Day 10 – June 16 – Grande Prairie, AB to Slave Lake, AB

We had nothing planned that we were going to stop and see today, but, as usual we found things. I am enjoying this small town, less traveled route so far.

Northern Alberta is oil and gas country as well was farming country and as we left Grande Prairie this morning we saw quite a few jack pumps in the farm fields. I counted 11 in one field.

The growing season is just starting up here.

We went into the bush to find a geocache and I discovered a bonebed. Well not a dinosaur bonebed but the remains of some large animal, perhaps an elk or moose.

A good friend of ours at home was the former minister at the Presbyterian Church in Wahnam, Alberta. This is the old one in a small heritage park that was locked up. I think the one she served in years ago is now a senior’s center.

Another geocache we found today. This was a clever ‘hide’ because it was not hidden at all. The cache owner had made a cute little mailbox and put the cache container into it. All the cars that drove past here every day would never even notice it.

There were many small lakes and ponds beside the road and in the fields, several of them with beaver lodges.

We pulled into an unserviced camping area beside the Smoky River and had some lunch.

When you cultivate and seed farms measured in sections (one mile square) you need a big tractor.

There is a small railway museum in McLennan from the days of the Northern Alberta Railway, so we stopped to check it out – and had an ice cream cone and some mini-donuts.

Well, there was another incentive. Somewhere on this caboose is a nano (size of my little fingernail) magnetic geocache. It has not been found very many times and we did not find it either.

McLennan bills itself as the Bird Capital of Canada because of the large flocks of migratory shorebirds and waterfowl birds that concentrate on the shores of Kimiwan Lake.

We wanted to see St. Paul’s Anglican Church and Rectory but they were both locked. These two buildings have been a part of McLennan for over 80 years. After the rectory basement flooded in 1997 it was deemed unsafe and slated for demolition. A group was formed to save it in 1998 and in 2006 the project was given Municipal Heritage Site recognition.

There were three of these huge lilac bushes at the Rectory. As you can see one of them completely covers the sidewalk. The blossoms were just coming out and the perfume was lovely. The bees were happy too. I do not know which variation of lilac they are. They are more delicate and a much softer colour than at home.

About 25 or so kilometers from Slave Lake a big storm cloud settled overhead and washed the truck for us. The rain only lasted a few minutes and then the cloud moved on.

We arrived in Slave Lake about 5:30, checked into our hotel, went for dinner, then drove out to Devonshire Beach to find an Earthcache. Devonshire Beach is found at the south end of Lesser Slave Lake Provincial Park and is recognized as one of the 10 top beaches in Canada. It is a 1.5 kilometre stretch of natural and groomed sandy beach which is part of a 1500-year-old sand dune complex. Devonshire Beach is a unique environment in Alberta and the beach is an important habitat for rare plants such as the sitka willow, which is adapted specifically for this sandy lakeshore environment.

Owners of Earthcaches like to see photos of you to prove you were there as there is no log paper to sign with this type of geocahe. The coordinates of an Earthcache will take you to a place of geological or natural interest. The description of the cache explains the features of the place where you are standing or that you can see. To claim the ‘find’ you need to answer questions that are related to what you see and what the information describes. We have stopped at a lot of very interesting places to log Earthcache finds. John took this photo of me at Devonshire Beach to post with my ‘found’ entry about the dunes.

Tomorrow we head to Cold Lake very near the Alberta/Saskatchewan border. Cold Lake is home to a large Canadain Air Force base and we will tour it either tomorrow afternoon or Saturday. We are staying two nights in Cold Lake before motoring into Saskatchewan.

One thought on “Day 10 – June 16 – Grande Prairie, AB to Slave Lake, AB”

  1. Great to read about your “small town” Canadian” (western, so far,) travels. Nice photos too! Thanks for sharing and enjoy it.


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