Winter Is Open For Business.

What a gift I got today! A beautiful sunny day, with very light winds. I couldn’t have asked for more and, to show my gratitude, I went out for a long walk in the snow. I was on roads, snowmobile trails, snowshoe trails, and just plain old walking trails. I did venture off into the deep snow a couple of times, but I wasn’t wearing my snowshoes for this walk, so I tried to stay on already travelled paths.

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This is Elliot Lake. It looks like it’s all frozen over but it’s not. There are some open sections way out there, which you can probably see in this next long shot that I took with my telephoto lens.

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Someone had already walked through here with snowshoes on, so it made it easier for me with only my snow boots on.

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It was one of those days when the sky was a blue as a healthy vein, if ya get my drift…..snow drift that is.

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It wasn’t all that long ago that I was paddling my kayak right out there, and I also remember it being just about as cold too.

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Look at that sunshine! It’s about as low as it gets in the sky right now, but the earth is starting to tilt back into the sun, so those days will begin to get longer every day.

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No snowmobilers taking chances on Elliot Lake yet, which is smart, since there’s still open water. But, as you will see later, they are using Horne Lake already.

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I’m up along Milliken Mine Road now. The main highway is center bare, but most of the side roads are hard packed snow covered. Studded snow tires are almost a necessity up here and I don’t even have winter tires, never mind studded tires. It’s just not in my budget, so I don’t drive too far unless we get some milder days that melts the snow on the roads.

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The flat sections are not so bad, but there are some serious hills around here and very few guard rails, so if you go sliding, you better be wearing a parachute.

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Even though I don’t drive too much in the winter, there are still lots of places I can walk to and Milliken Mine Road is one of my favourites. Not many cars come up here because it doesn’t go anywhere, except to the mine sites.

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I saw lots of fox tracks in the bush but it seems that those foxes like to come out at night in the winter time. I guess it’s too easy to see them in the day time with the snow on the ground.

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This is a perfect example of how a blue sky makes such a difference in winter pictures. Without the blue, everything is a bland grey or white.

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Days like this were few and far between last winter but, so far, it hasn’t been as dark and gloomy as last winter. We’ve had some days of sunshine mixed in with the gloom.

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I really didn’t think that I’d be going so far today, so I didn’t bring my snowshoes. I still haven’t tried them out since I got them, so I’ll have to do a special trip just for snowshoeing.

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It’s always so quiet out here.

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The snowmobile trails are in full swing now, although I don’t think that the groomers have been out yet. The snow base has not built up enough for the groomers.

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One of the main snowmobile trails headed towards Beaver Mountain.

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Anyone for a picnic?

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This snowmobile trail is winding down, through the bush, towards Horne Lake.

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As you can see, the trails are in pretty good shape. It takes quite a bit of snow to cover all the big rocks on these trails, but I haven’t seen any bare spots anywhere along the trails.

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I was surprised to see that this shot turned out so well. It’s a full zoom because that bridge is on the far side of Horne Lake.

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This is where the trail heads out across Horne Lake. There is also a trail that goes along the side of the lake, for those less adventurous souls, or should I say for the smart ones.

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I got a long shot of these two guys walking across the lake with snowshoes on. I guess the snowshoes would spread your weight over a larger area, which would make it a bit safer.

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Here I’m at the Miner’s Monument on Horne Lake. If you look at the shadows on the lake, you can see me taking the picture just to the right of the flag pole. The Miner’s Monument closes in the winter because the snowmobile trail runs right through it.

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The best kind of Christmas tree…..one that’s still alive.

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This trail goes right down to McDonald’s, Tim Horton’s and the gas station, so it’s very convenient.

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As I was walking by, I got a laugh out of the number of people pulling in to Timmies with shocked looks on their faces, that it was actually closed on Christmas Day.

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