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We crossed over another breach between Slide and Buck, this one currently blocked up by a beaver dam and which had an interpretive sign showing how there used to be a log run here, back in the timber days.
courtesy JInnes
Old Log Run
After the second breach, the narrow strip of land between Buck and Slide widened out, and the terrain became less corrugated. We arrived at a large flat area on the shores of Buck Lake, location of Frontenac Park's backcountry campground #1. We stopped here for a break and snack and were quite impressed with the facilities. For a backcountry campground, it was quite comprehensively equipped. Along with the usual picnic tables and outhouse, the campsites also sported levelled-off tent areas, a metal-grated fire area with nice surrounding benches, clean new individual bear-box food storage units, and even a big metal drum with "emergency supplies". I don't think I've ever seen a stash of emergency goods in a campground before.
Backcountry Campground #1
Lakeside Campsites
Lakeside Campsites
Comprehensive Emergency Supplies
Break over, it was time to continue our journey south. We had almost closed our loop, and only had about 3/4 of a mile to reach the junction (that would close it). Helping our progress was, once again, a nearly completely flat and smooth trail, often bordered by open grassy fields. Possibly there had been old farmsteads here in the old timey times?
Return to gentle trail
Grassy flats
Wide Forest Trail
One steep notch
Back to flat and grassy
Loop completion
Our pace had been good; we arrived back at the Slide Lake area sign and junction shortly before 2:40pm. Less than four hours to make our circle.

The hike back along the connector trail to highway 10 was, as you might imagine, straightforward enough. The promised blue skies and sun finally started to sort-of appear along this final stretch, giving us a few shots with actual blue sky in them.
courtesy JInnes
courtesy JInnes
Loop Complete
A patch of blue
Rare Red Trillium
courtesy JInnes
Blue over barrens
Back through the gap
Flat means trailhead near
Back at highway 10
Hike done and we're back at the cars at about 3:20pm. In all, this only took us a little over five hours in total, meaning that we had covered the 13+ kilometer hike at a fairly high overall hiking speed. I'm not surprised, given how... well, easy the route is. I know, I know - some of you will be saying that the park lists this loop as "very difficult". Well, I say to that - difficult as compared to what? Perhaps more difficult than other trails in the park, but on an absolute scale... nah, this hike is not difficult. For one, on a macro scale, it's really quite flat. Oh, sure, there's lots of little ups and downs, but absolutely no where do you have to climb or descend more than 75 feet, and often quite a bit less than that. The overall elevation stats below bear this observation out. Tread-wise, it's surprisingly easy. Even the roughest parts of the trail are not really that rough, and in many places, it's practically glass-smooth. I'm a big fan of non-eroded trails, so this not only makes the hike easier but also much more pleasant.

Indeed, pleasant sums it up. The trail routing is thoughtful and fun in spots and there are enough patches of grassy field, rocky barrens, lookouts, little waterfalls and quaint water features to keep you occupied throughout. Definitely recommended! And man, is it nice to be able to get out into the wilderness again!
Interactive trackmap with photo points - Small Slide Lake Loop - click map to view
Small Slide Lake Loop from Hwy 10 - Hike Data
Start Time: 10:09AM
End Time: 3:20PM
Duration: 5h11m
Distance: 13.39 km (8.32 mi)
Average Speed: 2.6 km/hr (1.6 mph)
Start Elevation: 522ft (159m) *
Max Elevation: 531ft (162m) *
Min Elevation: 416ft (127m) *
End Elevation: 509ft (155m) *
* : +/- 75 feet
Total Elevation Gain: 541ft (165m) *
Total Elevation Loss: 546ft (166m) *
* : +/- 75 feet
Elevation Graph
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