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 Seven - May 22, 2005 - NW Territories

The temperature this far north was considerably lower the next day in spite of a fairly warm afternoon the prior day. The further west and north we drove, the fewer buds we saw on the trees. It was clear that spring had not yet arrived.

Mackenzie RiverIn order to proceed to Yellowknife on the northern shores of Greater Slave Lake, we had to cross the Mackenzie River. It had never occurred to us that we would be taking a ferry let alone that the river might not yet be ice free. This “adventure” turned out to be one of the highlights of the trip. We learned that the ferry was indeed running, but the river was not ice free. Instead, there were huge ice chunks floating everywhere on the ferry looked more like one of the Swedish icebreakers I was used to seeing. It was quite exciting to stand on the deck of the ferry and imagine falling in-you wouldn’t last long in the icy waters!

We had planned to get gas in Fort Providence but this was Sunday and Fort Providence was anything but a thriving metropolis. Not a store was open in this native community, located a few kilometers off the main Highway 3! Luckily for us, there was a store where we could fill up with both gas and water back on the highway and we were able to continue our trip north.

BisonOnce we crossed the Mackenzie River, we were in the Mackenzie Bison Sanctuary and
we kept a sharp eye out for the huge animals. We were soon rewarded with a couple here and there, and quite further north, a herd which included some calves. We also saw another bear, a fox, a couple of porcupines and a bald eagle.

Rocky LandscapeOnce we crossed the North Arm of the Great Slave Lake on a huge bridge and turned east, the scenery changed drastically into a very rocky landscape. As we learned, these pink rocks are some of the oldest rock formations on earth. Here, the natives had erected very flimsy shacks with no seeming vehicular access. They certainly did not look warm enough to serve as winter abodes. Many areas reminded us of the extremely unkept native American reservations in the US.

Tent CampsiteWe reached a very cold and windy Yellowknife in the afternoon and paid for two nights’ stay at the Fred Henne Territorial Park, which is totally built in among the rocks on which the town of Yellowknife is also built.


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