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 Post subject: Back River
PostPosted: February 4th, 2004, 11:08 am 
I have a chance to do the Back River (starting from the Bailey) in '05. The trip leader has done the river before.
I've done several whitewater trips in Ontario (Petawawa, White, Spanish, Magnetawan) and the South Nahanni twice. Any suggestions or comments?


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PostPosted: August 25th, 2004, 9:23 pm 
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Joined: September 19th, 2003, 8:46 am
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Last edited by david demello on March 24th, 2005, 10:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Back River
PostPosted: November 1st, 2004, 9:10 pm 
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Joined: October 29th, 2004, 8:15 am
Posts: 13
Location: Huntsville, Ontario Canada
The Back River is definitely a river that should be treated with respect. It is I believe the longest river in Nunavut. If you are going to run it, planning should be impeccable, spray skirts should be mandatory and your white water skills should be above average.
My wife Barbara and I have been on it twice. The first time from Jim Magrum Lake to Mount Meadowbank and the second time was last year after descending the Meadowbank River into the Back. We then paddled as far as the Herman River. In that section of the river from the mouth of the Meadowbank River to Mount Meadowbank there were some huge differences in water levels from our first descent in 2000 to our more recent descent in 2003. Water levels were very much higher the second time around and a great deal more care had to be given to scouting.
There are over 80 sets of rapids in the full length of the river with many of the rapids being more than two or three kilometres long. If your paddling skills are not up to it then portaging could become very onerous indeed. There are two areas that need to have particular attention paid to them. The first are the Cascades at the bottom end of Beechey Lake and the second place is near the end of Escape Rapids where the river narrows considerably and the wave and hydraulic action become truly huge.
On the positive side - animal sightings have been better for us on the Back than any other of the rivers we have paddled in either the NWT or Nunavut over the past 16 years.

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Avid canoeist and filmmaker. Have been canoeing for about 50 years and filming for about 10. Have run about 50 rivers of which 10 are in the Canadian Arctic.


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PostPosted: November 26th, 2004, 12:47 am 
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Joined: November 26th, 2004, 12:38 am
Posts: 1
Location: Prince George BC
Did the Back from Muskox Lake to Chantey inlet in 1999. 41 days I believe. I agree with earlier comments regarding planning must be impeccable. I agree that fairly good white water skills are important, but also be forwarned that there are miles and miles of water that doesnt have any perceptable current. I calculated our trip as 850 km of virutally still water, 85 km of roaring rapids, and 150 km of nicely moving river. But if you do it you will likely remember it as an accomplishment of a lifetime. Be prepared to be troubled by winds and hone up on your navigation for the big lakes, they can be quite confusing.
Pickup at Chantrey Inlet can be a challenge too as you are still 175 km from Gjoa Haven, the nearest settlement and there is a significant ocean crossing.
We were picked up by an Inuit hunter with a boat and the trip took six days and we were running out of food.


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