Tuesday, March 22, 2011

A Hike to Mystic Lake of the Vermilon River. A Post to WBW.


The Hills we'll be going into.
 I have been trying to get to this hike for a while, but have been held up by procrastination and trying decide what to include. For those who have followed the blog for a while you have seen other hikes and the wildlife that I encounter. I generally prefer to hike at least in the beginning on abandoned RR tracks because they take you through wetlands, and isolate you at least a bit from the wildlife. It's not fun to turn a corner and find yourself in the centre of a blueberry patch that a black bear and her cubs consider theirs. The RR roadbed gives her a retreat and me, a retreat, and everybody is easy. The RR roadbed also tend to avoid hills. This time we won't be doing that. We're going into the hills shown opposite, although we're going from the side rather than the front. The elevation is about 70 feet, and the trail at times will run up a narrow incline of 45 to 60 degrees. So my heart will be running on high. I did the trip in late November over two days, one dull and one bright. It was intensely cold. I did this for several reasons. I had never been on the trail before and I wanted the trail free of a heavy tree canopy to facilitate vision. I also wanted to see if I could snowshoe the area in snow and the answer was no. Boom did not accompany me as it was still hunting season, legal or otherwise, and the area is littered with wolf tracks. The wildlife shown is not necessarily active in November but was all taken in the area.

My usual disclaimer: Remember this is not a park. It is a wilderness, and I'm on my own. Mystic Lake is another uninhabited area.
No trip is complete without Hugin our guide.


Even in flight they watch over us.

The trail is not only high, but laden with traps.


These kind of rock traps are not common, but water seepage makes fissures in the rock, so you have to watch your footing. Going off trail is somewhat dangerous as we're on the rim of the cliff and the forest makes a good over winter spot for bears who are cranky when awakened.

Pine squirrels are abundant in the area.


Fungus growth on dead birch.
You not only have to watch out for the rock traps, but the area is filled with birch, aspen and black spruce which have short life spans. That means you watch the trees so one doesn't fall on you. Over turned trees also make great dens for bears.

Cedar Waxwing
Because the berry crop is so heavy, these guys are summer dwellers and fun to see.

This forest is a regenerating forest which was virtually destroyed by mining. It's also been burnt over.

Northern Flicker, a ground woodpecker that feeds on ants.


Red Fox


Sun's reflection but it's really cold.


The wetlands of Mystic Lake are home to Blue Heron.


Wild Mink


A Young Black Bear probably his first year away from Mom.


I'll continue the Hike on Sky Watch Friday. Hope you're enjoying it so far, and we haven't even reached the lake yet.

A Post to WBW @ http://pinereviewreview.blogspot.com/

60 comments:

  1. Good to see the land is coming back after so much abuse. Love the pics!

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  2. Wow! Beautiful critters you've found!

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  3. Lovely pictures and very informative. I really admire travellers like you

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  4. Great post. I love the mink picture and the one of the Yellow-shafted Northern Flicker. I got my first picture of a yellow-shafted this winter. Mostly we have Red-shafted here.

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  5. That's great, all of them deserve the credit, and yourself.

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  6. A great post. A beautiful set of photos. Nice to be around to see and learn.
    Have a nice week.

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  7. Beautiful photos, Gary! I didn't know you were living so dangerously! :-) (I removed my earlier post because of a spelling error)

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  8. Your photos show some beautiful country. It's great to live that close to real wilderness country where you can see birds and animals and not people!

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  9. Thanks Lorac. It is beautiful country.

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  10. Hi texwisgirl. A great spot eh?

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  11. Thanks meerasrajan. It is marvoulous country.

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  12. Thanks Bill. We call them Northern Flickers, but they're incredible, and I'd love to see a red shafted Flicker.

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  13. Thanks Fotokarusellen for the kind words.

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  14. I don't know about dangerous, Hilke, but it's great country.

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  15. You've had such a lovely hike! Love your photos!

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  16. The absence of people is strange isn't it since it's so beautiful, Mick.

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  17. OH my you mean I have to wait for Friday to see more of this---I want more NOW--lol
    You have a great variety of wildlife..and it must be wonderful to actually GET some photos of them...Super hike!!

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  18. You do live in a beautiful part of the world Gary. Stunning images of your wildlife.

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  19. Superb story and pictures. An incredible wilderness.

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  20. Great post Gary. Thanks for sharing your hike into the wilderness and showing us the wildlife.

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  21. It's great to see so much wildlife, Gary!

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  22. Another trip with you and Boomer is good news indeed. You really get into some challenging areas on you adventures. It was a lucky day with the Nikon when you caught these beautiful animals in your lens. Great post Gary!

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  23. Some great encounters on your hike Gary.
    Makes my trips to my local lake seem tame in comparison lol

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  24. Thank you for letting us accompany you on this trip. Great photos!

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  25. What a great set of pictures and what a great area to walk in - I bet you missed your four legged companion!

    Stewart M

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  26. you met a bear? And did not run away. :)

    To see something like this I have to travel to the north of Sweden, and might probably not see it anyway.

    Great shots. And you started to give them frames. :)

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  27. Visiting from My World Tuesday

    following you, hope you'll follow me back..

    my entry's here:
    http://kc2009.blogspot.com/2011/03/escapar-una-isla-hermosa.html

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  28. Wow,what a nice blend of wild beings! What exactly are RR tracks,rail road? I loved the Chickadees from you last two posts too!

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  29. Thanks Andrew for your kind words.

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  30. Thanks Julian. We have White Tail Deer, but this is mainly moose country, but I'd love to see those Sika and Roe deer here.

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  31. Thanks Keith for the kind words.

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  32. Thanks Marvin and send spring this way.

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  33. Thanks Stewart. My home is nothing but areas like these.

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  34. I think the frames come with the caption set up.Bears are just part of the area, NF. No use in running, he can run faster than me.

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  35. Sorry about that AK. RR=railway. Thanks for the kind words.

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  36. I love hiking, and now that we still have snow( 3" last night) it's refreshing to read blogs that remind me that Spring is really out there.
    Thanks for the tour. I'll be waiting for more pictures.
    Have a great week, and do be careful.
    B.

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  37. Don't push the spring too hard Becky. We're still in winter and will be for sometime. That hike was made in November of last year.

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  38. What beautiful territory and variety of wildlife you encounter in your hikes! It's wonderful that you share your experiences here! Love it!

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  39. Wow, those are some amazing photos of some wonderful wildlife!

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  40. Thanks BRC. It's nice to have someone appreciate.

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  41. Thanks EN and again I'm glad you enjoyed the hike.

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  42. Brilliant story Gary. Looks like an amazing variety of wildlife up there. I know from my time in America that the threat of Bear encounters certainly adds an extra something to a good hike.

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  43. Such an amazing variety of sights to see on this hike Gary. What a wonderful landscape!

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  44. Goodness....what a super cool collection of sightings. All are great but that shot of the Red Fox was amazing!

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  45. Great hike and great photos Gary. I really love that Red Fox.

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  46. I wish I was able to do a hike like that!I love all the shots you were able to get,that wild mink looks bugged-eyed to see someone in his neck of the woods,thanks for sharing,love them,phyllis

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  47. Thanks AT. I just try to approach the bears with an escape route for both of us. The same holds true of other larger canids.

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  48. Thanks DH and there's lots of it all with no people.

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  49. Thanks Jean and the fox is a favourite of mine.

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  50. Thanks Larry. I guess on second thought I'm partail to all the 4 legged guys.

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  51. Thanks phyllis and the hike was fun.

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  52. What fantastic pictures! That fox picture, especially, is magnificent. Thank you for taking us along on this hike.

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  53. Thanks Louise. Make sure you catch part two.

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