by Taylor Fredin and Nick Peterson
Deh Cho Canoe Expedition
Taylor Fredin and Nick Peterson are paddling 1,500 miles across the Mackenzie River watershed. The canoe trip will take them down the Slave River, around the South Shore of Great Slave Lake, and down Canada’s longest river: the Mackenzie. They will be exploring northern culture and environmental issues in and around the watershed.
|A very chilly selfie|
Inuvik to Tuktoyaktuk: August 2 - August 7
Nick and I left Inuvik on a rainy, cold morning. The Mackenzie River
Delta has hundreds of lakes and river channels that had the potential to make navigation difficult. Fortunately, we were able to follow barge markers most of the way from Inuvik to the Arctic Ocean.
The East Channel of the Mackenzie River delta is home to countless migratory birds, large caribou and reindeer herds, and many endemic species of fish.
During the summer, however, the east channel serves as the main waterway between Tuktoyuktuk, on the arctic ocean, and Inuvik. We saw barges, motorboats and even a construction crew with a large
|A large barge near the ocean|
To our surprise, the delta seemed less "wild" than the rest of the Mackenzie River.
|Breakfast in the rain|
|A very damp morning|
|The Caribou Hills|
Finally, three stunted spruce marked the northern limit of trees. Beyond this point a green blanket of moss, lichen, berries, and small shrubs hid the permafrost. Barren lands did not seem to be an appropriate description of this lush area. Perhaps a winter visit would offer a new perspective.
|Camping above the treeline|
|A beautiful sunset on the Arctic Ocean|
The people using a nearby whaling camp allowed us to stay in an empty cabin.
The camp used by Inuvialuit people from Tuk and Inuvik. Here they hunt beluga whales at the end of June and early July and catch herring in August. This meat is a main source of food for many people in the area. The storm raged on for 36 hours.
We were happy to have a warm, dry place to wait for calm water.
|Nick tying down our canoe as the wind increased.|
We stopped to look at exposed permafrost on the shore and to warm up our feet with a set of jumping jacks and, our favorite, the hypothermia game.
We arrived in Tuktoyuktuk around noon. Finishing the paddling part of this amazing journey was bittersweet, but it felt good to accomplish our goal.
We had the opportunity to explore the town and experience a Tuktoyuktuk music festival before our boat ride back to Inuvik the next day.
|Nick and Taylor in Tuktoyaktuk|