A Cold Wind Blows

This Google Map is an approximation of the route I took.

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I had my GPS tracking me, from start, to finish, so this is exactly where I went today.

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Here is a closeup of my route, in that particular area that I wanted to get to today.

After I’d finished my breakfast this morning, I started to consider my options for the day. I looked out the window, just like a real meteorologist, and decided that it was going to be, at least, partly sunny, so hiking was a go. But, where to go?

Well, I started checking Google Maps, as I often do, to see if I could find an interesting looking place. As I’ve said many times, I haven’t finished exploring all the mine sites yet, even though I have visited them all, at least once. While checking in the Cinder Lake area, I noticed and interesting looking area in the Denison TMA, that I hadn’t seen yet. Here is that area;

This whole area of exposed rock looked like a pretty neat place to explore, and take some pictures.

So, I hit the road and, not too far into the drive, it started snowing. Yep, not rain, snow! Well, here we go, I thought. However, it stopped just as fast as it started and, by the time I arrived at the Dension TMA gate, it was sunny again. However, and this is a huge however, it was bloody windy as hell. That big weather system, which was actually connected to the hurricane that’s now off the east coast, was moving away, and ushering in some cold Arctic winds from the north.

Just a bit of a warning, before this video. It does start loud, so be prepared. πŸ™‚

Even though I mentioned the wind in this video, at that time, I had no idea of how much worse it was about to get. Also, I will mention here, that any photos I took with this small Canon A2600 will have the date in the lower right hand corner, so that you know which camera they were taken with. My original Canon SX40 will not have any date on the pictures.

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And so I headed into the Denison TMA with two cameras, the Canon SX40, strung around my neck, and the Canon A2600, in my right pocket.

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The first thing you see, when you walk into this site, is the huge rock dam, at the beginning of the tailings lake.

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This is probably the most imposing dam in any of the mine sites, although I don’t know if it’s the biggest.

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I’ll be going along the bottom of the dam, to the left, which will, eventually, go up hill to the top of the dam.

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There’s a long, black pipe that goes up this hill also.

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The small Canon A2600 was doing pretty well, and it continued to do so but, it was absolutely no match for the SX40, which is actually an older camera, and less megapixels.

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Now on top of the dam, I would be following along the shoreline of the large tailings lake for a bit. This tailings lake was create to keep the mine tailings under water. It wasn’t here before.

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After the wind we had today, I’m sure that a lot more of the leaves have hit the ground. This was the second significant weather system to move through in the last two weeks, so blame the weather for the short fall viewing season.

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The road follows along the tailings lake for quite a ways, in fact, there are roads going all around the perimeter of this man-made lake. I’ve already hiked a lot of the perimeter, and today’s hike will add to that, but I still haven’t covered all of it.

I was sure glad that I brought my gloves today. They came in real handy during this hike.

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At this point, it was fairly windy, but I was assured by the wisdom of our highly trained meteorologists that the wind would die down this afternoon.

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And, as you can see from these pictures, the sky was clearing nicely, just as they said it would. Is it possible? Could they actually be correct this time? Well, not so fast grasshopper….

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There was still a fair amount of colour around, but the intended target of this hike was an area with very few trees.

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Here’s a thistle flower, still blooming, even in the rather harsh conditions.

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I did look at the map before I left, and I knew that I would have to take a road leading off to the left, and that it would probably be a lesser used road. This one seemed to fit the bill, so I headed in.

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Yep, this road was definitely not used very much, and I was pretty sure that I was headed in the direction I wanted to go in.

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The road came out at a very small, scenic lake.

I didn’t really need to take a GPS reading, because I already had my GPS running on ‘track’, so I just had to take it out of my backpack, and look at it. I could see that I was headed in the right direction, but I could see no road, or path, anywhere past this small lake.

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However, I wasn’t about to let that stop me, so I made my way, carefully, across the beaver dam, and headed into the rugged bush on the other side, to see if I could bushwhack my way through, to the area I wanted to reach.

There is music playing in this next video, and I know you probably won’t believe me when I tell you that it’s really not that loud, in fact, I can hardly hear it when it’s real windy like this. However, the cameras microphone’s pick it up very well, since the music player is in my shirt pocket, about one foot away from the camera. I do keep the camera microphone’s on full, so that they pick up all the sounds of the bush.

In that video, I was looking for a way through this section, and I did get pretty far but, I eventually was turned back by high water levels that I could not cross.

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Here, I’m trying to find an easier way back to that beaver dam I had crossed, by taking to the high country.

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Of course, every opportunity I got to take pictures, especially from high points, I took advantage of them.

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And remember, I was taking pictures with two cameras too. πŸ™‚

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Still working my way back to that beaver dam through the high country. If you look at my route, on the map, you can see where I came in along the shoreline of that small lake, and then looped around, farther inland, to find my way back.

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Okay, I can see the beaver dam, now I just have to find a way down there.

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You have to be very careful walking on these rock slopes. Seriously, don’t take anything for granted, these slopes can be very slippery, and you can be down on your ass, or worse, in one beat of a hummingbirds wings.

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I should mention that, during today’s hike, I saw tons and tons of Elk tracks, and Elk signs, some of them quite fresh. However, I didn’t see any Elk, which is usually the case.

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So, I made my way back down to the beaver dam, without breaking my ass, and headed back out to the main gravel road. At this point, I didn’t think that I could make it into that area that I wanted to explore, so I just decided to go further along the main gravel road, which goes along the shoreline of the tailings lake.

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Heading back out, to the main gravel road.

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And there it is. Most of this hike was new to me, including this section of the main gravel road, so I had no idea what was ahead.

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I came to this sign, on the right side of the road, which gives you and idea of how many dams there are in this site. Across the road from this sign, was another lesser used bush road, heading in the same direction as the last one I was on. I had a feeling that this road might take me into the same area that I was trying to get to on the last road, so I headed in.

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It was obvious that this road wasn’t used very often, but it wasn’t as rough as the last road I went in on.

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To me, it’s the mystery of where these roads are going, and what will I find there, that keeps me so interested. I’m like a little kid, opening a present on Christmas Day. Not too many things do that for me these days, but the wilderness always does.

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As I walked in on this road, I was getting higher, and I could see another small lake, through the trees, on the right side.

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And when I reached the top of the hill, the whole area just opened up, as if it was natures way of saying, “Welcome, you made it.”

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This vast area of bare rock, just opened up in front of me.

As you can tell, the strong winds were definitely an issue, but I was quite pleased at the way my wind baffle, on the camera, was handling them. So much for the winds dying down this afternoon. If anything, they were getting even stronger, and they were really cold.

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This was a spectacular area, but there were problems with the lighting here. I couldn’t shoot away from the sun, and the skies were getting more cloudy, not clearing like the forecast said.

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This was a huge area, and it was going to take a lot of time to explore it. You can see from the map, that I did zigzag my way through this maze of smooth rocks. I was definitely hampered by the strong, cold winds, and I avoided taking more videos here because of that. I will really need to come back to this area on a nicer day, so that I can get the pictures and videos that it deserves.

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The sun is shining from the left side here, and it’s low in the sky, so the conditions were not ideal, but they are certainly good enough to get an idea of how amazing this place is.

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I’m getting the feeling that they may have used a lot of water out of this lake, which is up on a higher level, to fill the tailings lake, after they had deposited all the tailings into a natural, or man-made depression. Thus all this exposed rock, which, formerly, would have been the bottom of this lake. This lake is not named on any of my maps either.

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I don’t blame either camera for not getting top quality pictures in here, because the lighting was just too inconsistent and, as I mentioned, for the most part I had to shoot sideways to the sun, instead of directly away from it.

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Besides that, there were lots of clouds moving in now, which created dark, and light spots on this vast area, making picture taking very difficult.

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Out in this, mostly open, area, I had to keep my gloves on, or my hands would freeze, so taking pictures, especially with two cameras, was a bit more work.

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I did the best I could, but this place is definitely on my return to list, on a nice full sunshine, and calm day.

When I got home, I could see, when I checked the track, on my GPS, that I had done an almost full loop here. There was just that one short section I couldn’t get through, because of high water.

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The menacing clouds were blowing overhead a top speed.

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This is a far as I got, and just about 50 or 60ft across there, is where I had turned back on that first road, so it was just a short gap that was impassable due to high water. It may be possible to do a loop here in dryer conditions.

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I had been out here for so long today, that the sun was now getting fairly low in the sky, so I would have to pick up the pace, in order to get out of here before sunset.

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Of course, I couldn’t stop taking pictures, even on my way back out, so that did slow me down a bit.

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Finding my way back, through the maze, trying to locate the road that goes out.

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I guess twelve bucks for this little Canon A2600 was a pretty fair price. πŸ™‚

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The castle lights were growing dim, as I headed back down, off the massive dam.

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I wonder how many individual rocks are on this dam? πŸ™‚

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This is right at the gate, and I remember the last time I came through here, which was a long time ago, someone had left a pair of boots on that flat rock, on top there. I guess the owner came back to retrieve them.

I made it out before sundown but, like I said, I will be back here on a nicer day to do justice to that magnificent area in pictures and videos.

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