Northern Alberta

Province

Grinning ear to ear and spraying a fan of water behind him, Josh Meredith skims past on a Sea-Doo. Nikki Hallows is close behind, cutting across his wake and goosing the engine to launch herself into the air. Engine hum fills the air as they rev around Baptiste Lake in Athabasca County, Alberta.

Dewy purple and magenta bursts of berries hang pendulously from the branches of eight-foot high Saskatoon bushes at Rocky Meadows Country Getaway, just outside Bonnyville. The Robson family walk the rows, filling buckets in a hushed, zen-like industriousness. 

As she bends over to look into the windows of the tiny church, Rosalie Subchuk sighs. Memories from her childhood have awoken on this visit through Plamondon, in Lac La Biche region, Alberta. Subchuk grew up on a farm in the 1960s and 70s not far from the hamlet.

We’ve seen a lot of changes since the pandemic hit. Changes to how we work, how we play, how we support local businesses and even how we “travel.” Virtual experiences are on the rise and that includes some pretty innovative experiences right here in Alberta. 

The Town of Vermilion, in partnership with ZenSeekers, has launched the first-ever #VermilionOnline. It’s a virtual festival showcasing experiences and businesses in the charming rural town of Vermilion, located just two hours east of Edmonton in central Alberta.

Using a length of coiled wire and a dead aspen branch, Lilyrose Meyers demonstrates how to set a snare between two spruce trees, their trunks littered with the telltale reddish-brown, loamy detritus of a squirrel midden. The low lying sun speckles the naked winter forest at her feet.

It’s incredible when you start to think about how many different activities involve water. That might be skiing or snowboarding in the winter, to paddle boarding, kayaking or flyboarding in the summer. What is Flyboarding? If you guessed snowboarding and flying, you are right. But now the question is, are you ready to try it?

Splitting cracks echo in the poplar woods around us, as John Ritchie and Winston and Christina Desjarlais break long sticks down to uniform size to begin the structural supports of a lean-to shelter. Using the sticks they form tripod supports, one on each end, to prop up the cross beam.

Ever eaten a fire ant? That’s the question Dragan Uzelac has posed to Maranda Cardinal and her friend Taissya Reutov. The two women pause, unsure if Uzelac is joking. He’s not.

Athabasca, AB - Glenda Gray points and shouts to get our attention as a pod of pelicans simultaneously takes flight from a nest of driftwood floating close to shore. For the next minute or so we are treated to soaring views of the birds in flight formation as Darcy Zelman guides the jetboat alongside.

An adventure therapist. Could that be your new career goal?