Hiking the Highways 6 – Denison Mine Road

The weather up here has definitely taken a turn towards winter.  It’s gotten a lot colder and we’ve had a lot of rain too, not nice stuff for outdoor activities.  However, it looked like we were going to get a bit of a reprieve for at least one day, so I decided to get out for a while and do some walking.

I just wanted to get some fresh air, so I was headed over to one of my favorite haunts, known as Milliken Mine Road.  As I approached the turn-off to Milliken Mine Road, something just switch inside my head, and I drove right past it.  I made a split second decision to head over to Dension Mine Road, since I had never walked that road before.

As I drove along highway 108, headed for Denison Mine Road, I saw two cops, in the middle of the road ahead.  One of them, a short lady cop, directed me, authoritatively, to stop here, as she pointed to the pavement.  As I pulled up closer, and closer, she seemed to get a bit excited that I wasn’t stopping exactly where she was pointing, but I’ll be the first to admit, I’ve never really understood women all that much, and this was no exception.

Anyway, it was just a R.I.D.E. checkpoint.  She asked me if I’d have anything to drink, and where I was headed, and that was it.  I was once again on my way to Dension Mine Road.

When I arrived, I parked the truck right at the beginning of the road, and started walking.

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Just down from the intersection of 108 and Denison Mine Road, is this no name body of water. I’ve been here before, in my kayak. It’s where I caught that big largemouth bass earlier this summer.

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As you can see, there were some clouds in the sky, and it was quite cool, I’d say around 5 degrees. On hot summer days like this, the sun would never seem to go behind one of those clouds but, since this was a cool fall day, the sun seemed to be always behind the clouds. It’s funny how that works, isn’t it?

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Across the road from that body of water, is this river, which runs into it.

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Denison Mine Road heads into the bush. This is a paved road, but it’s very lightly travelled. I’ve driven in here before, at least as far as one can drive. There are gates farther down there, that prevent vehicles from going any farther.

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Even though it’s been quite cold at nights now, the wildflowers are still hanging on, and even still blooming.

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The odd one has succumbed to the cold but, for the most part, flowers can still be seen along the roads, and in clearings in the bush.

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However, it won’t be long now, until everything will sleep.

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There are many small sideroads that go off into the bush along Dension Mine Road, I will explore some of them, but not this one.

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I saw one of those rock dams through the bush, so I made my way up to it. They build these dams to contain contaminated water from the mines, or water that is covering mine tailings, so that there is a minimum of radioactive leakage into the atmosphere. This was the Dension Mine Tailings Management Area.

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I’m up pretty high here, at the end of the dam, and I can see a long way out across the hilly countryside.

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Looking back up the other way, this lake is another one of those lakes that was specifically created for containing mine tailings under water. It has no name, just Denison TMA.

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The mine workers drive their pickup trucks along the tops of these dams, when they’re making their rounds, to do testing at the various test points along the way, or just to check out what’s going on in the area.

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I like to walk along the tops of these dams too, especially in bug season, because they tend to be a little less buggy. There’s also lots of nice scenery to be had along the way also.

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I came across this little fire pit that someone had thrown together, possibly to make some coffee or tea. It was almost right in the middle of the access road.

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It was certainly a nice, quiet spot to stop for a coffee.

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A strange looking kind of weed that seems common around here.

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After checking out the Denison TMA, I got back out to the Denison Mine Road, and continued walking in. I came to another side road going into the bush. They quite often use these big rocks to block vehicles from entering. I headed in.

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Another fire pit, and this time it looked like it was a campsite, with extra firewood collected, and there was also a clothesline strung up between the trees.

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Just past that campsite, I could see another lake through the bushes, but I couldn’t see any easy way to get down to it. None of these lakes had a name on any of the maps that I checked. The tailings management lakes were not even shown on most maps, but this one is on the maps. After checking this area out, I went back out to Denison Mine Road and continued walking.

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This is as far as you can drive on Denison Mine Road. As I continued to walk through the gate, I glanced to my left side, and was surprised to see a hidden camera. I’m thinking that it’s there because farther down this road is Denison House, which I took some pictures of on my kayaking trip post entitled ‘Quirkaholic’. I guess they want to keep an eye on who is coming in here because of that.

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I kept walking in towards Denison House, although I wasn’t sure how far in it was. Here you can see, what looks like, driveways going in off the side of the road, but there was nothing else there. I’m guessing that this was once an area where there was some kind of housing for the mine management personnel.

I could have driven my truck all the way in to the gate that I had just passed, but I wanted to walk all the way along Denison Mine Road. Due to the fact that I didn’t know exactly how far Denison house was from where I was now at, I decided to make my way back to the truck, which was parked all the way out at highway 108.

When I got home and checked Google Maps, I saw that I was pretty close to Dension House, and could have easily reached it. One day I will be back, and I’ll drive right to the gate before walking in.

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The skies did look a bit angry, but it didn’t rain at anytime on my walk today.

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On the way back, I came across something that I’d never seen, or noticed, before. This is a ‘scrape’ made by the antlers of a moose, or elk. I know this because I saw the tracks leading up to it. It looked pretty fresh, maybe made the night before.

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I headed back out to the truck, and called it a day.

Although this post is dated Oct. 27, I did this walk exactly one week ago. I just didn’t get around to posting it until now. Since then, the weather has been real nasty, and I haven’t gotten out too much. However, I have been keeping busy inside.

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Throughout the week, I took everything apart on my, newly acquired, ebike to check the overall condition, and to repair, or refurbish, anything I felt it needed.

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One thing I was really interested in looking at was the inside of the hub motor, since this would give me a good idea of how much this ebike was used, or abused. I was encouraged to see that the motor looked brand new inside, and I wouldn’t need to do any work at all in there.

Taking off the rear wheel on this thing was a job and a half, so it’s not something that I’d want to be doing too much.

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Anyway, since I did have it apart, I decided to give everything a nice coat of black paint, and then I sealed it up good and put it all back together. Water infiltration is a big killer for these hub motors, so I made sure it would stay dry.

This was supposed to be a project for the winter months but, since the bottom had dropped out of the weather lately, I decided to get into it now. The last thing I had to fix now was the broken pedal on the right side, and I was waiting for a special tool to remove the crank arm, so that I could put the crank arms and pedals from the regular bicycle on it but, today, I took it upon myself to see if I could actually fix the original crank and pedal, since I still haven’t received that special tool, which is on a slow boat from China.

I was, indeed, able to fix the original crank arm and pedal, and now the ebike is ready for it’s first trial run. However, the weather is still frowning at me, and also taunting me. 😦

Anyway, the sun will shine again, at some point, so I’ll be ready to ride when it does.

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