Ever since I moved to Pittsburgh, I’ve felt like I’m on the boundary of a great frontier. I am a stones throw from Cleveland, Columbus, Cincinnati, Louisville, Niagara Falls, etc. I had a hankering for barbeque and found out it is only 12 hours to Kansas City. Anyways, with Christmas around the corner, I started to think “It was only 4 hours to Niagara Falls, which means I’m only 4 hours from Canada, I wonder how far north I can drive, can I drive to the North Pole? How freaking cool would it be to drive to the North Pole, plus, I’ve always wanted to see the Aurora Borealis. It is 2014, there should be a way to drive up there, I turn to Google to figure this out. Take a look at the map below, the big black circle was provided as context. Theoretically, the distance across the diameter should remain somewhat constant (it isn’t a perfect circle), so my distance from Pittsburgh to the Polar Bear Provincial Park is roughly the same distance from Pittsburgh to Denver.
I took a look at the Polar Bear Provincial Park and there’s Polar Bears there! It isn’t quite the North Pole, but there are seriously Polar Bears roaming around the joint! The only issue is, you cannot get there by car, fly in on a plane. In fact, roads are pretty rare up north, here’s another view that shows a couple of the roads.
You can see Route 11, it gets a quarter of the way there, but not even close to Polar Bear Park. Driving to the North Pole is going to be harder than expected. I nearly gave up on this endeavor until I found out the greatest road ever, James Bay Road. Take a look at this!
This road goes way up north, right across the bay from Polar Bear Park. According to Google Maps, it is about a 24 hour drive. There’s a website dedicated to the road, check it out: http://www.jamesbayroad.com/
The road is actually paved, primarily for some hydroelectric workers who built some giant damn way up north. People up there are called Cree and speak French. Tons of Native Canadian people too (Native Americans in Canada). The website claims that the ride up north is actually pretty boring, no mountains, no twists or turns, just tons of lakes, rivers, and silence.
This sounds like a perfect experience for me, a kayak, and a fishing pole. There is not cell phone service, there are lots of bugs, there are not many gas stations, there are bears, there are not many lodges or places for food, there are wolves. I am putting this on my 2016 calendar. I think I try to make it to the top, Chisasibi, Quebec in two days. Then, enjoy my time, working my way back in 5 to 7 days. Try to make the whole trip in less than 10 days.
If I do this trip in the summer or early Fall, the temperatures will be plenty warm.