Hiking the Highways

For the last couple of days, I’ve been doing some highway hiking, and I find it to be very enjoyable. When I say ‘highway’, you have to remember that the highway up here, north of Elliot Lake, is very lightly used, and quiet.

In fact, I’ve enjoyed it so much, I’ve decided to make this a, more or less, permanent feature of my blog. All hiking done on roads or highways, from now on, will be titled the same; ‘Hiking the Highways’.

For a start, I will be doing the highway north of Elliot Lake in sections. I’ll park my truck wherever I left off on the last highway hike, and continue on foot for as far as I would like to go for that particular day, and then, at some point, I will come back to that same spot and continue the hike from there.

There is so much to see, and you just can’t do it by driving by. For instance, today I found two real nice spots for someone to pull off the road and camp for the night. There are so many small, almost invisible roads going off into the bush along the highway, and I will be checking some of the more interesting ones out during my hikes.

So, here are the sections that I’ve completed from yesterday and today;

There is a gap in between these two sections, but I’ll try to make the next hikes so that there are no gaps. Anyway, here are some of the pictures I took along the way, yesterday and today;


There are all kinds of lakes, ponds, and waterways along the road to stop at, and enjoy the view.


The highway stretches out ahead, traversing the rugged beauty of the Canadian Shield.


A sign that someone came this way before.


There are large swampy areas to enjoy too.


A beaver dam along the highway.


There are many rock cuts like this along the road.


As Neil says, Rust Never Sleeps.


I will go off road now and then, if I see an interesting place. Here I decided to follow a hydro slash for a while.


These hydro slashes go through some pretty remote country. Every few years crews come along to make sure that the bush doesn’t overtake their towers. That must be one heck of a job, especially in bug season.


Standing underneath a tower, looking up. I was thinking that it would be interesting to do a backpacking trip along one of these hydro corridors. They go for many miles through the bush. It’s rugged but, as I said, they do keep the heavier bush cleared.


There are also these types of beautiful places along the hydro slash too.


After I’d finished checking out the hydro slash, I came back out onto the road. On the way out, I scared the hell out of some guy who was setting up a minnow trap in a ditch along the highway. I guess he thought I was a big ole black bear coming to eat him.


There I go, into the distance.


As you can see, I was right in the middle of the road when I took this picture. The fact is, I could have spread out a blanket and laid down, or had lunch, for a half an hour, or even an hour in some places, without fear of becoming roadkill. That’s how quiet this highway is.


A river tunnel passing under the highway.


If you were driving by, you’d probably never see this ATV trail heading into the bush. I can’t explore every trail I pass though. Some of these trails go untold miles into the wilderness.


This nice little lake was almost out of sight of the road, shielded by the trees but, as I got farther up the highway, I noticed that there was a pull-off that you could drive into. This would make a nice little overnight spot for someone in a small RV, a van, or even just a car and tent.


This trail drew me in, so I walked it for about a kilometer, until it intersected with an ATV trail.


There was an open area at the end of this trail, with boulders so that you couldn’t drive any farther.


An ATV trail went off to the left and to the right.


Back out at the highway, on the other side of the road, is Denison Mine Road, which I will probably walk one day too, but not today.


In the distance, I can see the point where I will end my progress for today, the beginning of Highway 639. It’s the same road as 108, it just becomes 639 at this point.


After this point, I wouldn’t call this road a highway. It’s paved, but it becomes real narrow, with no lines or guard rails. The hills get very steep, and logging trucks come barreling down it, with little notice. I’ve already seen one logging truck accident along here.


This route is also known as the Deer Trail, which this sign designates. It’s a popular route in the fall, especially with bikers. I thought I’d seen fall colours before, but I had never seen anything like the colours up here before.


This is the physical change from highway 108 to 639. Oh, and by the way, if you are enjoying the fall colours along this section of, so called, highway, don’t take your eyes off the road for too long. There are no guard rails and, in some places, if you go off the road, you better have a parachute, or some wings on your vehicle.


This is the Quirke TMA(Tailings Management Area). I’ve been here before, but I noticed that they put a new gate up since I was last here. They also left an outhouse there too, very nice of them, although there are millions of square miles of bush around here, so I’m not sure why anyone would need an outhouse.


Okay, so here we can see 639 winding it’s way up into the rugged terrain in the distance. Next time, I’ll park my truck, here, at the Quirke TMA gate, and continue my walk that way.

However, for today, it’s time to head back to the truck. Remember, when I walk whatever distance for the day, I still have to walk that same distance to get back to the truck.


So, I was heading back now, on the opposite side of the road, and I noticed this little road going into the bush. I never would have seen this if I’d been driving. In fact, I have driven by here quite a few times, and I don’t remember ever seeing this little bush road.


I checked it out, and was surprised to find another superb little overnight spot, with it’s own small, private lake. I’ll be marking these two spots on my maps, which are available to anyone who would like them, at the bottom of this page;


I found a high vantage point to take a shot of that first pull-off area that I found. You can see how easy it would be to just fly by here at 80kph, and not see it. There is a nice little lake here too, although you can’t see it in this picture.


Heading back, towards the truck.

So, that’s it for these first two sections of highway. I’m not sure when I’ll be back out on the road but, when I do get back out, the posts will always be titled Hiking the Highways, whether it be this particular highway, or some other roads.


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