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Along the Ice Road to the North

Along the Ice Road to the North

You and a friend are heading to a big fishing derby being held in Fort Chipewyan – a remote community on the edge of Wood Buffalo National Park. In the summer, it can only be reached by plane or boat. During the winter, the municipality of Wood Buffalo builds an ice road connecting it to Fort McMurray. Your friend has a 4x4, extra fuel, and all the gear you’ll need if you have to pass a night in the wilderness.

There’s no cellular service and there isn’t always a lot of traffic along the road, so it’s wise to be prepared. The two of you head out with only a few hours of daylight remaining, hopeful you’ll see the northern lights after nightfall. The ice road winds through forest and over frozen muskeg. At dusk, a pale white crescent moon and a scattering of stars appear over trees that are crowned by a pastel horizon. The dark comes quickly. The moon is luminescent now. The northern lights wave silently overhead, a shimmering green light pulsing and shifting across the sky, as if borne upon a silent wind.