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PostPosted: February 24th, 2021, 9:20 pm 

Joined: November 10th, 2015, 10:23 am
Posts: 27

For our 40th birthday our group is looking for a Bucket List style canoe trip to the Yukon/NWT in 2022. Our initial thoughts are Nahanni, Snake or Wind rivers. Looking to seek advice from the experts of this form as to which river you would recommend us to choose.

Here is a little more information on our group:
- We have been tripping together for 15 years, mainly in Ontario/Quebec and have strong backcountry tripping experience.
- I would rate our white water skills as beginner/Intermediate as we have ran White River, Upper and Lower Missinabe, Dumoine, Coulonge, and the Noire Rivers but these were all when we were in our 20s. For the last 9 years we have been sticking to lake trips in Temagami, Killarney and other routes in that area.
- We are all in relatively good shape and are comfortable in the backcountry
- Looking for pristine beauty, remoteness, challenging (but not too challenging) WW and the opportunity for hiking.
- max trip length is 2 weeks

This will mostly likely be our one and only shot at this type of trip so we want to choose the best option given the above.

Any and all thoughts are welcome.


PostPosted: February 25th, 2021, 2:35 pm 

Joined: February 18th, 2005, 12:41 pm
Posts: 429
Location: Denver, CO
I have done the S Nahanni and Wind/Peel trips - look in the yukon trip reports for my 2016 trip down the wind and in the NWT trip reports folder for the Nahanni I did in 2018. they are both linked and have pictures at the bottom of both reports. you can get some ideas about campsites if nothing else, and perhaps a "feel" for the trips.

The Nahanni has much bigger rapids though, though the Wind was challenging enough, especially the start.

both trips are fly in so there is that expense - the wind is fly out; the Nahanni, you can leave a vehicle at Blackstone Terr park and paddle back to it, so only one flight for that.

in my opinion, the Wind or Snake is a much wilder trip than the way I did the Nahanni, and more varied scenery and hiking. If I were to do the Nahanni again, I would opt for a start down the Broken Skull river - people I talked to who did that saw much much more wildlife than I did - or at least start from Moose Ponds - more wildlife then I'd heard too.

you might think about doing the Yukon R as well - it is by far the cheapest trip and well worth doing - no rapids to speak of, and more wild seeming than you'd think. If/when I do the yukon again, I'll start down the Big Salmon.

Haven't done the Snake - that was going to be my 2020 trip until Covid hit and closed the border - Snake is tougher than the Wind, so better with an outfitter I'd think - The wind can be done on your own, and same for the Nahanni. The map book you get for the Nahanni from the Park is all the guide you need - unless you want a more deluxe set of meals and shorter days .

I didn't fish the Nahanni - didn't think it was worth it. I did fish the upper stretches of the wind and caught a lot of Grayling - lower down, fishing wasn't as good.

The wind is crystal clear for the most part and prettier water - the Nahanni is siltier, thus darker.

any of those trips are worthwhile bucket list


PostPosted: February 25th, 2021, 7:20 pm 

Joined: March 15th, 2018, 6:04 pm
Posts: 62
Location: Ottawa
Never ventured to YT/NWT, but the Mountain river is featured in Bill Mason’s ‘Song of the Paddle’ book.

PostPosted: March 9th, 2021, 9:39 am 

Joined: November 10th, 2015, 10:23 am
Posts: 27
Thanks everyone for your responses.

After speaking with both Black Feather and Canadian River Expeditions we have narrowed our search to either the Snake or Broken Skull Rivers. We feel that both of these options meet our main criteria of intermediate ww, opportunities for hiking, pristine remote wilderness and a true adventure.

I would appreciate anyone's thoughts on why one option would be better than the other? I understand its one of those "can't go wrong" situations but seeing as we will be investing a lot of time/money on this once in a lifetime trip, I want to try and ensure we are picking the best river for us.

Thank you,

PostPosted: March 9th, 2021, 10:16 am 
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Joined: June 23rd, 2001, 7:00 pm
Posts: 3465
Location: Newmarket, Ontario Canada
Just so that folks have access to the same info I posted in the Summer 21 thread down the road.

Jimmy... I have no opinion on these companies.. We have done a trip with Canoe North Expeditions in the past (A++). My suggestion is that no matter which you choose, make sure
(a) you use a travel agent with knowledge of the companies operations
(b) budget for and take CFAR (Cancel for Any Reason Insurance), and
(c) make sure that it meets all the criteria of the company.
We have did (a), but even with a very thorough investigation of the insurance we took (it was $400 less than CFAR), we received zilch after exhausting all of our appeals and had 11 months of frustration etc. etc. I had not even considered it for the expensive none-outfitter trips we have done (we have only done 1 Outiffitter trip), but I certainly will now. Those who had taken CFAR through the Outfitter's recommended travel agent had no difficulties at all and had refunds by the end of June.
BTW, we just sought legal advice, thinking to go to small claims court, and were told that there was no doubt that a judge would rule in our favour, that we were covered under the plan we took. The company was twisting their own words by the time they rejected the final appeal, but that the legal cost (much less the emotional cost and another year of fighting with them) would be more than the price of the entire trip, and the judge may not rule in favour of costs. If only we had spent the extra $400.... lesson learned.
With CFAR, if you cancel for any reason up to 7 days before the trip for one of the 21 listed reasons, OR if the trip provider cancels the trip at any time, you get 100% back. BUT if you cancel for another reason, it is 75% back. Still way better than anything else out there. Make sure you check for communicable disease exclusions.

Of course, we have credits for the Airlines, which it seems will eventually be cancelled with no refund. The CFAR would have covered that as well if you refuse the credit immediately (depending on what your plan says.. ask your travel agent, and he/she will be able to advise you of best course).

"I've never met a river I didn't like. The challenges are what we remember, and the experiences will make great memories for when I can pick up my paddle no more". Me

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