Trundle to the NWT

Discussion in 'Canada' started by MGV8, Sep 5, 2017.

  1. MGV8

    MGV8 Been here awhile

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    I had planned to do a big trek North to celebrate my 60th year. I soon discovered that work, life and the fact that the Road to Tuk was not done yet all got in the way. Well I still had a week of holidays left and figured it would be a good test of the rig. See what is going to break, how much wear on the tires, if I could even handle a Solo journey up North. More to test for the Dempster and to just say I've been there!! The Plan was to get to Wood Buffalo National Park then head west.

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    I had no fixed route just an idea of where I wanted to go. I am not a planner, not that I don't prepare it is just I only vaguely have an idea of where I am going. I had promised to go see my brother a long time ago but he lives in Smith Alberta. Not the easiest place to go really. So East I trundle. I have been over the Rogers Pass so many times I hardly look at the scenery any more but love the history so stopped in to marvel over these bridge towers from our Railways past.

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    Dodging traffic is another reason for not taking the # 1 highway across Canada. Kinda why I ended heading south when I encountered to traffic jam out of golden. Besides Kootenay National Park is Gorgeous.
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    #1
  2. MGV8

    MGV8 Been here awhile

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    So on I go. once moving I don't stop much. So many missed picture opportunities. On to the old stomping grounds when I was a kid growing up in Yoho National Park. Ah memories. Lake Louise is it's usual Hectic Hub. Sorry no Pictures. Just a gas and go. I have to find a campsite. First two on the Icefield parkway are full, this does not look good. Up past Saskatchewan Crossing and Ramparts campground is just deserted, nice! Had a nice talk with a Park Warden about just camping off the road and he said it's a big No No in a National park. Oh Well. Got set up just before dark and crawled in. Woke up to 0c yikes, my fingers were stinging when taking down the tent. Headed back to the crossing for Coffee and fuel. Not a bad start to the trip to have breakfast here. 1.72 for a litre of 91 though!!!
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    #2
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  3. MGV8

    MGV8 Been here awhile

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    The First Camp
    #3
  4. MGV8

    MGV8 Been here awhile

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    So off to Smith we go. Some beautiful scenery along the way. IMG_2587.JPG
    #4
  5. MGV8

    MGV8 Been here awhile

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    I managed to avoid Edmonton and most of the traffic that goes with big cities. Lots of communities to pass through, not much to take pictures of. Lots of fuel stops.
    This is going to be a pain, I could use my reserve Roto's but there is fuel when I need it. I seem to be getting 150 miles out of a tank running about 110 KPH..Sorry US Bike but Canadian Speed units-- The only Pic I took of Smith. It turns out it is a major train switching yard and the tracks cross the Athabasca River there. Took about a half hour to clear the crossing!!! Any ways had a good visit with the Big Bro. We don't get to see each other often. Plus got a tour of the big Lumber mill he gets to fix.
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    #5
  6. MGV8

    MGV8 Been here awhile

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    The Next day was a bit of a grunt, this would prove to be a bit of a theme for this journey. Looking at the map I figured that I would have to stop before getting to the NWT but I kept on a going, plus going North gave me longer days. Not much at this time of year but enough.
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    Endless miles of road like this

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    Lots of these around Peace River
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    Bridge over the Peace
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    Made It. Nice!
    #6
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  7. MGV8

    MGV8 Been here awhile

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    My First day North of 60. I thought I would be smart and switch to the knobby drive tire. Every one I talked to was saying the road to Fort Smith was bad with lots of new construction. Better do it in camp instead of the side of the road, right?
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    This turned out to be a total waste of time. What I did learn is there is a lot of misinformation out there or maybe it is just opinion of what is bad or what is good. The other thing I learned early was don't pass up an opportunity to stop and see something if they tell you. Other wise you see this tunnel of trees as the road stretches out before you. What I never really realized was that the lower part of the NWT is flat, I kept checking elevation on the GPS and there was never much of a variation off of 250 Metres above sea level. Might be why the rivers were used as transport routes in the early years up here. Wide and slow moving-- Well almost
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    The Hay River
    #7
  8. ommoran

    ommoran Been here awhile

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    :lurkLoving it! Great pictures. :lurk
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  9. BCBackRoads

    BCBackRoads Travels with Gumby

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    Great photos Brian. Are you back yet or are you posting from the road?

    Wayne
    #9
  10. Cal

    Cal Long timer

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    Love this part of our country, I caught pike at the base of those falls and every other set of falls on that route!
    #10
  11. MGV8

    MGV8 Been here awhile

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    Back to work. Only had a week which is no where near enough time to see this part of Canada.
    #11
  12. MGV8

    MGV8 Been here awhile

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    I was about to learn how far places are apart up here. With only a limited amount of time I had a big agenda. I did find the the Territorial Camp Grounds are 2nd to none. They have just spent a ton of money putting in new Shower and wash room buildings in just about all of them. With hardly any one around you had them to your self as well. Stopped at the second falls on the Hay River to have a shower and then a hike. IMG_2604.JPG

    There is a wonderful Stair case down to this falls, I'm sure the federals kicked in a bunch when this was build. Meaning us :-)

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    It is so great to get right to the edge
    #12
  13. MGV8

    MGV8 Been here awhile

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    So Enough lolly gaging, off to Enterprise for fuel and food then Hay River to top off the tank and try and get some good info on the road situation. Trouble is most people just don't seem to know. I guess how well do you know how the road is 500 kilometres away. So a quick rant down to the edge of great slave lake and off to Fort smith and Wood Buffalo.
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    Another great Territorial Camp Ground-- This one you might have to book ahead-- it is right in town

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    Some Big Fishing boats on this lake--as well as lots of Barge traffic-- Hay River didn't entice me to stay, lots of hustle and bustle for a small town. kind of a hub for this part af the area as Yellowknife is still a long way a way.
    #13
  14. MGV8

    MGV8 Been here awhile

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    I never did find out what this was about-- Some kind of tribute I guess, Surrounded a full city block-- I asked a young fellow and he didn't know, sad
    #14
  15. MGV8

    MGV8 Been here awhile

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    Made it-- but this is just the start-- I encounter the road construction-- The Gal running the stop sign loves the rig. She gives me the spiel, lots of equipment ahead, you will have to weave right around these guys then left around some others, if they are in you way just wait, they are moving and will be out of your way shortly. Well OK. So for 30 kilometres I trundle along giving the thumbs up to guys and gals running graders, packers and trucks hauling new gravel and water to make it nice and smooth. They all wave and give me the thumbs up back. Then I have some 40 k of the best hard packed road ever. I was sorry getting back to the chip seal. The Feds have promised to pave the road the whole way to Fort Smith. Which might be better all year but right now who needs pavement.
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    See my first Buffalo. I don't stop being slightly nervous of any wild animal, why I never got any shot of the 2 dozen or so black bears I encounter. Didn't see another buffalo the whole time I was in the park. The Herd had moved further south than I went. So Run out of fuel about 40 k from Fort Smith. This is going to be a bit of a common occurrence but give me a bit of a break as well
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    I get to Fort Smith just in time to do a bit of a scout around town and find some Beer-- then set up camp
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    #15
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  16. MGV8

    MGV8 Been here awhile

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    So Fort Smith is built on the Slave River, and this is where the early explorers had to portage around several sets of rapids. Of course the Natives had been set up here long before any of us ever came to this country.
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    But rapids are just part of this area-- I head deeper into the Park-- but not as far as I first thought. Doing the fuel and time calculation in my head I realize that this is going to take longer than I have if I want to get home when Im supposed to. Checking with the Park office a gal gives me some good options. The loop road I was going to take is closed due to construction, so plan b, head to the other Salt flats a short way with a short hike.
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    Did I say a short way??

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    After about a 2 k hike you find this-- kinda cool-- Salt plains, yes I did taste it.
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    On the way out I heard some crunching behind me, might have been a buffalo, I saw sign, bear maybe, I increased my pace. Probably a Squirrel :-) I spook easily, it got me thinking about how far and how big this country/world is and how small I am.
    #16
  17. MGV8

    MGV8 Been here awhile

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    Some times you just find that spot that touches you. Maybe you need a bit of a nudge.

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    #17
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  18. Newfiebullet

    Newfiebullet Been here awhile

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    Great pics and great write up. Well done.

    I love your rig as well. Do you notice a big difference in fuel economy with the side-car? I was surprised to hear about gas worries.

    One of these days I really have to get up to the NWT for a ride, but it's a little bit harder to schedule when you're coming from the other side of the continent.
    #18
  19. smoky

    smoky Been here awhile

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    Good ADV story, keep the pics coming.
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  20. northern

    northern Been here awhile

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    #20