Plan to meet your guides and fellow travellers at the Hudson Bay Lodge in Smithers at 7 p.m., where you’ll be able to ask any final questions and be given river bags and any equipment you may have rented from us.
Smithers is nestled in a beautiful mountain location, reminiscent of an Austrian ski town. If you plan to arrive early you can enjoy hiking or mountain biking on the local trails.
Meeting time is 10 a.m., allowing everyone the opportunity to pick up any last items that may not have found their way into your suitcases. We will take a scenic two- hour van ride to the beginning of the Babine where it flows out of Nilkitkwa Lake. A salmon counting weir foreshadows the unique wildlife experience ahead, as leaping salmon make their way past to the spawning beds.
Following lunch and a safety briefing, we’ll embark. The first few days are gentle and very relaxed as we enjoy the late summer weather. On the upper stretches of the river there are a few remote little lodges, which cater to fishermen who are after the much-sought steelhead run that the Babine is renowned for. It’s always good enjoyment watching them work their rods.
Nearly 100 grizzlies are said to live in the Babine valley. Their life cycle is closely linked to the spawning salmon, as are the eagles, kingfishers, gulls and osprey that we also hope to see.
Camp will be in the vicinity of Nilkitkwa River. Here we’ll talk of and dream about the adventure to come.
Today the current begins to pick up and we are gently introduced to the whitewater. In fact, every day on the Babine the rapids gradually build in size. We’ll have time through the trip for fishing and photography, as well as excellent fossil hunting. Camp will be in the vicinity of Thomlinson Creek.
There are beautiful canyons all created from different rock masses and every day there will be different river features.
Canyons greet us, along with exciting rapids. We descend and wind our way through narrow gorges and keep our eyes alert for wildlife. Many eye-catching features adorn the canyons, including waterfalls. Deep in the canyons, we’ll stop at Waterfall Camp for a marvelous evening in a beautiful setting.
The whitewater builds in excitement. One of the highlights occurs when we stop upstream of the infamous Grizzly Drop. We cautiously approach in hopes of a reward. Here we often observe the bears scooping salmon from the river and cavorting in the rapids as they fish. Fortunately, they’re more interested in the salmon than they are in us! Later we “thread the needle” in slot-like canyons.
Our last miles on the Babine River will bring us to some very exciting rapids created by constrictions. We may see some First Nations people fishing for salmon as we pass by the old village site at the narrows of Kisegas Canyon. The canyon is a straight flush with some stretches only letting us just past. On the lower reaches we watch carefully for ancient First Nations petroglyphs.
On the last portion of the trip, the Babine makes a beautiful confluence with the Skeena (a sizable river by this point). The Skeena is wider and more powerful with some fun rapids that are very different in character from what was experienced on the Babine.
As we approach the native community of Kispiox, we start to see homes and farms. After a look at Kispiox’s world famous totem poles we continue on to K’san historical First Nation village, yet another highlight of the trip. Here our trip ends and we are transported back to Smithers.
Following showers, the group will meet for a final farewell dinner in a local restaurant (not included).
You may fly home any time this day (with a load of memories of eagles and grizzlies!)
The Babine River in British Columbia, Canada
Whitewater, Grizzlies & Bald Eagles
The Babine River in British Columbia has been described as an “intimate” ribbon of whitewater as it flows through fern-filled old growth forests and narrow canyons.
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