The short and narrow slope descended sharply down the bank of the Mackenzie River. Deep, compact snow rested heavily upon its many layers of suffocated ice. Upon all this whiteness a few pallid tracks—marked by the sparse vehicles that had ventured down before us—faintly showed the way. The lane then bent gently to the right, leading to the hardened icy surface of the Mackenzie. It is there that it met one of the continent’s longest rivers and one of the Northwest Territories’ most important roadways. Born from the waters of Great Slave Lake, the Mackenzie travelled for 1,738 kilometers to form a massive labyrinthine delta and disorderly disperse in the Beaufort Sea. The river had been cast under the spell of seasonal ice for almost 100 days by then. Congealment had given birth to an ice-road network that sinuously contorted its way through the meandering delta, reaching the otherwise–isolated communities of Aklavik and Tuktoyaktuk. It was toward Aklavik that we were driving.