Hay River Here We Come


It was the second weekend in July and I felt the need for a weekend roadtrip. So did my friend Ros. Where to go….? According to my mini-jobette at CBC North, I am supposed to have my finger on “the pulse of the arts, North of 60”, so a festival was in order. Obvious choice, Hay Days in Hay River NT.

Hay River is a small town of about 3000 souls on the south shore of Great Slave Lake…about a 5 hour drive. Perfect mini road trip. Even better, we could spend the night 300 km down the road in Fort Providence at my next door neighbours’ new house.

So off we went, dawdling along. Photo ops were everywhere. Just getting out of Yellowknife was a photo op. You got yer bison, yer forest fires, yer bridges and yer ferries. What more could a photographer want??

Hay River was even better. We were there ostensibly to take in the festival, but of course, I was obsessed with derelict boats and buildings, so spent much time along the docks of the mighty Hay River. Camped at the Territorial campground on the beach of Great Slave Ocean south. I had forgotten what a sandy beach was like. Looking out, I felt like I could be in PEI…nothing but water….no islands, no visible land, just gentle waves breaking over sandbars.

On day 2, we even outwitted the fancy sound system in the car by barking verbal orders at it. Music blasting, we headed home, back to the land of pink granite. I was amazed at how much I found to photograph along the road. Maybe I am getting over my water obsession. Excellent mini roadtrip.

View from the middle of the Frank's Channel Bridge near Behchoko. Very scary spot to stand. The bridge is narrow and rusty and I feared decapitation by one of the big trucks. The things one does for "art".

Where are we....the U.S. Southwest or Fort Providence, NT?

Our infamous “bridge to nowhere”…north side of the Mackenzie river.


                                                                  South side of said bridge

                              Part of Hay River’s commercial fishing fleet.

Fish for sale in the West Channel, home to many of Hay River’s commercial fishermen.
One of the many fishing boats sitting on the dock in Hay River. The fishing industry is slowly dying.
The beach is lovely. Runs along the mouth of the Hay River where it empties into Great Slave Lake.

                 What’s out there anyway? It’s like looking out into the ocean.
A sad sight . An old NTCL tug rusts away in the Old Town of Hay River. Imagine where it has been.
A little wooden tugboat parked in the willows.
Well known fiddler Richard Lafferty was one of the dozens of musicians providing entertainment at the festival.
An amazing collection of concrete statues greets visitors to the West Channel. Do I really need a garden gnome?
This fellow had driven his Harley from Ottawa in 6 days. Said this was the first sunshine he had seen!
Need a haircut? Brian’s mobile barber shop, pictured here near Fort Providence, might be just the ticket.
OK. Now what?
Really, somebody should paint this bridge!!
Wild strawberries were everywhere….little miniature bursts of tasty perfection.

About franhurcombphotography

I'm a photographer and writer based in Yellowknife, NWT, Canada....at 62.5 degrees north latitude. I've been taking photos across the north for over 35 years. Some of my blog content is old....most of it new. My style seems to change on a regular basis, which keeps life interesting. Enjoy.
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5 Responses to Hay River Here We Come

  1. Rosalind Mercredi says:

    Looks better than I remember it. Thank goodness for photos

  2. Chris Holloway says:

    Great stuff as usual Fran.

  3. Mmmm Strawberries… even on the run to and from Ft Simpson’s’ “Open Sky” the strawberries were out…

  4. Randy says:

    Do you have more pictures of those two old tug boats?I”ve been looking for an old tugboat to ship to Arizona,restore and put next to a small take out shop as a sitting area and play area for kids.I would like to restore boat as I’m a retired carpenter and machinest by trade.If I could get more info on thease two boats I would be so happy!As it has been so far when I find a old tugboat it has already ben distroyed.
    My email–haunomon@gmail.com Thank you much.Randy.

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