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Traversing the Nahanni River by Canoe (Expedition)


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Home Forums Campfire Editor’s Roundtable Traversing the Nahanni River by Canoe (Expedition)

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  • #3656852
    Backpacking Light
    Admin

    @backpackinglight

    Locale: Rocky Mountains

    Emylene VanderVelden’s detailed account of an expedition down the Nahanni River by canoe:

    #3656856
    Logan Kidwell
    BPL Member

    @logan

    Locale: Florida

    Looks like an awesome trip! Thanks for sharing your adventures!

    #3657191
    Karen
    BPL Member

    @granolagirlak

    In the prairie creek photo what is the white material on the ground? Surely not snow? What were the dates of your trip? It looks like mostly class 1 paddling except for the figure eight and a few side currents; are there no rock gardens? Looks like a really awesome trip. The Nahanni has been on my “wish” list, not my bucket list, because it is so intimidating. But maybe it’s really not?

    Thanks for your great trip report!

    #3657192
    Karen
    BPL Member

    @granolagirlak

    Those aren’t blue herons, they are Sandhill Cranes.

    #3657458
    Warren
    BPL Member

    @icensnow

    Locale: New England, USA

    Enjoyed your report.  Thanks for taking us along.

    #3657572
    Eric Blumensaadt
    BPL Member

    @danepacker

    Locale: Mojave Desert

    Great report and photos!

    As a canoeist and foamier ACA Moving Water rated instructor I have a great appreciation for the Nahanni River, the canoeist’s “Ultima Thule”.  This river figured prominently in Bill Mason’s books “Path of the Paddle” and “Song of the Paddle”.

    And BTW, I think many people do not appreciate how much “intestinal fortitude”it takes to do a trip of this magnitude. I congratulate you on making this epic trip.

    My own eastern Canadian wilderness trips, Ontario (French and Magnetawan Rivers) and Quebec  (Kipawa Game Preserve) have shown me what it feels like to be cut off from the possibility of immediate rescue. These trips were in the days before satellite rescue beacons like the SPOT Gen, 2 I now carry.

    It’s great that BPL has published this article of true wilderness canoeing on a river where both your canoeing skills and your gear must be well sorted out.

    #3657732
    Emylene VanderVelden
    BPL Member

    @emylene-vandervelden

    The white material is a white clay and sand mixture. There was however snow in the upper regions of the area the first day of the trip and the Bruces, Donna, June, Ken and Chris had snow throughout their trip because they left a couple days later. The storms we missed were a blessing.

    #3657742
    Emylene VanderVelden
    BPL Member

    @emylene-vandervelden

    Eric, I am glad you enjoyed the read. Going out for a trip like this is a very different mindset certainly. With this river, even with a GPS locator it could be days or weeks before help arrives. Search and Rescue is run by a small troupe of Parks Canada officers most of which are at least a planes ride away and the Canadian military also a good plane ride away. Planes here can obviously be grounded for days by my experience.

    A good case of hypothermia or shock could be fatal much sooner than help arrives. Unfortunately, I think the fact we can summon help has lead to some outdoor idiocy. Near my home here we have people in shirt sleeves falling into glacial lakes and almost or actually drowning because they ignorantly assume either it’s a nice calm lake and/or that someone will rescue them. Help can be hours away in remote areas. And seeing other backpackers, hikers, canoeists etc. doesn’t make you any safer it puts other, possibly inexperienced, outdoor users at risk if you make a mistake and they attempt to rescue you.

    #3664199
    Ken Larson
    BPL Member

    @kenlarson

    Locale: Western Michigan

    Awesome trip something you will remember for many years to come…Thanks

    #3664614
    Paul Leavitt
    BPL Member

    @paleavitt1

    Locale: Midwest

    Looks like a fantastic adventure.  Congratulations on planing and executing such a feat.  Thanks for sharing adventures.

    #3677076
    Emylene VanderVelden
    BPL Member

    @emylene-vandervelden

    @granolagirlak It depends on the time of year you do the trip and if you do it from the Rabbit Kettles or Virginia Falls. The water was very high during our trip which makes it less challenging for sure, it was not a typical year that way. Doing the trip from the Rabbit Kettles for sure includes boulder gardens.

    #3677106
    Chad Lorenz
    BPL Member

    @chadl

    Locale: Teton Valley, Wydaho

    Amazing trip and fun to read. You brought back lots of good memories. We went in via the Little Nahanni in 2015 to climb in the Cirque, and got to end our trip with the famous canyons of the Nahanni. I doubt I’ll ever climb there again, but I’ve already been back the the Mackenzies for the whitewater: the river travel really steals the show in that area!

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