From July 29 to August 20 we were kayaking on the Horton River in Canada’s Northwest Territories. The trip was lead by Rich Henke and Brian Elliott who did an incredible amount of planning and logistics to make this trip happen. The congenial group of six also included Pete Ackerman and Steven Cochran. This was a trip of a lifetime. Once we left Norman Wells (pop. 800) in a Sea Otter float plan and were dropped off we didn’t see anyone else. In fact about the only signs of humans we saw were a couple of footprints. Many caribou, some grizzlies, and lots of birds. Brian is a birder and was great about sharing his knowledge and pointing out birds and other animals we would have never seen.
We took lots of pictures and video footage, but so far we haven’t organized them. But other participants have and you can see their great photos at Rich’s Smugmug page, Brian’s Flickr page, and Pete’s new Smugmug page — make sure you can see the captions in his Best of… as his observations are quite interesting and informative. The journal he kept paid off. One of Pete’s photos also graced our Christmas card this year.
The Horton Rivers terminates in Franklin Bay, which is connected to the Beaufort Sea which connects to the Arctic Ocean, almost 70° north after traveling almost 400 miles. Some of the trip we were above timberline even though our elevation was about 500 ft. This is tundra country which is more interesting than one would expect. Fun to walk on if you’re not trying to get somewhere because it’s soft although sometimes wet, and the tundra is comprised of many varieties of plants.
All for now. Four months later: Pete had just posted his photos and in looking at them I’m reminded how extraordinary this trip was.
Other Horton River trip reports that helped us plan our trip:
Horton Canoe Trip Report – Jul 10, 2004 – Eston and Jackie
Jul 2, 2012 – Manrico and Liz 21 days, 20 nights on the river. Excellent trip report Includes 9 minute movie and 157 image slide show.
Traditional Arctic Kayaks—Jim Rutzick, HORTON RIVER, JULY, 1997
Horton River to Paulatuk 2007 — Freda Mellenthin