Mark and Nadine's Arctic Expedition travel blog

Holy Family Lutheran Church (ELCC), Yellowknife

Rosie at the end of the road (and the beginning of the...

Hiking the Panorama Trail

After spending part of the morning looking over the photos we’ve taken, we drove into Yellowknife to attend services at Holy Family Lutheran Church, a congregation of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Canada (similar to our own Evangelical Lutheran Church in America). Holy Family meets in a chapel in a multi-story building also used by the local United Church (the result of a merger of the Canadian Methodists, Presbyterians and Congregationalists, back in the 1960s, I think). The building also apparently houses classrooms for the local community college.

There were about 50 people in attendance, and the service was led by Pastor Steve Meysing. It was a mix of the new Lutheran “red book” service and some elements added by Pastor Steve, including the dedication of an infant whose parents weren’t ready to have him baptized.

After the service, we spoke with Pastor Steve and found that he was a native of Chicago and Nebraska, and had first come to the north to help run Vacation Bible Schools in native villages, through a Lutheran organization called LAMP. He became disillusioned with LAMP’s emphasis on “making everyone a Lutheran,” and he’s now on the board of “On Eagle’s Wings,” an ecumenical ministry that provides pastoral services in outlying villages. He’s been full-time pastor of Holy Family (a church of about 100 members) for about two years now. He’s very enthusiastic about his congregation, and we could see why!

After church, we visited the Visitor’s Information Centre on the shores of Frame Lake, and then decided to drive the length of the Ingraham Trail, the 69-km road that connects Yellowknife with the “winter roads” driven by the “Ice Road Truckers.” Last summer we became ardent fans of the History Channel series by that name, and we were caught up in the drama of these truck drivers who take huge loads across frozen lakes for delivery to remote mines, while blizzards (and drivers) rage and temperatures hover around -40 F!

Even the on-land portion of their route is an ordeal. Less than half of the Ingraham Trail is paved, and both the paved and gravel portions were in very rough condition. As Rosie rattled along the road, Nadine and I began to develop our own rattles, too. It was a jarring ride.

At last we reached the point where the road leads directly into Tibbett Lake (and, in the winter, onto the ice road). Rosie posed for her picture where the big rigs leave the gravel, and then we turned around.

We decided to spend the night at Prelude Lake Territorial Park, at the point where the pavement back to Yellowknife begins. It was a great decision. The park was virtually deserted (as you can tell by now, we like that), and we had a great campsite. We walked down toward Prelude Lake, and then took the Panorama Trail, which leads along the rocks to some marvelous views across the lakes and stunted forests. (As with Great Slave Lake, portions of Prelude Lake still have ice on them.) It was a great walk on a great evening!

We were too tired last night to notice, but tonight we realized that it was daylight all night. This is going to take some getting used to!

Late in the evening, a fox scurried through our campsite; he (or a relative) was thoughtful enough to return the next morning so we could get a picture!

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