When I decided to move to a small town for the summer, one thing I thought that meant I would definitely miss out on was all of the summer concerts and music festivals my big-city buddies were squawking about excitedly months before summer rolled around.
Fortunately, the music gods seem to like me and as things turned out, Yellowknife, the capital city of the Northwest Territories, hosts Folk on the Rocks, an annual folk festival, and my buddies at the Northern Journal were able to hook me up with a free pass and weekend campsite (aww yeahh)!
With all of this taken care of, all I needed to do was survive the 9hour car ride from Smith to Yellowknife. Everyone who wasn’t in Southeast Asia for the past 4 months, where a 1hour flight can get you to about 5 different countries kept telling me that Yellowknife wasn’t too far away and that they went there for things like school track meets and stuff all the time. It wasn’t until pretty much the day before I left that I actually decided to check this “not far” distance out for myself. Turns out that this phrase is highly relative, and while in Singapore would mean 50km and about a 1/2hour of commuting, in the Northwest Territories means over 700km and 12hours of Google Maps driving (which follows the speed limit, which everyone knows is ridiculous).
Nonetheless, the whole road trip + camping + music festival combo seemed like the perfect summer experience, and I was actually a little stoked to be spending that much time in a car. This ended up paying off, as like with any awesome road trip, it was filled with random events like the biggest bison crossing I (or, more impressively, anyone else in the car) had ever seen
a large roadside collection of stuffed bears and rubber ducks (which began with an old bushman who used to put a teddy bear on a chair to signal to passing cars that he needed a ride into the closest, still 300km away-town)
midnight sunsets over Hay River
and a backseat camp out because EVERY SINGLE hotel room in the town of Hay River we planned to stop in was booked and it was midnight and everyone was too lazy to pitch a tent that late. Also, the fact that the car was filled with more soft objects than most pillow factories helped!
Soon enough, we had made it to Fred Henne Territorial Park, right outside Yellowknife and I realized that I easily could have actually bothered to set up camp the night before, because my tent went up in exactly 1 minute and 5 seconds. The extra time gave me enough to be able to do some ceremonial inuksuk building before a quick nap and heading off to the “big city”!