This unique and remote tributary of the Nahanni starts high in the mountains of one of Canada's newest National Parks, Naats'hich'oh National Park reserve.
Clear water, unforgettable views and an intimate wilderness experience, the Broken Skull offers all of this from its beginning high in the alpine to its mouth at the South Nahanni river. Not to mention the friendly, exciting whitewater that will have you hooting and hollering from the sheer joy of corner after corner of fun!
Adventures on Broken Skull River
A Testimonial from Broken Skull Adventurer, Nancy (2018)
“Good things come in small packages” and “small is beautiful” are common adages. Both hold true in the case of my recent paddle with Nahanni Wild down the Broken Skull River in the NWT.
The Hibbards, owners and operators of Nahanni Wild are a small and incredibly tight family. Each member has their own unique strengths and together they have carved a special niche into the northern landscape. Their shared love of wild and remote places coupled with their incredible work ethic is evident in every aspect of the planning and execution of their trips.
Communication, organization, quality of meals, regard for safety and expertise of guides are big things when choosing a company that plans and guides expeditions. Nahanni Wild gets top marks for all of these. However, it’s the many small considerations that raised the bar for me, and made the trip truly exceptional.
Creativity and thoughtfulness comes in many forms be it the ritual passing of the the Burt’s Bees hand salve at the water’s edge each morning, the “spa bag” one takes along to the loo, a toilet design befitting Queen or King, the clever, simple and effective wash station, a carefully crafted cookbook, (a hands down best seller should it ever be published), knot tying tutorials, family stories, sharing the Dene and Dehcho culture and history, a well stocked library that celebrates not just northern natural history, but it’s poetry and indigenous authors, early morning Bailey’s coffee passed through one’s tent flap....the list is endless. One recognizes the warm Hibbard sense of humour and far ranging curiosity is inextricably embedded in many of these seemingly small but meaningful endeavours.
Small as northern rivers go, the Broken Skull River might be considered relatively short compared to the larger and longer northern rivers like the Thelon and the Coppermine. It’s a slender, often shallow mountain river that twists and turns playfully down through a riveting landscape, home to a jaw dropping large and diverse amount of wildlife. Small and fast. Crystal clear. And so, so much fun. Small too were the number of bugs.
Small is the amount of time over a lifetime that most of us have to plan and take part in expeditions to remote, wild places. It’s important to choose well, both in destination, and those with whom we travel. One thing is for certain. If you do decide to trip the light fantastic down the Broken Skull with Nahanni Wild, the number of stories and memories to treasure at the journey’s end will be anything but small.