Thursday, March 24, 2011

Still Hiking to Mystic Lake of the Vermilon River. A Post to Sky Watch Friday.

For any of you that are just joining the hike to Mystic Lake, this is by far and away my most rugged hike. We'll take a side trail into these hills along the rim of a cliff. The elevation is about 70 feet; the trail is narrow and the slope will vary from 45 to 60 degrees. SEE THE PREVIOUS POST TO CATCH UP.

Remember this is a wilderness. There are no people. Boom is not with me because it is hunting season, official or otherwise. The hike was made in late November over a two day period, and it is intensely cold, especially on the sunny day.

Hugin, our Raven trail guide will still watch over us.

Hugen, the Raven Guide


Mid point
We left off yesterday about this part of the trail. The climb to this outcropping has been made up a narrow 45-60 degree trail. To step off the trail would be foolish as the incline to my left is steep, and the small valley below may be dead fall. At the upper end of the outcrop of rock, the trail will dogleg at a 90 degree angle. The outcropping is about 12 feet high, so I have no idea what is on the other side, and again there is no place to step off the trail. If Boom were here, he would let me know what is around the trail. Once around the corner we'll cross a flat rock shelve with a few manageable uneven parts. Everyone OK?


Ice Cave
Now we're past the rock shelve which is a great spot for a rest, and we're on the down slope which is a lot more gentle. There is all sorts of water seepage,which has worn out little caves underneath the rock. With ice coverings they tend to look like ice caves.

Red Fox
 There are all sorts of red fox in the area and this guy has found his own hidey hole.

Black-capped Chickadee
Black-capped Chickadees are native to the area and it's common to pick up a couple that will follow along with us.Similarly, the sparrow population is well represented, and I've included two of my favourites, below.

White-throated Sparrow


Black-capped Sparrow


Fireweed

Pin Cherries


Ripening Blue berries
I included some examples of the fauna to give you some idea of the rich colours, and bounty of the forest in season. Fireweed gets its name from its quick growth after a forest fire to begin the re-generation process. Pin Cherries are edible as are most of the berries in the forest, and provide a staple for such diverse residents as Bears, and Cedar Waxwings. Me too, of course as pin cherry jelly on home made bread is delicious. And you have not lived until you have tasted N. Ontario wild blue berries which grow in abundance, and again provide a staple food for wild life, especially the black bear.

 A Colony of Cedar Waxwings


Black Bear


Garter Snake


Northern Flickers
Just to show that we do have snakes, but none of a poisonous kind, I included this garter snake. The Northern Flickers, opposite, are ant eating woodpeckers, and are therefore ground based. This pair are two males ,as they have moustaches beside their beaks.

Mystic Lake to the south


Mystic Lake almost across from me.
At last the lake!! The top photo looks south while the lower photo is almost directly across from me. Remember the lake is uninhabited. Attractive shoreline isn't it?

Leopard Frog

The leopard frog is apparently wearing his northern colours as is the garter snake shown earlier.
Mystic Lake


Canada Geese in Formation Migrating.


Mystic Lake

Ring Billed Gull

The Lake is home to Canada Geese, Mallards, Mergansers, and Ring-billed or Herring Gulls.


Hairy Woodpecker


Pine Squirrel


Blue Jay


American Goldfinch



Mystic Lake with Mist

These photos are from the second day,so it's sunny. If you look closely you'll see a clear ice skim on the lake, and a cairn on the outcropping to your left, so someone has canoed or used a kayak in the area. Notice anything else??

Mystic Lake with mist.
 That's right as the sun rises and hits the ice on the lake, a mist is forming. The mist is intensely cold, and enshrouded the whole lake while the sun stayed bright. It was so cold I moved inland to warm up. As I said before the lake is in a bowl and I think it was just some sort of inversion, but it sure surprised me.
There are about six lakes that connect to the north of this one, and another series to the east. We'll have to see how I do reaching those.


Ring Billed Gull
 


RedPoll
 So very cold, I began the journey back. I won't be able to snowshoe the area as it is too steep and too icy. Unfortunately I won't be able to return until probably mid-April, which is not far away now.

A post to Sky Watch Friday @http://skley.blogspot.com/

54 comments:

  1. GORGEOUS place and wonderful photos. Of all the beauty you included here, the one photo that took my breath was the geese in perfect formation. Thanks for sharing this wonderful place and its life!

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  2. Oh! but you make me want to put my boots on and go hiking. Unfortunately, snow keeps falling in the Sierra and I suspect this will be another late season for hikers.
    That is a great catch of the fox in his den, I would love to see that.

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  3. Fascinating post - such a rich nature! Thanks for sharing.
    By the way, Ira's recovering pretty fast and sends love:)

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  4. ABSOLUTELY breathtaking! Thanks for taking us along....but I think you'll have to leave me up there. It's so beautiful.....glad to know these places still exist!
    I cannot get over your photos. Just stunning.

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  5. What a fabulous collection of images! Just fantastic! Thank you for sharing!

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  6. thank you for taking SWF on the hiking tour, delightful views around every corner

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  7. thanks for taking us to your hike. there are so many beautiful flora and fauna you encountered on your ascent.

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  8. I enjoyed the hike through a beautiful terrain...Great shots of the wildlife.

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  9. I have enjoyed going along on your hike.
    In fact, I think I would love to be with you in person - you have such a keen eye and take such wonderful photos.

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  10. wow! amazing collection...great shots...:) Hope you can check out my Skywatch Friday entry as well. Thanks!

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  11. it´s a rich country. Both in wild life and plant life. :) I can understand you love it.

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  12. Gary, that was an amazing entry. Your love and respect for the countryside shine through every word. Thank you for that wonderful journey, and for the privilege of seeing a world where man's footstep is not gigantic.

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  13. That's brilliant, what a series. But, I love the Leopard Frog, beautiful.

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  14. Awesome hike, and great shots!

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  15. What a delightful collection of wildlife you see in your travels!

    Boomer's safe at home for hunting season - I hope you're wearing your bright orange for safety!

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  16. Great photos and post. (How fortunate you were to capture the photo of the fox!)

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  17. This is a real adventurous trip. The images are amazing.

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  18. Another enjoyable walk!
    You look close to the bear and fox but I assume maybe not as close as it looks.
    Wonderful shot of the geese in flight.

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  19. Wow - what a stunning place to walk and photograph. Love all the wild life you've captured.

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  20. Glad you enjoyed it Texwisgirl.

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  21. Tahnks Martha Z. It's cold here again today about -17C. or about 0 F, but no wind which is good.

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  22. Too cold to be up there now Dawn, unless you intend to build a cabin.

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  23. Thanks Lois. Glad you enjoyed it.

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  24. Thanks Pearl Maaple for the visit and kind words.

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  25. Thanks ewok and glad you enjoyed it.

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  26. Thanks J&J, and glad you enjoyed it.

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  27. Here I was counting on you to carry the canoe on the return trip, Springman.

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  28. High praise indeed VioletSky.

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  29. Hi Dhemz. I visited your site and left a message.

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  30. Thanks NF and I want to keep it that way!!

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  31. Thanks Louise. The only garbage on the trail was a paper coffee cup, another Cdn. curse. Other than that nothing.

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  32. That frog is really something Bob.

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  33. Actually not Wren. It's easy to tell a hunter is in the bush, because they're noisy,cumbersome, and when a predator is around the real sound of the forest diappears.

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  34. Thanks Rebecca for the kind words.

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  35. Glad you enjoyed it Rajesh.

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  36. Carletta, you're right not that close, and black bears have bad eyesight.

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  37. Hi Gary, I came back to finish the hike with ya and I was not disappointed--what a gorgeous spot..SO happy to see a beautiful lake that is not lined with multi-millionaire's homes--YET Really hope it stays that way! Great variety of wildlife in your post...Excellent shot of the GEESE in formation.

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  38. Wonderful wildlife post Gary! What a beautiful place to hike and be so close to such an array of flora and fauna.

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  39. Nice photo of a White Crowned Sparrow (Zonotrichia leucophryx)

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  40. Thanks Sondra for the visit and glad you enjoyed it.

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  41. Thanks Carol. I took a look at your sites. You have some interesting ideas.

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  42. To M&H. "A slip of the tongue is no fault of the mind".

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  43. Incredible photo essay of your hike. I'd love to visit the area someday. No people? Just my style!! ~karen

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  44. It's a grand spot to hike in Karen and very few people do.

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  45. Looks like a great hike with lots of wonderful critters. Nature is just grand. I love the black bear and fox. The birds are all great sightings. Wonderful post and photos.

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  46. Fantastic trip but so sad you couldn't bring Boom. But in leash?
    It looks so beautiful around the lake.
    A would very much like to have a Raven here but they are a bit rare.
    Have a great weekend and don't leave Boomer too long :)

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  47. I am impressed! A great set of images. Well done!
    Have a nice weekend.

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  48. Thanks Birgitta. It's quite usual for me to not take Boom on a trip that I do'nt know. Especailly if it's hunting season.

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  49. Thanks Photokarusellen for the kind words.

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