Sunday, October 19, 2014

Holiday in Yellowknife

When searching for a long weekend holiday trip this August the wifey (Chrissy) and I considered quite a few options but they all seemed either too expensive, too far away, or something that we had done before. We wanted something different, something unique. After a considerable amount of scanning the internet it hit me like a bolt of lightning - Yellowknife! I had gone there solo a couple of years back and Chrissy was jealous at the time. A quick glance on the Canadian North (best airline ever!) website showed a very reasonable price for tickets so I booked it.

Note: There was an abundance of forest fires in the area so everything was quite smoky and probably why we got such a good deal on flights. We chose to recognize the fires as positive as the city smelled nicely like a campfire.

Highlights of the trip below:

Old Town and Ramble & Ride Festival

Old Town was our launching pad every morning from our Bed and Breakfast and we spent the majority of our time exploring this area. 

Our first exposure was through a general meandering walk including its farthest point to its highest and then most famous road.

The farthest NE point of Yellowknife

Pilots Monument

Entering Ragged Ass Road

It just happened that while we were visiting the City the annual Ramble and Ride Festival (essentially a street fair within Old Town) was going on. As part of the festival we joined an Architectural Tour of the area hosted by Guy Architects. A key part of the tour was the dichotomy of the housing options that existed in the area historically and today.

I have to admit that while I found some homes to be unattractive but I did appreciate the differences that existed as opposed to the identical houses you see in most communities.

Many artisans call the Old Town area home and operate businesses in the area. To commemorate this years Ramble and Ride they encouraged participants to contribute to a glass mosaic that would be displayed in the area. Eager to learn how to do glass cutting Chrissy and I rolled up our sleeves. 

 Christina's art piece is symbolic of the mountains in Alberta.

My own work is a recreation of a sunset along Greenwater Lake.

Make sure you look for our small contributions to the full mural if you ever find yourself in Old Town!

The biggest attractions in Old Town just might be its restaurants: The Wildcat Cafe and Bullocks Bistro.

On our first day we had lunch at the Wildcat Cafe. It is considered the oldest restaurant in Yellowknife with family style seating. The decor is 'old school' while the meals are more modern.

Later in the weekend we sat at the bar at Bullocks Bistro for what was once called "The Best Fish and Chips in Canada" by Readers Digest magazine. Aside from the great food Bullocks is also synonymous with what could best be called "Saucy Servers" that definitely are not shy and generally say exactly what they are thinking.

After an amazing supper (Chrissy had the Char and I had the Lake Trout) we were commenting on the servers peeling garlic at the end of the bar. Chrissy as a good Ukrainian/Polish girl offered to show them a better way to peel the garlic and they took her up on it. Well soon enough we had peeled a full sleeve of garlic and Chrissy's hand was starting to bruise from pounding the knife blade (her method for peeling). The women behind the bar kept us entertained the whole time and even came outside and took a picture for us as a thank you. They ain't so bad :)

It was probably the best fish we had ever eaten and a great experience to remember. We highly recommend it!

Yellowknife Golf Club

Chrissy is an avid golfer and I like to get out and do a few rounds every year so we jumped at the unique opportunity of playing golf so far up North.  However, to play in Yellowknife you need to know the rules and be prepared that this is not your average course.

Because of the Canadian Shield, grass does not grow like at other golf courses. Even if you had an abundance of topsoil you would have problems with irrigation and piping...So in essence there is no grass. Instead the tee off box and greens are carpeted areas and the fairways are sand where you hit your ball off a piece of turf that you carry with you.

After nine holes we were covered in dust and coughing from the smoke but still thankful that we had the chance to play. Maybe we will come back one year for the Midnight Classic played on the longest day of the year and the near 24 hour daylight.

Cameron Falls

With our holiday being a few days we had time for a small day trip into the area around Yellowknife as opposed to a great North West Territories adventure. From my only other trip to the area I was familiar with Cameron Falls and wanted to enjoy them again so we rented a car and headed out on the road. And what a road it was...just look at the size of the rock where they were expanding the width of the road. 

We arrived with most of our nerves in tact and started the walk along the scenic trails to the lower and upper Cameron Falls. Beautiful!

Other Highlights

Molson Dry at the Gold Range Hotel

 Steel drummers sculpture at Frame Lake

Flags of the NWT on the way to the Prince of Wales Museum

Northern Minotaur sculpture by Monique Robert 

Next post - Our awesome accommodations in Yellowknife co-owned by the artist of Northern Minotaur.

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