This part of the trip we spent some time exploring Wood Buffalo National Park https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wood_Buffalo_National_Park it is the largest National Park of Canada. This is the link to the Parks site https://www.pc.gc.ca/en/pn-np/nt/woodbuffalo/decouvrir-discover The road that travels through the park I will say the first part ends before Fort Smith and the second part goes out of Fort Smith in to Alberta, so it makes Fort Smith a perfect spot to day trip out of. I am also wrapping all of the animal sightings and features we discovered in this one blog.
They also grow the Buffalo quite large here are two big daddy buffalo
I have to say I really believe size matters in the Northwest Territories and Alberta. We haven’t begun to come close to exploring the whole park but did drive out to the Salt Plains Viewpoint https://www.pc.gc.ca/en/pn-np/nt/woodbuffalo/activ/2015act6 and you can see forever. A photo does not do it justice but I tried then you can see from where the viewing platform is how expansive the plains are . We were lucky enough to actually see a black bear run across the plains dodging in and out of the clusters of trees using the viewers on the platform. We did not do the walk down the path but were able to watch a few hikers attempt . We told them how close they were to a bear though, it did not phase them. Also along the 11 km (6.8 miles) dirt road is the turn off for the other end of a 4×4 trail it is only 54 km (33.5 miles) Roy discovered yesterday the 13th. I have to say he hasn’t lost all his marbles this trip.
Now back to the buffalo. The first day we are greeted to some courtship in a sand hole that the buffalo actually stayed for us not camera shy here. Although I think she might be saying not now. I would have to say there were about 10 to 14 in this herd just standing or laying around. The life not a care in the world. It is quite a sight to see how skittish these large animals are because they do not see a bunch of human traffic. This first group of buffalo was where we encountered Big Daddy number 1. Yes I do think his butt is big in this picture. More of that first group. There were not many large groups of buffalo we did see a few large single males. I think Roy was having an intense mind meld with this guy, or they were trying to compare beard lentghs. I wasn’t going to ask. I did take a closer picture and discovered that this was another big boy just hanging by himself. For the record Roy has the better beard but Big Daddy 2 has the better head of hair even if it looks like a mohawk. We also saw a group of three buffalos on the way out of the park it was Eenie Meenie Miney … Mo buffalo. Here you see what happens when I accidently get the door mirror in the picture. He is charging the mirror my story and sticking to it
The park is also the world’s largest dark sky preserve every year they have a festival in the park usually the last weekend in August. http://www.tawbas.ca/ I do still have my eye to the sky in the hopes I will see them this year.
We drove into the second part of the park we stopped at the Salt River Day Use Area and saw a golden eagle perched on a log looking for dinner no luck at capturing this massive bird on film. We’ve seen two in the wild and have yet to catch them on film. That is another one for the bucket list, along with the whooping crane. The park has areas that the whooping cranes nest and raise their young. I was able to work on more of my landscape layouts by catching the reflection of the cliffs in the river I took the shot from the bridge.
There is one campground in the park that can handle RVs it is called Pine Lake and is also the area where the dark skies event is held. I had fun exploring this whole area of wilderness with the small towns along the way.