The Frozen North

One person’s comment about Ice Highways in the frozen north of Canada and the US:

I think I saw a program on TV about using the iced-over rivers and bays as “Ice Highways”. I was scared witless by the mere idea of these immensely brave drivers of eighteen-wheelers take this overwhelmingly dangerous trip during Nov and Jan (not sure of this) taking supplies to outfit the towns along the way.

That description of the ice highway is accurate, although everyday folk with trucks, vans, cars drive it, too. And by everyday folks, I mean hardy, sturdy folk who live in the far north and know what they’re doing. It is advised that you check in with the RCMP (Royal Canadian Mounted Police) before you leave and let them know where you’re coming from, where you’re going, and when. It’s also advised that you bring four spare tires and do this only if you have 4 wheel drive, tire chains, and lots of extra blankets and food.

My sister, her hubby, their daughter 11 and son 2 months did it in 2001 in their pickup truck. She tells stories of people who get stuck in large ice potholes. My brother in law used to drive truck along the ice highway and has lots and lots of stories to tell.

Where my sister and her family lived, they had to move up by barge – the town is on a major river – the Mackenzie – and also have their groceries shipped up that way, as its far cheaper than buying everything at the local grocery store, where a gallon of milk sells for $13, a pound of bananas is $5, and a whole watermelon was going for $50.

The grocery stores receive their shipments via airplane – highly perishables – or barge in summer, or truck via ice highways in winter. It’s all true.

Incidentally, I was born in a town like this in northern Manitoba. Winter highways only. The locals get used to it and treat it like it’s not that big a deal.

When I was up there in the summer of 2001, I took pictures of the winter highway signs – on poles in the middle of cleared grassy strips (that portion of the highway that stays on land). And just for an extra bit of information, the Canadian government gives tax incentives for people who live in northern areas – as a bit of an offset against the substantially higher cost of living and incentive to work up there.

Author: LMAshton
Howdy! I'm a beginner artist, hobbyist photographer, kitchen witch, wanderer by nature, and hermit introvert. This is my blog feed. You can find my fediverse posts at

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