Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Grand Rapids Wilderness Adventure - Part 1

My Dad was one of the most patriotic Canadians I've ever known. He loved to travel - but by car and in HIS country.
He used to say that he didn't see the point of traveling to other countries until he had seen all of Canada (though he did badly want to go to Alaska - but that is a different story for a different day).

I have been privileged to get to travel lots in my life - both inside and outside of Canada - and although I have LOVED many of the countries/places I have visited - it is Canada that continues to awe and amaze me the most.

And hence my pushing for a trip within our own 'backyard' for our holiday this year. (Wow - that concept is still new enough to sound weird!!! Holidays in our life that don't involve sled dog races are still such a novelty!)

Grand Rapids Wilderness Adventures is about as close to our own backyard as you can get. Being interested in the history of the Athabasca area and having run so many of the old Gold Rush trails (the Athabasca River, the Landing Trail, the Peace River Trail....) we were well familiar with Darcy and Shirley's business and had even spoken to them a few times over the years about visiting by dog team in the winter, but had never gotten planning into high gear. A trip up the river could not only be a great fall getaway - but the motivation to make a winter trip happen too!

Friday before last we met up at 'Poacher's Landing' about an hour north of Athabasca for the start of our adventure.

The jet boat was quickly loaded and Mark, I, Darcy, Shirley and their son Cole piled in for the 4-hour trip downriver.

It was a meandering trip with a number of breaks for coffee, outhouses visits, lunch and exploring.

Wolf tracks at one of our breaks. Without exception, everywhere we stopped over the weekend I found wolf tracks. Obviously they are thriving in the area!

 Both Mark's and my favourite part of the day was the trip through the old Pelican Rapids settlement. It's been known for a long time that there was oil in the sand in the Fort McMurray area. The story goes that while drilling for the oil at Pelican Rapids around the turn of the century, a natural gas pocket was hit. The decision was made to flare it off so they could get back to drilling for oil. The flare burned for TWENTY ONE years.
Many, especially natives, liked to camp in the area, due to the warmth produced by the flare and a settlement of over 100 people evolved.
Because the area is hard to access many of the remnants of the settlement remain.

This is supposedly the remains of an old Hudson Bay Trading Post. I could find no references to it online, but the Hudson Bay Co was VERY active in the area - and completely controlled the trade up and down the river!

 The old church is gone - but the graveyard remains.

After Shirley brewed coffee and refilled thermos at the cabin there, we were underway again..

  It was early evening when we pulled into to the Lodge. What a gem of a place!!!

Our cabin for the weekend


After getting settled in, having a great meal and some good chat around the fire pit we called it an early evening.

Here are a few 'odds and ends' shots from the day!

Stay tuned for Part 2....and maybe even Part 3. Depending on how many of the over 500 pictures I took that weekend I decide to torture you all with!


Helen Johnson said...

I am enjoying your pics and the info along with them, so go ahead and show us lots. I am not likely to ever be able to go there myself. It looks peaceful and very tranquil. Loved it.

Nannette Morgan said...

Love these photos Karen! Thanks for sharing. I have a similar fungus growing now on my carob tree and the cabins at GRWA remind me a lot of the ones at Homeplace Ranch in Priddis AB! Can't wait to see more the shots ;-)