on Kingsford Lake. There are quite a few cottages along Kingsford Lake, some of which are huge and very fancy--more like houses than cottages. We paddled west then south into Birch Lake. The portage into Little Salmon is the hardest of the route. It's fairly long at 1138m, and has steep hills at both ends. The rocky section at the end is very deadly, as there are lots of loose rocks on a very steep, narrow hill. Luckily no one was injured, but it pays to watch out! At the end of the portage, Mike and I walked right into the water for a quick cool-down swim.

The campsite is on the north-east shore of Little Salmon, and is fairly sandy. We went for a swim before we even set up camp. After our swim, we set up the tents and got supper on the go. Again, it started to rain and thunder, so we set up the tarp to cook under. Supper was spaghetti with home-made meat sauce that we had dehydrated. Dessert was a mix of dried blueberries, cherries and strawberries--mmm-mmm! The rain was stopped by the time we were done eating, and we relaxed a bit before washing dishes and cleaning up. The rest of the evening involved swimming and playing some euchre, pumping some water, and doing a bit of solo paddling infront of the campsite. We went to bed really early again, as we were still exausted.


Saturday, July 23, 2005:

We woke up to a slightly cooler morning, although it was still far from cool. We had breakfast of oatmeal, and broke camp pretty early. We paddled to the west end of Little Salmon Lake to check out the mica pit. We spent some time digging around and playing with the mica bits we found. After that, we paddled over to the portage. It has a bit of a hill at the start, although it's not too bad. The end of the portage can be shortened by taking out in a swampy section (you'll see a narrow path through the weeds.) The take-out point is directly opposite the portage, so we were there in a matter of minutes.

Matt went up to get the trailer, while a few other people were putting in their canoes at the dock. After loading the trailer and cars, we changed and then drove up to the Trail Centre again. At the trail centre, we checked out and returned our permit, while also checking out the displays and cool wall-sized air photo that the park has posted in the office. Very neat! The rest of the day was spent driving home. We stopped again in Napanee for lunch at the same "Country Market" restaurant. This time, we had the all-you-can-eat lunch. Again, lots of food! We drove back to Paris, and unloaded all of Mike's gear. After dropping him off, Matt and I headed back to Sweaburg to drop off my canoe. After all my stuff was unloaded, Matt headed to his grandpa's to drop off the trailer and his canoe before heading back to his apartment.

Overall, another great trip, although almost too hot to be enjoyable out on the water in the middle of the day. I've never been sweatier than on the portages, where I had sweat literally dripping off my elbows. I hope everyone else had as much fun as I did! This will be the last trip for Hil before the baby comes, so hopefully it was enjoyable for her! It's too bad that Julie was unable to come on the trip. Hopefully next time!

 
  This page was last updated on June 3, 2007 at 05:49 PM  
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