For those loyal readers who have been here since the beginning, you know how much I like a good challenge. We’re pretty good at forming healthy outdoorsing (yes, it’s a real word, according to me) habits, but a little extra motivation never hurts. Already this year, we have participated in two other challenges that encourage more time outdoors: Hike it Baby 30 (April ’16) and David Suzuki’s 30×30 Challenge. You can read my weekly updates for all four weeks of both of those challenges, and you will learn just how beneficial it was to participate. I noticed immediately, that the extra motivation to get outdoors really helped us to prioritize our time together in nature over everything else, and in months when we weren’t participating in a challenge, we didn’t prioritize it as well.
If you’re at all interested, Hike it Baby 30 is starting again in September (it also occurs in November & January), and you don’t have to live in a Hike it Baby city to participate.
This next challenge is a little more local to us than the others. With both Hike it Baby 30 and the 30×30 Challenge, you can live just about anywhere in the world and still participate. With the Frontenac Challenge, you need to be able to access Frontenac Provincial Park, which just so happens to be our neighbourhood provincial park.
What is the Frontenac Challenge?
The Frontenac Challenge is an opportunity to see everything that Frontenac Provincial Park has to offer. Organized by the Friends of Frontenac Park, a volunteer-run non-profit that gives back to the park, the Frontenac Challenge is an invitation to hike all 11 main loops trails within the park, totalling 160km of Canadian Shield, various eco-systems and so much nature! And, you have to hike them all between September 1st and October 31st.
The Frontenac Challenge encourages hikers to enjoy the splendour of the fall colours of Frontenac Park by hiking each of the 11 loops that form the Frontenac Challenge within the months of September and October.
This challenge was first thought up in 1993 as a way to celebrate 100 years of the Ontario Provincial Park System. Only 14 people completed the challenge that first year, but over 100 people complete it each year in recent years. Hikers that complete the challenge are presented with a certificate of accomplishment at the Frontenac Challenge celebratory BBQ in November.
What are the Frontenac Trek & Junior Hiking Challenge?
Apparently some people can’t handle the challenge (I may eat those words someday soon) and so two alternative challenges were created. The Frontenac Trek is just a short version of the Frontenac Challenge and has participants hiking 6 out of the 11 main loop trails (but not the shortest two, they don’t count). And for the younger hikers out there, the Junior Hiking Challenge has participants under 12-years hiking any 6 of the 11 main loop trails. These two alternative challenges were designed to encourage even more people to get out on the trails and enjoy the fall weather in beautiful Frontenac Provincial Park.
What does the Frontenac Challenge look like for us?
The first two challenges that we did this year were only a month long and I participated in them with Huckleberry, while Bookworm joined us when he could. This time around we are participating as a family, and since Bookworm works during the week, we have dedicated every Saturday (or Sunday if the weather is more favourable) during the months of September and October to the challenge. We will also be hiking more on the two long weekends that fall during the challenge. For the Labour Day Weekend, we will hike 2 loop trails. And during the Canadian Thanksgiving weekend, we will backcountry camp in order to hike the longest loop trail.
We spent some time planning which trails would fit best on which weekends. We planned the longer hikes earlier as daylight will be working against us. And now all that’s left to do is hike our butts off! 160km of trail plus a little extra because some sections will have to be hiked twice in order to reach interior trails. We got this!
I’ll be posting bi-weekly updates here on the blog, but in the meantime, you can follow us on Instagram for more regular updates with each hike. I’ll be posting there with the hashtag #mamanfrontenac.
Why don’t you join us?
Time in nature is scientifically proven to improve short-term memory, restore mental energy, relieve stress, improve concentration and more! If you need a little extra motivation to tap into those benefits, then sign up for the Frontenac Challenge with us! Don’t live near Kingston, ON? That’s ok, find a similar challenge in a park near you, or create your own challenge. Try to hike all of the trails in your area in a certain about of time. Do some research and set a feasible but worthwhile goal. Set your mind to it and then set your body to it!
Do you have some gear you want reviewed?
Are you a brand or store looking for some love? This is a great time for us to test-drive some hiking and camping gear. We’ll be out on the trails often, and we’d love to try out anything you want to throw our way. We can do a few little spotlights along the way and a thorough review at the end. Email me at email@example.com with your requests.