Adventures Up North: Yellowknife, Part 1


Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3

Seeing the Northern Lights is one of the items on my every growing bucket list. So visiting Yellowknife, one of the best places in the world to see the aurora borealis, is a no-brainer! My friends planned to spend a few days at an Airbnb next to a lake in the Old Town part of Yellowknife! Sounds awesome, right?!

We flew to Yellowknife via Air Canada stopping over in Calgary. We did some research and had a few things planned to do there but mostly we were going to keep things open.

We arrived in Yellowknife in the afternoon. It is worth to note that Yellowknife is 1 hour ahead of Vancouver. The airport is small but they have this cool baggage claim area with a taxidermy polar bear hunting seals.

Our view from our Airbnb
After checking into our Airbnb, we decided to go and get a bite to eat...unfortunately all the restaurants were closed!!! We learned quickly that the work day mostly ends when the sun sets around 4pm this time of year and most places didn't open for business until at least mid November.

Bullocks Bistro was one of the restaurants on our list that didn't open until Nov 20th. Whoops. I guess we should have planned ahead better. Oh well. 

The Wildcat Cafe was Yellowknife's earliest buildings.
The other place on our list was the historical Wildcat Cafe, which is apparently only a summer restaurant. We decided to just walk around some more and explore Old Town. There were a lot of interesting looks houses and buildings in Old Town, the historical section of Yellowknife.

Old Town Glassworks is a good place to get souvenirs or take a class.

Stairs up to Pilot's Monument

Eventually, we stumbled upon Pilot's Monument - one of the natural attractions we wanted to see while we were in town. A short climb up a flight of wooden stairs and we were looking at the beautiful view of old and new sections Yellowknife, as well as Great Slave Lake, and Jolliffe Island.

This structure at the top of Pilot's Monument points North

To the distance we can see some colourful house boats, a large community, which Yellowknife is known for.

The monument is located on "The Rock", which old town was built around. It was about -15°C with a slight wind. The cold wasn't really bothering me except for my feet! Betrayers! I wasn't the only one, my friends' feet were frozen as well, so we decided to head back to our house. We asked our neighbour, where was a good place to eat and he suggested the Explorer Hotel, which was on the edge of the new section of town.

We ducked into the Trapline Lounge to quiet our growling stomachs. All of us hadn't eaten since the morning.

Bison seems to be one of the things to eat in Yellowknife and bison poutine was on the menu. Automatic decision. I really liked the poutine, though I couldn't really tell the difference between ground bison and ground beef. It did seem less fatty.

I also wanted something warm so ordered a seafood chowder and a salad. The chower was a bit salty. It had artic char in it; another thing to try in Yellowknife. One of my friends' tried the Arctic Char fish and chips and he said it tasted a lot like salmon.

Our hunger stated for the moment, we headed back home to wait until nightfall to chase the Northern Lights! We held some pretty irregular sleeping hours while we were in Yellowknife! We weren't hoping for much since it was pretty cloudy and it didn't look like it would be clearing up but better than just staying inside! Plus, the forecast was that it was stormy.

I took this pic some days after but this is an example of a lighthouse that are found around all of Yellowknife. It shows what the northern light activity is. Red means stormy, green means active, and blue means calm. Your best bet of seeing the lights are when it is red or green. When we arrived, it was red. We also checked out this website a lot: They give weekly forecasts as well as record the night sky each night.

At 3:30am, we drove out of the city, down Highway 3 to get away from the city lights, parked somewhere random and looked up. It was very windy and we could see lots of clouds but sometimes there were some clear patches. Then suddenly, we spotted it! Our first sighting of the lights! It wasn't very bright and the clouds were still covering it but it was there! I was having difficulty setting up my camera in the dark and cold so I didn't get any good photos. Unfortunately, the clouds rolled back in and we decided to call it quits. That ends our first night in Yellowknife!

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3

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