North West Alberta

Destinations:  Calgary  |  Banff  |  Lake Louise  |  Icefield Parkway  |  Jasper  |  Northwest Territory  |  NW Alberta  |  Fort McMurray  |  Edmonton  |  Drumheller  |  Fort MacLeod  |  Buffalo Jump    

Picture Pages:  Bridge & farms  |  Fort Vermillion Ferry Crossing at LéCrete  |  Sunset at Peace River  |  Lesser Slave Lake  |  Scum ponds  |  Alberta Map  

In our travels across northwestern Alberta, we saw wolf, deer, squirrels and lots of birds (other than ravens - which were everywhere).  This area also had huge farms - saw a lot of the rape plant used in cooking oil.  On the way south, we made a detour to Fort Vermillion on the Peace River.  Further down the road had to cross the river on another free ferry at LéCrete.  This time the vehicles were really jammed on the boat - two double trailers and 5 cars.  It was a very simple pontoon boat.  I guess it's a lot cheaper than spending millions on a bridge that will need constant maintenance.  

Did a lot of driving today.  We stayed overnight in Peace River and witnessed a beautiful sunset.  

The next day we continued south to High Prairie then headed east.  We stopped in the town of Slave Lake on the shores of the Lesser Slave Lake.  This area, as well as the entire northern half of Alberta, had many "scum ponds" - stagnant water pond with lots of green scum on top.  I later learned these are essential in the formation of peat and sphagnum moss.

Slave Lake had a small enclosed shopping mall where we walked around and bought a few items.  We talked to a lady who drove from the town of Athabasca just to shop here.  We later passed through Athabasca and knew why the shopping was a lot better here in Slave Lake.  We actually stopped in Athabasca for lunch and Kirsten was amazed when a young fast-food worker knew what a vegan is.

We then drove east to Route 63 to head north to Fort McMurray.  This was Thursday and we thought something was unusual when there was bumper to bumper traffic going south.  There was hardly any traffic on our side of the road.  We joked that it looked like the whole town was evacuating south.  Come to find out that a lot of the oil company employees work a 4 day week then head out - and only one road out - south.  Most of the trees along the road were destroyed in a huge forest fire last year. 

next is Fort McMurray