Imagine the “land of the midnight sun”, a country of diverse land forms, wild flowers and new delights to the eye, every day. Imagine rivers that flow through these lands in a sinuous manner, serving as a conveyor to move you from one delightful experience to the next. Imagine rewarding hikes, with a range of distances to choose, to pick the one that’s right for you.
You will be accompanied by your knowledgeable guides who share their love for the area, and with them you unfold the mysteries and experience the beauty of the north. You will wake up each morning in your well equipped camp, not knowing specifically what will happen but knowing it will be memorable and will inspire stories to tell your friends for years to come.
Watch our 3-minute Tatshenshini Journey video to get a sense of what you will experience on one of our river journeys.
Your Journey Begins
After meeting your guides and fellow travellers at the rendezvous point, you will make your way to the river. This usually requires a charter aircraft to fly in, out or both. The flights take you over truly spectacular wilderness. Have your camera handy for the flight! Past participants have stepped off the plane declaring that “if the trip finished now, I would have my money’s worth!”
Relax, You’re in Great Hands
Our talented wilderness guides deliver our trips with an authenticity that mirrors the unspoiled wilderness we travel through. Their passion for living, learning and teaching regional geology, wildlife and history is matched only by their sense of adventure, paddling skills, and leadership acumen. Most importantly, our guides are fun to be with, and put their heart and soul into every trip. All of our guides are certified in wilderness first aid and swiftwater rescue, and we employ a demanding in-house training and mentorship program.
Each day of your river journey will be memorable and will inspire stories to tell your friends for years to come. Our river journeys are truly multi-activity. Your time on the river each day will vary, leaving plenty of time for other pursuits such as hiking, fishing, and photography. Many trips have one or more “lay-over” days when we stay put and enjoy camping two nights in a particular spot.
Camping on the river is one of the great joys of expedition rafting and canoeing. You can expect all of the comforts of car camping, but you’ll be miles away from crowded campgrounds—and the soothing sounds of the nearby river will lull you to sleep under the stars every night.
Food & Meals
On our river journeys you can expect to eat as well or better than you do at home—and we do the cooking! We take special care in preparing nutritious and delicious meals for all of our trips. You’ll be fed meal after meal of impossibly fresh food – pork tenderloin, tabouli, cheesecake, cinnamon rolls – all prepared with a portable camp kitchen and open fire.
View Northern Wildlife & Plants
The North is rich with some of the most abundant and diverse plant and wildlife anywhere in the world. Each of our river adventures is scheduled to allow for maximum opportunities to see the plants & wildlife of that particular area. The north is rich in wildlife even if it is not readily seen. Our guides will do their best to point out animal “signs” such as tracks, scat, bear scratching posts, etc. as they come across them. The interpretation of natural history is a significant focus on our trips. We do our best to impart our knowledge of the geology, wildlife and prehistory of the area.
We describe our guests as “salt of the earth people”, interesting people who enjoy wilderness, adventure, respect the environment and fellow travellers – and usually come with some great stories of their own. They come alone, in couples, as a family or in groups. They range in age from 8 to 80 years (most are surprised to hear the average age is 57). They love natural beauty. Some love the camaraderie, others seek a quiet experience, and our guides are able to ensure that all are satisfied.
On our regular trips we keep our guide to guest ratio 1-4, to provide the best value for the optimum quality of experience. This is the best for our category in the Canadian north.
The hardest part of most trips is saying goodbye…
Some Frequently Asked Questions
All canoe participants should be healthy, reasonably fit and comfortable in and around water. Our raft expeditions have no exceptional requirements. Previous experience is not a requirement for many of the trips. The individual itineraries have specific comments in this regard. On all expeditions, we provide many hiking opportunities from one hour to all day. Participation is entirely up to you – you can lead the group, go only part way, go for a short stroll or choose to relax in camp and read a book. All participants are required to fill out a medical form for their own health and safety. A good general level of fitness is recommended; the trip will be much more enjoyable if you are in good physical condition. Most hiking will not be overly strenuous but we will be walking up and down hills. We recommend regular exercise prior to the trip such as walking, swimming, or participating in a fitness program.
On our trips we make it easy and comfortable. The toilet in every campsite is established in a private location and well away from the camp and any water. In the “Arctic” where there are no trees, we set up a tent that works both to keep you out of the bugs and to provide you with the necessary privacy. Relax! There is a seat, just like at home.
Do you get up in the middle of the night? No problem. Many of our seasoned travelers have opted to bring a container that they can use as a “chamber pot” in the comfort of their tent. A wide mouthed container and lid, such as a yogurt container works well.
Mosquito populations vary according to temperature, rainfall, and wind. Generally, we are able to camp in places that have few or none of the pesky critters. However, on occasion (particularly in early season), try as we might, we may be unable to avoid them. Be prepared with mosquito repellent and a head net, or better yet – a “bug jacket” with screened hood. On the high arctic tundra, “bug jackets or shirts” are an absolute necessity. If you cannot locate one please call us for assistance.
Weather conditions in northern mountainous environments range widely between extremes. The only fact you can bet on with mountain weather is that it can change instantly. This means that although we may enjoy fine weather we must also be prepared for changes. On any given day you may experience sunny, hot, dry weather that is interrupted by periods of rain or on rare occasions – even snow. In general, the weather is moderate with average temperatures of 16°C (62°F) in July, and 14°C (56°F) in August. When packing, please be prepared for heat waves and cold spells. For tundra river trips, please refer to the specific notes in the itinerary regarding weather. Remember, as mere mortals your guides have no control over the weather. This may seem obvious but it is surprising how many well-educated people will look for someone to blame for poor weather. The best we can do as guides and outfitters is to suggest proper clothing, and we have done this in the equipment list. Please call for any clarification you may require.
There is no doubt about it – there are bears in the woods. However, the chances of encountering a “spoiled bear” is unlikely, as we travel in remote and unpeopled areas. Our attitude is that bear sightings are a special privilege… a sign of the wilderness at its finest. Where there is a greater chance of seeing bears, such as along the Tatshenshini/Alsek river corridor, we take additional precautions to avoid bear encounters. On all trips we promote cleanliness and a high standard of camp management regarding garbage and human waste, as it is crucial to minimize bear/human habituation and the potential of creating spoiled bears. We also watch for “sign” i.e. tracks and bear trails and do our best to avoid high bear-use areas. In the spirit of our philosophy, we feel that because this is the bears’ territory, we need to take responsibility for being the intruders. Your safety is always our first concern, our guides will be equipped with bear spray. Our greatest advantage in most situations is our strength in numbers and a knowledge of the country/bear biology which helps us prevent a situation before it happens.
Various trips place different demands upon guest participation. Here is an explanation of the differences:
- 2-Person Canoes. The traditional 16’ and 17’ canoe. Previous canoe experience is an asset. Physical fitness and comfort on and in moving water are important. Refer to the specific trip itinerary for additional skills that may be required for your trip.
- Raft. The safe and stable expedition raft is ideal for those who desire their hands free to photograph or travel in a more relaxed fashion. The guide maneuvers the raft with oars and paddling by participants is completely optional.
- Inflatable Kayaks. On some rivers we bring along inflatable kayaks which can be rented for $125.
We limit our season to the best time to experience each river. So you can’t go wrong with any of the dates we list. Feel free to select the one that best matches your holiday time. All our Arctic journeys are timed to take advantage of the wildlife, birds and flowers. On the Nahanni and Tatshenshini Rivers, the early season trips have 24 hours of daylight, while the late season trips often get northern lights. If you are looking for flowers and birds, pick an early season expedition. Pick a time to suit your interests!