*** This text is part of a series of blog posts that I have written on my Rideau Trail hike. To read the other blog posts of that series, click here***
The last few weeks have been rather busy with work, and I admit that I looked forward to having some free time so I could continue my hike on the Rideau Trail. I was especially excited because I knew I was approaching Frontenac Provincial Park, and that it would be beautiful with autumn colors.
This weekend, I finally had a little time. I dressed warmly because it was cold outside (it had even snowed a bit during the night) and I headed for the municipality of South Frontenac and where I stopped my hike last time. I had a few more kilometres to hike before I arrived at the park, a few kilometres on private lands, along the road and on private lands again. I finally got to the borders of Frontenac Provincial Park.
To my disappointment, I quickly realized that although there were some leaves still on the branches, the vast majority of the trees had already lost their colorful garb. Oh, if only I had come a week earlier!
Nevertheless, Frontenac Provincial Park still lived up to my expectations. Its wild and raw beauty, its rocky escarpments, its many lakes, ponds, and swamps … Autumn colours or not, I was quickly bewitched by the park and the path of the Rideau Trail was particularly interesting. I loved to follow its steep course over the high bare rocky ridges.
It must be said that there was also in the park a special atmosphere. For the first time this year, silence reigned. No more cries of birds or buzzing of insects, no more squirrels or chipmunks running in the scrub. It seemed as if the cold had made all forms of life flee. All that remained was the sound of the wind in the branches and the creaking of dead leaves under my feet. Winter is coming. Already.
At one point, I saw from a distance a high pole at the top of a rocky hill. I had arrived at Flagpole Hill, probably the highlight of the hike through Frontenac Provincial Park.
From the hill, I had a 360-degree view of the park. It seemed like there were only trees, swamps and rocks as far as the eye could see, that I was hundreds of kilometres away from civilization. I sat at the foot of the flagpole and I think I could have stayed there for hours, just enjoying the view and the complete silence.
But I had to continue. After Doe Lake, the Rideau Trail leaves the rocky ridges and goes into the wood. The trail becomes less steep and more and more clear and easy to follow. I even met a few hikers, which did not happen often on the Rideau Trail.
Then I arrived at the park’s visitor centre and realized that I was leaving Frontenac Provincial Park, to my regret. I would have like to hike a few more kilometres there. I will have to come back one day and explore the many other trails in the park.
It is therefore with a heavy heart that I continued my hike. After two kilometres along the road, the Rideau Trail goes back into the forest. The trail was less cleared than in the provincial park and I admit that I sometimes had difficulty in discerning it under the fallen leaves.
Then, after several climbs and descents in the forest, I arrived at the top of a rocky promontory which gave me a first view on Gould Lake. The view was so beautiful that it took my breath away for a moment. I think I can say that this was probably one of the most beautiful views that the trail has offered me so far.
I realized that despite my disappointment at having already finished my hike in Frontenac Provincial Park, and despite my disappointment that fall is already about to end, the Rideau Trail could continue to surprise and dazzle me. I can’t wait to see what the last 50 kilometres have in store for me!
My journey on the Rideau Trail:
- Km 1 to Km 5 – Year goal: 150 kilometers on the Rideau Trail
- Km 5 to Km 25 – Along the Ottawa River
- Km 25 to Km 35 – In the wilderness of Stony Swamp
- Km 35 to Km 50 – On the country roads
- Km 50 to Km 80 – Marlborough Forest and its horseflies
- Km 80 to Km 100 – Hello Rideau Canal
- Km 100 to Km 125 – A fall hike in Smiths Falls
- Km 125 to Km 150 – 150 kilometres later
- Km 150 to Km 155 – I’m back, and with a new goal
- Km 155 to Km 175 – Entering the Mica Mines area
- Km 175 to Km 180 – That time it was raining caterpillars at Murphys Point Provincial Park
- Km 180 to Km 195 – Hello Big Rideau Lake
- Km 195 to Km 215 – A mountain, a bear and a drought in Westport
- Km 215 to Km 250 – A fall walk along the Cataraqui Trail