Traversing the Nahanni River by Canoe (Expedition)
Jul 7, 2020 at 1:01 pm #3656852Backpacking LightAdmin
@backpackinglightLocale: Rocky MountainsJul 7, 2020 at 1:38 pm #3656856Logan KidwellBPL Member
Looks like an awesome trip! Thanks for sharing your adventures!Jul 9, 2020 at 1:29 pm #3657191KarenBPL Member
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!Jul 9, 2020 at 1:35 pm #3657192KarenBPL Member
Those aren’t blue herons, they are Sandhill Cranes.Jul 10, 2020 at 6:22 pm #3657458WarrenBPL Member
@icensnowLocale: New England, USA
Enjoyed your report. Thanks for taking us along.Jul 11, 2020 at 1:52 pm #3657572Eric BlumensaadtBPL Member
@danepackerLocale: 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.Jul 12, 2020 at 9:48 am #3657732
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.Jul 12, 2020 at 10:21 am #3657742
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.Jul 14, 2020 at 12:40 pm #3664199Ken LarsonBPL Member
@kenlarsonLocale: Western Michigan
Awesome trip something you will remember for many years to come…ThanksJul 15, 2020 at 9:23 pm #3664614Paul LeavittBPL Member
Looks like a fantastic adventure. Congratulations on planing and executing such a feat. Thanks for sharing adventures.Sep 22, 2020 at 12:38 pm #3677076
@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.Sep 22, 2020 at 4:24 pm #3677106Chad LorenzBPL Member
@chadlLocale: 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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