Thursday, July 19, 2007
River of Gold ... River of Dreams
The South Nahanni River is situated in the Mackenzie range of the Rockie Mountains in Canada's North West Territories. It is considered to be one of one of the world's great rivers with a "blend of scenic grandeur, wilderness adventure and solitude. Tumultuous rapids and meandering calm waters have cut deeply into the Mackenzie Mountains, creating three towering canyons and Virginia Falls, twice the height of Niagara" - Canadian Heritage River Systems.
I have planned to canoe down this river for about 10 years now. It was on last summer's canoe trip down the Spanish River in Ontario when my friend and paddling partner suggested that he wanted to canoe the Nahanni in his 60th year. I told him with little hesitation to count me in.
The planning for this trip began with the decision to self-guide. Rather than choose a an adventure outfitter, we decided to try to save money by getting our own group together. All started out well when we had a potential 6 member group; this unfortunately fell apart when two of our experienced paddlers had to withdraw for health reasons. From that point on we have struggled to sign up enough members to maintain the safety of the group. After having several people sign on, only to withdraw for a variety of reasons, we finally ended up with five people. This has meant that we had to shorten the trip, missing the most challenging part of the river from the moose ponds to Island Lakes.
Some of the logistics which we had to work out were:
- getting ourselves to Fort Simpson where we arrange to fly to the river
- assigning who brings what gear to keep us fed and sheltered for 3 weeks
- making sure we have the right numbers of non-perishable meals
- taking the right amount of gear and not shorting ourselves of necessities
- arranging for emergency communications (Satellite phone)
- Glen and I decided to fly to Edmonton from Toronto and then drive for two days to Fort Simpson!
We fly out of Toronto on Thursday, July 19 to Edmonton Alberta. From Edmonton we drive 1500 km to Fort Simpson to save some money. Two days on a questionable road. Yikes!