1. Your River Outfitter

2. Preparations

3. Trip Logistics

4. Guides

5. On the trip

6. Safety


1. Your River Outfitter

What sets Nahanni Wilderness Adventures apart from the other Nahanni outfitters?

"The NWA Advantage"

Nahanni Wilderness Adventures is the only Nahanni River company where the outfitter is on location throughout the season. This level of program supervision and guide support provides our operation the highest quality of service and experience for your adventure holiday.

Each season begins with a compulsory guide school for all new and returning river guides. 2016 saw the NWA team back on British Columbia's Kootenay River during the challenging spring run off for our 24th annual guide school. Safety and risk management have long been the corner stone of our guide schools. This is accompanied by skill development and the review of our many special systems, the ingredients of a successful outfitting program. Additional training on the Nahanni is common. In 2012 our rookie guides paddled the challenging Little Nahanni River before their apprentice trip on the South Nahanni River.

Attention to detail has been our longstanding priority. Evidence of this is our Nahanni River Outfitting Centre built on the Liard Trail a short distance from Blackstone Territorial Park and Lindberg Landing. This comprehensive base of operations was built to support our guides and care for our boats and equipment. The facility includes a Guide's cabin for sleeping and a lounge/kitchen. Separate buildings provide for equipment storage and packing, equipment drying and food packing. The effectiveness of our operations base ensures that you have a trouble free adventure holiday.

Our boats and equipment are chosen from the best available within the industry. Your safety and comfort is our priority while on our trip. We provide a comprehensive list of personal issue items as well as specialty group gear. Unique to NWA are inflatable kayaks accompanying our raft trips and screened dining tents.

We invite you to compare our trip rates and list of items provided with each trip. Our commitment is to provide the best value with the most affordable rates.

2. Preparations

How do I get ready for my trip?  

Preparing for your trip will enable you to realize the full value of your adventure holiday. This can come in many ways. The Nahanni and our other Northern rivers are celebrated through a wealth of writings. Check your local library or bookstore. Read through our website and all other materials provided.Our trips are moderately physical. Depending upon your daily routines you should look at what you can do to tone up your body. Improving your all round flexibility will reduce the chance of injury while on the trip. A routine of swimming and walk/hiking over rough terrain with a moderate day-pack is recommended. If you have signed up for one of our canoe/hiking trips then a routine of hill climbing with your hiking pack is recommended.

What river skills do I require?  

The Nahanni presents different river conditions over its 560k. These we have characterized into different reaches reflected most obviously by the start point for each trip. That being said, the river skills and experience possessed by you and your group will influence the trip and craft you choose. Our raft/kayak trips from Virginia Falls offer the most lenience and require no river skills or experience. A guide rows each of our rafts. This provides those on board the greatest opportunity to view the river, watch for wildlife and take pictures.

Our canoe trips from Rabbitkettle Lake start with 120k of easy flowing water. Steering strokes ( river J and draws) are all that are required for the trip to Virginia Falls. Below the falls the river speeds up considerably; there are sections of standing waves and strong currents and few named rapids of greater consequence. Except in very high water the Nahanni is a class 2 through the canyons below the Falls. The canoeing skills required for this run include the ability to read the flow and predict its consequence upon your canoe. You will need to be able to communicate this with your partner and work to maintain control of your canoe. This is done through a combination of strokes. From the bow this includes the forward/back strokes, the draw, cross bow draw along with low and high braces. The stern paddler will use a combination of forward/back strokes, the river J and the draw along with low and high braces.

Our Nahanni Headwater trips with the exception of the canoe/hiking trip from Island Lake all start from points with fast flowing water where waves and rocks require the same but an advanced level of skill, decision making and teamwork to run successfully through the class 2/3 rapids from the Moose Ponds, the Little Nahanni and the Flat River.

Personal clothing: what is the best footwear to bring?

We recommend a selection of footwear, that which is suitable for getting wet while boating and that which provides sturdy support on land. For on the water we recommend one of the many available types of water sandals. They must have a tough sole and a strap that wraps behind your heel to ensure they stay on while swimming. Manufactures such as Chaco, Keenes, Merrell and Teva offer this type of water sandal. In cooler weather you should consider neoprene socks to go with your water sandals. Running shoes can used instead of water sandals. Ashore you will need a pair of running shoes or light hikers, kept dry for camp and hiking. Hiking boots are required for trips with extended hiking. Rafters require rubber boots with socks to keep your feet warm and dry while in the raft. Rubbers boots however are not allowed to be worn while kayaking or canoeing since they fill up with water, making nearly impossible to swim.

What clothing should I bring on the trip?

You will require quick dry synthetic outdoor clothing. Insulative materials such as fleece, wind proof shells and a functional water-proof jacket and pants. Our clothing and packing list can be found here.  A light down jacket or sweater is recommend for the cooler mornings and evening in June and late Aug./Sept.

What sort of pack do you provide on the river?

We supply the 115 liter Boundary Dry Pack made by Cascade Designs. The pack has shoulder straps and has enough room for a moderate sleeping bag, sleeping pad and the clothing specified on our recommended list. 

What type of bags should I bring my gear in?

We recommend a small to medium sized duffle bag with a top opening zipper. Clothing types should be organized inside the duffle with water-proof garbage bags or stuff sacs.

Should I bring a day pack?

Yes. This will give you quick access to your rain gear, camera, hat, sun glasses, sun screen etc. These items should be water-proofed in a small dry bag or hard case.

What tent do you provide?

We provide the 4-season Trango 3.1 produced Mountain Hardware. This tent has long been the choice of Northern River outfitters with the ability to the most challenging weather conditions. Designed as a 3- person tent we ask just two people to share it. A single supplement is available for $50. Our tent can be viewed on the following webpage. http://www.mountainhardwear.com/Trango3.1/OU9496,default,pd.html We provide an additional dry bag with each tent. Approximate weight is 10 lbs.

What type of sleeping bag and pad do you provide if I choose to rent?

We provide a mummy style synthetic filled 3 season (0 degrees C) Sierra Designs Wild Bill. A cotton sleeping bag liner is provided. Liner and bag are machine washed between rentals. Our sleeping bags can be viewed on the following webpage. http://www.sierradesigns.com/c-29-3-season.aspx The pad is a full length 6 ft. three-quarter inch Thermarest sleeping pad.

What type of wetsuit do you provide?

We provide a full body 2 mm BARE wetsuit with short sleeves and legs, commonly known as a "shorty".    http://www.baresports.com/en-CA/Watersports/Products/Wetsuits

Can I bring my own personal flotation device (PFD)? 

Yes, provided it is suited to your bodyweight and bears a Transport Canada approved label. We provide PFDs made by SALUS - Solo and Eddy model. Our PFD's can be viewed on the following webpage. http://www.salusmarine.com/

Do you provide helmets?

Helmets are available upon request for our Nahanni Classic Trips. Helmets are supplied and required for our Nahanni Headwater Trips. Our helmets are whitewater paddling helmets made by Predator. They can be viewed on the following webpage.   http://www.predatorhelmets.com/index.php?option=com_virtuemart&page=shop.browse&category_id=13&Itemid=87&vmcchk=1&Itemid=64

Can I store extra luggage while on the trip?

Yes. Our driver will bring your extra luggage to our base for storage. For security we recommend that you bring all valuables such as wallets, passports, air tickets with you on the river.

Can I park my vehicle while on the trip?

Yes. Our guests most commonly use Simpson Air our main flight charter company in Fort Simpson. For those flying from Lindberg Landing a designated parking spot is available. Please contact us if you would like to make these arrangements.

In the case of a family emergency, how can I be reached while on the trip?

We recommend that your representative contact our office at 1-888-897-5223 and Nahanni National Park at 1-867-695-3151. Please be advised that in some circumstances it may take a day or two for a trip member to respond.

What sort of travel insurance should I purchase?

Inquire about such contingencies as commercial flight interruptions at the beginning or end of your trip, medical evacuations and transportation and trip cancellation for personal or family emergencies.

Why is Fort Nelson your staging area for Headwaters expeditions?

Fort Nelson offers the most affordable commercial flights North. Our road trip provides the opportunity for a pre-trip moving water practice session on the Trout River. Flight access to the Nahanni is considerably closer than from Fort Simpson thereby significantly reducing the C02 emissions and operational costs. We pass along these savings to our guests with the most affordable guided trips.

I am a celiac, will I be able to participate in your trips?

Yes, we have successfully accommodated numerous celiacs. Contact us for more specific details.

Can I bring alcoholic beverages?

Yes, in moderation. Wine and beer are provided with certain meals. Please place in stainless steel or plastic leak proof containers.

What is the difference between the Nahanni Classic trips and Nahanni Headwater Expeditions.

The Nahanni Headwaters Expeditions find their start outside Nahanni National Park's original boundary. Trips starting from the headwaters include the Moose Ponds, Island Lake, Divide Lake for the Flat River and Flat Lake for the Little Nahanni River. These trips are more challenging and thereby include a higher level of adventure. The co-venture designation for our NHE's relates to a greater involvement of the guests in day to day camp chores and meal preperations. Both programs are fully outfitted and guided adventure holidays.

3. Trip Logistics

When do I need to arrive at the trip starting point?

Unless otherwise indicated in the itinerary the meeting time with your guides corresponds with the arrival of the commercial aircraft on day 1 of your trip. Should you be driving, we ask that you arrive the day before the start of your trip incase you experience any complication with the roads or your vehicle while on route. Return transportation to the airport or your vehicle is included for the last day of your trip.

What type of aircraft do you charter for the up river flight?

From Fort Simpson there are three charter companies with a variety of float and wheel planes all registered for flights into Nahanni National Park. In 2016 available float planes include 2 Cessna 206's, a Cessna 185, a de'havilland Beaver and a de'havilland Twin Otter. The specific aircraft we charter depends upon the destination. For the 150 mi. flight to Virginia Falls we use all of the above aircraft. For a significant reduction is CO2 emissions and operational costs we tend to use the smaller Cessna 206 and the Beaver.

For the 200 mi. flight to Rabbitkettle Lake we most often land on a riverside gravel strip with a Cessna 206 and 172. The canoes are positioned in advance so our guests are priorized on Day 1. Landing on the riverside strip saves our groups the necessity of portaging the trip's canoes, food barrels, personal packs and miscellaneous gear one kilometer from Rabbitkettle Lake to the Nahanni River.

Our more remote flights to the Moose Ponds and Island Lake are most often made with a de'havilland Beaver.

4. Guides

How much should I tip my guides?

You will find that your guides are friendly , hardworking individuals that go out of their way to ensure that your holiday is exceptionally enjoyable. They have committed a significant amount of time and their own funds to courses and training to prepare themselves for what is a very short work window in the North. Recognition of this effort by way of a monetary tip to your guides is very appreciated. We recommend $30/day per person which will be divided amongst your guides. ( ex. 12 day trip = $360 per guest) If possible bring cash with this in mind as the return trip to the airport does not access any bank machines. Alternatively you could send an etransfer to them after the trip.

5. On the trip

What is the fishing like?

Bull trout and Arctic grayling are the most commonly caught fish on the Nahanni. Some of the side lakes have lake trout. We do not promote the Nahanni as a fishing river as stocks seem to be limited. The confluence with clear inflowing streams provides better results. Catch and release is recommended but optional. Please refer to the Nahanni Park website for the regulations. http://www.pc.gc.ca./pn-np/ntnahanni/activ/activ6.aspx

Light tackle in a protective hard case is recommended. Fish can be caught on flies, smaller spoons and spins such as the Panther Martin variety. Fishing licenses can be purchased in Fort Simpson or in the park at Rabbitkettle Lake and Virginia Falls. The adult fee is $43.

What are the bugs like?

Bugs on the Nahanni are typically mosquitoes. We see more of them between late June and the beginning of August. They are more prevalent during the last few days of your trip near the village of Nahanni Butte. Virginia Falls and the upper canyons see the least. A full bug jacket with hood and bug repellant is recommended.

All trips unless late in the season bring along a screened dining tent which is large enough for an entire group to escape the bugs while in camp. Our bug tent can be viewed on the following webpage. http://www.mec.ca/AST/ShopMEC/Tents/NetShelters/PRD~5027-708/mec-hootenanny-bug-shelter.jsp

How cold will it get at night?

From the end of June through the end of August the Nahanni remains fairly warm in the evenings. However, periodically we could experience frost due to the mountainous regions we travel through. Frost is not uncommon on shoulder season trips.

What does a typical day look like?

Our days begins with morning coffee and a relaxed breakfast, followed by packing and a mid-morning departure from camp. We will spend a few hours on the river before coming ashore for lunch and then go back on the water for 3-4 hours. Evenings include a leisurely dinner and the possibility of an exploratory hike when available.

What type of boats to do supply?

Our fleet of open Canadian canoes include the 'Prospector' from Esquif and the 'Tripper' supplied by Old Town. All of our canoes are built with ABS Royalex with wooden bench seats and foam knee pads installed.

Please see the following webpages for further details. http://www.esquif.com/2008/canot_en.php?id=21           http://www.oldtowncanoe.com/canoes/tripper_family/

What personal equipment is included?

The following list of equipment is issued for no extra cost to each participant at the orientation session.

For canoe trips we supply your: Personal Flotation Device, Dry Pack, Tent, Wet suit, Paddles , Helmets are supplied for the class 3 whitewater trips

For raft trips we supply your: Personal Flotation Device, Dry Pack, Tent , Wet suit,  Inflatable kayaks,  Paddles

6. Safety

What bear deterrents are provided with each trip?

Your guides are each issued a standard canister of bear spray and a package of bear bangers with a pen launcher.

Can I bring my own bear spray?

Yes however, please inform your guide as our pilots require bear spray to be stored outside the fuselage of the aircraft on your upriver flight.

In addition, you will be restricted with your commercial aircraft flight. It may be possible to purchase personal bear spray prior to your trip. Please ask us for more information.

What communication systems are carried on the trip?

Each trip is equipped with an Iridium satellite phone for emergency and logistical calls between our office and the businesses we work with. Our satellite phones have limited battery life, and are thus reserved for emergencies and outgoing calls.

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