07 Fort Smith

Trip Start May 04, 2009
Trip End Oct 15, 2009

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Where I stayed
Queen Elizabeth campground

Flag of Canada  , Northwest Territories,
Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Packed away a wet tent in Hay River and headed towards Fort Smith, which is the gateway to Wood Buffalo National Park. In fact, one does drive through some of the park, on a gravel road of course, to reach Fort Smith. We camped in the Queen Elizabeth Territorial Park for two days so we could fully prepare for Wood Buffalo.

Fort Smith (mostly in NWT but some of it in Alberta) is on the Slave River at the last rapids (Rapids of the Drowned) before reaching Great Slave Lake and was originally part of the supply chain for the fur trade. Upstream past three other rapids (Cassette, Pelican and Mountain) is where Fort Fitzgerald (now nothing exists except a couple of houses for sale) was situated about twenty-two kilometres away.

It has rained since we arrived but except for some minor seepage our tent is habitable and, most importantly, our sleeping bags are dry. Since the information centre is closed today, we joined the Canada Day festivities which were moved to the Fort Smith recreation centre after the rainy parade. Everyone had lots of fun, especially the kids.

Rain abated around 18:00 Mountain Time -- hopefully we can set-off toward the wilds of Wood Buffalo National Park in the morning. After packing away the tent in a wet-mode and waiting for the Wood Buffalo information centre to open, we trekked down to the Rapids of the Drowned to view the White Pelican colony; these are definitely magnificent birds and this is the closest I have ever approached a White Pelican.

I will report again sometime in the next three weeks (currently our maximum food cache) from Wood Buffalo National Park.
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