Hike to Little Quirke

Last fall I had attempted this hike, but the snow conditions made it very difficult, so I decided to turn back. Today, I realized that the decision I had made last fall was right on the money. There was no way I would have made it then.

As I started my hike today, there was still plenty of snow on the ground, but it was a bright sunny day, and the temperature was up around 10 degrees Celsius. I was about to make another attempt at the hike in to Little Quirke Lake. I had seen, what appeared to be, some kind of buildings, or trailers on the edge of Little Quirke Lake, while searching on Google Maps satellite, and I was curious about how they got in there. As far as I knew, there was only a very narrow ATV trail that goes to that location.

Anyway, I had everything I needed this time, including my GPS, so off I went into the unknown.
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Lots of snow still, as you can see.

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As I walked along the main trail going in, I came to this smaller trail that branched off to the left. I knew that this was the direction I had to go, but I wasn’t sure if this was the correct trail.

As I got farther in, something didn’t seem right, so I stopped and took a GPS reading. The reading showed that I seemed to be on the right track, but there was another problem. The snow on this trail was soft, because of the rising temperatures, and I could only walk a couple of steps before I went up to my walnuts in snow.

Curses, foiled again I thought. There was no way I could walk in that far with snow conditions like this. I had all but given up as I made my way back out, but when I got back out to the main trail I had come in on, I looked farther up the trail and wondered if there was another trail that went off to the left also. I couldn’t see from where I was, so I walked up the hill to find out.

Sure enough, there was another trail going the way I needed to go, and this trail had a snowmobile track on it. Snowmobile tracks pack down the snow and make it easier to walk on, and I found that this snow would easily hold my weight, without falling in up to my walnuts, so I was off!

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Once I started walking in on this trail, I realized that this, indeed, was the same trail I had started walking in on last fall, so I was on the right track.

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It’s a fairly narrow ATV trail, with ups and downs, and other obstacles to keep things interesting.

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There was a definite uphill grade going in and, even though I could walk on top of the snow, it’s still slippery, so that tends to take a bit out of you after a while.

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I got to a junction in the trail and I found this thing there. It looks quite new, but I didn’t have a clue what it was for. The best I could figure was that it was something that the snowmobilers use. I knew I had to keep left at this junction, so I continued on.

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Some parts of the trail were surrounded by evergreens, and then other parts opened up into hardwoods.

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The terrain got more rugged the further I went in, and there were some substantial hills, both up and down.

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I had been walking for about an hour, when I came to this open area, with a river running through it.

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It was a nice scenic spot, so I stopped to take some pictures, and also to check my GPS once again. The GPS showed that I was still on track, and I didn’t have all that much further to go.

As I walked along the trail, I saw lots of tracks. Many of them, as far as I could tell, were either Bobcat, or Lynx tracks. I did take some pictures of them, but they were not all that fresh and they didn’t show up all that well in the pictures.

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As I continued along the trail, I finally came to this, a sure sign that I had reached my destination.

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It was an old ice fishing hut that had been pulled off the lake. And then, there it was;

I had reached Little Quirke Lake, finally!

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As I quite often say, the quiet was deafening, and for some reason or other, it makes me feel more alive than anything else. I have the highest respect for wild animals that can endure what this harsh environment hands out.

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There were a couple of aluminum boats left on shore here.

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Here’s another one. I’ve seen this quite often on remote lakes around here. People drag these boats in by ATV and leave them there, and then they only have to bring the motor whenever they come back. It would be very difficult for someone else to take the boat, although I imagine it could be damaged. However, most of the times that I’ve come across these types of boats, they appear to be untouched. Maybe there’s some kind of unspoken creed around here that says no man shall touch another man’s boat. I even saw a canoe hidden in the bush one time. It did have a lock on it, but I’m sure that a determine vandal could have found a way around that.

It’s not like other things aren’t damaged though. I’ve also seen enough irrational destruction to know that not everything is as safe as the boats seem to be.

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After I had rested up a bit and rehydrated with some iced tea that I had brought with me, I headed back into the bush for the return trip.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The pace on the way back was a bit more relaxed, since I knew the trail now, and I knew how far it was.

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I just took my time and looked for different types of animal tracks along the way.

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Possible bobcat/lynx track, but it’s kind of old to make any definite determination.

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Here’s some tracks that were fairly fresh, but I’m not certain what they might be. My first thought was something like a fisher or marten, but maybe they’re just raccoon tracks.

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Onward I went through the quiet forest, enjoying the serenity.

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There were some meager signs of melting, so spring is trying. Actually, I also saw some insects flying around too.

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Many of the big rocks were wearing snow hats.

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I still don’t know what all those buildings or trailers were on Google Maps. You can see them if you zoom in on that map I posted at the top. Maybe they’re all ice fishing huts, I don’t know. Those satellite pictures were probably taken years ago. I think it would be pretty difficult to bring them in here on this trail, and I didn’t see any other way of getting in here.

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Back out to the main trail. It’s getting a bit cloudy now.

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A river, close to where I parked the truck. By this time my legs were screaming at me to let them rest. It’s not a really long hike, just over 8kms return, but it’s the walking conditions with the snow that makes it difficult, especially on the hills.

Anyway, I had a great time and I thoroughly enjoyed my hike today. I’ll be getting out in the bush as much as I can now that the warmer weather is on the horizon. The next big milestone will be the melting of the lakes, so that I can get back to exploring by kayak.

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2 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Avril Frame on April 21, 2013 at 1:36 pm

    ..You sound like your in heaven …….. and your photos prove it. Our little piece of heaven is a lot noisier than yours, but we are still grateful for it. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to walk as far as you ….. but I do 3 km daily… and do 6 km a few times a week. It is hard walking cross country in the snow…..but taking it easy is the key to enjoying it. Don’t forget to pace yourself!

    Luv
    Avril

    Reply

    • Hey Av;

      Ya, it is nice to be able to walk a fair distance on your own property. Walking in snow is about twice as hard as walking on dry land, and I expect that you can double the distance if you’re walking on snow, so if you walk 3kms on snow, it’s like walking 6kms on dry land. It’s especially difficult if you do hills.

      I do take it easier if I know the trail I’m on. If I don’t know how long it will take, I tend to go a bit harder, it’s just a mind thing I guess, but I always know when it’s just not worth it, that’s why I stopped this same hike last fall, and came back to it this spring.

      Reply

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