Hiking the Highways 9 – The Boland Road

This was one of those days when I made a late decision to, just get my things together, and go. I’ve had the loose intention of doing a hike on the Boland Road for some time now, and when I realized that today was Sunday, and the logging trucks would not be running, it was the perfect time to do that hike.

As you can see, the Boland Road is on the north perimeter of Mississagi Provincial Park, and follows, roughly, the course of the Boland River. There are many branches off this long logging road, but the route I show here on the map leads all the way from Hwy 639, over to Hwy 810. It’s difficult to get an exact distance reading from Google Maps because the road goes in so many directions, but it’s somewhere in the region of 65 to 70kms.

I marked the point that I reached on this first hike, with a balloon. It was just over 6kms in, which made today’s total hike to be just over 12kms. So far, the road has been relatively flat, with no big hills to contend with, but I’m sure that will change, the farther in I go. I will be continuing this hike at some point, and I will start the next hike from where I left off on this one.

So, get your walking legs in shape, and come along for a stroll in the wilderness.

As I started the hike, it was a nice sunny, cool day, and there were some bugs around, but they were manageable.

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Since this was Sunday, I was sure that I wasn’t going to encounter any logging trucks, or too much of any other kind of traffic, except for maybe a curious four wheel explorer.

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From what I can tell, by looking at the map, this logging road doesn’t come close to a lot of smaller lakes, like the Kindiogami logging road does. However, there are some lakes that can be accessed along the way, and I’ll try to point those out, as I continue this hike.

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I came to a kilometer one sign hanging off a tree, and I figured that this would continue for each kilometer, as it did on the Kindiogami logging road, but this wasn’t to be the case here.

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The first pull-off I encountered on this road was a small sand pit, on the left hand side, just after the first kilometer. There were signs of use here, with ATV tracks, human tracks, and some junk left behind.

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It was nice to see these big, tall pine trees lining the road. This one stretching up to the sky, like an umbrella.

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If it ever falls, I’m pretty sure I know which way it’s going.

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This is the first side road that cut off to the right, going into the bush. I don’t know where it was going, and it’s not marked on any of my maps, so it will remain a mystery, until, or if, I get a chance to explore it.

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The roadway looks, almost, manicured in some places but, not so much in others.

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Of course, there are wildflowers along the road side, and I will be showing some examples as I go.

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It’s so easy to see that these pictures are of a much better quality with this new camera.

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More colorful wildflowers. Even though the colors of the wildflowers are nice to see, I’m also seeing colors that are a bit foreboding.

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The road conditions were very sandy in some places, and then gravelly, like this, in others.

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I saw Moose tracks on the side of the road in many places along the way.

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In some places the forest was quite open, and easy to see through, with little undergrowth. It’s possible that these type of areas were clear cut in the past, and replanted years ago.

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An old pair of underwear used as a marker for another side road, this time going off to the left.

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Hmm, a natural bridge?

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I’m guessing that this happened just recently, since I can’t see a logging truck getting underneath here.

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You can often find these small maple trees in full color throughout the summer, but I’ve also seen larger trees, and other signs indicating that fall is imminent.

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I saw this one high ridge through the bushes today but, for the most part, it was fairly level ground. However, looking at the map, I can see that this road goes through some real high country, so the continuation of the exploration of this road could get a bit rough.

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There were all kinds of edibles along the road side, including these blueberries.

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I don’t think I’ve ever seen a speed limit sign that applies to only a certain time of the year. Seems like someone took exception to that restriction, which is not an uncommon occurrence up here.

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Some interesting little mushrooms.

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Here’s a much bigger one.

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And two more, among the blueberries. The mushrooms like the cooler weather we’ve been getting, and are much more prevalent in the fall. Another sure sign that summer is coming to a close, not that our idea of how seasons should be matter all the much to the natural progression of things.

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Oops! a water hazard. There was no way around this, so I had two choices, go back, or go through.

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I bought these new hiking boots last week, and they are waterproof, unless, of course, the water is deeper than the top of the boots. In that case, they become very good water containers. 🙂

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Here is the usual culprit of flooded roads around here. Beavers. They blocked the two big corrugated pipes funneling the water underneath the road here, and caused the water to backup onto the road. I don’t think that there will be any road crews coming by here too soon, to fix this problem. Anyway, unless the beavers are removed, in one way, or another, they will just continue to do the same thing, over and over again, no matter how many times the pipes are cleared.

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I continued on, my feet sloshing in my boots, but it wasn’t cold, and this is a good way to break-in new boots, so I wasn’t all that concerned.

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Well, I see another sign on that tree there, and it’s certainly not 2kms, because I know that I’ve come a lot farther than that. Let’s take a look.

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I’m not sure yet, but I’m going to take a guess that they’ve marked this logging road at every 5kms. I was still feeling good, so I continued on.

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Another tree down on the road, but easy to get around.

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Wild rose hips. These are also edible, although I’ve never eaten them myself. I wonder if they’re just survival food, or if they actually taste good. I’ll have to do some research and find out.

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There were many raspberry bushes along the way too.

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I think this sign says Richie Falls Resort. I did a Google search and found that this resort is actually on Hwy 810 so, if you’re going in this way, I’m guessing that you have one hell of a challenging drive ahead of you, if that last water hazard, and the downed trees are any indication. The resort caters to the ATV, and snowmobiling folks, who like to hunt bear, moose, and wolves. I noticed that their website is also available in Chinese too. Interesting.

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Well, they do have some pretty creative ways of marking roads up here, don’t they?

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However, this is not a road you can drive on. This road has been closed by the MNR, probably to protect the privacy of some Lodge, or Tourist Operator. It doesn’t matter to me, because I’m not driving anyway, and I could take this road, if I wanted to, but not today. From the maps, it does continue for about 6kms, and possibly leads to Tenfish Lake.

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I did consider turning around at that last sign, because there was a good place to park the truck, to start the next leg of this exploration, but the road was calling me farther on.

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I guess this is as good a place as any to come and get plastered. At least you won’t be bothering anyone else. It’s probably a relic of the hunting season, where the tall tales of the big one that got away are born. No wonder it got away, right?

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Of course, I guess one could make their own blueberry wine out here too.

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A strange looking fungi. Or, maybe it’s where one of those inebriated hunters tossed his trail mix. 🙂

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A campfire along the road. This is all Crown Land, so you can definitely stop anywhere along this road and set up camp.

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More Moose tracks. The big one that got away. 🙂

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More wildflowers.

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Another little red Maple tree.

Actually, as I mentioned at the beginning of this post, I later determined that it was just over 12kms that I walked today. Since I was walking into the sun on the way back, I didn’t take all the many pictures.

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As I attempted to get close to the bottom of the tree, to take this shot, I noticed that there was an upside-down old car battery jammed in at the base of the tree. It must have been an Energizer battery, since this tree seems to be doing very well.

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A Grouse dancing on the road, near the end of my hike today. This was taken at full zoom, because it was about a hundred yards ahead of me, and it flew away as soon as it saw me. I wouldn’t have even gotten this shot without this new camera.

There’s a little bit of a story here, that I would like to insert at this point. When I left my place, to come up here, like I said, I left on the spur of the moment, and while driving up here, I realized that I had forgotten to bring some change, so that I could do my regular stop at Timmies, for a coffee and muffin. I kicked myself, and then just let it go.

Just after I saw that Grouse on the road, I was continuing to walk along the gravel road, when I saw something shining in the middle of the road. It was a toonie. I picked it up with a smile, and headed out to the truck. Timmies here I come! 🙂

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