Arctic Circle 2019

Alaska or Canada? We did the Canada road last year. Went all the way to the Arctic Ocean. My RV looked almost that dirty. Risky trips if you ever break down.
 

Mickyfin

New member
The Artic Circle will be my first port of call once my conversion is completed.

Lived in Finland for almost 12 years now, and never seen the Northern Lights in all that time.

Sent from my TA-1033 using Tapatalk
 
This past late March I and an old love from decades ago flew up to Yellowknife, NWT, Canada for just the purpose to see the Aurora Borealis. It has been a bucket list item for years.

When the skies are clear the viewing is as dynamic an experience as can be imagined. The wows were never ending as the misty cloud like visions rose over the northern horizon with the North Star pointing the way.

In town, we stayed at the Explorer Inn on the highest point in Yellowknife with a view down over the Great Slave Lake. This lake is the second deepest lake in North America. In town, the Prince Edward or Prince Albert ? natural history museum is something to not be missed. It was two blocks from our hotel and an easy walk.

We spent several hours trying to see everything that this museum covered from the earliest animal species that I never knew existed before the ice age American lions? Who knew? Sabertoothed tigers. Huge beavers, wooly mammoths. At this time there was land bridge from Asia.

The ice age later did away with almost of the species with the exception of Musk Oxen and some of the mammoths survived until 10,000 years ago.

Mankind first made his way to North America after the ice age retreated enough over the ice bridge from Asia around 40,000 years ago.

This museum tracked all the applicable history of flora and fauna including the mining that still goes on.

Yellowknife in March is supposed to best month for viewing the northern lights. The week after our trip, the first week in April was an annual Dark Skies celebration. I am sure that week was packed to the hilt, thus my choosing to go when we did.

Every late afternoon/evening we were bussed out to the Aurora Lodge, a half hour out of town for the darkest skies possible. This native Canadian owned lodge and restaurant was spectacular for viewing the lights. It is situated on a frozen lake bed that viewers can take their fold up chairs onto the ice and sit for hours watching the light show after a nice dinner at the lodge overlooking the lake.

BTW, we made good use of the lodge's offering for renting very warm outer wear consisting of boots, pants, and a hooded fur-lined jacket. We never got cold after hours of sitting out on the frozen lake. I wore a single pair of socks and my feet never got cold. We were almost sweating under this nylon lined outerwear.

Besides sitting out on the frozen lake, the Aurora Lodge offers a couple of locations on the overlooking hillsides with wood decks with two person seating cubicles that swing around to any part of the sky. The seating in these cubicles is heated! They lean back so everyone has a great view of the overhead skies.

When the lights begin to be able to be seen around sunset, they come nonstop over the northern horizon for hours on end. Words can hardly describe what goes on.

The Aurora Lodge also has some daytime activities which include a half hour dog sled ride through the forest surrounding the frozen lake run by the native Canadians. They maintain a dog kennel all winter long. Those dogs cannot wait to run, as is evident with their excited barking. They are well taken care and loved by their owners. Every one of them.

The other daytime offerings are to do a little ice fishing on the lake and they have an an ice shute the anyone can climb up some wooden stairs with the special two person inflated rubber tube sliders that roar down the ice and down onto the lake bed. The kids, and kids of all ages absolutely loved this daytime offering.

I would not hesitate to go back for this light show. I chose this location for its distance from the Pacific storms that generally hit Alaska and head down into the upper midwest with the hopes for clear skies.

Our first night Wed. when we flew in late around midnight the skies were overcast. Thursday was much the same until past midnight when it cleared and the northern lights went nuts for the next couple of hour until we were bussed back into town at 2:30am. Friday was overcast too and did not clear. Saturday, our last full day was as clear as could be and stayed that way through the whole late evening.

Thanks to the sky gods for that.

If anyone has the opportunity, go!

The Explorer Hotel has a great restaurant overlooking a beautiful deep snow setting of trees and ice sculptures.

One last comment is about the Arctic Char that I ate everyday. Omg! It has to be the best tasting fish I have had. As a lover of wild caught salmon, this related species has a similar color and a taste that anyone would love.

I could go on. Just go!
 

aksotar

New member
You can't drive to the Arctic Ocean in Alaska unless you have a permit to drive past Deadhorse on the Dalton Hwy...
You CAN drive up to Tuktoyaktuk in Canada and skinny dip in the ocean...
 

glasseye

Active member
You can't drive to the Arctic Ocean in Alaska unless you have a permit to drive past Deadhorse on the Dalton Hwy...
You CAN drive up to Tuktoyaktuk in Canada and skinny dip in the ocean...
No swimming. WAY too much shrinkage.

I pee'd in it, though. :thumbup:
 

Camosun

Member
Its on my bucket list. Never mind the shrinkage problem. The bragging rights more than make up for the momentary anatomical changes.
 

tinman

Member
We drove to Tuktoyaktuk in early June, 2018, first year of the "all weather" road from Inuvik. We would have had to chop a hole in the ice to go skinny dipping, as the Arctic Ocean was still frozen and the local folks were back and forth to their Mackenzie delta goose camps with snowmobiles. For early season travel the limiting factor on the Dempster Highway is the opening of the MacKenzie River and Peel River ferries. There's a bit of a gap between the ice going out and the ferries starting up, and the actual date varies from year to year according to conditions. If you go you'll see wonderful vistas, wildlife and get a taste of history and culture likely quite different from your home. They do speak English.
 

VanGoSki

Active member
This past late March I and an old love from decades ago flew up to Yellowknife, NWT, Canada for just the purpose to see the Aurora Borealis. It has been a bucket list item for years.
But the real question is, did you get lucky? :lol:

I really enjoyed your writeup and it was very timely for me. A friend of mine has some acquaintances who live in Yellowknife and we are planning to drive up in my Sprinter next March (2021) to visit them (assuming I actually have it by then...) I was actually kind of undecided about the trip until I discovered that Yellowknife is the self-proclaimed aurora capital of the world. I'm an avid nature photographer and the aurora has been on my mind for years.

I'd love to see any pictures you may have of Yellowknife, either with or without the aurora. :thumbup:
 

Mein Sprinter

2010 Roadtrek SS Agile
But the real question is, did you get lucky? :lol:

I really enjoyed your writeup and it was very timely for me. A friend of mine has some acquaintances who live in Yellowknife and we are planning to drive up in my Sprinter next March (2021) to visit them (assuming I actually have it by then...) I was actually kind of undecided about the trip until I discovered that Yellowknife is the self-proclaimed aurora capital of the world. I'm an avid nature photographer and the aurora has been on my mind for years.

I'd love to see any pictures you may have of Yellowknife, either with or without the aurora. :thumbup:
Not trying to detour about the wonderful pictures and videos of Arctic Circle 2019 by Miscolski. :thumbup::thumbup:

Maybe Yellowknife goals and ventures should be posted in the Adventure section here.

We're also interested in venturing to Yellowknife in March, but been researching the area for the month of March..pretty cold..not for us but the Sprinter. Would have to carry separate water containers inside the Van as our Vans water tanks aren't insulated, very exposed from underneath. They froze once in the New Mexico mountains.

Diesel additives ?

DEF will freeze at 12F

All Territorial Campgrounds are closed for the winter.

cheers...
 

tinman

Member
Not trying to detour about the wonderful pictures and videos of Arctic Circle 2019 by Miscolski. :thumbup::thumbup:

Maybe Yellowknife goals and ventures should be posted in the Adventure section here.

We're also interested in venturing to Yellowknife in March, but been researching the area for the month of March..pretty cold..not for us but the Sprinter. Would have to carry separate water containers inside the Van as our Vans water tanks aren't insulated, very exposed from underneath. They froze once in the New Mexico mountains.

Diesel additives ?

DEF will freeze at 12F

All Territorial Campgrounds are closed for the winter.

cheers...
All diesel fuel sold up here after about October is winter diesel, so it's very unlikely you'll have a problem with gelling. It has a bit lower energy density, and I believe a slightly lower cetane number. There are additives available to compensate, but I don't know anyone that uses them. DEF heaters are said to be pretty good at quickly returning DEF to liquid form, and it apparently freezes uniformly (no separation of the urea and water), so the only issue is making sure there's some expansion space in the tank. Not many campgrounds open outside of major centres. Banff and Jasper National Parks do have winter campgrounds with electrical hookups and hot showers. In smaller centres you might be able to cut a deal with motels or truck stops to let you plug in for the night. A portable electric heater is nice to have. If you come through Edmonton you're welcome to plug in in my driveway. PM me for details.
 

Mein Sprinter

2010 Roadtrek SS Agile
All diesel fuel sold up here after about October is winter diesel, so it's very unlikely you'll have a problem with gelling. It has a bit lower energy density, and I believe a slightly lower cetane number. There are additives available to compensate, but I don't know anyone that uses them. DEF heaters are said to be pretty good at quickly returning DEF to liquid form, and it apparently freezes uniformly (no separation of the urea and water), so the only issue is making sure there's some expansion space in the tank. Not many campgrounds open outside of major centres. Banff and Jasper National Parks do have winter campgrounds with electrical hookups and hot showers. In smaller centres you might be able to cut a deal with motels or truck stops to let you plug in for the night. A portable electric heater is nice to have. If you come through Edmonton you're welcome to plug in in my driveway. PM me for details.
:thumbup::cheers::rad:. Happy New Year to you

cheers...
 

pdxhiker

Member
In feb 2016 we rented a special Ford Escape from Fairbanks and drove all the way up to Deadhorse, AK. I can imagine how wonderful the trip would be in a camper.
 

Attachments


Top Bottom