We retrieved our rig from winter storage upon our return from Mexico in the middle of May. After visiting family, friends and taking care of some personal business, we finally left Edmonton and headed North, our plan was to try and visit Yellowknife in the North West Territories. When we left, we knew the border with Alberta was closed due to Covid restrictions but, were hoping this would change over the next couple of weeks as we would be travelling slow. There were also Forest Fires burning in British Columbia and the smoke was restricting visibility and could be smelled in the air. This was another reason for heading north, we were hoping to drive into clear blue skies.
Our fist stop was to visit Steve, a friend of Catherine’s father. He has a farm just south of Athabasca and had asked us to come and stay.
After a few days with Steve, we continued on to the town of Athabasca where we stopped to explore the town. Athabasca is located on the river of the same name. We found some history of the town at a park near the river.
The Athabasca River (French: Rivière Athabasca) is a river in Alberta, which originates at the Columbia Icefield in Jasper National Park and flows more than 1,231 km (765 mi) before emptying into Lake Athabasca. Much of the land along its banks is protected in national and provincial parks, and the river is designated a Canadian Heritage River for its historical and cultural importance. The scenic Athabasca Falls is located about 30 km (19 mi) upstream from Jasper. (Wikipedia)
From here we continued further north to Calling Like, and would be staying at the Calling Lake Provincial Park, located at the south end of the lake.
We only stayed here for one night as the smoke situation was still bad here, but it was a nice campground located right on the lake.
Leaving here we continued up Highway 813 to Wabasca where we thought we would spend a couple of days but when we arrived, we found it to be a bit ‘one horse townish’ and all the roads seemed to be under construction.
As it was only mid-afternoon we decided to continue on, eventually making our way to Lesser Slave Lake. We settled on Marten River Campground on the west side of the lake.
We had driven south again on the Wabasca loop and had driven back into the smoke. Again, we only stayed the one night. The next morning, we drove into the town of Slave Lake to pick-up some groceries and fill up with diesel before heading north up Highway 88. Our destination would be Ft. Vermilion.
After completing our shopping, it was about 2:30pm, we continued for about 1 ½ hours to the town of Red Earth. They have a campground here but we could not find it, so just parked up at the Community Hall for the night.
Next morning, we continued onto Fort Vermilion, this is town with history associated with the Peace River.
The Peace River (French: rivière de la Paix) is a 1,923-kilometre-long (1,195 mi) river in Canada that originates in the Rocky Mountains of northern British Columbia and flows to the northeast through northern Alberta. The Peace River joins the Athabasca River in the Peace-Athabasca Delta to form the Slave River, a tributary of the Mackenzie River. The Finlay River, the main headwater of the Peace River, is regarded as the ultimate source of the Mackenzie River. The combined Finlay–Peace–Slave–Mackenzie river system is the 13th longest river system in the world. (Wikipedia)
We were able to stay at the Heritage center in Ft. Vermilion.
There is also a museum attached, which we wondered through, taking in some of the history.
Next morning before continuing, we walked into the town.
Next: Decisions, Decisions!