M-A's Musings and Travels

A place where I can ponder and remember wonderful trips, camping excursions and hiking adventures.

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Location:Whitefish, Montana

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Day Four - May 19, 2005 - NW Territories

Another rainy night and we were beginning to wonder how Highway 88 in northern Alberta has fared during all the recent rain. We had intended to inquire in Swan Hills as we got closer to the road but as it supposedly is not paved, we feared we might have to change our route again.

We headed for the RCMP office in Swan Hills on Route 32, however even though it was after 8.30 am, the door was locked and it looked deserted. Instead, we inquired at a gas station and a local business if they knew anything about the road conditions, but even though Highway 88 was only some 100 km away, noone had been up the road.

We saw mainly woods, oil pumps, and pipelines along the side of the still very straight road north of Swan Hills. Some trees again remind us of the spindly and scraggly-looking evergreen tiga forests in Alaska. There was also murky, dark standing water everywhere. The ground seemed to be flooded everywhere. We also noticed that most rural houses had adjoining rectangular sewage lagoons, and figured the ground must not be suited for septic tanks. Perhaps that's why there was so much standing water!

Once we reached the east-west running Highway 2 by Kinuso on the south side of Lesser Slave Lake, we took a chance and headed east toward the community of Slave Lake where Highway 88 begins. We were not able to see the lake from the highway, however. Once at Slave Lake, we found an open RCMP station and were able to get some more reliable information. Unfortunately, our fears were confirmed-the road was not one to be relied upon. So, feeling we wanted to play it safe, we decided to go back the same way we came to Kinuso and on to the west up to Priest River instead. This meant that we would be coming back down south again following the same route, something we wanted to avoid. However, it could not be helped.

Before leaving, we toured the community of Slave Lake and found it to be quite a decent-sized town with several large stores located at the southeastern end of Lesser Slave Lake.

Peace RiverHighway 2 took us through High Prairie up north to the town of Peace River, located deep down in the very,very green and pretty Peace River valley. The river, however, was very brown and muddy. We learned from the locals that the river never runs clear.

Queen Elizabeth CG
Cardinal LakeWe camped at the Queen Elizabeth Provincial Park, a few miles west of the town. Here we heard an extremely loud humming noise again, and discovered that this time, we were surrounded by bugs rather than what we first thought were RV generators.


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