The Canyons from Virginia Falls
For those with limited holiday time, this adventure allows you to experience the Nahanni's Grand Canyons and many of the features for which the river is renowned.
Nahanni River - Virginia Falls to Blackstone Landing, 7 river days: approximately 240 km (150 miles) with an elevation drop of 396 m (1,300 ft)
Region: NWT Rendezvous point: Fort Simpson (from Yellowknife or Whitehorse)
Craft Description: Raft
Prerequisite: Beginners - Our raft expeditions are designed for people of any skill level including novices.
Day 1: Once everyone has arrived there will be a chance for last-minute questions concerning clothing, gear, packing and other details. Those requiring our river bags will have time to transfer gear from their own bags. You can leave unrequired items in our trailer.
After loading our supplies and gear into the aircraft we begin one of the major highlights of the adventure - the upriver flight. Flying over the majestic Nahanni Range and Ram Plateau, a visually stunning panorama unfolds in front of our eyes. You want to be sure to have your camera on your lap with lots of film! Past participants have stepped off the plane declaring that "if the trip finished now, I would have my moneys worth!".
Please note that under certain conditions (weather, forest fire, plane availability and upriver conditions), it may be necessary to make our upriver flight soon after arrival. On the other hand, occasionally we have found ourselves waiting for safe flying conditions. In any event, we will have supper and find ourselves camped in Fort Simpson or on the shores of the Nahanni.
If we are required to overnight in Fort Simpson you are welcome to camp or take a hotel room (at your own cost).
Day 2: At Virginia Falls, twice the height of Niagara, we complete the portage around the falls, inflate and load the rafts and head downstream. Everyone pitches in to carry what they can and we take as long as we need to complete the task. Camp is finally made for the evening below Wrigley Creek.
Day 3: We drift past the confluence of the Flat River and enter Third Canyon, the walls of which
loom 1,200m above the river. We camp halfway through this canyon near The Gate.
Day 4: Paddling through the Big Bend and Second Canyon and past Headless Creek we will find ourselves camped in the vicinity of Deadmen Valley. The view includes the Tlogotsho Plateau and Prairie Creek Canyon. It was here, on the shores of Headless Creek, that the bodies of the Mcleod brothers were found in 1905 and the legend of the Headless Valley was born. Downriver at Sheaf Creek, R.M. Patterson and his partner, Gordon Mathews, wintered over in 1928. Patterson later wrote Dangerous River, one of the most eloquent accounts of the early days on the river. Around the campfire, we will read from his book.
Day 5: We start the day by challenging the big waves of George's Riffle and enter First Canyon, the deepest of all the canyons. Camp will be made at Lafferty's Riffle.
Day 6: After the waves of Lafferty's Riffle, we take a quick dip in Kraus Hot Springs before bidding farewell to the canyons and entering the braided channels of The Splits.
Day 7: Making an early start from our camp in The Splits, we will rendezvous with a power boat from the native community of Nahanni Butte. Stopping in the village we will have an opportunity to see this traditional community. Later in the day we will arrive at Blackstone Landing, where we will camp for the final night and enjoy a warm shower.
Day 8: We will be greeted by our van and driver and transported through the aspen-forested roadway back to Fort Simpson to meet the homeward airline flight.