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PostPosted: February 23rd, 2013, 1:00 pm 
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This years winter trips pics are finished! Story to follow.

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Link to Album
https://picasaweb.google.com/1142241160 ... directlink

Jeff

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Choosing to save a river is more often an act of passion than of careful calculation. You make the choice because the river has touched your life in an intimate and irreversible way, because you are unwilling to accept its loss. — (David Bolling, Ho


Last edited by jedi jeffi on February 28th, 2013, 10:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: February 23rd, 2013, 2:36 pm 
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jedi jeffi wrote:
This years winter trips pics are finished! Story to follow.


Can't wait


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PostPosted: February 28th, 2013, 10:01 pm 
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‘Agawa Canyon – Winter Style (Part III)
Part One.
(pic heavy)
Well I took 2 extra days off work so I could go up early and check out the library and some other stuff in the area but I got lazy in the packing department, but then the storm they where calling for in the GTA got me all motivated again. I had everything staged well enough just not in the bags and containers yet. So when the storm looked like a sure thing I got my act together. There where several snow squalls north of Parry Sound and the roads where iffy but I figured that if I left later the roads would be cleared by the time I got there. I left home at 2:00 pm just as the snow was starting Thursday afternoon, Sudbury was still snow covered but not too bad, and I stopped for the night in Blind River at 9:00 pm.
I made it too the Sault by 10:00am the next day in beautiful sunny conditions while all the news stories about T.O. and the big storm made me smile.
I stopped at the Station and got my ticket for the next day, checked into a motel and them headed out to run down some leads for old info on the Canyon.
First stop was the Docks Riverfront Grill, this restaurant has an interesting heritage. I was put on to it by the President of the Ontario Land Surveyors, who had said He had seen many old pictures and paintings in the 70’s in one of it’s previous incarnations.
http://docksriverfrontgrill.ca/history
You can see by its history it covered a lot of years, and it would have attracted the surveyors, and other professional type people including the Group of Seven. But alas that history is not to be found today, somewhere, someone has quite the treasure trove of historic art and pictures from the area.
Then it was off to the library, to check out the quality of the historic images I had seen online, and to see if they had anything else in their archives, and they did. They have quite the collection of Surveyors notebooks for those that put the tracks in for both the ACR, and the line that runs from the Sault to Sudbury. I am sure the info would be great for a surveyor to finger through, but the information meant little to me, except where the location they where working on was. But I did find one book from the gentleman that did the watercolor of the Goudge before the tracks, and that was kind of special to hold on to and leaf through it.

Saturday morning brought some pretty cool temperature at -24c, I picked up some breaky and coffee to go and headed to the rail yard to load up. The train got off on time but, at Mile 9 the heat system broke down on the train, so I was in for a cool ride as the temperature dropped. They had someone meet the train in Frater and where able to get it going again, but at that point I was almost at my destination.
In winter I have slowly been moving upstream to get winter pictures of where I paddle. This year my base camp would be Mile 116.25, which is the point I usually start my fall canoe trips. I knew by the snow reports from North of Superior Climbing (1metre in the bush) that I was going to have to dig a path to get to my gear to the campsite.
The first thing I did was take my shovel, go to the camp area and pack the area down where I was going to put up the tent, and then shoveled my way back up to the tracks.
Image looking up.

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The Balsams that are close to the tracks get beat up by the plows so I cut a couple of damaged ones so I can use the branches for my bed and use the poles for a snow anchor for a safety rope to get up and down the hill.

Image looking down.

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I cheat and bring enough wood for the first night and a case of those fire logs which with the new cleaner burning ones did not get any black gunk running down the stove pipe, which is a good thing, with the train late and the extra digging it was around 7pm when I got a fire going in the tent. I use ropes to hang my tent but I also have the centre bar inside to hang a clothesline.

Home sweet home!

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Day one is for firewood I staged some uncut logs on my fall camping trip up against the riverbank, my fear was I left them too far the path and I would have to carry them up the hill…. Ahhh but I proved myself smarter than I thought, except for the fact I should have paid better attention in caber tossing class, but anyhow it worked out well.

Image wood.

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Not being in a hurry, after I stack the logs, I cut some wood and broke off for coffee. The lighting conditions for pictures is pretty good today so I get set to go catch the train coming back down through the Goudge Gateway. But first see how close I can get to the same location as the water colour by ACR Surveyor Sidney Johnson….

The Goudge before the tracks. 20 years before the Group of Seven went in!

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Ohhhh yeah!

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Stuff like this really makes you think, how they worked here in winter.
And then on to catch the train.

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While Waiting for the train this view caught my eye.

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The whole view is just as impressive.

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I headed back to the tent and decided to work on the path going down to the river. The last step down to the flood area is very steep and is over a 2 m drop off, so I worked on setting up a switchback. The snowshoes my kids got me for Christmas has a little metal bar that you can pop up to go up steep grades, and it worked amazingly! On level ground it feels like you have high heels on, but it really kept the shoes level and the “teeth” still gripping and it kept the back slip down in the deep soft snow. The other time I used this feature during the trip it saved an amazing amount of energy. I then walked over to what is normally a boulder-garden; it was defiantly easier with the snow, but neat to walk on top of them.

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The weather forecast for the next night and days was for freezing rain and rain, so I made sure I covered all my outside stuff for the night and double-checked the tarp on top of the tent. Usually I would use just a small nylon tarp but since the chance of rain, I wanted to make sure to keep the tent dry as possible. As I started dinner the ice pellets started, by 9 the one section of tent was sagging under the weight. So I got a piece of cedar I had planned on using for kindling, put an unused pot on the top and propped up the sag. When I woke up the next morning the piece of cedar was bending under the weight of about 8cm of wet ice pellets on the tent, the weight definitely stretched the ropes a bit, but it was dry in the tent and after scraping the stuff over t he tent popped back up to it’s original height. The Bad news it was now raining pretty good, after a slow and relaxed breakfast it was still raining so it was time for another cup of coffee and to read some of the magazines I brought along.
Because of the forecast I had also brought along a gortex rain coat so I decided to get out and cut some more wood. Even though I had packed a good area around the snow was so soft and fluffy, it was not yet strong enough to support my weight without the snowshoes. After getting good and wet, I went back in the tent for some coffee, lighting conditions and low cloud cover did not make it worth venturing out to take pictures, but when I heard the train coming I did jump out and take a few pics, but quickly retreated back inside the warm and dry tent.

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Tuesday morning brought some good cool temps, and it was the only day I woke up with ice on the water pot. There was a good breeze blowing, but in the canyon it is hard to tell which way the prevailing winds are coming from, they tend to swirl around. This is the point where I realized that I forgot something…. I usually take a small dry bag to pack some emergency clothes in case I “get wet”, but I did pack some green garbage bags for emergency use and used one for this purpose. I pull a 4’ sled with my camera gear, rope, emergency clothes, jacket, wind pants, hat, mask, gloves, tent insulated slippers, and some extra emergency fire starter (this year with an extra wax jute), ax, pack saw, flare pistol, and cookie sheet (to make a fire on) and a small 6 x 8’ nylon tarp. On my body, a waxed jute, steel sparker, waterproof matches, and some wax fire starter cubes, pen flare launcher and bear bangers and hunting knife. When crossing the river ice, the hands come out of the pole loops and the ice picks come out. Being solo, I have to make sure I can get myself out of trouble should things go south. My wife had the details of my trip, and where I was planning to hike. No specific days, for a particular hike, the days would be weather dependant and if it was too nasty, then you just don’t go.

Image sled

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Today’s hike was up to Eleven Mile Creek to get some winter pics of the falls.
View from the tracks, note how the snow is being blown of the dead White Pine, didn’t see it while I was taking the pic, but is does make for a “Ghostly” effect.

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A.Y. Jackson.s painting, http://www.virtualmuseum.ca/PM.cgi?LM=G ... H1976.25.1

Winter view

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The Falls fall image.

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And what I think is my best shot of the trip.

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Hiking back towards the Goudge.

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Entering the Goudge from the north.
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_________________
Choosing to save a river is more often an act of passion than of careful calculation. You make the choice because the river has touched your life in an intimate and irreversible way, because you are unwilling to accept its loss. — (David Bolling, Ho


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PostPosted: February 28th, 2013, 10:13 pm 
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Part 2


When I got back to camp I realized I had time to cross the river and catch the South Bound train.

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Wondering around in the Boulders

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Deciding to go up Stream.

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With the snow having a good crust now, I was not sinking as much so I ventured up the river to get some more images.
It is usually a fairly hard walk up the riverbank in the fall because the boulders vary from car to truck size, and it is definitely a different perspective.

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The Group of Seven are not the only famous Canadian artists that have paint here.
http://www.gallery.ca/en/see/collection ... ?mkey=6682

In this image you can see the depression where they blasted out for the hydro lines in the 50’s (that no longer exist), it is quite a swath of rock they took out.

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With all the warm nights I had it was pretty nice just listening to the fire crack and listen to the radio. Every night except the first night had cloud cover so there will be not good night shots this trip. I didn’t need and roaring fires to keep the tent at a constant 20c at sitting level. I started off not having a bench seat, but a collapse of one of the layers of snow on the morning of day 3 made it happen, and it was very comfortable to sit that way.
Wednesday I was going to hike down to Canyon Station and try and climb up to the observation tower, but the deep snow just made it a little difficult for me to break the trail. Still though it was a nice walk. On the way back I found the location where a vintage postcard photo was taken. The description said @ Mile 114, but I already new before I went that it was not taken there.
Mile 114 marker.

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And at almost mile 115 was the spot!

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Link to post card.
http://scartists.com/index.php?page=sho ... &Itemid=71


I kind it just as cool finding these other spots that are not the Group of Seven. Here is where the photographer most likely would have stood to take his image, just can just image him carrying his wood camera box and tripod. (flat area on top of hill)

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I was going to stop for a winter shot of Lawren Harris’s “On the Agawa” but with the snow flurries and low cloud cover it would not make for a good shot, so I decided to come back on Thursday and hope for better conditions, I also looked for a “different spot where I could get the passenger train and the canyon.
So with how the tracks are plowed the hill down is very steep. I used a pole to make an anchor for my rope, not so much for going down, but for getting back up.

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Which was a good decision, after taking the pics I wanted I figure since I didn’t break though the snow on the way down, I would go back that way, and just as got to the bottom of the rope I broke through the snow up to my armpits. The rope made it easy to pull myself out of my little hole.
Well back to pictures, when I got set up I realized I was seeing the answer to a secret. And it was all due to the type of lighting I had this day. In Lawren’s Painting there is a very dramatic, strong shadow, I just figured it was just the canyon wall.
LINK
http://www.gallery.ca/en/see/collection ... mkey=45530

It is actually the topography along with the angle of the sun during the fall plus the canyon wall. The day before or last years winter or my fall trips have not revealed this secret. Today it was more than obvious and another cool discovery!

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Last years image

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Fall image

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I thought I was going to be late to get to the spot I had chosen for the train pic, but the northbound train was a little late…. an hour and a bit, so I ended up just pacing back and forth, but I did get the image I wanted, which is in a much different location where oth¬er winter train shots have been taken.

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The Last morning brought in some winter temps with a nice -15c and I just took my time packing up and enjoying being out there. The night before I dug out the fire pit so I could transfer my fire over and have some heat


And for those that have followed my reports in the past, there are not too many of the old telegraph poles still standing, the reason I started coming up here in the first place.

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_________________
Choosing to save a river is more often an act of passion than of careful calculation. You make the choice because the river has touched your life in an intimate and irreversible way, because you are unwilling to accept its loss. — (David Bolling, Ho


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PostPosted: March 1st, 2013, 3:25 am 
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Location: Hamilton ON
As my granddaughters say- "cool"


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PostPosted: March 6th, 2013, 4:36 pm 
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Awesome report Jeff! Love the pics. Can I ask how long of a burn you got on the fire log you brough tin for the first night?

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PostPosted: March 6th, 2013, 5:14 pm 
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HI Steve, well some of them light and burn very hot quickly and I usually have to throw some snow on to cool them off, some burn just right, and others start very slow and then take off, (then I throw more snow of them.. 8) )
So you get a good 2 plus hour hot burn off them.
I found the couple of 2hr logs to be a little more user friendly, about 1.5 good burn but did not take off like the 3 hr logs, both where from the same company.
Since my meals where all pre-cooked in small bags the heat was more than enough to cook them.
Still the biggest saftey issue is that some can become flame throwers, but I talked to someone after my trip and they cut them into smaller chunks.
I tried to find the source for some made for these type of stores, that I read about on the Winter treking site, but could not find a supplier in Ont.
I would try the cut/sliced smaller peices next time. But then next years adventure is a planned trek falls to lake, so I will have to come up with a much lighter tent system.
Jeff

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Choosing to save a river is more often an act of passion than of careful calculation. You make the choice because the river has touched your life in an intimate and irreversible way, because you are unwilling to accept its loss. — (David Bolling, Ho


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PostPosted: March 6th, 2013, 5:29 pm 
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Thanks for the reply Jeff. Imagine if someone could make a log that burned clean and even for 6 or so hours :)

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PostPosted: March 6th, 2013, 9:44 pm 
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There was this, but I have not found anything close to us to try it ou.
http://thepowerlog.com/questions-about-power-logs.asp

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Choosing to save a river is more often an act of passion than of careful calculation. You make the choice because the river has touched your life in an intimate and irreversible way, because you are unwilling to accept its loss. — (David Bolling, Ho


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PostPosted: March 6th, 2013, 9:48 pm 
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Ya! Wow imagine a nice 10 hour burn in a stove at night? There's gotta be a place where we can try something like that out...I'll dig while Im at work tomorrow :)

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