Yellowknife has many features that make living here unique. The aurora is quite simply spectacular. It never ceases to amaze. Equally amazing are the sunrises and sunsets. Because of our northern latitude, the sun almost seems to be in a perpetual sunrise/sunset during the winter months, as it doesn't come up too far from the horizon.
One of the best ways to experience the sunrise and sunset, while enjoying another unique attraction, is watching them from the Dettah winter road, which crosses Great Slave Lake from Yellowknife to Dettah. Though it is only 6 km long, it offers views of what makes life in Yellowknife exciting. You will notice that I call it 'Ice Road'. Although the officially it is known as a 'Winter Road', I think Ice Road is more descriptive...
Travelling the Ice Road can be quite an experience. For some first timers, there can be some feelings of anxiety. I've had family immediately start to roll down windows and take off their seat belts. Standing on the Ice Road, it is very common the hear the crack of ice and feel it move up and down as traffic passes.
The Ice Road itself is pretty straight. There's a right hand curve on the northern/Yellowknife end to send you south towards Dettah. 6 km later the road starts to curve towards the east, leading into Dettah.
Driving the Ice Road is an experience any time of the day. But crossing close to sunrise and sunset provides a palette of ever changing colours. All of these images (except for the aurora photos) were taken within an hour of sunrise or sunset, over the course of 4 days.
As desolate as it may seem, travelling the Ice Road presents an opportunity to witness so many aspects of what makes life in Yellowknife unique.
Yellowknife is home to quite a few houseboats. They attract people for many reasons, but they lend a lot of charm to Yellowknife. The houseboats, along with Old Town, give Yellowknife so much character. This is easily my favourite part of town to spend time in (much of it while on the deck of Mario's Marvellous Movie Emporium, a relatively new houseboat based cafe.)
Yellowknife has much to offer in the winter. Yeah, its cold, but you can stay active to keep warm. If you come, don't forget to check out the Ice Road. Do yourself a favour and do it close to sunrise or sunset. You'll be just as amazed by the colours as you would by a New Brunswick forest in the fall.