A Winter Visitor

Winter is usually a solitary time for me, since it is a long drive up here for anyone to visit me, and the road conditions could be very unfavourable. However, my brother was experiencing some down time from work, and was available for a visit. The weather, which had been very harsh of late, seemed to clear up just in time, and road conditions were better than I’ve ever seen them at this time of year.

It’s nice to have a hiking buddy sometimes, and we haven’t had all that much snow yet this winter, so hiking conditions were also favourable. Everything just seemed to come together, and you can’t let these type of coincidences slide by.

Over the days that my brother was here, we did a number of hikes. Nothing too far from home base, but we did get out there a bit, and I will mark the places we went on the Google Map below.

The green line is a regular route that I do, if I don’t have anywhere specific to go. The red line is a hike we did up to the Lookout Tower, and the yellow line is a longer hike we did in the Stanleigh Mine Site, to the dam between Crotch Lake, and McCabe lake.

The picture you see, at the top of my blog, is of my brother, and it was taken on a short trail off the side of the Lookout Tower Road.

Anyway, first we’ll have a look at a couple of pictures I took on that regular route, which is the green line on the map.


My brother, standing on snowmobile tracks that lead out onto the ice of Elliot Lake.


Walking on a trail between Westview Park, and the Municipal Boat Launch. We continued across highway 108, and into Milliken Mine Road, as far as Prodan’s Pond, and then returned home.

Next, we decided to do the Fire Tower Road, up to the Lookout Tower.


This picture was taken on the way up the Fire Tower Road. We saw no one else on this hike, although we did see some tracks, but they did not go all the way to the top.


My brother in the cupola that used to sit on top of the Fire Tower Lookout.


Looking out over the southern, newer part, of Elliot Lake. The lake in the foreground is Westner(Spillane) Lake. The more distant lake is Porridge Lake.


Looking more to the south, you can now see the continuation of Westner(Spillane) Lake, and the distant lake is North Nordic Lake.


Now we’re up in the main lookout building. It was a cold, but very clear sunny day, and we could easily see the North Channel that leads from Georgian Bay to Lake Huron, which is about 50kms away.


Anytime I’ve come up here, it is usually windy, but today it was calm and beautiful.


Heading back down the Fire Tower Road.


Farther down the Fire Tower Road, you can see Lacnor Ridge in the distance.

IMG_0017 Panorama

We took a short detour, off to the side of Fire Tower Road, so that I could take this panorama of my brother, with Lacnor Ridge in the background.

That hike went well, and the sunny, cold weather continued, so we then decided to do a more substantial hike into the Stanleigh Mine Site.


At the entrance to the mine site, there is this large ice flow, coming off a rock face.


This would be a much longer hike, but the sun was very encouraging.


There were no tracks on the road at all, so we were the only ones to come in here recently.


Just coming up to the edge of the frozen Crotch Lake.


My brother walks across the dam, at the end of Crotch Lake.


This bush road leads down to where the treated water from Crotch Lake, which has mine tailings in it, flows into McCabe Lake.


This is the concrete channel that the treated water runs through, back into McCabe lake, and the local watershed.


My brother on a small bridge over that concrete channel. While we were there, a maintenance worker showed up, and took a water sample from this area. On our way back out, we saw that he got his pickup truck stuck in some deeper snow, and we went over to help, but he had already called for someone to come and get him out.

It was a real nice hike and, it was a rare opportunity to get in this far during the winter months. Usually we have way more snow at this time of year, but we still have not had a major dump of snow this winter yet. If the forecast is correct, which is a big ‘if’, then we might just get up to 10cms. in the next couple of days.

Luckily, my brother will not have to contend with the approaching snow. He had fine weather for his return trip down south, and we had a great rare winter visit. We are intending to do a paddling trip in the spring but, for now, I’ll be back to my loner status for a while.


Details for this years Ice Fishing Derby;



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