Ram, Ice Roads, Bison and Behchoko

Would you like the good news or the bad news first?

The bad news.. No more posts about running errands on snowmobiles.

The good news.. We finally got a vehicle! FINALLY!!!

Say hello to our new-to-us 2010 Dodge Ram 1500 SLT 5.7L hemi! “Do you know what hemi even means?” says Chris. “Nope!” I say, as I keep typing. (Apparently it’s something to do with the cylinder heads having a hemispherical shape.. or something.) When Chris first moved to Yellowknife he bought a 1997 Grand Am off someone for $1300, and once we learned it didn’t work in the wintertime, we sold it and have been vehicleless ever since. In the summer it’s fine because we walk and bike everywhere. In the winter it’s kind of a different story. While using a sled as a primary vehicle has its perks, ours weren’t exactly reliable enough to be considered primary vehicles. I don’t know how many photos I have of Chris that look like this:

It saddens me to say that we sold my Bravo. She went to a good home, but I couldn’t help but feel a little pang of sadness as she was put into a truck and driven away. We also sold Chris’s sled, and the very next day, went to get a vehicle. We wanted a Jeep Wrangler for the longest time but after moving across town, we saw how useful and practical a truck would be. Plus, there’s a reason why at least 3/4 the vehicles on the road here are trucks. So, we picked her up on Wednesday and we couldn’t be happier. It’s so nice to be able to go places we want, even if it’s just WalMart. With the sleds we would wait until we had three or four things to get in town before we would go, whereas now, we don’t need to plan our trips so meticulously anymore. We can go where we want when we want, and that’s a great feeling.

We actually just got home from a trip to see the bison. There is a buffalo reserve along the MacKenzie Highway called the MacKenzie Bison Sanctuary, which is closer to Fort Providence, but the bison are pretty well viewable between Yellowknife and Fort Prov. I was so excited but, sigh, we didn’t see any. Unless you count this one.

We drove over 100km outside of town, but all was not lost, because we got to see Behchoko, a community of 2,000 northwest of Yellowknife. We also found another ice road from Behchoko to Whati across Marian Lake. This was NWT as I’ve never seen it before: wide open, barren, cold, windy and snowy. Classic arctic tundra; it was really neat. Chris got some great photos of the truck on the ice road.

The ice on this road was a little freaky. Chris was even nervous to step out of the truck onto it. The ice on the Dettah ice road is dark, almost black. This ice was bluish green and really pretty.. And also pretty scary.

I’m happy we got to see another one of NWT’s 33 communities today. The official list of 33 is on this Wiki page. (Apparently N’dilo counts, even though it’s technically in Yellowknife.) This visit to Behchoko puts my count at 4 (YK, N’dilo, Dettah, Behchoko) and Chris’s at 5 (all the same plus Lutsel’Ke). I’d love to be able to visit all of them, though that’s pretty far-fetched. So, despite not seeing any bison, it was worth the trip. Maybe next time we go, we’ll actually have to heed this warning.