Hike to Crotch Lake


In memory of Mom, who has now reached the end of her experience, on the river of life, and has passed into the great unknown.  She will be missed by many.



The fall has been almost as much of a disappointment as the spring, given the weather conditions we have been experiencing. The recent snowfall really put things into perspective, as far as how the remainder of this fall is going to play out. I had already suspected, after the colours disappeared so fast, that we were in for an abbreviated fall season, and it looks like that’s what we’re going to get.

It didn’t look like there were too many sunny days in the forecast, so when I saw sunshine today, I knew I had to take advantage of it. I do have some longer hikes that I wanted to get to but, since it’s the end of the month, and I have to keep the financials in balance, I decided that getting more gas for the truck was not in the cards at the moment. So, I headed over to the Stanleigh mine site, to do some more exploring of areas that I hadn’t covered yet.

Above, you can see the ‘New’ Google Map of the route that I took. This is the first time I’m using the new version of Google Maps, and it will take me a while to learn everything all over again, since I don’t have the choice of staying with the older version anymore. So far, I like the older version better.

IMG_0004 Panorama

This is Penelope Lake, which is not far inside the first gate at the Stanleigh mine site. It doesn’t have any ice on it today, but I’m sure it has already had some thin ice on it recently.


There is still some snow on the ground though, just as a reminder of what’s to come, in the next weeks, and months.

I had dressed warmly for this hike, since it has been rather cold out lately, but I was already feeling a little on the warm side.


There wasn’t much wind, as I walked in on a familiar part of the main gravel road.


It’s hard to find a deciduous tree with any leaves left on it now, so it is definitely picture worthy when I do.

As always, the quiet in these places is part of what draws me here, as well as the natural beauty, and the escape from all the insanity in our society. Of course, one might say that these mine sites are part of that insanity, and that was true at one time, but now they are abandoned, and left for nature to reclaim, as it is doing very nicely.

IMG_0042 Panorama

A swampy area, along the road, on the way to Crotch Lake.


At this point, there were just some thin, wispy clouds in the blue sky, but I knew that there was a weather system moving in from the west.

Here is where I headed into new territory, that I haven’t explored yet.


I had to cross a small river here, to continue on this road, which runs up along the west side of Crotch Lake.

The breeze did pick up a bit, and it ended up that I had dressed perfectly for this hike. There are mine tailings that have been deposited in part of Crotch Lake, so there are also dams all around this lake, to isolate it from the surrounding watershed.

IMG_0074 Panorama

Nevertheless, this is still a rugged, and beautiful, wilderness lake, and there is an abundance of wildlife in these abandoned mines sites.

I continued along the road, enjoying all the beautiful scenery, and the warm sunshine.

IMG_0105 Panorama

Crotch Lake is, possibly, the largest lake in this area, that is used for the containment of mine tailings.


You can see that those white, wispy clouds are becoming a little more prevalent now. The weather window is closing in, and is threatening to cut off our meager rations of blue sky.


The road moves a little bit away from the lake now, and into the bush. I did see quite a few older Moose tracks in here, as I hiked along.


There was also quite a bit of thin ice around, in the more shady spots.


Again, it’s such a pleasure to have these old mine roads to hike on, through the surrounding, rugged wilderness. Hardly anyone uses them, which makes it a paradise for me.


Here you can see a fallen tree across the road, which shows how much they are used. This road is access to a dam on Crotch Lake, and these dams don’t need too much maintenance. The maintenance workers might come in here a couple of times a year, just to check the integrity of the dam.


I found this strange artifact lying on the side of the road. I’d be open to any suggestions on what it might be. My first thought was some kind of a light stand, as in flame light.


Here is the dam that this bush road leads to. There were Moose tracks all over this dam too.


On the other side of the dam is a small river, which once flowed into Crotch Lake, but is now forced to take an alternate route.


The rock face at the end of the dam.

IMG_0146 Panorama

Looking back at Crotch Lake, from the dam.


The road does continue, for a short distance, after the dam, so I went right to the end.


This is a far as the road goes, and as far as I will be going today. I stopped here for a bit of a break, and to enjoy the quiet, then started to make my way back.


Some of the roads in Stanleigh mine site do interconnect with roads in other mines sites, so the possibilities for exploration are quite wide. However, my old legs do have limitations, and I have to take these hikes in bite sized chunks. I usually draw the line at anything over 20kms. 🙂


Moose can walk a lot farther than I can, and I see their tracks everywhere I go around here.


I make my way back out of the bush road, looking for anything I may have missed on the way in.


The sun is so low in the sky now, that it’s hard to tell how close it is to setting, because it really never gets all that high.


Looking back at Crotch Lake, on the way out.


Passing under the high rock cliff.

IMG_0205 Panorama

I had the sun in my eyes for most of the way out, so I had to turn around to take any pictures.

IMG_0216 Panorama

I was so grateful to have this one day of really nice weather. It’s raining as I’m writing this post, and the rest of the week doesn’t look any better, with more snow, and colder temperatures headed this way.


Many time, when it’s not so nice outside, I’ll go back and read my posts, and watch the videos again, just to get a piece of that same feeling I had when I was there.


A tiny mushroom sleeping in a bed of moss.


One, of the two, Stanleigh mine shafts, at around three thousand feet deep.


As Jim Morrison might say, “This is the End”.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: