Spring = freedom. The transition time between the busy ski season at my sweet Falcon Ridge Ski Slopes, and the crazy summer photo booking season. So when the opportunity to head north on a road trip in Josh's charming 1984 dodge camper van came up, I was delighted to join in on the adventure, despite being fresh off the road from a two week powder shredding mission in the Kootenays.
From Falcon Lake, to Prawda to check in on Caleigh's bee colony, to a send-off party at Cousins Deli in Winnipeg. From the quirky army surplus store that has taken over the whole town of Westbourne, MB, to Slave Lake. Through kilometers and kilometers of charred forest fire sites to spruce bogs to multiple stops at Peavy Marts. We journeyed up to Yellowknife where Josh would be spending his spring and summer working at the prestigious off the grid fly-in Blachford Lake Lodge.
Here are some of the moments I collected on my camera along the way.
First stop: Caleigh's bee colony in Prawda!
Met Jordan and checked on the bees! They survived the winter and seem to be in pretty good shape!
The army surplus in Westbourne, MB
This tiny town just off the Yellowhead is home to a great little army surplus store. A lot of what I know about it is hearsay, but apparently the guy who runs it acquired it from his father or grandfather who had it before him. So collecting army surplus and reselling it has been the guys life. I picked up a great -40 sleeping bag and a bunch of army issue socks for a steal of a deal. And was tempted by many other treasures. We drove into the town and explored a bit. It was incredible. Every bit of unused or abandoned space in town, from churchyards to old gardens was used by this guy to store so much army stuff. From old tanks to rolls and rolls and rolls of army wire.
Worth the stop. Although I've heard that the hours that the store is open is a bit hard to predict. We got lucky.
Clouds of Snow Geese
Josh was super stoked about the huge populations of snow geese we encountered in Saskatchewan. He's kinda like a lab sometimes.
Saskatoon dinner stop
We pulled into Saskatoon for dinner and after a quick facebook poll as to where to eat, we settled on The Hollows. It was a really cool locally owned hip restaurant hidden in the historic "Golden Dragon". Great food, pretty fancy. We felt a little out of place in our trucker hats.
Camp spot no. 1. An old homestead.
Travelling in Alfie is really a beautiful thing. Supremely comfy, particularly with my army issue -40 bag. The first night we pulled off somewhere between Saskatoon and Edmonton nestled amongst the oaks of an old homestead. A couple big old owls hung out in the trees and watched us as a tremendous wind picked up, and as we parked and tucked in, we could see lightning flashing towards Edmonton. All night the wind howled. The storm was exhilarating in the cover of Alfie. The morning light revealed the details of the pretty little farm and skeletal houses around the property.
The road North
I was totally enchanted with the landscape as we headed north of Edmonton. The land of black spruce bogs, characterized by the "drunken" trees struggling to stay upright with the heaving melt of the permafrost, and the remains of fire swept forests. The storm we watched roll in turned to snow and the driving conditions were less than ideal, but made for a beautiful moody and mysterious landscape. Josh made good use of his latest Peavy Mart buy, some kelly green Stanfield long undies.
Alexandra Falls, NWT
We spent our third night camped beside the incredible Alexandra Falls. Frozen water cascading 36 m down over sandstone and limestone escarpment. Real nice. And we made a raven friend at the campsite.
Yellowknife: Houseboat village
We made it to Yellowknife, and I got to visit my buddies Sarah and Darryl. That was great. Yellowknife is a cool place, it's got good diversity of interesting folks with a really neat old town section that is on its own little island. My favourite part was the enchanting little community of houseboats that resides frozen into the ice of Great Slave Lake, just off shore of the city. I think part of the appeal it has something to do with being about to avoid paying property and city taxes, plus it's just so cool. So so cool. A houseboat village!? Sign me up.
The Ice Castle Ruins
Next to the houseboat village, we explored around the ruins of a magnificent snow castle. It was incredible. I guess they have a big festival in it in March, with dance parties and djs and concerts in it all month long. It was real cool and real neat.
Ok, stay tuned...
k, that's it for my looooong part I post. Sorry if it took a long time for all those pictures to load on your computer or phone or whatever. Next I'll do a post on my amazing visit to Blachford Lake Lodge.