Jonathan and Kirti Walpole's 950 km canoe journey across Northwest Territories and Nunavut in July and August of 2014

Summer Plans

We should have started this blog long ago, but we've been too busy preparing for our trip! Hopefully, its better late than never.

We're hoping to leave our home in Portland, Oregon next week to start the long drive up to Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, Canada. From there we will be flying with Dave Oleson
in his Bush Hawk C-GROH float plane, out to the headwaters of the Hanbury River. Campbell Lake, to be precise. This flight will be a round trip distance of roughly a 500 miles. The wonderful thing about charter flights is that you get to pay for the journey the plane makes even though you may not be in it for half the distance!

Our canoe journey will take us the entire length of the Hanbury river, to where it meets the Thelon River. We will then descend the Thelon river, traverse several very large lakes, and then descend the Thelon river some more, until we reach Baker Lake (Qamani'tuaq). Baker Lake is in Nunavut, 200 miles inland from Hudson Bay. This should be just far enough inland to keep hungry polar bears away! Baker Lake is home to eleven Inuit groups and is the only inland community in the Canadian Arctic.

We will fly out of Baker Lake at the end of our journey, and return to Yellowknife to pick up our car for the long drive home. The commercial flight at the end of our trip, and the long charter flight at the beginning, dictate that we will be using a Pakcanoe - a collapsible canoe that can be carried internally on a small plane, and as standard luggage on commercial flights. Much of the past week has been spent preparing our new Pakcanoe 170 for the rigors of this long expedition. We will post more about this later.

Our route cuts right through the center of the Thelon Wildlife Sancuary, which at over 20,000 square miles is one of the largest wildlife preserves in the world. Originally created to protect muskox populations, it is also home to the Beverly herd with up to a quarter of a million caribou, as well as arctic wolves, arctic fox, wolverines, grizzly bears, many species of birds.