Exploring Yellowknife – Part One Getting There

Exploring Yellowknife – Part One Getting There

Yellowknife Canada in the Northwest Territories is about as far north as you can go and, it’s safe to say, a rare experience.

This June/July Charlene and I took a job preparing meals for the U.S. Youth Sailing Team as they prepared for and sailed in the Sailing World Championships in Corpus Christy. Our contract included a training session in early July and the actual championships which started again on July 14th. Our schedule gave us a one week window of time to run away from the Corpus heat and go to Yellowknife in the Northwest Territories of Canada to enjoy 70 degree weather.

That seemed like a good excuse so we started planning our Yellowknife trip about July 4th. We know, kind of short notice. Our first mission was to find a flight. Most flights from Huston to Yellowknife will start at around $1200 round trip and go up. After a little bit of searching we figured out that if we flew on the 7th and came back on the 11th we could get round trip tickets for 25,000 points per person on United. We were short on United points so we transferred 50,000 Chase Ultimate Reward Points for 50,000 United points. Problem solved.

Our next mission was lodging. Rooms in Yellowknife are expensive. Our search yielded the daunting fact that a room with a 3 star or above rating would set us back around $210 a night Canadian or about $160 USD . For this little mission we turned to our Choice Privilege points that we had been building over the last few months. Remember with hotel points build them with inexpensive rooms and spend them on expensive rooms. The best deal for us in Yellowknife was the Point/Cash split offered by Choice Hotels at the Quality Inn and Suites in Yellowknife. The rooms were still costly, $90 + 6000 Choice Privilege Points but you gotta do what you gotta do.

So for $360 out of pocket we were off to Yellowknife for a 4 night stay.

Our flight took us from Houston to Edmonton, Canada and then with a quick layover. A Geezer-run to our next gate sprint and we were on our way up to Yellowknife. One of the treats of this trip was for the first time Charlene and I got to fly on a legendary Bombardier Q 400 on our Air Canada Leg up to Yellowknife.

This 44 seat twin engine, medium range aircraft are a fun ride. Charlene and I both scored our own two seat section so we had lots of room to spread out and relax. The service on our 2 hour flight was amazing with the Canadian Airline crew working the whole time offering food and beverages. None of the normal short flight behavior where the flight crew makes one run with their cart and disappear for the rest of “their” flight.

On most flights I would not really recommend opening your window and checking out the view but the flight from Edmonton to Yellowknife is a different story. The scenery is amazing. Lakes everywhere intertwined with huge outcroppings of granite  rock and deep green woods. About an hour and twenty minutes into the flight you will fly over a magnificent river valley that seems from the air as wide as the Mississippi. On your approach you will fly over the Great Slave Lake a huge body of water dotted with wooded islands. I haven’t done a good job of describing the beauty of this area from the air but it’s worth opening the window and taking a look.

We landed in Yellowknife around 11:00 PM Which gave us plenty of daylight (which of course lasts into the wee hours of the morning this time of year ) to drive thru Yellowknife and find our room at the Quality Inn and Suites. By 1:00 AM we closed the shades to keep the sun out and settling in for a nice rest before beginning our exploration of Yellowknife.

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