Over the Family Day long weekend, my husband and I, along with 3 other couples from the Wood Buffalo Photography Club, journeyed up the winter road to Fort Smith, NWT. Traveling over frozen rivers and icy marshes, through lush forests and over winding sand hills, the trip is an experience like none other. Having made the trip before we knew more of what to expect and added an extra day to soak up the experience.
The first day we drove all the way from Fort McMurray to Fort Smith, arriving 11 hours later with our hearts full from the foxes, ptarmigan and northern hawk owls that came into our view. The beautiful white ptarmigan were on the top of my wish list so I was over the moon to finally see them! The road North takes us through a variety of landscapes, each of them stunning in their own special way. The next morning, in particularly frigid temperatures, we were privy to a lovely soft sunrise, with the fog from the Pelican Rapids streaming across the Slave River valley. We made our way back through Wood Buffalo National Park where we saw many signs of the bison who make their home there but they chose to stay tucked out of sight. The next night was spent in Fort Chipewyan where we were greeted with a huge sun dog over the Canadian Shield and we had the opportunity to learn about some local history at the Bicentennial Museum. I am eager to visit Fort Chipewyan in the summer months and see it when all the ice has melted. It is an absolutely stunning area with a rich history.
Our last stretch back home was a snowy day but we were delighted to see great grey owls and witness a flurry of activity involving an otter, a snowshoe hare and some panicking ptarmigan. I'm already wondering what wonderful things we will see on our next journey North.