View topic - 2007 Trip Notes - Hay River to Inuvik

Canadian Canoe Routes

2007 Trip Notes - Hay River to Inuvik
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Author:  NormG [ July 30th, 2007, 9:08 am ]
Post subject:  2007 Trip Notes - Hay River to Inuvik

I will try to provide information to help others plan their trip. There have been plenty of Journals so you don't need more

of the same.

Feathercraft K1
Big Agnes SL2 Tent (always used the rainfly)
JetBoil Stove
MSR WaterFilter
Magellan GPS
Maps from The Atlas of Canada web site, printed out and laminated.

Started June 26th from Hay River, finished at Inuvik July 18, 23 days later. I count that as 1260 miles. If you want to compare how long it would take you to do this river. I consider myself to be a 40 mile a day no current paddler. In this route there were 5 flatwater days the rest with current aid. I did not allow for wind bound days as I was in a kayak. I think I would if I used a canoe. If I had gone directly down the river to Inuvik I would have arrived on day 15. This is spending about 13 hours a day in the boat, I eat breakfast and lunch in the boat as I drift (upstream if the wind is blowing).

I drove to Hay River then flew back from Inuvik with one transfer in Yellowknife.

Surpises: This is a BIG RIVER the scope of everthing really takes some adjustment. 9 days of thunderstorms, there was lots of lightning, people with better eyes than me said they were seeing fires starting. Intensity of the sun, the air is dry up there and there are long hours of sunlight, spf 30 wasn't even close to providing enough protection. Related to that is the effect of 24 hours of light. I found I really needed dark or at least reduced light, a lot of times I felt like I was getting a sunburn right through the tent at night. Its really tricky to set up the tent in the shade as the sun swings around the sky.
The river was high and I didn't find any rapids at either Sans Sault or the Ramparts. There was a rapids deep in the delta that had enough waves for me to put on my spray skirt to keep from getting splashed. I wasn't surpised by the legendary mosquitoes but the level of their motivation I had not seen before.

Some notes on towns:
Ft Providence, Store and Cafe on the south end of town. Sop here, its your first chance to buy a can of pop for $2.50. There is internet access in the library in the elementery school. If they are open. most of the libraries along the river that have internet were closed for the summer or vacations. so you have to be lucky.

Ft Simpson Store and Cafe at about the middle of town. Land where you can see the church steeple and you will be within blocks of the Nahanni Inn and a store.

Tulita has no cafe but the Northern Store has sandwiches and a microwave.

Norman Wells go past the first couple landings. There is a landing (65.278° N 126.838° W) just a block past the microwave tower that sits in the middle of this long town. There is a square in the middle of town that has 2 stores and 2 cafes!! (Last chance for a meal out) besides town hall and the post office.

Fort Good Hope there is a boat landing at junction with Jackfish Creek a short walk down the main street brings you to the the Northern Store which also has a microwave if you want to have a packaged sandwich, otherwise thats the only place to eat.

Tsiigehtchic also only has a Northern store that does not have a microwave.

Tuktoyaktuk, Don't forget the tide here. There are a couple small harbors but I would go right past town and enter the large well protected harbor that is on the east side of town. There is a pier in front of the Northern Store. Buy your gas here for $1.50 a liter. At this time the Tuk Inn is closed.

Inuvik, Use your gps to mark the entrance to Twin Lakes,(68.361° N 133.748° W) otherwise it is so small you will miss it. Happy Valley campground sits on the hill over looking the lake. This is a good place to stay as everything is in easy walking distance.(but noisy) I did see some canoeists staying at the boat landing to the south of this. That might be a good option for a short stop. There is a feral youth/petty crime problem in this town so you must be diligent in what is exposed to being lifted. Everything is on Mackenzie Ave including a excellent Library with internet access and a large collection of books relevent to the North.

I did not find camping places on Beaver Lake or Mills Lake. Other than that there were lots of places even if your pretty fussy. I used to have a rule about not camping where there is bear sign. Had to forget that as there is bear sign everywhere.

The route I choose was to go down the middle channel to the sea then to round Hansen Pt then along the coast to Tuk, from there I went back to Inuvik via the east channel. The only concern that I found was the distance without available clear water. I ended up filtering Mackenzie water (or was that mud) and had to clean my filter frequently. I wanted to stock up before the salt water. I would not do this route in a canoe due to the exposure to open water, unless your a skilled canoeist.

Happy to answer any questions while it is fresh in my mind.

Author:  Takujualuk [ August 15th, 2007, 2:41 pm ]
Post subject: 

Norm..I am a Hay River Local and thought I'd help by illustrating your post.
The MacKenzie is big travelling on a lake with current when it gets windy.

The Hay River is fairly Placid near town

The Great Slave is a big Lake

Beaver Lake is big water at the beginning of your trip..a great campsite on Brabant Island just before Baver Lake other wise pretty grim.

Providence is a nice stop...9.5 knot current on the way in!

You can often see bears swimming the river after Mills Lake... By the way Mills lake is very shallow can really blow up in a stormand offers nothing for camping spots.

Camp-Sites on the river are often a bit cramped in high water..a small tent might help (ours is of course huge).

Jean Marie River, in a wind

That's as far as we got this summer.

Author:  Takujualuk [ August 15th, 2007, 3:11 pm ]
Post subject: 

Our equipment was obviously a bit larger.

21 foot Scott Canoe with 20HP Honda 4 Stroke
35 gallons of gas ( Had 16 gallons left!)
6 Man Cabellas Guide Tent
2... 111T Stoves, they can burn almost anything flamable.
Also had the MSR filter but we took 12 gallons of water too
Way to much food
Laminated Marine charts of the Mackenzie...great nav aid!
The old 30-30 for bears
2 kids
1 wife
Lots of Bears
Lots Of Eagles
No Moose This Time.

Author:  lyndak [ August 15th, 2007, 4:42 pm ]
Post subject: 

Thanks to you both for some very interesting info.


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