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chconline

Epic Yellowknife Road Trip from Calgary

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As you guys may have heard, @aeroLai and I with a bunch of friends had an epic road trip to Yellowknife from Calgary last week. Most people would ask me the question, "Why?" and my only response is this: "Why not?" I've always been intrigued by Northern Canada -- its unique geography, scenery, and culture -- that I think it's 100% worth exploring. Getting there on road rather than air only allows us to see so much more.

We did pretty much all the tourist things; here are a few pics that I have to share; mostly taken using my iPhone X.

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Started off with 14510 km on the Hyundai Sante Fe Sport I rented for $360. Our other rental car was a Toyota Corolla iM that we got for just over $300.

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Arriving at Slave Lake for dinner. Running my Uniden R3 radar detector. That's the first half of Day 1 -- we stopped at Fort Vermilion that night.

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Driving into the sunset in Northern Alberta. The highway pretty much looks like that for the rest of the trip.

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The next day, we arrived at High Level -- our last stop before leaving Alberta. Those dead flies from the night before are serious business.

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We got a certificate at the visitor's center for crossing the 60th parallel.

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At Fort Providence, the last stop before Yellowknife, we filled up just in case. There were two stations there -- one Shell which had gas at 155.9/L, while a shady unmanned gas station sold it at 1.429/L. Since we had rental cars, we decided to fill up at the shady gas station.

Fort Providence had some seriously big flies!

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We finally arrived at Yellowknife!

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Our Airbnb is located in downtown Yellowknife above a dental office. Our host, Nittin, is a dentist who owns the whole building.

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A very nice apartment, we must say.

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Catching a view of the aurora at 1:30am (Shot on my EOS 60D).

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We explored old town and went up to the Bush Pilots Monument to get a nice panoramic view the next day.

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We visited the legislature on Sunday afternoon. Free tours FTW!

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We went to church on Sunday morning. The locals there were super hospitable. Mona, one of the ladies at church, invited us over to their house for a BBQ and played some games at night. A lot of people from church also showed up and we had a lot of fun.

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The next day, we went for some arctic char sushi. Locally caught fish is great -- they sell them in limited quantity. (We think it tastes kind of like light salmon, but it's fresh and local.)

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Cameron Falls was a nice hike.

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And at night we went to Bullock's Bistro, one of the most famous restaurants in YK, for dinner. This plate of deep fried inconnu was $42 with tax and tips. It's not cheap but well worth the money, if you ask me. The fish is limited quantity as well.

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The next day,  I had a bison burger at the Wildcat Cafe. For $20, I think it's surprisingly reasonably priced.

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We did a hike around Frame Lake, starting from the Legislative Assembly.

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Wasn't a short hike, especially when I was in flip flops.

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Afterwards, we visited Ragged Ass Road for a photo op. And that concluded our last full day in Yellowknife.

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It's time to depart. On the way back, we passed by a herd of bison on the Yellowknife Highway.

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A shot of the Deh Cho bridge. It was built in 2012 and quite an incredible engineering project. It also gave Yellowknife a permanent connection to the rest of Canada's road network. Before that, the Mackenzie River was crossed by an ice road in the winter and by ferry in the summer.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deh_Cho_Bridge

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Passing by Alexandra Falls on Hay River, near Enterprise NWT.

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We made a stop at Fort Vermilion that night and arrived back in Calgary the following evening. Here is the final odometer reading before returning the car on Friday morning.

Me at the rental car office:

Me: What is the most kilometers you have ever seen someone put on in a week?
Owner: I don’t know, did you put on too many?
Me: It’s unlimited mileage, right?
Owner: Yes.
Me: Well, I put in 4000 kilometers.
Owner: S***! We didn’t make any money on this one.
Me: Have you ever seen anyone do more?
Owner: Nope.
Me: Well we also put 4000 kilometers on the other car you’ve rented us.
Owner: ...

Overall, it was a really amazing trip to spend time with friends, seeing new things, and meeting new people. I'm sure Aaron has more pics and his version of the story :D

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Great pics and looks like a really fun trip! I personally would fly in.

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Yep for sure. Flying makes it a lot easier, but driving allows you to see everything along the way :)

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On ‎9‎/‎8‎/‎2018 at 5:12 PM, chconline said:

Yep for sure. Flying makes it a lot easier, but driving allows you to see everything along the way :)

Would you recommend flying to Calgary and driving to Yellowknife?

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Haha sorry, I have been quite busy for the past few weekends and I haven't posted much for pictures. Here's what I got:

In between our first and second night we stayed at Fort Vermillion, at a small bed and breakfast. However, this B&B also served as a helipad, so we saw a few helicopters

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Upon passing into NWT, we were greeted by a sign that you probably don't get to see very often

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Upon arriving the first night, it was raining and cloudy, so we all expected to not see any Northern Lights. We all started to turn in for the night, when my friend started shaking me and telling me to get up. The first thing we saw was the lights, directly from our apartment. So we frantically drove out at around 1 AM and pulled out our cameras. To be fair, it started getting a bit faint, but our cameras caught it a bit better than our eyes could. It should be noted this was shot in the middle of the dark, and only the long exposures made it look like there was a sunrise/sunset.

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Yellowknife has quite a bit of neat architecture and art on the streets alone, with lots of randomly painted dumpsters, as well as some other things. This was right in front of a bike shop haha.

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And this was one of the "townhouses" built into a rock cliff

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Also lots of water planes. @Big Bang This is how you should get to YK!

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If you do end up going, you do need to go to the MLA or Members of Legislative Assembly building. They offer free tours! Inside they have the large chamber where you can see above, but they also have a smaller meeting room which is built with some pretty slick acoustics in mind.

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Lots of nature to see in YK too. This was taken at Cameron Falls.

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Thankfully, we did not call it Canon Falls. (That's a 1DX haha)

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Finally, on the last night we went to the local Farmer's Market, where we saw lots of good eats. We also walked around some sketchy area and path, but thankfully we survived.

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Overall, it was a most enjoyable trip. By far one of the more spontaneous and less planned ones, but a place to meet new friends, catch up with old ones, and see lots more. Truly an APH Recommended trip :) 

On 9/10/2018 at 9:21 PM, TL6MT said:

Would you recommend flying to Calgary and driving to Yellowknife?

I would recommend coming to Calgary to visit us! And then start a bit closer if you want to drive up there haha.

Edited by aeroLai

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Oh man, the B&B was great. You get a pool table in the main house and some Josh McDowell books to read if you're into that :lol:

And when I got back to Calgary, I found a guy with a NWT plate.

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Great pics Aaron! A little concrete slab makes it a helipad? Also did you and chc take the aurora photo from the same angle but what's the line in between in yours?

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On 9/18/2018 at 11:31 AM, Big Bang said:

Nice shots Aaron! Seaplanes look like a Fun way to travel.

Have you flown them before? 

On 9/20/2018 at 1:22 PM, performance_1 said:

whats the alberta one?

A boring "Welcome to Alberta" one haha. It was clearly not as interesting as the one going there.

10 hours ago, TL6MT said:

Great pics Aaron! A little concrete slab makes it a helipad? Also did you and chc take the aurora photo from the same angle but what's the line in between in yours?

It would seem so haha. As for the shot, I believe we did take the same shot. That line is an electric power line, and I want to say chc edited his photo? I'm not sure haha.

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