Official music page and soapbox of Matt Snell

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Places to Go Before You Die: Frontenac Park, Ontario

This might be a little outside the mandate of Bang & Jangle, but I've just spent a weekend camping and I have to get the word out: anyone in Ontario looking for a place to hike, camp, or canoe cannot do better than Frontenac Provincial Park.

Frontenac is about forty kilometers from Kingston, and serves as a mini-Algonquin for the area. Mini is not a pejorative - I appreciate how thoroughly marked and well maintained each trail and campsite is, an impossibility with a sprawling park. That isn't to say there's anything too civilized about the experience at Frontenac, just that volunteers have clearly marked each trail and crossing so that hikers don't have to worry they've veered onto a deer path. Frontenac's got a hundred and sixty kilometers of trail and about a billion lakes, so although I've been many times I haven't walked it all.

I love the Peterborough area, but the geography can be a bit demure. Frontenac gives me a dose of craggy, up-and-down stuff I've been missing. The wilder elements of the park intersect with vestiges of old settlements, so you're likely to climb out a stone gully into a ghostly orchard, long abandoned by homesteaders. I visited at the end of a rainy May, so the cascades were running strong and wildflowers were blooming everywhere.

What else can I praise? There are only forty-eight campsites in an area that covers over five thousand hectares, so even on a holiday weekend it never feels crowded. Some sites are closer than others, but you can't drive into the interior of the park so you've either got to pack or canoe in. We went for a walk on Sunday and saw two people the entire day.

If I go on I'm going to get even more effusive, so I'll leave it there. There is nothing I like more in life than walking, and I always leave Frontenac feeling restored and content. I can't imagine anyone interested in the outdoors feeling differently. I took a glut of pictures, but none really captured what I was aiming at so I'll just post a couple, along with a link to the park website:

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