Staggering Beauty

You’ll notice now that things have picked up a bit with my blog postings. It seems like we’ve gone from winter to summer in a matter of a few days here in Elliot Lake. For the next week I’m seeing nothing but sunshine and warm temperatures in the forecast, not that I’m all that big a fan of anyone’s weather forecasting.

At the rate things are going, I’ll be kayaking in the next few days, because the ice on the lakes is taking a real beating with the warm days and sunshine. A lot of the smaller ponds are already open, and there are some large gaps developing on the bigger lakes.

But, today was a bit unusual for me. The big sweepers were coming around to do the parking lot where I park my truck, and I had to have it out of there, I thought, by 11am. So, I got up around 8am, which is early for me on winter time, which I was slowly weaning myself off of. I really dislike ‘rushing’ for anything or anyone, especially since I’m retired now, but it was only one day, so I bit the bullet.

However, a while before I got up I heard the machines working across the other side of the road and, when they suddenly stopped, I took another look and saw that they were gone. That could only mean one thing, they were headed for the parking lot over here. So, I dragged myself out of bed, and went out to see if, in fact, they were doing the lot my truck was in.

Yes, indeed, there they were and it was only 8am. I figured I had at least another two hours, but no. So, since I didn’t have time for breakfast, I headed down to Timmies and picked up a coffee. Then I headed over to a favorite spot to sit, in a local campground, where I could see the lake, to enjoy my coffee.

It was going to take them some time to do the parking lot, so I figured that I would head back over to the road that runs into May Lake, to see if it was quiet enough to explore. It was still pretty early, so my expectations were high for no one else being there this time. Remember, every time I’ve gone there before, there was always someone parked at the head of the trail, and I wanted peace and quiet to explore this alone.

Anyway, just as I got to the head of the trail, a Denison mine worker was coming out in his pickup truck. I waved to him and continued past the trail, because it was inconvenient to pull in as he was coming out. Farther down the road, I turned around and headed back to the road going into May Lake. This time I parked my truck at the beginning of the road, and got my stuff ready to take a hike.

I had checked the maps, and it looked like a very simple and straight forward 2 or 3km hike to May Lake, so off I went into the unknown.


As you can see, most of the snow in this area is gone now, and it was very quiet, just the way I like it.


The road was fairly decent, and this was one of the things I was looking for, as I want to drive in to launch my kayak into May Lake. But, unexpectedly, I came to a mine site gate. I had never seen this gate before, because I never came in this road before, but I believe this gate leads into the Canmet mine site, a site that I have not visited yet.

Still, where was the road that led to May Lake? I looked around a bit and noticed that there was, what looked like, a road that continued ahead, past the gate, so I headed in that direction.

Update; After checking the maps when I returned home, I found that this indeed was the correct trail that leads to May Lake. I just didn’t go far enough on this trail. It’s a real stretch to refer to this as a ‘road’ though, even though most of the maps I have do have it as a road. This is an ATV trail at best, and I’m not sure I’d feel comfortable driving my truck in there. If I had a beat up old pickup then, yes, I would take it in there.


This picture is a bit dark, because of shooting into the sun, but you can see that it’s not the best of roads, and I was skeptical that it was the road I was looking for.


After walking for a considerable distance on this road, I became convinced that this was not the road to May Lake, so I turned around and headed back the way I came.


There was another road, and I use the term ‘road’ very loosely here, that went off to the right that I had passed earlier, and since I felt that it was headed in the correct direction, I decided to give it a try.


It didn’t look like the kind of road that I’d want to be driving my truck on, and I was becoming a bit frustrated with how this could be? Of course, I’ve learned in the past that maps are not to be depended on up here. Some of the information on these maps is very old and outdated. Also, there are many roads and ATV trails that are not on any of the maps, and this can confuse things even more.


It was clear that this area had been logged, and there were slash piles everywhere. These are, very much, a fire hazard, and loggers should be made clean these up.


I continued along this road(track) for a number of kilometers and, at one point, I did see some lakes in the distance, so I became a bit relieved that this might be the trail to May Lake. I walked and walked, but no lake.


I came across this strange track in the mud and, at that moment, I wasn’t really sure what it was but, after looking at the picture, it might be the claw mark of a large bird, such as a Sandhill Crane.


Anyway, by this time I had walked over 6kms and I knew that the map showed May Lake at less than 3kms, so I turned around and headed back out.

Like I said before, I’ve seen people coming in here all the time but now, after going in there myself, I can’t, for the life of me, understand why? There’s really nothing in there, as far as I could see.

Anyway, I will check the maps again, to see if I can see where I went wrong.

Since I still had some time on my hands, I continued to drive down Stanrock Rd. to the end, where the Stanrock mine site was. There were two things I wanted to check out here. First of all, I knew that Rooster Rock was just a short hike into the mine site, and I was getting a bit on the warm side from the long hike I had just finished, so a cool breeze on the top of Rooster Rock sounded pretty good.

Also, there was an area in here known to the locals as bear valley, and I wanted to see if there were any bears around.


Rooster Rock is a spectacular spot, as these next pictures will attest to.


You can see the weakening ice still covering Quirke Lake.


When I got home, after today’s hikes, I was surprised to see that I had taken a total of 222 pictures, so I won’t be posting them all. If anyone ever comes up here, and only has time to visit one place, then Rooster Rock is where you want to go. And, don’t forget your camera, or you’ll be kicking yourself.


Here you can see the dirt road that leads down into bear valley. I’ve been down that way before, but today I will only be observing from up on top of Rooster Rock.


Here you can see part of bear valley on the right lower side.


It almost looks like there are whited capped waves on the lake, but they are frozen white caps.


Here’s a better view of bear valley, and you can also see the concrete cap on the Stanrock 2 mine shaft.


Everywhere you look around here there’s a picture to be had. It’s no wonder I took so many.


I find it very strange that people will flock to places that don’t seem to have any attraction at all but, whenever I’ve come to this place there’s not a soul around, and that’s just fine by me.


The rugged beauty of this place is something that I’ll never get tired of but, of course, pictures do not do it justice. You really have to come here to feel the magnificence of this place.


The last time I came here was in the fall, and it was a perfect day, just like today.


Looking at the rock on the ground up here, you can see a lot of white, that white is quartz.


Here’s a close up of some quartz.


At this point I forgot to change the camera setting, after I took that close up picture, and all of the rest of the photos turned out not so good. But, I think you get the idea. Rooster Rock is definitely an awesome place.

So, it’s quite possible that the next post I make will be from the water. Things are heating up here in Elliot Lake.


2 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Avril Frame on May 7, 2013 at 8:38 am

    Hi Al ………. your snow IS melting fast …… I’m already cutting the grass here. A lot of our flowers are out too. I love the shots of your lakes …… there seems to be a lot of little lakes there …………. guess you never get bored, eh? It’s great that there is so many elevation changes too………….and the rock scapes must be fun to climb as well. Enjoy your Spring time …… I am. Luv Av


    • Hey Av;

      Yes, there are thousands of smaller lakes in this immediate area. The problem is that most of them are not accessible by driving, and my kayak is not all that light, so carrying it any kind of distance is out of the question. I’m always looking at maps and trying to determine if a lake is accessible or not.

      It’s true, I don’t think I could ever get bored up here. There are always new places to explore. The elevations changes are a double edge sword. They make for beautiful scenes, but they’re hell to climb, especially the older I get 🙂


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