Return to Panel Mine

The day was sunny, and the air was on the cooler side, as I headed north today, intending to do some more exploring at the Panel Mine site. I knew that they did plow some of the roads in this site, so snow would not be such a problem.

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I was a bit wary of heading out today, because it was Easter Sunday, and I expected everyone and their mother to be out and about. That’s not my favourite scenario, but when I arrived at the Panel Mine gate, there was no one else there.

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Looking into the site, I could see that there was some snow on the road, but not too much. I would have to be careful with ice on the road though.

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My intention was to follow the main dirt road, up to the left there, all the way to the pump house, located on a no name lake. The last time I was here, I thought that I was heading for that same pump house, but it turned out that I ended up a long ways from it.

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This is the old boat launch into north Quirke Lake and, even if it was still open, there wouldn’t be too many boats being launched today.

As you can see, there are tracks in the snow. People bring their dogs here, like they do in most mine sites, but they don’t walk far from the gate. For the most part, I did have a nice quiet hike today. I ran into an older couple, with a dog, on the way out, and they asked me if I had gone past the second gate. My hikes don’t really begin until I’m through all the gates, and I know that I’m away from any possible encounters.

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The road goes uphill here, and you can see where the old gate was, before they closed off access to the boat launch. I really don’t understand the idea of having two gates, as there is another gate after this old gate also. This is true in other mine sites too.

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Looking out over a frozen Quirke Lake, from the top of the hill. To be honest, I wasn’t all that thrilled about the performance of this Canon SX40 today, for the first time. I made quite a few changes in the settings since I’ve had it, so it’s probably my fault. I’m going to reset all the settings back to factory defaults, and see if things improve, for the next outing.

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It’s a pretty rugged area, but I didn’t have to contend with all that many hills on this hike. However, the Panel Mine site is big, and it does go into some of the most remote areas of any of the other mine sites.

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There was lots of bare road to walk on, which was nice, but there was also some very tricky spots, which I will show in a bit.

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A frozen pond along the road.

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I’m just coming up on the second gate now.

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Another frozen pond, right across from the second gate.

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As I’m walking, I’m always scanning the rugged hills, for any signs of movement, and checking the ground for tracks. The wilderness still seems very much asleep, although I’m sure that the bears are starting to stick their noses outside a bit. They won’t likely come out for good, until there are, at least, some open areas of grass that they can munch on to get their digestive systems working again.

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Down that way is Strike Lake, which contains the mine tailings from the Panel Mine. I went that way last year. This time I will be keeping to the right, which will take me to the pump house, on a no name lake, which is below Strike Lake.

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I’ve never been down this road before, so this is all new territory for me from here on.

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I can see that no name lake through the trees, on the left side of the road. They are most likely using this lake as a settling pond, for any contaminants that may come down from Strike Lake.

The nights up here are still pretty cold, so there’s a minimum of melting going on at this point.

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A panorama of the no name lake, below Strike Lake.

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This is a very tricky section of ice that I came to. There were others also, but this one was the worst. Never treat these types of areas as insignificant. One fall here could cost you your life. If you get injured in a fall, no one is coming to help you and, if you had to spend the night here, hypothermia will get you.

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I made it through that section of ice by mostly walking in the snow, along the side of the road. However, even with 100% of my concentration on my footing, I still had at least one close call.

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Since it is Easter Sunday, I didn’t expect to see any maintenance workers in here today, but I did see them here, from a distance, last year.

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When I arrived in this area, the wind started to pick up a bit, probably because it was more open. I wasn’t cold, but my hands were feeling the chill a bit.

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From the Google Map above, you can see that there is a large loop in the area of the pump house. This shot was taken from the far side of that loop, back towards the pump house.

You can hear the wind howling in that video, but the wind baffles I put on the camera are still doing the job.

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I made my way around the loop, which would, eventually, lead me back to the way I came in.

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Now I’m making my way back out of the pump house area, which meant that I had to deal with that tricky ice patch again.

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And here it is. You might as well be walking on ball bearings, as to walk down the center of this.

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With lots of nice traction below my feet, I continued my hike back out.

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As I always say, I like to take advantage of these sunny days to get out into the wilderness because you never know when the weather will change. Today, on Monday, when I’m writing this blog post, it’s snowing again.

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On the way back out I decided to walk part way in towards Strike Lake, just to get some pictures and video.

Since the wind had calmed down a bit, I wasn’t all that much in a hurry to get back out, but I was content that I had been able to explore some new territory today.

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When I arrived back out at the gate, where I had parked my truck, there were a number of other vehicles there, although I only saw the one older couple, in between the first and the second gate.

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Anyway, I’d had a nice quiet hike, so it was now time to head to Timmies and find a similar spot to sit and enjoy my coffee and muffin. It’s a tough life isn’t it? 🙂

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One response to this post.

  1. What? A Grown Man Smiling?…..That can’t be!! Grown men don’t smile. They’re all miserable because they hate their jobs, and then hate going home to their wives after work. What would the world be like if grown men started smiling? I guess we’re gonna find out, right? 🙂 <— A grown man smiling. I don’t work anymore, and I don’t have a wife.

    Reply

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