Kuujjua River

CanadaNorthwest TerritoriesArctic
Submitter & Author Information
Route submitted by: 
Lester Kovac
Trip Date : 
July - Aug 2012
Location Map: 
Additional Route Information
350 km
15 days
Loop Trip: 
Portage Information
No. of portages: 
Total Portage Distance: 
1400 m
Longest Portage: 
800 m
Difficulty Ratings
River Travel: 
Lake Travel: 
Background Trip Info
Water Levels: 
Route Description
Technical Guide: 

Victoria Island (part of Western Canada's High Arctic island archipelago) is Canada's third-largest island, divided by administrative line between Northwest Territories and Nunavut.
The Kuujjua River ("big river" in Inuktitut) originates in the center of Victoria Island and flows about 350 km in the  Minto Inlet on the island's west side. Beginning as a shallow stream, the river flows smoothly across rolling tundra, gaining speed and volume as it drops through rugged landscape, cutting canyons through basalt cliffs.
Words of Caution
These maps were created based on notes taken during our canoe trip in July 2012 (our trip report is available at http://sites.google.com/site/landltrips/Trips/kuujjua2012). We marked our maps according to what we saw at that time, in order to provide information to any future visitors, however, by no means do I take any responsibility for how this information will be used. I do not guarantee that it does not contain errors, whether made by me personally or by bugs in the software used. Rapid classification is subjective. Our subjective evaluation of the class level of these rapids does NOT take into account the remoteness of the region (i.e. distance and time from help etc.), the water temperature (cold kills) and the size and power of this river (any swim could be a very long swim). Moreover, the class of rapids depends on the water level and that can change immensely through the season. Use the information provided here with caution. YOU are the only one responsible for your own decisions and for your own safety. Rivers described here are wild and very remote. Weather can be also very tough. DO YOUR OWN scouting and reconnaissance. I am not taking any responsibility for the information provided here or for your safety.
An Important Word from our lawyer
The information conveyed here, on our maps, on our website and in our trip reports is the sole opinion and perspective of Lynette and/or Laco alone and should not be taken as a basis in fact. Many of L&L's observations during the period reported were made after only a very brief period, in very specific weather and water level conditions and often in a fatigued state. All readers are strongly encouraged and advised to do their own independent research (scouting) and form their own independent conclusions before deciding on any facts or actions in relation to any of L&L's freely published information.
It is a well known fact that rivers can and do change completely, depending on multiple factors such as water levels, ice conditions, flood and/or drought conditions, continual erosion and altering seasonal and weather patterns. Each person who undertakes to travel any of these routes is responsible for their own judgements and safety. 
Route description
This river was mapped during our trip July 14 - August 1, 2012. We started on Lake Hope on the East branch of the river, still in Nuvavut. for completeness I provide also unmarked maps of the Northern branch, which has slightly more water. There is also Southern branch of the river, and it was "paddled" once before, but it is extremely shallow for non-masochistic access.
All rapid markings are subject to the water levels we had at that time. High water marks were evident all along the river, alerting us to the fact that this river would be extremely different in high water. This is treeless country & campsites abound, so there was no need to mark them on the maps. River (and whole area) is much shallower and there is much less water in general than in Northern Quebec we are used to paddle. There was lot of walking esp. first 3 days, but also towards the end of the journey.
Wildlife is abundant on the Kuujjua. With every turn of the river, you are likely to see muskox, arctic wolves, arctic foxes, snowy owls, arctic hares, and even caribou. Dozens of bird species nest, from the tiny Lapland longspur to sandhill cranes, arctic and yellow-throated loons, Sabine's gulls, white-fronted geese and arctic swans. Fishing is very good. Sun never sets during the arctic summer, but be careful to avoid paddling directly against the low sun - reflection on the surface may prevent you to paddle rapids.
Hiking is excellent. There are also many Palaeoeskimo and Copper Inuit historic sites along the river.
We didn't paddle from Minto Inlet to Ulukhaktok. Instead, we arranged to be picked up by local Inuit on their motorboats. It was much faster & safer. Our maps do not cover this section. For any such arrangement you can contact Pat Ekpakohak at 867-396-4541.
To contact the author of these maps, see bottom of the page http://sites.google.com/site/landltrips/

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