Here is a quick video to capture some of the highlights of Northwest Territories.
Sunday, August 13, 2017
We are in Hay River, NWT today, which is on the southern shore of the Great Slave Lake. Tomorrow, we start our 2600 mile journey south. Our original plan was to stop at Jasper and Banff National Parks on the way south, but given the fires and smoke they are having, we decided to skip those two parks and take a more eastern route south via Edmonton and Calgary. We were at both parks last year, so skipping them this time is no big deal. This change will allow us to gain a few days, which will let us position ourselves in northern Idaho to see the Total Solar Eclipse, which will be a once in a lifetime opportunity.
Our time here in Northwest Territories has been nice, with lots of interesting sites, except it has been very warm (near 90!) and the bugs are totally unbelievable. Everyone says Alaska has the biggest and meanest mosquito but I think distinction should go to NWT. At certain times of the day they will form big swarms around you, and it just about drives you crazy. Actually, we had to break out the mosquito nets we bought for Alaska but never used - until now.
We visited one of the local grocery stores here in Hay River to get a few supplies and were once again shocked at the prices. Not sure how people here do it. In general, prices are between 2 and 3 times what they are at home. On top of that, they have an environmental fee on milk plus a deposit on containers and then they top it all off with a 25 cent charge for each bag they use. Gas prices have ranged anywhere from .74 per liter to 1.23 per liter which is between $2.79/gal and $4.65/gal. Not great but better than the $7/gal we have seen on previous trips.
Just crossed the 60th Parallel and entered Northwest Territories
Lady Evelyn Falls
A steep trail leads down to the bottom of the falls. The roar of the water and the water spray were awesome.
Water looks so calm right before it goes over the edge.
There was a trail leading to the top of the falls where you could get right up to the edge. The power of the water going over the edge was awesome. Wouldn’t want to make a mis-step here or it would be a wild ride down!
This is a 138 step spiral strair case leading down to a lower viewing area.
The Deh-Cho bridge across the mighty Mackenzie River. The Mackenzie River is a major shipping channel from the end of the rail at Hay River NWT to the northern villages and on to the Arctic Ocean. Up until a few years ago the crossing was via ferry in the summer, and an ice road in the winter.
Sunset over the Mackenzie River
An owl watches over our campsite as we pull into Lady Evelyn Falls Territorial Park. When we first pulled in there were three owls on the picnic table. All through the night they were flying among the trees near our campsite.
Was out biking one of the wilderness trails and came across this nice pile of bear scat in the middle of the trail. A very good motivator to give you that extra burst of energy you need to peddle faster … especially when you realize you forgot to bring the bear spray!
Looking out over Great Slave Lake near Hay River NWT. No land in site as the far shore is approximately 100 miles away. The town of Hay River has the look and feel of a seaside fishing village.
On the banks of Great Slave Lake
Day 12 – Aug. 6, 2017, 200 miles driven
Day 13 – Aug. 7, 2017, 168 miles driven
Day 14 – Aug. 8, 2017, no miles driven
Day 15 – Aug. 9, 2017, 97 miles driven
Day 16 – Aug. 10, 2017, 38 miles driven
Day 17 – Aug. 11, 2017, 33 miles driven
Day 18 – Aug. 12, 2017, 97 miles driven
Saturday, August 5, 2017
We have been steadily making our way north through Alberta and are currently at Peace River in the northern part of the Province. We are currently about 2300 miles from home and have 630 miles to go to the end of the road at Yellowknife NWT.
Most of Alberta so far has been relatively flat prairie with lots of wheat and canola fields. The canola fields have been spectacular with their bright yellow color contrasted against green wheat fields. Now that we are in the northern part of the province the prairie is starting to give way to green forests. The terrain is starting to turn into bear and moose country so we are keeping a keen eye out for them. The down side of getting north is we are starting to experience the frost heaves in the road which will about jar you out of your seat. Need to keep a sharp eye out for the little red flags they post on the side of the road to mark each heave. Not sure if they ever really fix them or just put more flags up….
Tomorrow we make the final push toward Northwest Territories - expecting to cross into the territory on Monday. We are expecting the cell coverage to get a little spotty from here on, as the towns thin out and the open wilderness take over.
Visitors center just across the border flying both nations flags…. friendly neighbors. Border crossing was smooth with the standard questions… have any firewood, fireworks, or fire arms?
Nothing says Canada like a Tim Hortons. Sure wish they would make a move into the states
The canola fields are simply amazing!
A bird’s eye view from the drone. Canola on one side and wheat on the other.
The city of Vegreville has a giant Ukrainian Easter egg (pysanka) in their city park as a tribute to their Ukrainian heritage.
Found this firewood vending machine in an Alberta Provincial park. Put a credit card in and it spits out a bundle of firewood. Very clever!
Day 7 – Aug. 1, 2017, 133 miles
Day 8 – Aug. 2, 2017, 157 miles
Day 9 – Aug. 3, 2017, 235 miles
Day 10 – Aug. 4, 2017, 299 miles
Day 11 – Aug. 5, 2017, 135 miles
Monday, July 31, 2017
We have been slowly making our way north the past few days and have finally reached the “Montana Big Sky” country. We have been in no real hurry and are trying to keep the miles to under 300 per day. The first couple nights we found great boondocking spots in the forest and the other nights have been in state and county parks.
As usual we have found the state parks to be way over priced and not very nice. One outstanding gem was the Bingham County Park just south of Idaho Falls ID. Tonight we are at a BLM Campground near Holter Lake which is just north of Helena MT. We are only about 200 miles south of the border but plan to spend one more night before crossing.
Unfortunately the sky has been very hazy and smoky from all the forest fires in Montana so we are missing the beautiful Montana mountains views.
The beautiful Marble Canyon area near Lee’s Ferry, AZ
Twin bridges across the Colorado River
The mighty Colorado river right before it enters the Grand Canyon
A quick drone video of House Rock Valley near the Vermillion Wilderness in northern Arizona.
The joke was on us as we had planned to do some kayaking on Yuba Lake UT but no one told us there was no water. Oh well there are lots of lakes up north.
Montana is hiding all it’s beautiful mountains behind a veil of smoke….
Day 1 – July 26, 2017, 141 miles
Day 2 – July 27, 2017, 212 miles
Day 3 – July 28, 2017, 236 miles
Day 4 – July 29, 2017, 313 miles
Day 5– July 30, 2017, 197 miles
Day 6– July 31, 2017, 135 miles