This weekend, my husband and I took off on a semi-impromptu road trip. It started off with his having an interview in Valleyview. Then I looked at the map and noticed that Historic Fort Dunvegan was sort of close (okay, if you’ve driven several hours to get there, what’s a couple more hours?). And he figured that since we were there already, we could swing past Peace River to drop off an application, and maybe those folks over in High Prairie who’d asked him for an application would like to interview him…
So Sunday morning found us in the car and on the road bright and early. We stopped in Mayerthorpe for Mass and reached Valleyview just past noon. After the interview, we spent a few hours touring the town, from the mobile home park at the top of the hill to the new duplexes at the other end of town. Then we continued down the highway.
Historic Fort Dunvegan is located right on the edge of the Peace River—those priests and fur traders knew how to pick scenic spots (though they chose it for the more practical purpose of getting their boats there). All that remains of the trading post and mission are the church and the rectory, carefully restored since being used as a gas station and tire repair shop. There’s a visitor’s centre there (which closed just before we arrived) and a campground. We walked around enjoying the birds singing, the sun shining, and the wind in the trees, but decided that we didn’t like listening to the jake breaks on the trucks coming down the hill into the river valley.
So we hit the highway once more, and had supper in Grimshaw—a very small town that has very few eating places open at 9:00 on a Sunday night. My husband was quite pleased with the Chinese food we found, and Sunshine enjoyed watching the fish in the tank there. We camped that night at Queen Elizabeth Provincial Park (I was slightly surprised the Queen was all the way up there on her visit here back in 1978), along with a few other fishermen/boaters and a gazillion mosquitoes. There was a gorgeous sunset across the lake (which I’d share with you if I hadn’t forgotten my camera).
Monday morning found us driving around Peace River, trying to figure out their extremely confusing overpass. After breakfast, we made a couple stops in town and then found our way out of the extremely confusing overpass onto the highway. As we drove up the river valley, we could see up and down the beautiful river valley that the town perches on. Then we were once again up on top, with farmer’s green fields stretching into the distance. These faded into forests as we approached High Prairie.
After another interview and another tour of the town, I was smelling home, so we pointed the car in that direction. My husband perused the map and decided a route through Swan Hills would be the most scenic. We enjoyed the rolling hills there after the flat lands around High Prairie (I guess it’s called prairie for a reason), but were more delighted by the black bear that ran across the road just in front of the car. Deer were also in abundance, including the one that patiently watched me go by and then stepped slowly across the road (she must’ve learned to look both ways first).
And finally by about 9:00 at night we reached home, with the odometer reading just over twelve hundred kilometres for the trip.