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Yellowknife ~ North West Territories

Continuing my Canadian Quest

If I want to eventually visit all the provinces and territories....I need to check off some more boxes - even the cold ones!
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As many Canadians are jetting off to sunny, warm destinations with poolside cocktails this March, I am heading to Yellowknife, North West Territories, for a True North Strong and Free Adventure...in the cold!

Posted by moorsey88 16:26 Comments (3)

Yup - it's Cold!

Good Thing I Have Warm Clothing.....oh wait?!?!

sunny -22 °C

I spent most of today travelling to Canada's North West Territories and the capital city of Yellowknife. I had a connection thru Edmonton which would have been ok if we did not leave Toronto over an hour late. Travel time from Toronto to Edmonton was just over 4 hours.
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Although I made the quick connection in Edmonton for the 2 hour flight to Yellowknife, I had my doubts that my luggage would be meeting me at the other end.

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I remained optimistic until the carousel belt stopped at the Yellowknife airport....and there were no more bags! Oh well. There's always tomorrow. Fingers crossed it shows up! But there is a Wal-Mart here, so I am not too worried. I have also rented outdoor clothing - not sure if my Ontario winter clothing will do the trick up here. It was -22 degrees when I landed. My clothing was waiting for me at the hotel once I checked in.

I jumped in a cab at the airport to my hotel - Chateau Nova - I had missed the hotel's shuttle because I had to report my lost luggage. The taxi ride was just over $13. Late night arrival.....time for bed! There is just a 2 hour time difference from Toronto time but that's enough after a day of travelling.

I was able to see the Northern Lights from the plane - so mission accomplished! Hopefully they will be better tomorrow night.

Traveller's Tip #1: Be a tourist in our own country! Canada is huge!!!

Posted by moorsey88 23:25 Archived in Canada Comments (3)

Who Needs Luggage?

Sunshine and Ice

sunny -12 °C

Now I get see Yellowknife in daylight….and it is a beautiful sunny day! I woke up to a temperature reading of -28 degrees Celsius on my phone – that’s fresh!

Since I have no luggage, I had limited decision making on what to wear today. This is only the 3rd time I have had to experience lost luggage. But I’m not worried – there is a Shopper’s Drug Mart up the street.

Traveller’s Tip #2: Carry emergency toiletry kit in your carry-on luggage – you never know!

Today’s excursion was with *My Backyard Tours*. I was picked up promptly at the hotel by 10:30 a.m. to begin the Ice Falls Tour with this company. We had a small group of 6 which was great. We began with a short trek out onto frozen Yellowknife Bay and then walked through a forested area to an historic cemetery before journeying on snow-packed trails through the trees to see one of Yellowknife’s hidden treasures. The strikingly beautiful frozen waterfall is known locally as the ice caves. They are apparently at their largest at the end of the winter – so my timing was pretty good. Although the ice falls are picturesque throughout the entire season.

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Once back to the van we had some hot chocolate and hot apple cider with homemade cookies – sooo good! A little tour of Old Town was next on the agenda and a stop at the Pilot’s Monument which offered a spectacular view of the entire city and surrounding frozen lakes. Our guide, Ryan, was very knowledgeable about his hometown and shared much of the history. He is very proud of his city!

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Yellowknife is the capital city of Canada’s Northwest Territories. It lies on the north shore of Great Slave Lake which freezes in the winter and becomes the Dettah Ice Road. This stretch of *road* between Yellowknife and Dettah is 6.5 km in length and opened for the 2019 season on Friday January 11. I don’t think I would want to be the first person going across….or the last person to travel the distance in April when it closes. Just sayin’.

Driving on the road before it officially opens is illegal and carries an $863 penalty. Is there really a penalty for stupidity!?!? Haha.

I felt pretty safe as we approached the lake and then our van proceeded out onto the ice. We pulled over to stop at one point and we were able to get out of the van to examine the ice up close – really close! It was easily over a metre thick – maybe more! Soooo cool!
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Traveller’s Tip #3: Walking with ice cleats on your boots are helpful when walking on ice. Duh!

Once back at the hotel, my phone rings….it’s the airport….my luggage has arrived! Woohoo!!!

Posted by moorsey88 17:06 Archived in Canada Comments (2)

Northern Lights

Another One Off the Bucket List

-19 °C

I am soooo glad my luggage showed up when it did because I really needed some of the contents in there for the evening’s excursion – Aurora Borealis viewing! A Bucket List check off for sure! This was one of my main goals for coming to Yellowknife was to see the Northern Lights. Fingers crossed….

Definitely needed the long johns but more importantly the camera tripod. I did not want to risk taking the tripod in my carry on, just in case security did not approve of long metal poking devices!

After I piled on the layers of clothing, I met my tour group in the lobby of the hotel shortly after 9:00 p.m. I had an organized tour arranged with *My Backyard Tours* for this excursion. They had a great setting for this – a rustic cabin on the shores of a frozen lake away from the lights of the city. Even during the drive out there, which took about 25 minutes, we could see the Northern Lights dancing in the sky. I was in awe!

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The Northern Lights, or Aurora Borealis, are dynamic displays of multi-coloured luminosity appearing in the night sky in high latitudes in the Northern Hemisphere. They are caused primarily by energized electrons from the sun and solar wind moving at high speeds within the atmosphere. The *lights* are arrayed along a band (the auroral oval) with the North Magnetic Pole near its centre which amazingly (for me) is over Yellowknife, making it one of the best places in the world to view!

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Now capturing the Northern Lights on camera is another thing altogether! A regular point-and-shoot camera or your cell phone will NOT get the job done – not a chance….which is why I most definitely needed my tripod and a few settings on my camera that I have never used. Ever. This was my first time attempting a photo shoot of this capacity and there was certainly a learning curve.

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The pictures I captured with the equipment I had were *ok*…but some of the people with me had some big ass cameras with amazing knowledge – since they were all professional photographers! One guy (Hiro) even gave me his business card. He said he would share some of his pics.

The *light show* was absolutely remarkable! I can not say enough how amazing the sky looked from one moment to another – it kept changing over and over again. Incredible! If I did not capture the beauty of the Aurora on camera, it will be etched in my memory forever! I’m ok with that.

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Traveller's Tip #4: Batteries and cold do not work well together. Keep your spare batteries next to your body. But be sure to have spare batteries!

Posted by moorsey88 09:41 Archived in Canada Comments (2)

SnowKing Festival

Ice, Snow & Sunshine - closed on Mondays

sunny -12 °C

A little relaxing morning to start my day, since I did not shut ‘er down until after 2:00 a.m. after the Aurora viewing extravaganza. It was another crisp morning with temperatures about -20 degrees Celsius – but bright sunshine will help to make up for those frigid temperatures. And it will warm up as the day goes on….highs expected today are -10 degrees – perfect!

After breakfast I decided to walk down to the SnowKing Festival which takes place every March…except it is closed on Mondays. I didn't even think to check - rookie mistake. Oh well. It was an easy 2km walk down to the Ice Road. The festival is a month long celebration of community spirit, collaboration, innovation in the arts, entertainment for young and old and where the spirit of winter wonderment from our childhood reigns supreme.

Traveller's Tip #5: Check operating hours of various businesses and Snow Festivals in the Region.

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A winter wonderland is created on Yellowknife Bay where the Snowking and his talented, hardy northern helpers brave -30 temperatures over the course of 2 months to build a huge castle made entirely of snow and ice. Apparently, it gets bigger every year. This is the 23rd year of the festival.
Although it was closed, I was still able to walk around the castle from the outside and see the ice sculptures. I will go back tomorrow so I can experience the inside.

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I continued to walk around Old Town and downtown Yellowknife for a bit ducking into the odd boutique or gallery to warm up. It was a little windy today and my eyes kept watering. So much for waterproof mascara!

I have another Aurora viewing excursion booked for later tonight – but with a different company – North Star Adventures. While planning for this trip, I didn’t want to put *all my eggs in one basket* and only plan for one excursion to see the lights. What if I did not see them on that night? I would be disappointed. I didn’t come all this way NOT to see the lights (bad grammar, yes, I know). I figured I better play my odds and go every night I am here. So that is the plan.

Posted by moorsey88 15:59 Archived in Canada Comments (0)

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