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posts about canada. (page 6.)

this weekend, i payed yellowknife a second visit. this time, during winter, with snow, ice, and freezing temperatures. and more aurora viewings.

here’s a first impression i got on the first day. it was taken at 14:20, and you can see that the sun was already pretty near to the horizon. the sunset is around 15:30, and goes down to 15:00 during winter’s shortest days. sunrise was around 9:30 the time i was there; it goes up to 10:00 during the shortest days.

i was staying in the narwal bed and breakfast, a small bed and breakfast located near the great slave lake, meaning i could just walk on the frozen lake and hopefully see some nice auroras during nighttime. here’s a nighttime impression, without an aurora but with clouds:

during the days, i often walked around and on the frame lake. lots of memories came up. it was often cloudy with breaks. here are some nice impressions:

finally, on the second and third night, the sky was mostly clear. and both nights featured auroras! the second night had a not very bright one, at least while i was outside, but the third and last night had some really great ones. here are a few impressions:

finally, here’s a video i recorded, consisting of 484 frames, each shot having an exposure time of one second. the movie is played back with six frames per second, i.e. you get a time lapse:

(this is a html5 video tag, so hopefully it works. otherwise, you can directly try the mpeg 4 variant and the ogg theora variant.)

today i was a second time in the fish creek provincial park. this time, it was covered in snow. here are some impressions:

the temperature in the park was really nice. i never felt cold, more like sweating under all my covers. (which changed when i left the park, somehow…)
speaking of temperatures, yesterday, apparently at 11 am, calgary was the “second coldest place on earth”, or more precisely, the second coldest place in the list of places watched by wx-now, with -33 degree celsius.
well. i was inside at that point :)

today i decided to finally do a trip to the fish creek provincial park, conveniently located in southern calgary, whence reachable by c-train. well. as long as you use the canyon meadows stop and not the fish creek-lacombe stop, even though the latter name sounds like it is closer. here are some impressions.

i guess i should have went there during fall. with colored leafs this probably looks more interesting. but it’s still nice, though many trails are currently closed.

around 2 o’clock in the morning, i was suddenly startled by a very intense beeping. BEEP. BEEP. BEEP. so i checked the fire alarm, muted the one inside the apartment and heard more from outside. there was a strange smell on the corridor, so i put on minimalistic clothing (it was -3 degree celsius outside), grabbed my mobile phone, my laptop and my camera bag (unfortunately, i forgot my passport, i have to think of that the next time), a jacket, some socks (no time to put them on), jumped into my shoes, ran downstairs, and joined a bunch of neighbors waiting outside. after some time, sirens approached, three fire trucks showed up. some firemen, armed with hoses, got into the building. we were waiting. i walked up the street a bit, nothing unusual to see from the other side of the house. eventually, the beeping stopped. two of the trucks left. and finally, someone came out of the third truck, and told us that we can go back in. the strange smell was still there, but apparently everything was fine. gladly.
well. i also learned a thing: its impossible to overhear the alarms. in fact, when i walked to the stairs on the corridor, while passing a buzzer, it feld like i’d become deaf if i stop there for just a few seconds. oh well. its time to go back to sleep ;-)

…came, and went a few hours later. nice try, winter.

when i read yesterday that today, two red panda cubs would be presented to the public, i decided to pay calgary zoo another visit. here are some impressions of the really cute two little ones:

after that, i decided to pay the dinosaur section another visit, since i heard that it was heavily updated. indeed, things changed. there were a lot new dinosaur models, looking much better, which were even animated – they move and roar.

even though, there are still some artifacts from the past available, and artifacts due to low water:

anyway. i guess i’ve seen enough of the dinosaur section. there are other, more interesting parts of the zoo to see :)

my last leg of the yukon trip led me to mayo, “the coldest and hottest place in the yukon”. (the lowest temperature ever measured was -62 degrees celsius.)

in mayo i had my first bear encounter. when driving in the direction of keno, i saw a bear near the street, and stopped to take some pictures. the bear was far away (around 100 m), but i still managed to get at least some good shots (at least, after extracting a small portion of the photos).

this was the first and last bear encounter i had. strangely, since i would have expected to see more bears. i already saw more near to banff and jasper. on the first full day, i drove up to keno, and tried one of mike’s pizzas in the keno city snack bar. if you are in the area, you should do the same, his pizzas are really good! (after all, he is italian.) from keno, i drove up to the famous signpost, and then continued to mayo lake and minto lake.

the next day, i again drove up to keno, after paying the mcquesten river a short visit. unfortunately, mike wasn’t around, so i couldn’t eat more pizza. but i drove to hansson lake and mcquesten lake instead, and was awarded with more beautiful sights.

on the third day, the weather turned bad. it was pretty cloudy most of the day, so i decided to visit the binet house interpretive center and just relax. the binet house features some nice stuffed animals:

after spending two full days in haines junction, i continued to dawson, the northernmost point of my journey. (i originally thought about driving up the dempster highway to inuvik, but this is not an easy drive, and besides that, most rental car contracts do not allow you to drive on that highway.) i did this drive in two legs. the first leg was to drive up to carmacks.

i slept in carmacks and continued to dawson on the next day.

arriving in dawson, i quickly found my lodge, the dawson city bed’n breakfast. one of the best places i ever stayed at! if you ever go to dawson, you should consider staying there! on the first evening, i saw signs of another aurora, and drove out of town to get an unobstructed view.

on the first full day in dawson, i decided to drive up the top of the world highway to the us border. this highway goes along the ridges of mountains and makes you feel to be up pretty high, so to speak “at the top of the world”. this highway is one of the not so easy ones, since it is not paved for most parts. but nonetheless, the view is worth it.

after returning, i drove up the midnight dome and took a shot of the ss keno.

on the next day, i decided to do some of the parks canada historical tours; after all, it was the last day of such tours for this year. i started with a tour of the dredge no. 4, a gold mining dredge.

its interiour features many interesting things to photograph:

after visiting the dredge, i drove to the discovery claim and walked around a bit.

following that, i attended a tour through the historic part of the city.

finally, i roamed aboard the ss keno.

on my last full day in dawson, i decided to drive in the mining area. there’s still a lot of active mining going on; it’s really interesting to see the landscape, changing between the typical beautiful yukon landscape and more moon-like landscapes, making you feel rather alien.

unfortunately, i had to leave dawson the next day, heading to mayo. unfortunately, since my lodge was really one of the best places i ever stayed at. (i can’t stop repeating that, sorry.) the good thing is, i got two uncle scrooge comics playing in yukon as a souvenir.