Lacnor/Nordic Mine Sites Hike

Winter is a different world. I’ll bet that anyone who lives in an area that gets real winter has thought about what it would be like to live in a place that gets, either very mild winters, or no winter at all. For me, I would not want to live somewhere that doesn’t get a real winter. It’s in my blood I guess, and it does give more meaning to the warmer weather when spring arrives.

Technically, I’m not really a ‘seasons’ person. I just take the weather as it comes, although I will quite often refer to the seasons for descriptive purposes. Weather is, has always been, and will always be, unpredictable, although many folks in the industry would denounce this as heresy, in order to protect their paycheques.

Saying weather is predictable is something like saying life is predictable and, while some things might seem inevitable, there is always doubt until they actually happen. I’ve seen enough of life already, to know that nothing is for sure. This is why it’s best to learn to live in the moment, and not expect anything, except for what is right now.

Right now, there is snow on the ground around here, so we could say that it’s winter, even though the date on the calendar has not arrived yet. Psychologically, I’m now in winter mode, in other words, I’ve switch into winter living mode, which is quite a bit different than non-winter mode. I sleep longer hours, I rarely get up early, and I go to bed earlier. I probably spend more time inside than outside when the snow is on the ground.

Today, I decided to go out to the grocery store, and pick up a few things that I needed. I took the truck out for a run, because I don’t like leaving it sitting for too long. While I was out, I headed over to Timmies, for a coffee and muffin. Then I drove over to Milliken Mine Road, to have my coffee.

After I had my coffee, I just decided, right there, that I would do a hike today. I hadn’t brought my good camera, but I have a few other cameras now, so I always keep one in the truck, just in case. It was fairly pleasant out, with temperature hovering around the freezing mark. There was probably about 4 inches of snow on the ground, and walking in it was still not a big deal.

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As I’ve mentioned before, taking pictures in winter is always a challenge for me. There is so little colour contrast, and lighting, which is the most important factor in photography, is very tricky. White snow and white sky, make for dull pictures, unless you can find very interesting subjects.

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Here, I was walking into the Lacnor Mine site. I was just putting one foot in front of the other. I had no idea of where, in particular, I was headed. I just love being out in the wilderness. I feel at home.

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I don’t know how many times that I’ve mentioned the word ‘quiet’ in my blog posts. To me, the human world is insane, but I can get away from that insanity in places like this. Out here, I see complete sanity, and a purpose in life. Live for the sake of life itself, and not for some fantasy in your mind.

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I’ve walked, literally, thousands of miles of bush roads, and I’ve learned so much about life this way. It’s almost beyond expression, to try and put into words how much I enjoy living like this.

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Frozen Dumbell Lake, on a bleak, overcast day, yet it makes me feel more alive than I feel anywhere else.

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I continue, farther, and farther, into the quiet wilderness. For the first kilometer, or so, there are the footprints of other people, but soon it’s just my footprints alone, and those of the animals, struggling to survive in this harsh environment.

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Here, you can see my footprints, as I look back from whence I came.

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Everywhere there are tracks of animals, scurrying through the snow, looking for sustenance to see them through this time of little opportunity.

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The sticky snow on the trees makes it look like there is more snow than there really was. I found the walking to be enjoyable, and not all that much work.

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The snow has an art of its own, and this is as close as I came to actually seeing any wildlife on this hike today. 🙂

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The majestic rock faces, covered with snow, have a much more menacing tone in the winter months.

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Here, I’m on top of one of those rock dams they use to contain contaminated water. I’m now in the Nordic Mine site.

Like I said before, I really didn’t have any destination in mind, when I started walking. I just kept going, until I felt it was time to turn around.

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Yep, I know the pictures are kind of monotone, but I was fairly satisfied with the way this cheaper camera performed today. Winter is a tough job for any camera.

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Another panorama from the top of the dam.

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This was a real nice spot, with lots of rugged scenery to be had.

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The road does continue that way but, whatever guides me inside was having no part of that for today.

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There was another dam close by, to the right, so I went over to have a look at that one.

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This would be as far as I went on my hike today. From here I started to retrace my tracks in the snow.

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You can just make out the long road back, on the right hand side there. I wasn’t in any hurry though.

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I never take the way back for granted. It’s all a wilderness wonder to me, if I’ve seen it before or not.

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I look for shots, or angles, that I may have missed on the way in, and sometimes the lighting might be better on the way out. I’m not trying to be any kind of National Geographic photographer, or anything like that. I can’t afford that kind of equipment anyway. I just like to try and represent what I actually see with my own eyes, as best I can.

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Looks like this small tree got more than it’s fair share of snow, but fair is only a fantasy in the human mind. Out here, you get what you get, and you do the best you can with it.

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That’s one of the things I really love about the wilderness, it doesn’t play favourites. It’s a level playing field for all involved. It’s indifferent to human fantasies like good/bad, rich/poor, strong/weak, alive/dead. It just is.

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This is the simplicity of the wilderness. There are no mind games out here. This is the place to hone your awareness. To let go of everything you ‘think’ matters, and to embrace what does matter, life.

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When I’m out here, my mind is not crowded with conditioning. It’s wild, and free, floating on the timeless wind that blows through the trees.

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Back at Dumbell Lake, I stop for a while, to absorb the being-ness of it all. It just is, there doesn’t have to be any complicated explanation for it.

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The wilderness treats everyone the same, regardless of nationality, race, or gender.

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Maybe that’s why there aren’t so many people out here, because they can’t get a leg up on everyone else, as often happens in human society.

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I don’t climb up Lacnor Ridge in the winter time. I’m liable to break my ass, and it’s the only one I’ve got.

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You can see tire tracks here now, because the mine maintenance workers have been in this far. A while back, I noticed a hole had formed at the edge of one of the concrete mine caps, and they had a fence around that area. I don’t know what the story was there, but this is probably why they’ve been coming in here, since there is not much else to be maintained in this site.

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And there it is, the inside of the gate to the Lacnor Mine Site, and the truck waiting on the other side. I really enjoyed today’s hike. I enjoy all the hikes that I do, and I never get tired of that special feeling I get when I’m out here.

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