Icy Landscapes and Northern Lights

By the time we got back from Dallas in November, winter had already arrived in Yellowknife and with that came a series of exciting new adventures…

As winter came rolling in, we started to notice a change in the behaviours of the people of Yellowknife; everyone traded in their sneakers for mukluks, snowshoes, or cross-country skis, and traded in their cars for snow machines or ATVs (literally, they would drive their snowmobiles to work). In an attempt to meld into the Yellowknife culture and seize the winter rather than hide from it, we invested in pairs of our own toasty-warm mukluks and sporty cross country skis. In December and January, we only had a few hours of daylight to explore more of the city, new frozen trails and landscapes and put our skiing skills to practice (that is, when we were actually able to muster up enough energy to go outside and adventure); needless to say, we could use a little more ski practice…

The shorter days also brought darker skies so we spent many of our nights eagerly seeking out the best spot to view the anticipated Aurora Borealis. Aurora-hunting quickly became one of our favourite pastimes – particularly on weekends when we were able to stay up late enough to get a glimpse. There’s nothing like lying in the snow with a hot chocolate, wrapped in a parka and watching the greens and pinks of the lights dancing across the sky above you… the North is truly magical.

This year the Yellowknife winter was very kind to us (or so the locals have told us). We had very few days when the temperature dropped below -30 degrees celcius so that was a bonus; although there were still many dark and chilly strolls to work which left Adam looking like an abominable snowman! We didn’t realize that hoar frost could develop on your eyelashes and nose-hairs in a matter of minutes! Nature is kinda neat like that.

Another awesomely Northern Canadian experience was exploring the endless networks of winter and ice roads that become available in the winter months. We would just spend hours driving around rural Yellowknife exploring new land (and water) in our car… over the water! The winter brought a whole new landscape all together. The most impressive ice road would certainly be the huge, 4-lane-wide “highway” from Yellowknife to Dettah across Great Slave Lake. At any given time you’d see trucks, cars, bikes, dogs, kicksleds, and skiers travelling along this massive icy plain. The best moments though were when there were only a few others around and through the silence you could hear the deep booming of the lake ice cracking below your feet; spooky – yes, but also just really awesome.

Although for us the ice and winter roads are just a new way to explore, these networks serve an incredibly important purpose for communities throughout Northwest Territories which would not otherwise have road access. Yellowknife is essentially the end of the paved road to NWT.

With all the winter excitement and new adventure it’s hard to believe that a few months earlier, the thought of spending a winter in Yellowknife seemed so terrifying…

Adam & Amanda

5 Comments on “Icy Landscapes and Northern Lights

  1. Quite the winter wonderland! The Northern Lights are something else but I am sure even more spectacular experienced in person.


    Liked by 1 person

  2. Your description of the Northern Lights brought tears to my eyes, what a special place for you guys
    Love you lots
    Auntie Jamie


  3. Amazing! Are ice roads open to public? I know it is used by truckers, but will I be able to aome to the Yellowkife and drive there as a tourist?


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