The Road To Esten

Another fine day, as it seems many of the weekends are. I can’t understand that. Back in the days when I was working, I seem to remember that it always rained on the weekends. Now that I’m retired, and can enjoy every day, it’s only nice on weekends. How does that work?

Anyway, it is what it is, and there’s no getting around it, so off I went on another hike into the wilderness.

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Melting is in full swing now, and there are rivers where it’s normally dry land during the summer.

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This is the road that goes into Esten Lake. From the tracks, it looked like only ATV’s were getting in here, but that changed today, since it was Sunday and everyone was out in the warm weather. A couple of vehicles came in here to see what was up while I was there.

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Looking back, from a high point on the road, you can see the town of Elliot Lake, where I had walked from.

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The snow is slowly retreating, and things are starting to look a bit more colorful now.

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The road was kind of messy in places, and I really should have worn my winter boots, but I didn’t.

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Here we have a prime example of what happens when people are forced to pay to bring garbage to the dump. This situation came into effect on Jan. 1st this year, here in Elliot Lake. It used to be free, and it should be, but it seems that money is more important than the environment to some folks.

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I continued on my way along the partially snow covered road.

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I came to an open sand pit area and found this arrangement of stones to be interesting.

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This sand pit is often used for target practice, and someone sure used a lot of ammo here.

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More ammo. Unlike many people, I have no problem with those who want to own guns, but these types are not responsible gun owners. This place was totally littered with empty shells casings. I guess their parents never taught them any better.

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Leaving the sand pit area, I continued down the road towards Esten Lake.

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And here it is. This is the Esten boat launch area, where, not too long from now, I will be launching my kayak for it’s first voyage of the season.

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As you can see, there is some serious melting happening here.

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It will be so nice to be back here at 5am one morning very soon, to take my first paddle after a long, cold winter.

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It always amazes me how quickly life reawakens, even before the snow and ice are gone, as is demonstrated by this caterpillar that I found crawling along the muddy road.

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This is a relatively new sign, and I had a chuckle as I passed it. It infers that the road up to this point is maintained, but I saw no evidence of that. The entire road, all the way in, looked the same to me.

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I continued down the road, past the Esten boat launch.

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This is part of the road that the sign mentions is not maintained, but it looked in better shape than the road was before the sign.

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The ice on the lake is looking very weak at this point.

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It never ceases to amaze me the kind of things people dump in the bush. Well, maybe I shouldn’t have used the word ‘dump’ in this case, but it does still look in pretty good shape. Any taker’s?

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The quiet and the scenery are what attracts me to these places, and I can never get enough.

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This spot here is flooded, it’s always dry land in the summer time. In fact, I’ve seen people bring a big trailer in here to camp for the whole summer, since this is on Crown Land.

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You’ll notice that more and more of these pictures are showing open water. This is very encouraging.

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This road goes a lot further into the bush, there’s a huge gravel pit down there, and then the road turns into more of an ATV trail and keeps going for miles.

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As I turned around and headed back, the skies do look a bit threatening, but it was very mild and, when the sun did come out, I was getting a bit on the warm side.

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On the way back, I found these strange structures, partially hidden in the bush, on the side of a steep drop off.

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I could see that somebody had gone to a lot of trouble to construct these, but I had no idea what they were for.

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Obviously, they serve some purpose but, as hard as I tried figure out what it was, it eluded me.

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Anyway, that was my mystery for the day. Total distance for this hike was 12kms.

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