A photographic journal of our travels with emphasis on birding, but in actual fact to showcase everything that our beautiful province has to offer. Wildflowers, wildlife and scenery will hold almost as much importance as the birds. Most of our time will be spent in the province of British Columbia and our immediate neighbours, Alberta, the Yukon and North West Territories.
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
Yukon Trip 2009 - Day 15 Part 4 - N.W.T.
The weather had improved for the better by the time we reached the North West Territories border. This is the continental divide....west of this point waters run to the Pacific, east of this point they run to the Arctic Ocean. There was also a time change here. The start of this part of the highway doesn't look much different than the start of any other highway.....except it is gravel and the scenery is spectacular!
highway improvement was taking place here too as we were soon to find out.
but one final view of above tree line tundra.
almost immediately past the border there was a work's yard and flying right beside that rather busy area was this 'Long-tail Jaeger' - again, the only one we saw and the best I could do picture wise.
We are now going to enter into a very pretty, and quite unexpected canyon....but weren't able to get any pictures due to the very windy road, no shoulders and gravel trucks that were passing us regularly. You will see too that the gravel here is larger and looser than we've been traveling on....and what isn't gravel is a talcum-like dust.
We're pretty much out of the canyon now and heading to Wright's Pass which was where the road construction was really under way....we had a brief wait as one way traffic was the order of the day. It somehow seemed so out of place here, after days of seeing virtually no one, to suddenly have all this hustle and bustle.
Past the road construction and heading towards the Peel River, we stopped at this Wayside Park......
for an over view of the area. Now is that flat or what?! That is the MacKenzie River delta....200 km north is the town of Inuvik.
and another, this one looking west. The Richardson Mountains are now just a memory. You can see too, with this shot, that we weren't the only tourists....our camper is to the extreme right and there was also a van parked here, as well as the second truck camper.
We now began the rather sharp decent to the Peel River.
This is the Peel Ferry River ferry. The ferry runs 'on demand' - you simply drive up to the appointed spot, leave your parking lights on, and the ferry comes and gets you and takes you across - it doesn't matter if you are the only vehicle (although we never were). The ferry runs from 9 am to about 9 pm- outside of those times, you don't cross the river. This is the first of two ferry crossings on the Dempster. For a month or so each fall when the river is freezing up and again in the spring when the ice is breaking up....there is no way of driving to any point north of here.
The Peel River, view from the ferry. You probably noticed in the previous photo that there is no dock. The ferry simply runs up to the shore and drops a platform and you drive off onto the dirt....if it gets too rough, then they start the 'cat' up and smooth things out and away they go again.
Just up the hill from the ferry landing there was a Territorial Park Campground. With Inuvik 200 km away still and after 9 hours of being on the road - albeit with lots of stops - the dogs and I said 'enough already!'
We had stayed in territorial campgrounds when we visited the main part of the N.W.T. in 2005. All territorial campgrounds have a visitor's centre with someone living on location, although I think in this case, because Fort McPhearson was close by, the operators might not have actually lived on site. The Visitor Center was open, coffee on...and there was a nice display of native culture items. Two G'Witchen (not sure if the spelling is right), elders were operating the place. They had been down in the campsite having tea and one of them went out and picked some Labrador Tea for me, with instructions to add it to my tea....I didn't, but I have it hanging in the camper as a good luck charm.
the screened in kitchen shelter....a blend of old and new. There was a beautiful wood stove in there. All the picnic tables appeared to be new 'cast concrete'
Territorial parks all have shower facilities...this one was brand new and wheel chair accessible. These facilities are open for a set time, usually in the evening, because the electricity to heat the water and operate them has to be supplied by a generator.
and now the down side - when we opened the camper door this is what greeted us.....DUST! the first order of business was to clean dust off of everything! Our brand new camper was now well and truly christened and I expect will be carrying some N.W.T. dust with is for the rest of it's life. We have since learned....you duct tape your door when confronted with the dusty conditions we had experienced since entering the territories.
So tomorrow - Inuvik
Campground fee: $22.50 Total distance traveled to date: 3,864 km