Where: Frontenac Provincial Park
When: March 15/16, 2020
Who: Perrin and I
Type of Trip: Short Overnight, Type 1 Fun, Gear Testing
By the Numbers:
- Nights: 1
- Campsite: 8
- Kilometres Walked: ~23km according to my phone
- One Way Hiking Time: 3 hours one way
- Trail Conditions: The whole spectrum! Snow, ice, and mud.
- Number of people seen on the trail: 0
- Number deer spotted: 9
- Number of chipmunks spotted: Innumerable
- Nightly low: -10C
- Sleeping Bag Rating: -7C
- TPW: 17.8lbs
In More Words:
Just a quick one night trip to be outside! The weather was forecasted to be beautiful, so Perrin and I tossed some gear in the car and headed out. We were looking at highs of around 0C and an overnight low of -8C with nothing but sun. Perfect for my summer sleep set up to save some weight. Sei and Yak were not down for more winter camping.
I decided to head up to Site 8 on Birch Lake. I figured it was far enough that nobody else would be there on a Sunday night, but only a 3-4 hour hike, so it could be done in my half-day hiking time frame.
Trail conditions were mixed, dry, wet, snow covered, ankle deep mud, boilerplate ice. I did take traction devices with me, but the ice was never sustained enough for me to bother putting them on. Perrin doesn’t pull much on the downhills (unlike ‘freight train’ Sei!), so we managed. Spring is definitely arriving earlier than last year! We did a trip the last week of March 2019, and the trail was almost entirely snow/ice covered and the lakes were completely frozen all the way to the shore. This year they were mostly bare/muddy and the lakes were thawing around the edges.
This was the coldest trip I’ve used the alcohol set up on, and it performed flawlessly. I kept the fuel in my coat hiking in, and it never hesitated starting up once I added it to the stove. I didn’t do any detailed measurements, but fuel efficiency wasn’t bad either. In the summer I can usually get 2 pots full of water boiled on one stove-fill. On this trip, I got about 1.5 boils: one full pot boiled, but I only needed half of it for my dinner, so I filled the pot the rest of the way to re-heat for tea. It was able to bring that second half-pot just barely to a boil before going out. Considering it was about -3C outside at that point and the water was literally ice cold (versus warmer summer water sources), it did better than I anticipated.
The Starry Night tent had another successful outing, no issues with it. Night was c-c-c-cold! My thermometer said it was -10C overnight, which is a new lower limit for my -7C sleeping bag. I knew I was pushing it, so I took some hand warmers and put them in the too-long foot box with my puffy to try to keep my feet warm. That coupled with a foamie under my sleeping pad had me comfy-cozy all night. Very happy with the outcome of that after my limit-testing experiment in the back yard.
The morning was cold but beautiful, and we had a quick and uneventful hike out. Perrin was so happy to be out on a trip with just me and him again. He is such a good adventure companion ❤