The following is a tentative agenda and has been designed with much thought to capitalize on the most scenic and exciting parts of the river, while making time on other sections. Your guides will adjust the schedule to make the best use of river and weather conditions.
Trip length: 13 river days
Day 0 ARRIVING IN INUVIK
This is the first date listed for your trip.
Your journey north from your home will be a refreshing departure. You will fly over the largest expanse of wilderness in the world with stunning views on cloudless days, pass through quieter and friendlier airports, meet friendlier and less harried service personnel and generally begin to immerse yourself in the wilderness experience that is about to unfold. Arrive in Inuvik and make your way to your hotel. We will meet at the Arctic Chalet at 8 pm for the pre-trip meeting. Please note that hotel costs and meals while in
Inuvik are not included in the trip fee. We will answer last-minute questions and prepare to depart the next day.
Day 1 FLIGHT ACROSS THE TUNDRA
We will meet in the hotel lobby at 8 a.m. following breakfast (not covered). Via Twin Otter, we will fly east over the unique tundra ecosystem. We may see frost polygons from the air and will begin to get a feel for this diverse and solitary landscape. We will assemble the canoes and prepare our campsite. This spot offers ideal hiking opportunities and a chance to catch a glimpse of the Horton River’s canyons.
Day 2 DISCOVERING THE HORTON
We embark on the river and the Horton’s broad valley stretches out before us. Trees appear only in the very bottom of the valley and along the incoming tributaries. You are now truly immersed in the barren lands. Our guides will unfold the secrets of viewing the land in traditional ways.
Day 3 & 4 WILD FLOWERS AND WILDLIFE
Days will be spent exploring the river and the land. Icy veins in the river bank indicate the layer of permafrost that lies underneath the tundra. The treeless tundra offers ideal hiking. There have been active wolf dens here in the past; with some luck they may be occupied again. The river valley is home to many raptors such as the golden eagle and the gyrfalcon.
Day 5-9 HIKING AND MORE WILDLIFE
In this section of classic rolling tundra, three of the four days will be spent paddling, while one will be a layover, giving opportunity for hiking and resting up. The Horton now flows north, parallel to Franklin Bay on the Arctic Ocean, which is about 30 km to the east. Often a cool wind blows off the ocean, which may require that you pull out that extra sweater. This section of the river provides opportunity to see grizzly bears, wolves, muskoxen and caribou. If we are lucky, migrating groups of caribou from the Bluenose Caribou herd can be seen (estimated population in 2013 was 68,000). Their annual migratory path takes them northward in the hills between the Horton and Franklin Bay.
Day 10 BAD LANDS
The Horton River begins to slow in this section, as it nears the coast. The badlands and the geology of the Smoking Hills become evident, with a variety of colours and textures. These hills make for intriguing hikes.
Day 11 SMOKING HILLS
Some large meanders in the river are navigated during today’s paddle, an indication that the Horton is an old river. We will likely find ourselves camped at the bottom of a large meander which puts us within a 3 km hike of the ocean.
Day 12 ARCTIC OCEAN VIEW!
This day we will hike from the river overland in search of active vents in the Smoking Hills. Also, with some luck we may be able to see Beluga whales in Franklin Bay. It is possible that Franklin Bay may be covered in pack ice even in early July. As always, we won’t stop looking for the caribou on their migration north; they could be anywhere!
Day 13 ANOTHER SPECTACULAR FLIGHT
The aircraft will pick us up and return us to Inuvik. There may be time to explore the highlights of town after a shower. We will meet for a farewell supper (not included) and reminisce of tundra memories.
Day 14 HOME BOUND
This is the last date listed for your trip.
After goodbyes and a last look around Inuvik, we will head for home with a cargo of fond and spectacular memories.
Please note: The above is a tentative itinerary and has been designed with much though to capitalize on the most scenic and exciting parts of the river, while making time on other sections. Your guide will adjust the schedule to make the best use of river and weather conditions. Meals and pre- and post-trip accommodation in Inuvik are your responsibility – the cost is not included in the trip fee. We have attached a list of Inuvik hotels. Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner and Snacks are included from the pre-trip meeting until the final river meal. Any other meals off the river are your responsibility.