The first night was perhaps our most adventurous. We'd driven all the way through Alberta, and gratefully snuck into the 60th Parallel Territorial Park after hours, ready to find an unoccupied campsite and pay for it the next morning.
Provided the next morning came at all.
You see, we were six people wired on long waits for great expectations. What was our reward? Lots of trees. Not quite the big payoff you might have expected, so we had no choice but to stay on, on into the night, and let the day end on its own terms. No big finale: just a long ride into the sunset.
Except, of course, that "sunset" doesn't quite mean the same thing North of 60. Here's a picture of our campsite at 11PM. It got a little darker, but not much.
You might notice the huge plume of smoke rising from the damp green firewood. That was a conscious decision -- our entire party became freaked out by the bugs within twenty seconds of leaving the car. The dragonflies looked like they belonged in the Cenozoic Era, and the biters weren't much smaller. I think we would have slept on a bed of Roman Candles that night, had we been confident that they'd work better than the mosquito coils.
Of course, all that green firewood took some scrounging and scavenging, not to mention some applied force. Here's a picture of yours truly, displaying my lightning axemanship. I might not have a single clue how to chop wood, and I might have nearly cut off my own foot a dozen times, but at least I got the merit badge for effort.
Like I said: Lots of energy, lots of excitement, lots of sunlight. It's a recipe for insomnia. I was one of the earliest to head to bed (which was why I was the first to get steamrollered*), and that was 2AM. I'm still surprised that some members of our group woke up at all that morning. Of course, once we were up, we finally got a look at where we were camping:
First you suffer the weirdness. Then you realise just how beautiful it is. That's the Northwest Territories in a nutshell.
That goes double for Yellowknife, but that's a post in and of itself... which it will be, tomorrow. See you then!
(*And no, I won't let the opportunity to mock my friends slip past. The steamroller incident? Three people jumped into the tent, and two of them rolled over me. The third one, however, rolled in the other direction, and stayed there. What was up with that?)