This trip report is a random collection of impressions, ideas and photos based on my journal and recollections. There are no detailed GPS locations of camp sites, water temperatures or food/gear lists. There are numerous better qualified sources than this site for that information. I recommend the most excellent and recent book by Peter Jowett “Nahanni: The River Guide” which is packed with useful information on trip planning as well as what you see when on the river itself.
For years I had dreamed about the fabled Nahanni River...books such as “The Dangerous River” (R.M. Patterson), “The Nahanni Portfolio” (Pat and Rosemarie Cough) and Neil Harling’s “Nahanni: River of Gold” fed my imagination with images and tales of exploration and beauty. Finally, opportunity presented itself - a member of our canoe club who was located in Yellowknife suggested that maybe we should do something about it. As a result, six canoeists got together via email and discussed the feasibility of doing our own dream trip.
Originally I wanted to go for at least 3 or 4 weeks. The twin evils of time and money quickly reared their ugly heads, and threatened to torpedo any trip. Like many other canoeists of modest means and unsympathetic employers, it meant facing reality - it was going to be 2 weeks or no weeks. After ironing out the 2 weeks we could all get off, the serious planning began.
As we all lived in different cities, work schedules and time zones, email was invaluable. Menu planning was quickly allocated: each person would do food for 2 days. We compared notes and tried to avoid duplication of especially evening meals back to back. Everyone had their own gear but we would need to rent canoes and related accessories in Yellowknife.
One other aspect of our trip was slightly unusual: we opted to drive and from Yellowknife to Fort Simpson, instead flying. With Alex based in Yellowknife, we had access to his truck and canoe. It was cheaper for us to rent a car, have it sit unused in Fort Simpson for 10 day and drive back. As well, we thought it would be interesting to see the country and it fit well into our timetable.
My trip starts in Toronto....read on