Friday, September 06, 2013

Yellowknife, NWT trip, Day 7

I woke up around 7:30, the other two didn't wake up until after 10:00am. I explored the island a bit, did some fishing and gazed. I boiled some water for tea, then went to get the tea bags, and couldn't find them. As I was exploring the island, I found them. Come creature (probably a mouse) got a hold of them and dragged them into the forest and ripped the baggie apart and then ripped most of the tea bags up.

Lisa made us an awesome breakfast of eggs (mixed with various veggies) and potatoes, then we packed up our camp and headed back to town.

I mentioned that we were bucking the wind all day yesterday, so we figured we'd have the wind advantage today. Nope. The wind totally changed direction and was blowing the complete opposite, so we were bucking the wind and waves across the stupid lake again. Annoying!

We got back to the kayak rental place about 3:45 and packed our stuff up. Lisa dropped me off at her place so I could get my car and see about souvenir shopping before everthing closed at 5:00ish

I got back to her house around 6:00, got showered and then me and Lisa went to the Black Knight pub for some pub food and a beer. Back home, and we watched tv. I was sooo tired, I went to bed about 9:30, and I knew I had a long drive tomorrow.

Thursday, September 05, 2013

Yellowknife, NWT trip, Day 6

I got up around 8:00 and went for breakfast at the Dancing Moose Cafe. Then headed out on the Ingraham Trail past Yellowknife for a couple of hours.

On the way back, I saw a wolf on the highway.

I got back to the house at noon and Lisa sent an email saying she wouldn't get off work until about 2:00. Lisa came and picked me up to take me to her work for a bit.

We were finally ready to go on the kayak trip after 4:00, so went to the kayak rental place and got everything packed away and we were off. Great Slave Lake was windy and we had to cross a bay in the kayaks, going right into to the wind whitecaps breaking on is. It was soooo hard. Arms were killing us. Once we crossed the bay, we followed the shoreline to the the Yellowknife River, bucking the wind, as usual. At least we'll be going with the wind coming back, we figured.

We kayaked to Cinnamon Island and set up camp. I made Kraft Dinner for supper and made a fire. As the night rolled on, a group of Japanese tourists showed up on a tour group, here to see the northern lights. The northern lights did show, as the night went on, they came more and more south, eventually directly overhead. They were not amazingly awesome, but it's been probably 10 years or more since I saw the, so it was pretty cool.

To bed after midnight sometime.

Wednesday, September 04, 2013

Yellowknife, NWT trip, Day 5

Up around 8:00 and had a shower and made bacon and eggs and got all packed.

After filling up with diesel, I started the 300km drive to Yellowknife. Boring drive! It started to get a bit more interesting after Behchoko/Rae-Edzo when I started to get into the Canadian shield, but still not spectacular.

The highway past that was pretty bumpy too, with parts gravel and under construction. I think the permafrost wreaks havoc on the highways, causing bumps and dips all over.

Arrived in Yellowknife around 3:00. Went to the visitors centre and the museum, which was really good and free. The museum has a 43-foot canoe built by the natives made out of moosehide, way cool. I called Lisa, she was working until around 6:00pm, and gave me her address. I bummed around the old town for a bit.

And then the unthinkable happened. I dropped my phone. Smash, the front touch screen is completely busted. Only part of the touch screen actually works, so it's pretty much useless. I just bought it in January. Horrible. Anyway, it's a good thing I didn't need it for anything, as I have my tablet that I can use for all internet related needs.

Lisa has arranged an overnight kayak trip up the Yellowknife river. It'll be me, her and another guy, Steve, who works for the military and got awesome deal on rental kayaks and equipment for us.

At 7:00, we headed to the kayak place to sign for the equipment, then went to the Bullocks Bistro for supper. The specialize in a bunch of fresh local fish (pike, pickeral, arctic char, whitefish and others). Expensive, though. I had arctic char, which was $39.00.

Back to Lisa's place and we Skyped Jen Moller, just because. Then to bed.

Tuesday, September 03, 2013

Yellowknife, NWT trip, Day 4

Up around 8:00 and went to shower. Beautiful blue skies.

I made breakfast and bacon and eggs and decided to reorganize my car to fit more firewood. They have firewood for sale here, I plan on buying as much as I can fit into my car.

After rearranging and packing everything back up, I headed to the office and bought wood. $5 for as much as I could fit into my car. Pretty good deal, and I had made significantly more more in my trunk by rearranging.

I headed off to Fort Providence, which is less than 100km away. Very short day for me today. I crossed over the Deh Cho Bridge, a new bridge crossing over the mighty Mackenzie river. The bridge is just over 1km long and replaces a ferry crossing (in summer) and an ice crossing (in winter). It opened late last year.

Got to Fort Providence Territorial park and picked a spot. There are a handful of other campers here. When I went to register, the park guy said "I hope you have wood". I said I do. He said "Good, because I ran out." Good thing I stocked up on wood this morning at the other campground.

I unpacked my tent and got setup. I noticed one of my rear tires seemed low, so checked it and it was. All the wood in the trunk! There was an Shell service station just back on the highway about 5 km back, so went back there and they had a air and pumped it up and checked the rest of the tires for good measure. This is the last service for 300km, until Yellowknife. And there is no cell service for the whole way either, until Yellowknife. Big trip.

At the gas station is also a cafe and a store and a bar. I bought a Jones soda pop and sunflower seeds. The bar was closed, but will presumably be open in the evening, so I may go for a beer. This gas station is popular with truckers, going to/from Yellowknife. They can stop here and get coffee, a bite to eat before heading on.

I must talk about the bugs. There are these tiny flying bugs, they are incessant. They horde around you. They don't bite or anything, but they are SO ANNOYING! They fly in your eyes, in your ears, in your hair. I've swallowed a few. There's nothing you can do about them, but they seem temperature dependent. As I was cooking breakfast this morning, there were none, but as it warmed up, WHAM, all of a sudden they're all over you. At the new campsite, as I was setting up, swarming me. Later in the day, it must have got too hot for them, because all of a sudden they're all gone. I'm sure as the day cools they'll come back. The only other saving grace is wind, even the slightest breeze will keep them away.

Back at the campsite, I walked down to the Mackenzie river and sat on the shore, skipped rocks and searched for fossils.

I gave Lisa a call on Skype. I'll call her again when I get to Yellowknife tomorrow. She may be able to get off work early as well, and we can hang out.

Started a fire around 6:00 and did up some chorizo and made Kraft Dinner with sausage. Yum. I had a random plastic bottle with some sort of soap or detergent, so I used it to clean the dishes. I think it was shampoo. Sure smelled like it.

The campground is filling up. Lots of campers coming in later in the afternoon and evening.

Got an email from Lisa, she is going to try to get Thursday and Friday off and we'll do a kayak trip up the Yellowknife river for a night. That would be cool.

It was a perfect evening. Clear skies, no wind, campfire, beautiful stars, nice temperature (sweater weather). I stayed up quite late, almost midnight before retiring.

Monday, September 02, 2013

Yellowknife, NWT Trip, Day 3

Up around 8:00. It stopped raining, but overcast and cool this morning. I slowly got going and then had a shower (free!) and the hot water felt nice. I debated about cooking breakfast, as it seemed like it might start raining at any time. I decided to make breakfast (eggs and maple sausage and tea). I took the spiral staircase down closer to the Hay River and Louisa Falls for some pictures.

Got all packed up and left maybe around 11:00am and drove to Enterprise, then took did the quick trip to Hay River, as it's a fairly big place by NWT standards. Got some supplies at Megamart (or something like that) and filled up with diesel. Hay River is like an ocean community, along the south bank of Great Slave Lake. The Coast Guard is even here, and lots of fishing boats and such. It was weird that I wasn't at an ocean. Not a particularly attractive town, though.

Headed back to the main highway and up to Lady Evelyn Falls campground. Very nice campground. I checked in, and had the choice of spots. There's only one other camper here. My tent fly was soaked, so setup my tent and laid the fly out on the picnic table to dry in the cool air. Drove down the road to the small Dene (First Nation) community of Kakisa. Not much to see and the village store was not open.

Back to the campground and did the short hike to Lady Evelyn falls on the Kakisa river. Back to campsite and figured out the technology on how I may call Lisa. Rogers doesn't have any service up here, but I do have a Bell wi-fi hotspot, and they have spotty coverage, including the town of Kakisa, which the campground is very close to. Seems like the only choice is Skype.

Built a fire and made supper (Spolumbo's sausage and potatoes). Remember the squirrel tying to get my cookie!
The day started out cloudy, but as it went on, it cleared. By supper time, there were hardly any clouds. But it was chilly!

Even in September, there is still light in the sky at 10:00pm.

Funny story (to me). This morning, when I was in Hay River, I was imagining a scenario where I ran into some local who had no idea that they made diesel cars and how that conversation might go. I have no idea why this thought popped into my head. When I pulled up to the campground caretaker, he remarked that my vehicle sounded a bit rough. I told him it was a diesel, they sound rough. He was really surprised and said "Wow, they make diesel cars nowadays?"

Sunday, September 01, 2013

Yellowknife, NWT trip, Day 2

Tent is soaked on the outside. I did a short hike to the other lake. I have no idea why they are called Twin Lakes, the lakes don't look anything like each other. One is short and fat, the other is tall and skinny. Whatever.

Stopped in High Level for diesel (I'm filling up often) and A&W for lunch. Talk about a boring drive. It's so flat and trees on either side, there's nothing to see. The highways are straight as an arrow. Further south, around Peace River, you swear you're driving in Saskatchewan, wheat fields, bales of hay, farms, etc. I lost cell service as I got close to the NWT border and won't have it again, until maybe Hay River for a bit or Yellowknife.

It was pretty much like that the whole way. When I entered the NWT, I stopped at the tourist info centre there for a bit, gathered up some reading material and got to Twin Falls Territorial Park about 3:15, where I'd reserved a campsite at Louisa Falls campground. I got there and the campsite I had reserved was occupied. The lady running it was busy cleaning the toilets, so I waited outside the toilet area to ambush her. When she came out, she apologized and just told me to take another, unoccupied site. I had reserved because the website indicated that only two sites were available. When I got there, there were a handful of sites available, so I didn't really need to reserve.

I got my tent up and laid the fly out to dry and headed to Alexandra Falls for pictures and sightseeing. Talk about a site! And you can walk right up the to the edge of the falls at the top and peer over, standing inches away. It was quite something.

Back to the campground and bought some firewood (they sell it by the "bundle", 10 pieces per bundle for $5. I wanted two bundles, but she didn't have change for a $20, so she said give her $5 and take a bundle for free. Haha. But it's not bundled, so you have to grab pieces from an almost empty wood pile and go on the honor system. I grabbed as much as I could fit in my little front seat in my car. This is one spot where a truck would be awesome, transporting firewood!

Back at the campsite, read my reading material, then went for the short hike to Louisa Falls. Not quite as spectacular as Alexandra Falls, but still a site to see.

Back to the campsite and started up a fire. The day was quite nice, a bit cool, but as evening came, it started to cloud over. I made hamburgers for supper. There's two (or more) families at the campsite next to me and there's a whiny, whiny kid, he won't shut up.

I sat staring into the fire for the night, and it got quite chilly with a few drops of rain. When I went to the bathroom, it was sleeting out, I could see it in the light of my headlamp. I'm hoping for clear skies, I want to see the northern  lights again, something I haven't seen since I lived in Saskatchewan.

Eventually went to bed quite late, and it started raining and it rained steady all night long.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Yellowknife, NWT Trip, Day 1

Up around 6:00, wanted to get an early start.

Got diesel and checked my oil at the gas station (something I kept forgetting to do during the week) and there was no oil on the dipstick at all! I had grabbed oil from my house, so dumped it in and got it back to within "normal" range. That's bad, good thing I checked it!

I headed north on Deerfoot and remember passing by 16th Ave. at 8:02am. On the way to Red Deer, I had electrical issues. I had bought a new electric cooler (DC and AC) from Canadian Tire a few days ago, and now my phone was saying it was almost dead, despite being plugged in in my car. I thought it had something to do with the electric cooler plugged in in the trunk.

I stopped in Red Deer at Canadian Tire and discovered that my phone charger had a bad connection where it plugged into the phone. Thank goodness it was not the new cooler. Got oil and some new DC phone charging stuff at Canadian Tire before heading back on the highway. I turned off the QE2 just after Red Deer, figured the other highways would provide better scenery and I could also avoid Edmonton.

Nothing exciting happened, and I arrived at Twin Lakes Provincial Recreation Area shortly after 6:00pm. As I was arriving at the campground, there was a nasty looking storm cloud and it rained a bit as I drove in. Nice campground, not too busy. I got my tent up and started a fire, and looked up and the clouds were swirling. I knew it was going to rain, so decided to not throw any more wood on the fire and instead grabbed all the stuff I needed for hot dogs and tailed it to the picnic shelter. It started raining as I ran and once there, it poured and hailed and lightninged and thundered. One bright flash and a second later, one of the loudest thunders I have ever heard. The storm was on top of us. I made hotdogs while the storm unleashed its fury. After 30 minutes or so, it subsided, so I headed back to the tent. The inside of my tent was a bit wet along one side. After investigation, I realized my tent was not leaking, but the hail and rain was coming down as such an angle and with such force, that it was bouncing off the ground, under my fly and getting into the tent a bit. I dried it up and tightened the fly wires a bit better and got everything ready and climbed in bed and started reading. It started raining again and more lightning and thunder. It was cool! As I reading, I had the scare of a lifetime. There was the brightest flashes of light I've ever seen, instantly followed by the loudest thunder ever. Crazy! My tent handled it fine, no leaks or anything.

Eventually the storm passed and I fell asleep.