Let There Be Light

It hasn’t been a heavy winter anywhere in Ontario and up here in Elliot Lake has been no exception.  But, I was really expecting more sunshine up here than further south for some reason.  I guess when I was living down south I could remember quite often seeing the weather forecast showing cloudy down south but sunny up north.  Now, of course, it’s the opposite, I see sunny down south and cloudy up north.  I wonder if it’s just me?

Anyway, needless to say, it’s been a very cloudy experience for my first winter in Elliot Lake.  All those clouds, coupled with the natural darkness of the season, and it’s been like a dark tunnel, which thankfully, we are finally coming out of.  In fact, that’s the biggest thing that affects me in the winter, not the cold or the snow, but the darkness.  I think that affects a lot of people, even if they don’t realise it.

Today was a nice and  bright sunny day with temperatures slightly above freezing, so I decided to make use of such a nice day and head out for a walk.  Little did I know at the time that I would end up walking 17.5 kilometers to the top of the Lookout Tower Road and back.

Just the week before I had done a fairly long walk to the entrance gate at the Lacnor mine site, which is a fairly good hike also, but the Lookout Tower Road goes up, naturally.  Going up hill adds quite a bit more effort to the hike but I felt good when I got to the bottom of the road so I went for it.  The gate at the bottom was open, which is very unusual unless someone had cut the chain holding it closed, but I found out when I got to the top that there was a work crew up there building some kind of installation.  They were working at a pretty high point and, my guess is that they were getting pretty high pay since it was Family Day, which is a holiday here in Ontario.

I got some pictures, from the top, of the frozen lakes and snow covered countryside.  Here they are;

Here you can see where someone has walked across the lake, and the intersecting straight track is where someone came through on cross-country skis.

Just down a bit from where the person walked across is this line, which is not a track but a crack!  Travelling on the ice is always risky business.  You just never know for sure if it’s thick enough, although I did see some trucks out on the ice over at Elliot Lake earlier today.  This doesn’t mean a lot though, the ice can be very thick in one area and very thin in another.

On the way back I saw a fox and it looked a bit worse for the wear.  Most of the hair was missing on it’s tail, there was just a big tuft of hair at the end and the rest was all bare, right up to it’s body.  The rest of it didn’t look all that healthy either.  I couldn’t get a picture because it went off into the woods and I had my cameras in my backpack, so there was no time to get them out.  The winter hadn’t been all that harsh, so I was wondering how it got like that.  I guess it’s possible that, living so close to the uranium mines, it had received too much radiation, I don’t know for sure.  I have seen other very healthy looking foxes in the same area.  It could be that this one was just more genetically susceptible to the affects, or maybe it got into an area that was more highly radioactive.

Anyway, it was a great day and I got lots of exercise.  The sun is getting much higher in the sky during the days now, so the darkest days are behind us.  We do have more snow heading this way for the upcoming week though, so I still may get a chance to use those snowshoes that have been lying idle so far this winter.


2 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Avril Frame on February 22, 2012 at 2:50 pm

    Wow Al ……. 17.5 Kms ……… way to go! I don’t think I could ever walk that far ….. especially all in one go. I did walk 9 kms one day last week, but I did it in two walks. Mostly I do 4-5 kms a day. I missed my walks on Sun & Mon because the grandkids were here overnight ….it was the first time being away for little Anderson….. he did great. Me and Syl flaked out after they left on Monday. It was so much fun to have them. Janice came over too with her kids. It was a great Family Day. The weather has been warm this winter. We too are expecting 10 cm of snow on Friday night. But it always melts within a few days cause the temp goes up. March looks like its going to be even warmer. The birds and chipmunks are sooooooo confused! I think I will be cutting the grass early this year. Continue to enjoy your adventures.




    • Hey Av;

      Ya, I have to get in good shape for the end of May because Dan is coming up to do a backpacking trip into the bush. I have a tentative route already mapped and it’s 40 kilometers, but we’ll be camping out for three nights too.


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