It was the perfect morning to spot a moose, and spot one we did! Misty after a rainy night, on a lightly traveled road through the forest. We had just begun looking when we saw an adolescent moose standing in the tall grass at the side of the road. She was surrounded by so many different kinds of veggies -- reeds and leaves and lavender wildflowers and cattails that she could hardly be bothered to lift her head to watch us as we u-turned up the road and crept back down, camera ready.
We were heading towards a region called New Ontario, developed mostly in the twentieth century on the promise of mining, lumbering and farming. The region has proved too tough for farming (with the exception of a few areas with very good soil) but mining and lumbering continue to support the economy.
One of the first mining towns in New Ontario was Cobalt, where in 1903 two local men, collecting timber for railway ties, found "glittering Miner's memorial, Cobalt rocks" which they knew to be cobalt ore. On assay it was discovered that the ore had lots of silver, too. The ore bearing veins pushed right up to the service, and the miners just followed the veins down, making large crevasses that still appear today, shored up by beams, with water at the bottom. The brochure says that the bottoms of the deeper crevasses have year-round snow. In any event, $300M was recovered in just ten years. When the price of silver fell in 1930, most of the 101 mines closed. Cobalt has made profit out of adversity by constructing the Silver Heritage Trail, a road that passes all the old mines and mills, and having the whole area declared a national historic site. We enjoyed the drive, and marveled that it proved economically sensible to transport the ore from some of the mines to the stamp mills by aerial tramway.