Monday, July 25, 2016

Northwest Territories - Fort McPherson - Mackenzie River

Another summer day in the Yukon with a 9:00 am temperature of 16C is not a bad start to our travels today.  The clouds come and go all day with some sunny breaks but no rain, and that makes for a good day with dry roads on this 500 mile gravel trek up the Dempster Highway.

The Dempster Highway

We saw no wildlife but we did see some ptarmigan on the roadside with some photos of flight but not easy getting birds in flight out the window of a moving truck. 
A Pingo
We came upon a pingo which is a unique arctic landform.  The word pingo translated is ‘hill’.  Farther north there is a designated Pingo Canadian Landmark area which features eight of the 1350 pingos found in the area. They were used as a navigational tool for early travelling as well as a convenient height of land for spotting wildlife in flat tundra areas.

We enter the Northwest Territories
We have now entered the Northwest Territories and this point is called the center of the world.  Birds arrive here from all over the world to breed and nest during the long daylight hours of the season.

Incredible sights of green hills 
The ground here only thaws to about 25-40 cm (10-15 inches) in the summertime, but frozen solid most of the year.  The ground below that never gets above 0C (32f) and that stops the water from draining from the root zone.  We can enjoy green scenery due to this.

Peel River ferry crossing
We arrived at the Peel River and were able to cross it on the ferry with no problems.  Only a few days earlier in Dawson City, we’d learned that the ferry was closed due to flooding of the Peel River but all was well when we got there.

Nitainlaii Territorial Park Tourist Info
We stopped at the Tourist information in this log cabin which was full of photos and story boards but no one there to speak with.  We signed in then had a look around and with some brochures in hand, moved onto Fort McPherson.

Church in Fort McPherson, NWT
We stopped to visit the small town of Fort McPherson which is the oldest permanent community in the Mackenzie Delta. The Hudson’s Bay Company established a trading post here in 1840 offering conveniences of that time available. The Gwich’in continued to move their families to hunting and fishing camps until the 1950’s when they were required to get an education and then settled more permanently in this community.  

Parked at the Mackenzie River
One more ferry crossing today and we parked on the shores of the Mackenzie River across from the small traditional Gwich’in community of Tsiigehtchic.  The Mackenzie River Arctic Red River ferry is free and operates daily from June to mid-October, then the river is crossed by ice bridge the rest of the year.

Mackenzie River fisherman
We gave a friendly wave to a passing boat and he turned around and came for a visit.  We called him “Seagull” as he was being followed by many of them.  He then told us how his grandfather called him that same thing when he was a young boy.

We were interested in his catches of the day, but he may also have had a motive to stop.  ‘Seagull’ sold us a fish.  After some persuasion, he also filleted the fish and was then on his way.  We all enjoyed a delicious dinner freshly caught from the Mackenzie River.

Maggie and the birds
The seagulls and crows enjoyed the remains of the filleted fish while Maggie kept a close eye and we all enjoyed our evening on the shores of the Mackenzie River.


Related Posts with Thumbnails