Mackenzie River & Beaufort Sea
We begin this Stage at Fort Providence and after travelling over 1,600km we finish at Tuktoyaktuk on the Beaufort Sea.
After heading towards the Mackenzie Mountains, we follow them until Norman Wells. This should be amazing and I cannot wait to see them. After living in Jasper I am used to the mountains and miss them when I leave, it will be nice to see peaks again!
The river itself is huge and wide, the images that can be found on it make it look impressive and should be a joy to canoe. Care will still have to be taken however, as the width of the river makes wind a problem so we shall be wary.
I am hoping we shall have the opportunity to get on Great Bear Lake and see that. I have read it described as ‘like moving glass’ and as we can collapse our canoe (see equipment) I would like to get a boat up the Great Bear River and paddle on its waters if possible. Such a huge northerly lake must be worth a visit.
Our final Ration Set will be collected from Norman Wells and should see us through to the finish.
We cross the Arctic Circle just north of Fort Good Hope, and the tree-line just north of Inuvik, two momentous markers for me as I have never been so far north before and am very excited about these, though we shall probably pass the Arctic Circle boundary unnoticed.
The Sans Sault Rapids will be very interesting; the river is so wide here that you can simply slip by them apparently, following the marker buoys that guide vessels through so I am interested to see them.
Near Inuvik, we enter the Mackenzie Delta, the drainage of the immense river into the Arctic Ocean. We have chosen to pass by Inuvik and not follow the main channel as I would like to see the town and some guidance on the rivers and outlets further north will be useful.
At Tuktoyaktuk (aka Tuk) we finish our journey – perhaps we should send some champagne or some-such to this town so that we can celebrate! In this area we look forward to seeing the Pingu’s, mounds of permafrost pushed up into the sky which dot the coastline.
We have given ourselves a few weeks’ margin to reach Tuk before the ice closes in and seals the area off, aiming to reach here the first week of September.