Paddling North: Last Sip Of Luxury and Learning About Norman Wells

Our wonderful host, Sue, took us out for lunch buffet and then feasted us on BBQ this evening including ice cream and Mars Bar for dessert. That’s two desserts in one day-what treats! Such a pleasure to have fresh veggies and fruit. Such a treat to have someone else cook and such a treat to learn more about the places that we are traveling through. This is our last place along the route where we had an introduction to a potential host so unless some river angel surprises us, this was our last bit of luxury living until we finish the expedition. We are clean, well fed, and ready to paddle our next phase to Fort Good Hope approximately 200 km downriver.

Sue suggested we visit the local museum and learn more about Norman Wells and the CANOL pipeline. We enjoyed the visit so much and wished we had more time to visit it again. Neither of us understood the immensity of the CANOL project and, while watching a newsreel about it, realized that we essentially have paddled/traveled the supply route for the project. The picture above was a recruiting poster for folks to work on the project. It could also sum up the realities of paddling North :-). It was very interesting to see the newsreel footage of Fort Fitzgerald, Fort Smith, Tulita (then called Fort Norman) from the 1940’s. You may recall that two days ago we attempted to find the original oil well drilled at Bluefish Creek in 1920. Today at the museum we saw a picture of what it looked like nearly 100 years ago. We landed the canoe just below where the white building would have been but the hillside is now completely overgrown with thorny roses and alders. We did find a few pipes but that was all. It was called Discovery Well and started the oil boom here.

I said in my update yesterday that I was getting buff and strong in the upper body and small in the legs…smallest they have been in my adult life actually (nothing like sitting all day for 2 months). I have photographic evidence of my transformation.

I also have photographic evidence of how big the bugs are up here.

Over lunch, we shared stories of our trip, the wildlife we’ve seen and the barges that almost ran us over and the immense intense beauty we see daily. We have seen and experienced so much and we still have almost a month to go. Temperatures will begin to drop and there will soon be a hint of autumn on the wind but we hope for calm days that will keep us #Paddlingnorth for nearly another 800 kilometres.

Catch ya from the river!

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