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PostPosted: October 4th, 2013, 5:35 pm 

Joined: October 31st, 2011, 7:20 pm
Posts: 10
Trip Report: Elk and Thelon Rivers to Baker Lake
June 29th-August 12, 2012

Nights on trail: 35
Start/End Point: Damant Lake (NWT)-Baker Lake (NU)
Distance: 984kms (612 miles)

Elk River:

The Elk River is a great way to start a trip, especially before getting on the bigger and pushier Thelon River. We were dropped in tundra but paddled through taiga for a good portion of our time on the Elk. It is a winding river with some amazing waterfalls (chutes) and eskers. The majority of our whitewater was on this section of this trip, lots of scout from boats sets as well as a few more technical sets. We portaged five times during our six days on the Elk River before connecting with the Thelon after the amazing Granite Falls at the confluence of the two rivers.

Upper Thelon:

The Upper Thelon runs from the confluence of the Elk River to the confluence of the Hanbury River. This section of the Thelon is big and fast with the majority of the runnable sets you’ll see on the Thelon. We were able to run all the sets in this section, lots of back ferrying and sneak routes along side the large ledges that make up most of the water features. The current is moving very fast so it’s easy to put in some miles without spending all day on the water. Five kilometers before the Hanbury River is the Thelon Canyon. Very scenic but a mandatory portage, roughly four miles long. We portaged on River Right (nice trail) but I’ve heard it could be done on River Left as well.

The Middle Thelon:

The Middle Thelon is the ‘tourist’ part of the river. There is a lot of current with no whitewater (some standing waves at the Thelon Bluffs), historical artifacts, lots of wildlife and beautiful canyons. The Middle Thelon is known for including, Warden’s Grove cabins, The Gap, Hornby’s Cabin/Graves, Lookout Point, Musk Ox Pingo as well as numerous tent rings, Inuit graves, inukshuks, and chipping stations (full of arrowheads). You’ll paddle into the ‘oasis’ for 3-4 days in the Middle Thelon living up to its name of ‘Land of the Little Trees’. This section affords you the opportunity to put in some long days without the concern of running into whitewater.

Lower Thelon (Big Lakes):

Beverly Lake marks the beginning of the ‘Big Lakes’ (Beverly, Aberdeen and Schultz). Be sure to give yourself enough time to complete this section because of the high potential to get windbound. These lakes are vast with many chances to hike around on the surrounding tundra (Whalebone Hill at the beginning of Shultz is recommended). From the end of Schultz the Thelon narrows up one last time finishing with the ‘waterslide’, a 80 km section of super fast current that brings you to Baker Lake.

Road Trip Logistics:
Drove to MacGregor, Manitoba where we camped the first night after getting out of Ely, MN around 11am. The next day we camped at Devils Lake Campground, north of La Ronge, Saskatchewan then were dropped off at Points North Landing around lunchtime on the third day. The last day was all dirt roads, well maintained though. We camped by all the cars in the ‘parking lot’ next to the lake. Employees at Points North were very friendly and helpful, let us use their phone to contact Stony Rapids (the float plane base) and sit in their terminal while we waited for the plane.

Flight Home Logistics:
Flew out of Baker Lake around noon. Consolidated our packs (as much as we could), dropped our canoes off at the airport the day before. Flew to Rankin Inlet then switched planes to get on a jet that took us straight to Winnipeg. Picked up at Winnipeg and camped at Bird Hill Campground that night.

Evacuation Points:
No lodges around this route. The Middle Thelon (Thelon/Hanbury Confluence to Beverly Lake) is the commercial section of this river, highest chance of seeing other people. Motor boaters regularly drive up from Baker Lake to fish Aberdeen and Schultz Lake.

Baker Lake RCMP: 867-793-1111
FAX: 867-793-2149 (send them your night by night including, how many canoes (colors), how many tents (colors) and emergency equipment (SAT phone and PLB). Be sure to check in at the Baker Lake RCMP Office, 2 blocks down from the Northern Store on the right, to let them know you arrived safely.

For a non-resident a Nunavut Fishing Permit costs $40 dollars for the season ($1 a day, WORTH IT, for the best fishing in the world). Also the DNR Ranger in Baker Lake will check if you were fishing, so if you plan on it get a permit!

Actual Route:
Date, (Day on Trail)

7.5 (Day 1): Damant Lake
7.6 (Day 2): Elk River (Start of Beaverhill Map)
7.7 (Day 3): Elk River (Base of Esker on RR)
7.8 (Day 4): Elk River (End of Wide Section)
7.9 (Day 5): Elk River (N62.19’,W106.15’)
7.10 (Day 6): Elk River (Granite Falls)
7.11 (Day 7): Thelon River (1 mile after Granite Falls)
7.12 (Day 8): Thelon River (Lake after High I)
7.13 (Day 9): Thelon River (N64.40’,W104.44’)
7.14 (Day 10): Thelon River (End of Beaverhill Map)
7.15 (Day 11): Thelon River (Marked Set Before Sanctuary)
7.16 (Day 12): Thelon River (South End of Thelon Canyon)
7.17 (Day 13): Thelon/Hanbury River Confluence
7.18 (Day 14): Layover
7.19 (Day 15): Thelon River (North of Cosmos Lake)
7.20 (Day 16): Windbound
7.21 (Day 17): Thelon River (15km North of Hornby Pt)
7.22 (Day 18): Thelon River (Lookout Point)
7.23 (Day 19): Thelon River (6 km onto Beverly Map)
7.24 (Day 20): Thelon River (Thelon Bluffs)
7.25 (Day 21): Beverly Lake (5 km past Entrance)
7.26 (Day 22): Thelon River (Narrows after Dubawnt River)
7.27 (Day 23): Windbound
7.28 (Day 24): Aberdeen Lake (8km East of first marked cabin)
7.29 (Day 25): Windbound
7.30 (Day 26): Aberdeen Lake (NE end before Pequetaz Hill)
7.31 (Day 27): Aberdeen Lake (at outlet)
8.1 (Day 28): Illurjualk Narrows (before Q-Lake)
8.2 (Day 29): Schultz Lake (Whalebone Hill)
8.3 (Day 30): Schultz Lake (at outlet)
8.4 (Day 31): Thelon River (3km past Aleksetok Rapids)
8.5 (Day 32): Thelon River (Halfway Hills)
8.6 (Day 33): Thelon River (very end right before Baker Lake)
8.7 (Day 34): Baker Lake Canoeist Campground
8.8 (Day 35): Baker Lake Canoeist Campground
8.9 (Day 36): Bird Hill Campground, Manitoba

Feel free to email me ( with questions.

Here's a video I put together from our trip:

PostPosted: October 5th, 2013, 1:34 pm 

Joined: September 29th, 2005, 5:57 pm
Posts: 623
Hi Danic -

Thanks for posting the report, great video!

I think you must have been the Widji group I talked to briefly in the parking lot at Points North - I flew out in the Otter for my trip on the McIntyre and Porcupine on July 4th,2012 around suppertime.

Good Seal video as well.


PostPosted: October 6th, 2013, 12:15 pm 
User avatar

Joined: August 19th, 2001, 7:00 pm
Posts: 1879
Location: Thunder Bay, Ontario Canada
Thanks for posting that video Danic373! I solo'd the Elk from Vermette, and then the Thelon to Beverly L, back in 2004, and that video brought back many good memories. I can see the bugs are still there! :D The Thelon ranks as one of my worst bug trips ever. Its nice to see the lower Thelon section in the big 3 lakes which I have not paddled yet.

My YouTube channel:

PostPosted: October 7th, 2013, 1:27 pm 

Joined: January 11th, 2005, 4:58 pm
Posts: 1995
Location: Manitoba
Great video. Long live the Widji Voyageurs.



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