Stanleigh – A New Look

This will be the third time that I’ve tried to do the Stanleigh Mine site hike this year. The other two times, I was turned back by signs that restricted hiking temporarily. Today, I finally was able to do the hike, with no signs in sight.

I have done this hike before but, this time, I have my new camera along for the ride. I’m anxious to see how well it performs, after all the research I did to find a good camera. If all goes as it should, I will now have better pictures, and much better videos to adorn my blog with. So, come along with me, and lets see how all this works out.


As I start up the road, to the first gate at the Stanleigh Mine site, it was sunny, cool, and very windy. The high winds meant that taking video would be a challenge, since wind causes all kinds of noise on the microphone.


As I approach the first gate, I see no unusual signs, and no other vehicles, so all looks well for a nice long, quiet hike.

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The first lake I come to is a small, scenic lake called Penelope Lake, which is not too far inside the gate at the Stanleigh Mine site.


Here you can see the road going past Penelope Lake, and continuing on towards the second gate in this site.


Before I get to the second gate, there is this area, surrounded by the orange fence, that a club uses as an airfield for flying model aircraft.


Behind the airfield, are the twin, capped, Stanleigh mine shafts, with the candy cane vent pipes sticking up out of them. I believe these mine shafts to be around three thousand feet deep.


There are many smaller side roads, going off the main dirt road, like this one, which is just after Penelope Lake, and before the second gate. I know this one, since I walked it one winter, and it goes over to Strouth Lake.


Here is the second gate, a more secure looking barrier. When I first saw this, years ago, I thought, “there’s no way they want people going in there”. In fact, you have to hop the fence to get in there but, if you go to the right, and up a small hill, where the chain link fence ends, you can just step over the fence, and down the small hill inside the fence. You can see a trail there, from all us hikers who do just that.


Not too far inside the gate, I come across a familiar sign around here. Even if you don’t see them, bears are all over this area. As I’ve mentioned many times, I carry my little music player in my shirt pocket, in order to alert any bears that might be in the area, that I am coming.

I just saw a story in the news this morning about a lady who was walking two dogs on a hiking trail. The dogs were not on a leash, and they ran off into the woods, and returned to the lady with a bear in pursuit. The bear attacked the lady, leaving her with serious injuries.

I know that most of these people think that dogs will protect them from bears, but quite often, the opposite is the case. Keep your dogs on a leash when in the woods. You chose to keep these animals captive for your own pleasure, so it’s your responsibility to accept that they are no longer free to run as they please. Wild animals should not have to die because of stupid humans.


The dirt road leads further and further into the quiet wilderness.


I really love this rugged, rocky wilderness, however, if you go off the road here, you will quickly find yourself in very difficult to navigate terrain. The vegetation, in most places, is dispersed enough to walk freely, but just try doing it. It won’t take long before you find that you are out of breath trying to climb up and down these hills of rock.

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And then there’s the swamps you would have to cross. This is why I have so much respect for wild animals. They have to live in this environment full time, and it’s not easy.


This was as far as I was able to go on my second attempt this year. They had the road straight ahead closed, so I took the road to the right, which went over to the Milliken Mine site. However, today, there were no signs here, so I continued straight ahead.


Very interesting.


The long and winding road.


Looks like I’m not the only one on this road either, and these Moose tracks were not that old.

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This is Crotch Lake coming into view now. Crotch Lake is a fairly big lake, and they keep the tailings, that were produced at the Stanleigh mine, under the water in part of Crotch Lake.


As I mentioned earlier, it was a very windy day, and when I came out to this open area of Crotch Lake, the wind really started to whip. Still, I did want to test out the video quality of this new camera, but you have to remember, there will be a lot of wind noise in the videos. There is a wind noise setting in this camera, but I’m still learning how to use it, and discover where all these setting are, so it will take some time.

Not a very nice day for kayaking, right? Still, it was a real nice day for hiking, so that’s what I did. The strong wind kept the bugs off me, and also kept me nice and cool.


This Moose was going in the same direction as me, and it couldn’t have been too much farther ahead of me. I kept my eyes peeled, just in case but, even though Moose are huge animals, they can disappear into thick bush in a flash, and with the wind noise today, I couldn’t even hear it. I never did see this Moose either.

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Once again, from the shore of Crotch Lake. Interesting name for a lake though, isn’t it?


I saw a lot of these strange mushroom things along the gravel road. I’ve seen many types of mushrooms in my past explorations, but none like this.


The road winds away from Crotch Lake for a bit now, but will come back to it shortly.


Hmm, looks like some pretty good bear habitat here, better get some Ozzie Osborne on. Those bears know better than to tangle with the Oz.


This is the dam between Crotch Lake, which is contaminated with mine tailings, and McCabe Lake, which is outside the mine property, and connected to the local ecosystem.

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Looking out onto Crotch Lake from the dam.


Looking out towards McCabe Lake from the dam. McCabe Lake starts after that next dam you can see here. There was a settling pond created in between the two dams to help catch any contaminants, before they entered McCabe Lake.

In this next video, there was problems with the audio, partly because of the wind, but also because I didn’t have the microphone volume up high enough. I’ve now rectified that situation, since I got back, and future videos should be better.

Also, in this video, I’m explaining that there was a spill of untreated water into McCabe Lake in 1993, when there was a power outage. This settling pond, in between the lakes, was created as an enhancement to the treatment process.


I continued past the dam, to a road that leads down to the dam at McCabe Lake.


Looks like a bear was digging at this rotten log, trying to find some grubs to eat.


There are definitely some colours showing up in the forest, in many places, now. And, as I’m writing this, at 3:30pm, it is only 13 degrees Celsius outside, in August. I’m sure that the weather guru’s would blame this on ‘Climate Change’. What a ridiculous term. Of course the climate is changing. It’s been changing ever since the beginning of the Earth, and will continue to do so long after the last human is gone.


This is the other dam, between McCabe Lake and the settling pond.


The concrete spillway that skims the surface water off the settling pond, which is, supposedly, clean, and sends it into McCabe Lake. McCabe Lake is at a much lower level than the settling pond, and Crotch Lake, so there is about a twenty foot drop, into McCabe Lake, from the end of the concrete spillway.


Looking back up, towards Crotch Lake, and the pump house, you can see that there is no water flowing through the spillway today, but there was water flowing through it the last time I was here.


Looking down, into McCabe Lake, off the end of the spillway.


The rock dam, between the settling pond, and McCabe Lake.


This is the dam keeper. He is a real miserable old cuss, and he won’t let you have any fun. 🙂


Heading back out, I stopped to take a picture of some wildflowers.


Another look at Crotch Lake, as I make my way back out.

Again, you will have to excuse the wind noise, and not being able to hear me well, I will do better next time, once I get used to all the settings on this camera.


This was the only wildlife I was able to get a picture of today. It seems everything was hiding out from the high winds.


This Stanleigh hike is a very long and scenic one. That’s why I like it.


Oh ya, I forgot, I did get this little example of wildlife too.


In the distance there, you can see the inside of the second gate, so I’m getting close to the finish line.


A last look at the Stanleigh Mine site, before I head back to the truck.

I’m pretty happy with this new camera, so far. It did have some annoyances though. The biggest issue it has is a lag in the Auto Focus acquisition. The camera turns on fast enough, but you still have to be able to focus on a subject, before you can take a shot, and it takes a while for the Auto Focus to do that, therefore the fastest first shot you’re going to be able to take, from after you first push the on button, to focus lock will be in the range of 5 or 6 seconds, which sucks. Also, if the camera is already on, and you depress the shoot button half way, to get focus lock, before taking a shot, you get the same lag, which means you can’t fire any shot off all that fast.

Of course, all cameras have one thing or another that they don’t do well, so this lag may not be a huge thing, if the camera does a lot of other things very well. I need to use it a bit more to get a feel for how it really performs, and if that performance will be enough for me. We’ll see.


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