NORTH from NIPIGON

Spring. Time to hit the road. Just a day trip, mind you, but after six months hibernation, it felt good.

The odd snow bank still lingered on May 11.

Just before the junction of Hwys. 11 & 584, new signs sprouted. They announced a major industrial zone. Greenstone Gold Mines had obviously revved up operations.

To the left, north, the Hwy. 11 bypass construction meant cutting rock ridges and distributing the fill between the highway and First Bridge (the narrows that leads westward to Barton Bay. A very busy location. Lots of swamp to fill, creating a foundation that will not be compromised in the next hundred years. At the extreme right of this image was the location of the shaft and headframe of the Mosher mine.

Tom Jones Corporation of Thunder Bay has a machine parked at the historic No. 1 headframe, in process of demolishing it. The shaft of the MacLeod-Cockshutt mine was sunk in 1934. However, some labour problem (a strike?) has halted the demolition. Nothing on the Tom Jones website, not even a mention of any controversial contract in Greenstone. There’s a question if Tom Jones is the contractor.

Headframe looking north.
Headframe looking east.

It’s a very solid structure. Would have lasted another 200+ years. Anyone with any gumption and foresight could have dismantled the headframe and relocated this monument of the Little Long Lac gold camp.

Close up.
Headframe looking south.

Among my reasons for this trip was to say hello to old friends and to distribute copies of The Walleye. I leave The Walleye in Beardmore, Jellicoe, and Geraldton. Volunteers in Geraldton carry copies to Nakina and Longlac. I was greeted with smiles and thank yous.

Staff at Thunderbird Friendship Centre receive their quota of TBay’s art & culture magazine.

Made sure to check in with Marino Hardware. Ted, the patriarch, was hobbling around with a cane. Blood clots in his legs hospitalized him at the same time that brother Mickey was laid up in another room, dying. This winter, the Marino family suffered another tragedy when brother John passed. Ted and Jim and a nephew keep the business running.

Figured I didn’t need safe deposits anymore in Geraldton. Closed the boxes in both banks.

Met a lot of people. Called into the Bargain store  ̶  nope, they were all out of corn cob holders. Expect them in the next shipment.

Returning home, I checked some of my favourite sites: Creelman Creek, Wildgoose Lake, Five-Mile Park on Lake Helen (don’t look for it on modern maps).

Creelman Creek torrent.
Creelman Creek flow, looking west.
Looking north from roadside park at Wildgoose Lake. Slush ice farther out.
Looking north at roadside park at Lake Helen.
Looking west at the park. Ice has separated from the shore. Startled a flock of geese. Farther south is a lot of open water.

Said goodbye to the snowdrift. It’s seen its last days.

Sigh.

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