Beaver Mountain – The Kelly Northey Trail

I’ve been to the top of Beaver Mountain before but, the last time I went, I took a trail that was long, winding, and quite a trudge to the top. I knew that there was an ATV trail that went to the top too, but the entrance to that trail was farther away, and it didn’t look all that much easier than the foot trail that I took.

As I headed out for a walk today, Beaver Mountain was in my thoughts, but I certainly had no definite intention of doing it. I figured that I would just do a regular route that I will take, when I’m not sure, or have no intention, of going anywhere special. Many times I will come across something that piques my interest, and away I go.

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As I pass Horne Lake, and the big head frame wheel from one of the mines, you can see that it is a beautiful sunny day, but it was fairly cold, at around minus 12 degrees Celsius.

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Over in Westview Park, my mind focuses on the top of Beaver Mountain, but my body is reluctant.

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Another shot of Beaver Mountain, as I pass through Westview Park.

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A small ice fishing hut out on Elliot Lake, the only one in this area of the lake.

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I crossed the highway, and headed in to Milliken Mine Road. Normally, I would just continue along Milliken Mine Road, but Beaver Mountain was calling me, although I was still somewhat resistant.

I wasn’t sure that I even wanted to do any longer hikes today, and I was just getting out for some fresh air. However, while I was over, near the base of Beaver Mountain, I came across a trail head that I’d never noticed before. Just as you turn the corner, onto Milliken Mine Road, there is a main ATV/Snowmobile trial that crosses the road there. If you go into the north side of that trail, and keep to the right, the trail parallels Milliken Mine Road.

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I headed in to the bush on that ATV trail, still not at all committed to going up Beaver Mountain.

At about a hundred yards into that trail, and on the left hand, or north, side, I noticed a small, narrow, path in the snow. Someone had gone in this way, wearing snowshoes, and pretty recently. I surveyed the area, with my eyes, and noticed something.

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There was a white trail marker on a tree right there, and I probably wouldn’t have seen it if I hadn’t noticed the trail in the snow first. The trail that I took to the top of Beaver Mountain last time was much further along this ATV trail. Now I was interested. This was a trail I had never been on before, and I find it hard to resist a new trail.

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Here you can see the snowshoe tracks on the trail, which flattened out the snow, making it easier for me to walk on.

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As I headed in, it appeared that this trail was going in a direction towards the summit of Beaver Mountain. I was thinking that maybe I had found an easier way to the top.

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I followed the trail up, through the bush, still convinced that it was going to the top.

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There were many large boulders in this area.

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Most of them wearing hats, probably because of the cold.

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More large boulders.

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At this point, the trail started to veer to the left, or west, side of the summit, and I was wondering if it was going to the top, or if it was going somewhere else, or maybe even nowhere.

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Anyway, at this point, I was committed(or maybe I should be committed πŸ˜‰ ) and there was no way I was turning back.

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The narrow trail made its way, sideways, along the western slope of Beaver Mountain and, now and again, my foot would slip off towards the downward side.

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Here, you can clearly see the sideways grade, and the narrow trail along it. Also, you can see some surveyors tape, which is often used to mark trails like this.

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Looking out, through the bush, to the west, I could see that I was gaining in altitude, and I was, once again, considering that this trail might just lead to the top.

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A nice little house for a mouse.

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An easier section of the trail.

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Now I’m starting to see some larger rock faces, and I have little doubt that this trail will, eventually, put me on top of Beaver Mountain.

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Ice flows off the rocks.

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A tree covered in small fungi.

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You could throw a saddle on that one.

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A large ice flow off a rock face.

It wasn’t until this point that I found out what trail I was on.

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The dedication at the top of the plaque. You can click on this, or any other, picture to enlarge it.

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Again, ice flows off the rock face.

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I continue north, along the trail.

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It was at this point that I reached a bit of a conundrum in the trail. The trail marker said to go straight, but the person in snowshoes, whom I was following, went up a steep slope, to the right of the marked trail. I had a feeling that this person knew where they were going, so I chose to follow the snowshoe tracks.

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The slippery snow made it quite a challenge to get up this steeper section, but I managed to make it.

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I made the right decision. This person in snowshoes knew that there was a more difficult section of the trail ahead, and they chose to bypass it by taking this shortcut, which came back onto the marked trail, a little farther up the hill. There is a sort of switchback on this part of the trail, in order to decrease the grade of ascent. This all became more clear to me on the way back, because I followed the marked trail through this section on my descent.

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The trail started to level out a bit, so I knew I had to be getting close to the top.

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And there it was. I could see straight down highway 108, which I had walked all the way along, from home, to get up here.

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Looking out, over Elliot Lake, the pictures will be darker since, like most lookout points in this area, it faces south, into the sun.

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A Canadian flag, placed at the top of Beaver Mountain, and visible to anyone driving north on highway 108.

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Some wispy pines, shaped by the wind, cling to the thin soil, and cracks in the rocks.

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Looking to the southwest, from the summit.

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Some more big pines, reaching into the blue sky.

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I tried to shoot pictures off to the side, because shooting directly into the sun never works out very well.

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A panorama from the top of Beaver Mountain, which I accessed via the Kelly Northey Trail.

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West, and then East, from the top.

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In my experience around here, they should show a beer bottle on this sign, and not a can. Cans will rust, and break down, in the environment, especially if you throw them into a campfire. Beer bottles are a scourge on the natural environment, especially if they are broken, which they usually are, many times on beautiful, natural beaches.

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I start the hike back down. I always like to add a little piece of advice here. Never take the hike down for granted. Sure, it’s nice to get to the top, and the hike down is not nearly as physically demanding. But, the hike down is usually more technical and, if you don’t pay attention, then that’s when you will find yourself down on your ass, and moving at an alarming rate.

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Snow, clinging to a tree branch, high above.

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Hmmm, maybe I should have brought my GPS? πŸ™‚

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On the way down, I chose to follow the marked path, through the section of trail that the snowshoer had bypassed on the way up, just to see what I was missing. Here you can see that someone has tied a rope along this section, because there is a steep drop off to the right side of the trail. The hiker wearing snowshoes must have known this, and that’s why they chose to go around it.

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I spooked a grouse on the way down, and it flew into a tree.

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Walking back towards home, on the snowmobile trail, I can see that the trail grooming machine has made another pass on the very thin layer of snow we have. Trying to make the best of it, I guess. They are calling for 5-10cms of snow tonight, which would be the biggest snowfall we’ve had this year. However, they did that before, and we got nothing, so there are no guarantees. Personally, I’m just fine with the amount of snow we’ve had this season.

So, another great hike in the books, and another new trail discovered. As as bonus, it was a great workout too. Even though it was pretty cold, I was really sweating by the time I got to the top, which reminds me of a famous Survivorman saying, “You sweat, you die.” Gulp!! πŸ™‚

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