Sep 29, 2016

Moosonee Trip Sept 2016

Finally a few minutes to put together a nice blog entry.  It has been far to long.   I'm currently in Bermuda on vacation so want to finish this up before blogging of my continuing Bermuda adventures.

So!   I first did this trip 12 years ago with my friend Gray who had retired from the military.   After that trip he had some shit go on in his life, then I had shit go on in my life etc etc and the trip never continued.   Last year I was scheduled to go north with him and Mark (our other friend) but I ended up in the house buying situation so it didn't happen.   This year I was going to make it come hell or high water.   Mark and Gray did the leg work last year and things were ready to go.   The trip for them was moose hunting, for me it was pure relaxation.

This trip starts with a very long drive of 800km's to get from Ottawa to Cochrane to catch a train.   12 years ago we did this by driving all night but we have since learned our lesson.   A nice leisurely drive up followed by a night in a local flea bag hotel (it's old but not too bad) where we get a good nights sleep before hitting the Polar Bear Express that runs between Cochrane and Moosonee.

Cochrane is the gateway to Moosonee, unless your going to fly, train is really your only option.   Prices are reasonable and luggage overage fees are good, and we had a ton of extra stuff.  One of the advantages of camping near a train track is that you can take anything you want.

The train ride for us is about 400km's and you get to see some interesting things along the way.   Some is very desolate but then you get to cross things like the moose river.   Pretty cool.

Once we arrive they toss the gear out of the train and we're there for the next 5 days.   The place we camp at there is a microwave tower and unfortunately for us on this trip. A piece of machinery in our way.

Day one was setting up camp and dealing with very strong winds and rain showers blowing through at random intervals.   Gray and Mark naturally went out and started scoping the area to see if there were any moose around.

That night was some pretty wild lightening running through the area.

A short compilation of some of the storm before the rain hit and we had to take cover.

Day Two the weather continued along the same vein of isolated showers and high winds.

Fortunately we have an old tower base to setup or kitchen on which makes life much easier.

Everyone snores and has issues with each other so we each had our own tent hahaha

The guys went off hunting so I spent the day reading books and taking pictures of the interesting skies and the train tracks.

Look how straight and level those tracks are.   I believe this was first laided in 1907 and they still hand maintain it to this day.   After the train goes through, workers come by in a truck ensuring the track is still in one piece.  kinda scary when you think about it.

A lovely sunset sky to finish up day two.

The next day, Gray and I took a walk down to our old camp from 12 years ago.  Amazing what time will do.

 From memory I tried to take a few pictures to match 2004 and then I put them side by side.

2014 the sign is visible as well as the camp.
2016 you can just see the sign in the brush on the left.

2004 Gray making breakfast
2016 Camp is completely destroyed.

2004 Our temporary home.

Gray and I continued our walk on the tracks with some very moody skies.  Naturally I had to take advantage of it :-)

Mark and Gray hanging out on the tracks.

Along with myself.  and suddenly

Out walks this bear cub to give my camera a treat.

Cute guy but we kept our distance.   Who knows where mom was and we sure as hell weren't going to find out the hard way.   The bear population up there is pretty high so we were always vigilant to our surroundings.

Day 4 continued with me trying to be artistic with the cameras and I took a walk on the tracks going the other way.

Down behind our camp was a lovely lake/pond.   The old trailer was obviously an old hunting camp.  Gray was saying there was a calendar on the wall from the mid 1980's. I was alone and wasn't going inside not knowing what critters might be hunkered down inside.

Mark cooking up some supper.

Sunset that evening turned out to be amazing.   Mark snapped this shot of me.

Naturally I couldn't resist a couple of pano shots

This is what happens when you put those glowy things in the fire - haha

At some point I walked out of the glare of the fire and looked up.  At first I thought it was a cloud but then started to realize I was seeing the milky way.   I ran for the camera.  Now, I have had the Fuji X-T1 for almost 2 years now and I discovered I had never used it for long exposures before.  I figured it would be on the dial with the rest of the speed settings.  Nope.  So I figured a menu somewhere - nope.   I was freezing my ass off so I took a chance and put the camera in bulb mode and manually held the shutter open for 30 secs praying I wasn't moving it around.   I got really lucky on two of the shots.   I had no idea you could see the milky way this far north (51N) but these 2 shots made the entire trip for me.   Yes, I now know how to set the camera for next time - haha

It's coming, watch this space....busy as heck right now getting ready for Bermuda.   Off again Saturday morning and will have time to type it up then :-)

In the meantime, watch the stars with me.

Friday was our final day so it was mostly tear down and pack up for the train.   But hunting was over at this point so we got the 22's out and spent the day plinking away at targets :-)

Naturally we had to get the team hero shot before leaving.

So we're sitting by the tracks waiting for the train and out of the corner of my eye I spot movement in the bushes.   Couldn't figure out what it was but it clearly had a bear walk going on.   I grabbed the camera, and I pride myself on being a profession but the camera must have malfunctioned or something.   But I swear this must have been bigfoot, but what the hell happened to all his hair?

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