Into The Spring

As the big melt continues, I’m left gobsmacked by the absolutely furious retreat of the snow. Every day I go out, I stand in awe of the disappearance of the white menace that has hounded us for so long this winter.

The melt is not as apparent on the lakes, since most of them had about two feet of ice not so long ago, but it is happening, it’s just not so dramatic as the snow melt. You can see open water in certain areas now, but lake ice ‘rots’ and, even though it may appear still solid, it’s just a mass of semi-coherent slush.

Today I went on a local inspection of the close-by lakes, just to see what the conditions were like.

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Down at the shoreline of Elliot Lake, in Westview Park, you can see a bit of open water right by the shore. Across the lake you can see a small industrial area, just outside of town.

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This bridge goes from Westview Park, over to the Municipal Boat Launch, with the river from Horne Lake running under it, and into Elliot Lake. It’s a pretty good setup actually. Across the highway from Westview Park, is the Westview Trailer Park, which is slated to open on May 1st. It’s $30. a day for full service, and $25. without services.

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Taken from the bridge, facing Elliot Lake, this shot shows how the flowing water is eating into the ice on the lake. It wasn’t long ago that there were ice fisherman right on that spot.

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Walking on the trail from the bridge towards the boat launch, looking out into Elliot Lake, you can see that same strip of open water that the river is creating.

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This is the boat launch area. A fair bit of snow still on the parking lot. I remember coming in here in winter, and going up to my waist in snow.

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Seagulls patiently waiting.

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I’ve only paddled Elliot Lake once, and that was in the late fall of the year before last. It was a marathon 20km paddle around the perimeter of the lake on a cold sunny day. I enjoyed it very much, but I don’t have any intentions, at this point, of doing it again anytime soon.

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These docks do get a pretty good workout in the warmer months, and that’s why I prefer not to paddle Elliot Lake all that much. There are so many more quieter locations to be had.

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Leaving Elliot Lake, and heading across the highway onto one of the main snowmobile/ATV trails, you can see that the snowmobile season is definitely over now. No more snow grooming, but it could certainly use some mud grooming.

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This is the same river that runs from Horne Lake into Elliot Lake. I’m on another bridge, meant for the snowmobiles and ATV’s now. I don’t think this river actually has a name, like many of the smaller lakes around here.

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Horne Lake, still barely hanging on to its ice, but another week of this kind of weather and it might be a different story. The weather forecast, in fact, is showing sunshine, and double-digit temperatures coming up, so this might be the last picture this year for ice on Horne Lake.

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The boardwalk along Horne Lake. Notice no snow in a lot of these shots. Like I said, I’m completely staggered by the amount of snow that has melted, in such a short period of time. And, even stranger, is the fact that there doesn’t seem to be any abnormally high water levels.

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An interesting looking bird. I’m no bird expert, but it looks to me like some kind of small hawk, or kestrel.

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Runoff into Horne Lake.

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The old Algo Mall site.

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The new Pearson Plaza site. Both still empty. Lucky for me, I’m here for the wilderness, and not the shopping.

So, that’s this weeks update on the emerging spring conditions. On another note, package tracking shows that my Packlite hybrid raft/kayak has just arrived at the local post office this morning, so it probably won’t go out for delivery until Monday.

As soon as it arrives, I will be making some modifications to it, before it even sees the water. I will be adding a hitch setup to the front of it, so that it can be towed by my main kayak. I’ve already modified my main kayak with a hitch on the rear for this purpose.

Also, incorporated into that hitch setup, will be a skid plate, of sorts, to protect the underside front of the boat against abrasions during shoreline landings. I made similar modifications to my main kayak, and they proved to be very successful. I will post up photos of that process.

Just a short update on the ebike project. The lithium cells are all charged and waiting to be assembled into a working battery pack, but I have a lot going on right now, with spring arriving, and our first paddling trip in sight. I have to strain my finances through a very fine sieve, in order to get the most enjoyment out of all these things. So, I will get back to the ebike project as soon as I feel comfortable, since I still need to buy some supplies to build that battery pack.

I may actually be able to do my first post in the Remote Lakes series with my new Packlite, before the spring trip with my son and my brother. We’ll see how the ice melting goes.

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