The Horne Lake Trail – Plus

The forecast for every day this week is pretty straight forward, and simple, cloudy with snow. Technically, we’re still more than a month away from the first day of winter, but nature does not care which day we say winter should start. Nature does not care how much we scream ‘Global Warming’, or ‘Climate Change’ either. Nature just does what it does, and makes no pronouncements about the result.

Even though it was snowing out, I decided that I’d had enough of sitting inside, so I headed out, no destination in mind at the time. As I approached Horne Lake, the idea of doing the Horne Lake Trail popped into my mind, and it seemed like a pretty good one, so I made my way over to where the trail begins.

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Of course, the pictures aren’t going to be amazing, with a white sky and a white ground but, what is amazing about these pictures is that I’m taking them with a little camera I picked up off ebay for $3.58!

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The camera is a 16 megapixel Fuji JX680, and it came in the original box, with all the original accessories. So, why was it selling so cheap? Well, the battery door came unlatched very easily. I put a piece of aluminum tape on the door, to hold it closed, and that fixed the only problem this camera had. Pictures can be downloaded, without taking the SD card out, through the provided USB cable, and the battery can also be charged through the USB cable. There is really no need to open the battery door for anything.

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I’m starting the trail on the north side of Horne Lake. It can also be started on the south side, behind the Mining Museum, which is probably the more ‘official’ place to start it.

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From the north side, the trail runs along the shoreline of Horne Lake, and is fairly level, and easy walking, except for the slippery conditions with snow on the ground.

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As you can see, our ‘Ice Fishing Derby’ lake has no ice on it yet, at least not here. On the south side of the lake, there is a large area which is frozen.

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This might be a nice spot to sit in the warmer months, but I won’t be taking a seat today. It wasn’t really that cold though, just around the freezing mark, and I was out of the wind, for the most part of the hike.

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Approaching the bridge, which crosses the river that flows from Horne Lake into Elliot Lake.

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There are some real big trees along this trail, some of them looked to be about 3 feet in diameter.

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In actual fact, the snow does look nice in some places, it’s just not all that photogenic. I changed all my cameras to the ‘Snow’ setting now, but I’m not all that sure it makes a lot of difference.

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Now moving along the east side of Horne Lake, the trail remains level, and a fairly easy walk, for the time being.

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Looking back, along the shoreline I had already completed.

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The last time I hiked this trail, I actually did not complete it properly. On this hike, I noticed where I had made my mistake the last time. Part way through the last hike, I started following the yellow trail markers, instead of the white ones, which took me way over to the ski hills, instead of the end of the Horne Lake trail.

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Everyone duck! I’m glad I wasn’t walking along here when that one came down. The fact is, many times I’ve been hiking in the quiet bush when, all of a sudden, I hear a huge crashing, bowel clearing, sound. It’s usually a big dead tree, which has become waterlogged, and can no longer hold it’s own weight up.

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Still close to the east shoreline, looking through the trees to, what they call, Horne Lake Island. It’s not really an island though, it is connected to the mainland through a low, swampy section.

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Speaking of low swampy sections, I did pass through a few of those on the trail today. With the snow on the ground, it was difficult to see where to step but, there were some older footprints on the trail that helped guide me.

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From here, the trail started uphill, and there is quite a bit of uphill on this trail. I would say that 65% of this trail is uphill hiking, and the downhill side is very rugged, and more technically difficult, especially with the snow on the ground.

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The trail veers off to the right, for those who want to get to the top of the rocky cliff on Horne Lake. I went in for a few pictures from the top.

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A blue sky would make so much difference in these pictures, but it was a gloomy day, and it was snowing for most of my hike today.

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I headed back, the same way I came in, to pick up the main trail again.

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This is about as high as the Horne Lake trail gets, not particularly lofty, but it is a local trail that I can hike at any time of the year.

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Another big tree. Last year, some kids started a fire up here, and they had to call in a water bomber, from the Ministry of Natural Resources, to put it out. It was pretty neat watching that bomber scoop water up from Elliot Lake, and then fly over this cliff to drop it. At the same time, there was a ‘spotter plane’ circling the fire, in order to guide the bomber in for the drop.

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The trail is going to head down now, through a very rough, and slippery rocky section. Wherever I could, I held onto the trees alongside the trail, to help keep myself from going down the hard way.

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Here, you can see what I mean, as I look back up at part of that rough downhill section.

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Looks pretty simple, right? Well, not so fast grasshoppers. This sign was actually made for those that are hiking the trail from the opposite side that I started and, the arrow pointing to the Horne Lake trail, is the way I came from, but the arrow pointing to the Horne Lake island is not really pointing in the right direction. The result was, that I ended up doing the loop on the Horne Lake Island, which I wasn’t really intending on doing. No big deal though, it was a nice enough detour, and it’s not like I had miles more to walk.

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This is the boardwalk, over the low swampy sections, that goes out to the island.

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Looking back, as I cross the boardwalk.

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A panorama, from the island, looking back at the cliff I had already hiked.

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Here you can see that part of Horne Lake has started to freeze up.

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The main part of the lake is still ice-free though, but it won’t be long until snow machines are racing across the ice here. It looks like it just might be another stellar snowmobiling season.

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Looking out from the bush, as I make my way around Horne Lake Island.

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I noticed this little tag, on a small dead tree along the way and I wondered what it might be. The first thing that crossed my mind was a mining claim tag but I’m not sure if that’s what it is.

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Here you can see that the whole south end of the lake is covered in ice.

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A hollow log, with natural bedding, for something to live in.

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A couple of green ferns, stubbornly, hang on against all odds.

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The bush is an unforgiving place to be, in the winter months. Only the strong survive.

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It looks like I could be getting close to the end of the trail now. I’ve never been here before, so I don’t know.

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Yep, the trail to the right goes up behind the Mining Museum, which is the way I want to go.

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Headed up the last leg, after a pretty good workout.

So, I also wanted to post about another modification that I’ve made to my DragonFly 2 XC kayak. As I’ve mentioned before, the inflatable seats in this kayak are, not only comfortable, but they add to the whole structure of the kayak, by pushing out on the side tubes to enhance rigidity.

When I removed the front seat, in order to make room for my camping gear, I lost some of that ‘structure’ that the front seat provides. Of course, I could squeeze my gear in there, between the main tubes, to provide that same structure, but I decided to make a brace that performs the same function, and more.

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Here you can see that brace, which is made with 1/2″ PVC pipe, 4 elbows, and 4 ‘T’ joints. The ‘outside’ dimensions of the brace are 25″ x 8″. It is placed exactly over top of where I will be putting it, which will be right on the seam of the fabric cover, between the deck lifters, and the main tubes.

This brace will force the tubes apart, and help keep the inflated boat more rigid, while keeping the deck cover tighter.

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With the brace installed, the middle deck section does not sag so much, but there is another benefit to this brace.

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I can store my big yellow pump on top of the brace, in an area that’s not normally used for anything else. This also lifts the deck cover a bit more, so that water cannot collect on it so easily.

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So there you have it, one simple modification that provides a number of benefits. The brace is light weight, and easy to pack in the kayaks bag. I would install the brace after you have pumped up the first main chamber, and before you pump up the second main chamber, so that there is still some slack in the kayak, making for easier installation of the brace. It would also help if the deck lifters were inflated first too.

I’m still going to be installing some hull protecting, flat nylon strapping under the front and rear hull of this kayak. I need to get some more AquaSeal first.

On another note, I have started to fold this DragonFly 2 XC kayak the same way that my AdvancedFrame single folds, and I have found that it works quite well, and frees up more room in the bag for other stuff. I did this because I wasn’t happy with the way that the tracking fin is pushed flat against the bottom of the kayak, when the kayak is folded as per the instructions. This causes the tracking fin to not want to take a 90 degree position to the hull when the kayak is inflated, which causes problems with tracking.

When you fold the kayak down the center-line lengthwise, like is done with my AdvvancedFrame kayak, it allows the tracking fin to remain, relatively, straight out from the bottom of the hull, therefore making it easier to come to the proper 90 degree angle to the hull, when the kayak is inflated.

It’s too late in the season now to get this kayak out for another run, but I will report on the performance of my modifications next season.

Also, I do want to mention my ebike project, which I have had on the back burner for some time now. I’m trying to come to some kind of decision regarding building this lithium battery for the bike. There are risks involved, which are difficult to weigh, but my gut is telling me that it might not be the best idea I’ve ever had.

I’m in the process of considering my options. I have not given up on the ebike project, it’s just on hold, until I can come up with a satisfactory solution.

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