This is part 2 of my Rideau Trail Thru Hike attempt! If you haven’t read days 1 to 3, you can find it here!
I didn’t take as many pictures on these days, but you can see more of what the trail looked like in my vlogs! 🙂
Day 4: 10.5km 04G-05B
We slept in and woke up around 8am, I wanted to stay in the tent longer but couldn’t hold my pee any longer!! It was finally cool enough to throw on my rain pants in the morning, which was a refreshing start to the day.
The night before, we has planned on day 4 to be our quitting day and had arranged for my family to pick us up from Frontenac since Aidan’s feet were in rough shape, but after breakfast Aidan and I decided to keep going, after all what was one more day?
We made breakfast, had some coffee, and relaxed around camp for a bit. We planned to have a ‘nearo’ day and head to an RTA campsite between doe lake and buck lake in Frontenac park, so we took our time getting out of camp.
Finally, around 11am we decided to pack up and get out of there. It seemed like our lake mates were hanging around for the day! I hope they enjoyed. Heading to the RTA campsite we were set to pass flagpole hill which gave us something fun to look forward to.
The trails in Frontenac are well marked and there are Rideau Trail markers relatively close together compared to some other parts of the trail. This section had some good elevation gains and descents but nothing compared to hiking in Gould Lake!
It was super windy which was a great relief, and the clouds meant it was not nearly as hot as the past couple days. When we made it to flag pole hill, about an hour into the day, we took a lunch break, had some snacks and took some pictures! It was definitely one of the best views on trail so far.
On the supplemental text to the maps from RTA it listed the primitive site as being just past a bridge, so of course I had expected there to be a sign or a clearing where I could see the site. Unfortunately, when we passed the bridge we were supposed to take a left off the trail to Caldwell creek, but we both completely missed it and ended up hiking past the site.
We made it to a trail junction with a blue side loop and realized we had passed the site, but felt good enough to continue on trail and find another site. When we hit the side trail for the Buck Lake sites we decided to leave our packs on the trail and go fill up on water. The hike in had a fun climb up some sketchy rocks, but we made it in one piece!
There was an empty site with a little bit of service so I decided to call the park office and it was unreserved for the night! We decided to book the site and stay there as the temperatures were going to rise to 40 again and a thunderstorm was expected, so we wanted to have a legit spot to hunker down in.
This meant we had to walk the km side trail back to our packs and head back to the site but at least we had a great site! The site was 1D, and it was super private. I did try to go for a swim but when I stepped in my foot sunk into the mud and I almost lost my shoe, so I decided not to go any deeper. Although, it gave us a good laugh.
The emergency supplies bin was super close to our site so we decided to see if there was a tarp we could borrow, and there was, so we set it up over our table to keep our stuff dry. (not technically an emergency… but it did bring us some emergency joy!)
We collected wood and had our first campfire on trail! We got to roast some marshmallows and cook some quinoa soup over the fire. It was delicious and filling! The wind had died down, and I just knew it was the calm before the storm, so we got all of our stuff under the table with the tarp and cleaned up our site. Just as we got into the tent for the night it started to poor! What good luck.
Day 5: 33.9km 05B-06C
The rain cleared overnight, and thanks to the emergency tarp all of our stuff was dry. It was another cool morning thanks to the rain storm, so I bundled up into my rain gear and we got out of the tent to start our day early. We had a 30km day planned to get us to the CRCA campsite on Mosquito Creek so we wanted to start early to beat the heat.
We got out of camp around 715am after having breakfast and filling all of our water. Leaving Frontenac was a smooth and flat trail until we got back onto a private land section of the RT that was pretty hilly and had lots of bugs. We were set to hit the first shelter on trail in 20km, so we tried to hike there as fast as we could to get there for lunch.
When we hit the first road after the private land section we took a snack and water break, and a lady with her dog had pulled up to the trail for some hiking. She asked if we had already gone in and out of the trail and chuckled since it was before 9am. We laughed and explained we were hiking the Rideau Trail! She wished us luck before heading in with her puppy.
We headed out onto some road walking until we got to some farm land with quite a bit of ladders! I liked the ladder climbing, because I could rest my pack at the top it was a nice little break. After some farm crossing we got back onto the Cataraqui trail where we came across an outhouse! We didn’t use it but it was fun to come across.
We passed Frank’s Culvert which was another fun sight of the day! It was a cute little cave, I wonder if Frank hangs out there still… There was a bench and lookout along the cataraqui where we stopped for a snack and I ventured down to get some more water. It was a hot day so it was definitely needed since the sun was out in full force. After the 7km stretch on the Cataraqui trail we made it back to some private land where poison ivy was prolific (there was even a sign posted!).
We made it through without any poison ivy mishaps. It started to rain for a little bit which was refreshing and past quickly. After a few more kms we made it to Lindsay Lake where Aidan got us some more water and we took another break. Finally, at 2pm we made it to the Allen and Ellen Bonwill shelter!
We took a long break here to wait out the heat, and there was a visitor log! The entry before us was another pair of thru hikers that had been there the day before us. I really hoped we would run into them. I hope they made it! We also found our friends Mark and Jo’s entry from their thru hike last year which was so cool to see! We signed the log and ate some lunch and then finally headed back to trail around 4pm.
While walking along this section we found a ‘view’ with a brand new rideau trail 2021 picnic table!!! It would had been the perfect campsite but there was what looked to be a cottage a few hundred meters away so we decided to push on to our end goal.
Around 7pm we finally made it to the CRCA ‘campsite’ which was a little disappointing as when we got there we could not actually find a clearing for a campsite, and ended up having to set up in some bush. After our longest day on trail I was really looking forward to a nice water source and clearing but unfortunately that was not the case. There was an outhouse but the door was left open and it was all bush to get to it so we decided not to check it out.
We opted to not eat dinner again, since we didn’t have a water source and wanted to save it for the morning. Also the bugs were bad! It rained overnight, but luckily we kept our stuff dry.
Day 6: 5.3km 06C-06D
We woke up early today to pack up camp and head out as we were unfortunately getting off trail. Aidan’s blisters were progressively getting worse and I did not feel comfortable continuing to stealth camp or camp alone so we made the decision to both get off trail. My left foot had also become super swollen and painful, I think, due to some Achilles tendonitis, so some rest was needed.
We packed up camp quickly and headed back onto the trail for our last road walk. It was a pretty morning, and we passed some great sights along the way! Our final destination was at Bedford Mills Rd. 06D on the map. It was a bitter sweet ending, I really thought we could make it all the way but I am so proud with how far we made it (and throughout an extreme heat wave). Aidan and I also learned so much about backpacking that we are excited to take onto our next adventure!
My family picked us up and we headed to drop Aidan off at the train station and I went to spend a few days with my grandparents before heading home with my dog.
Overall, the Rideau Trail was a beautiful and challenging experience, and I hope in the future we can get out to finish the remaining 215km! If you do plan to thru hike the trail, prepare for lots of road walking and swamp water, these were definitely our downfalls.
Rideau Trail 2021 in Numbers
- Days: 6
- Distance: 108km
- Mosquitos: 4087 (no really, I counted)
- Dinners skipped: 4
- Elevation: unsure…. but a lot!
- Times I cried: 3.5
- Blisters: Me: 0, Aidan: a LOT
- Campfires: 1