Thursday, September 8, 2011

Driving The Waterfall Route to Ft. Providence

As I had mentioned in the last post…..when you cross into the Northwest Territories, you cross the 60th Parallel……This seems to be a pretty major thing…..When we stopped at the Tourist Info Center at the border, we got a certificate noting this accomplishment!


One thing that we found upon crossing into the NWT, was a similar sense of isolation that we had found along the Alaskan Hwy last year. The towns got smaller….mostly just a gas pump or two located beside a rather questionable hotel.


The roads opened up, with not much along them for miles (though more frequent than on the Alaskan Hwy). Also, roadside stops were back to pit toilets…one real advantage of having the camper bathroom.


The landscape was beautiful…..Several more waterfalls along this route. This is McNallie Falls. it was named for Mr. McNallie, a road worker who, along with a friend, decided to take a canoe trip on this little creek.


What they did not know…..was that this creek quickly picked up speed as it headed towards a 50 foot drop over the falls! Finding themselves caught up in the current, and in danger of being swept over the falls, at the last second, they flung themselves out of the canoe to the bank as their canoe went over the falls and smashed on the rocks below. They survived……and the falls became known as McNallie Falls.   True story….


Another stop along the road…..Lady Evelyn Falls……a beautiful curtain of water flowing over a limestone escarpment.


No story, here, to tell us about the name……just a chance to enjoy the wondrous force of nature…..


And maybe wonder, a bit, about who could have placed the rock cairn on top of this rock in the middle of the river without heading over the falls?


Along the way, we have had to cross a couple of ferries…..this one over the Mackenzie River. These are free ferries that run all day, not on a particular schedule, but whenever cars or trucks need to cross. They run seasonally, until the river freezes over, forming an ‘ice bridge’. But there are about 4-6 weeks in the Spring and Fall when the ice forms, but is not thick enough to drive on, when the road is closed and no one gets through. We saw a picture of a large tanker that tried to drive across before it was thick enough, and broke through the ice. He was ticketed for not following the posted weight limits! We also heard stories of people being stranded on the wrong side, and having to leave their car and fly home. No worries for us, though, everything was running just fine.


We arrived in Ft. providence by noon, expecting to do a bit of sightseeing here. We have been a bit  disappointed in the small towns. The travel guides make it sound as it there was something to see, when really, these small towns are just little communities of the local peoples……living their lives without any real thought, or services, for tourists. This church, which was not opened, was mentioned in the guide as an early Catholic mission.


Other than that, there was one very small market for local groceries, and a handful of small houses, a school, a health clinic……just your average, poorer looking community. 

I guess if one is looking for the ‘real’ and the ‘authentic’….this is it. It is just not the over romanticized, quaint little villages that we sometimes think of.

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