Day 29 – July 5 – Haileybury, ON to North Bay, ON

We did manage to turn our two hour drive into a six hour day, but we were worried for awhile that it may actually be about two. Three of the four things we planned to do today we were unable to do. Two because both of the museums we wanted to see in Cobalt were only open Wed-Sat and it was raining all day so a climb up a 400′ fire tower in Temagami was not appealing since the spectacular view would have been grey clouds.

Before we left the Tesikaming Shores area we drove back up the road to New Liskeard and found Ms. Claybelt, the huge Holstein cow that is at the Visitor’s Center. Despite so much mining activity in the area, agriculture is still a major contributor to jobs and the economy so Ms. Claybelt is a reminder of that.

She is named Ms. Claybelt because this area is a vast tract of fertile soil stretching between the Cochrane District in Ontario and Abitibi County in Quebec covering around 29,000,000 acres (120,000 km2).

I don’t ask to have my picture taken very often, but who could resist a photo with such a lovely cow?

We drove south again to Cobalt, a small town transformed by the discovery of silver in the early 1900’s. The town is now a National Historic Site. We had hoped to tour their Cobalt Mining Museum where you could also arrange to get a tour down one of the mines, and their Military Bunker Museum but both were closed today. We walked around the small display of mining equipment at the headframe across the street and then headed toward North Bay.

Note the number of X’s and *’s that denote mine sites or open vein sites.

We were a few kilometers out of Cobalt and we spotted a Heritage Mining Trail #3 sign with an arrow pointing to a side road to the left. Off we went. You could pick up maps for the 15 or so points on the tour at the mining museum but since it was closed we could not do that and figured we were out of luck. I was able to pull up the map on my phone so we set out to locate several of the sites around where we were. We did not go back into town to see the ones there.

This is all that is left of the massive mill. It was closed in August of 1927 and burned to the ground the following April.

This pile of core samples was beside the foundation remains of the Cobalt Lake and Hellens Mill. None of the buildings of the various mills or head frames, except the one ln downtown Cobalt have survived.

This was the entrance to the Little Silver mine. They just followed the silver vein down narrow channels of rock. I would not want to be a miner in one of those!

The sign is true. As we came out of the forest into the small glade before the mine entrance the air temperature dropped several degrees and we were instantly cold. It was raining steadily but it was not cold except in that spot.

Can you imagine being able to just fill a lake with mine tailings today? But read the bottom line above.

The final stop we did of the Heritage Mine Tour was the Nipissing Hill Lookout which was the site of another mill and a tramway. The view looking over Cobalt would have been awesome on a nice day!

As we headed back down we located a few geocaches hidden along the road and there was one at this vein cut. It was hard to get a photo of it between the high fence and the rain but it would have been a nightmare to work in there or the other even narrower vein just a few feet away.

The Visitor’s Center at Latchford had this huge boulder out front. We stopped here to find the location of the world’s shortest covered bridge – as verified by the Guiness Book of World Records.

The bridge spans a small creek and is 11′ 3″ long. We have now driven through the world’s shortest covered bridge and walked through the world’s longest covered bridge. In 2019 we went to the 1282′ bridge in Hartland, New Brunswick.

We stopped at a small park with a covered shelter in Latchford and had lunch. This bridge is named for a local man who was the recipient of the Victoria Cross.

Everything was so grey and dark and wet today this is the only scenic picture I took.

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