Crossing into the Northwest Territory border, the rock becomes more apparent as the road follows the pitch of the Hay River into the Great Slave Lake. With a side trip to the Wood Buffalo Park, Todd learned that these are the largest terrestrial animals in North America, at around 1 ton. Simple way to tell the difference between the 2 species: Plains Buffalo, highest point is directly above the front legs; Wood Buffalo, the highest point is in front of the front legs. Similarities: if either one steps on you with their front legs, you’re dead. Backtracking to the town of Hay River, which lies on the south shore of the lake, Todd could now see the immenseness of this lake. At over 2,000′ in depth and over 10,000 sq. miles, it is intimidating. Todd saw some 200′ and bigger fishing vessel moored nearby, similar to the fleets that plied the Great Lakes before the late 1960’s that reined them in. Back in the Suburban Tank, and over to the north end of the Lake, and to the magical city of Yellowknife. As a mining boom town for many riches to the northeast, including diamonds, this growing community was named after a Dene tribe that lived here and brandished copper knives. It is modern, scenic, and expensive but lacks homeless people because of the temperatures. With 20 hours of daylight in the summer, and 240 nights of the Aurora Borealis, people install energy inefficient sky lights just to watch them. The following day is a long haul up the gravel MacKenzie Highway and over to the ferry to get the destination of Fort Simpson. At the confluence of the Laird and the MacKenzie Rivers, the ferry captain is quite skilled at his craft. Looking straight across the wide river, the ferry starts out at a 45° angle up river just to drift under power to achieve his destination. Fun stuff. The pilot is quite the professional, though, as he resisted a $100 bribe to drift downstream a mile or so. Spoilsport. Driving past the commercial airport, Fort Simpson emerged.

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