Participants need to arrive in Fort Simpson with First Air, or before 12 noon with their own vehicle. Following a pick-up at the airport, your guide will hold a pre-trip orientation with lunch at the MacKenzie Rest Inn. Personal clothing and bags not required for the trip can be left in our van and our driver will bring them to our base. These will be waiting for you at Blackstone Territorial Park upon completion of your trip. Charter flight to Virginia Falls. (weather permitting) This breathtaking flight takes us over the Nahanni Range, the Ram Plateau and then up the Nahanni River to Virginia Falls. We will camp at the Falls for the first night and will have time to explore and take photographs from the many promontories overlooking the Falls.
With a full day to explore Virginia Falls and its surroundings there are many options of what to get up to. Seek the rewarding views that come with summiting Sunblood Mountain, walk to little explored vantage points of the Falls or simply settle into a slower pace of life and take in all this wilderness wonderland has to offer. Your guides will also lead a canoeing skills session to ensure everyone receives one-on-one canoe instruction letting everyone enjoy a great nights sleep with peace of mind.
After breakfast your guides will complete the portage of camp equipment. Participants are asked to portage their own pack 2 km to the "put in" below the Falls. Most of this portage is on a board walk and down hill. Lunch is served on the cobble beach below the Falls. Following a safety talk, we load the rafts/canoes and begin our descent. Leaving the roar of the Falls behind us, we will ride high on the waves through the Painted Canyon. The excitement continues with our passage through Figure Eight Rapids. We will find our camp close to the mouth of the Flat River.
Back on the river we float along the legendary Funeral Range and enter Third Canyon (35km) where the Nahanni cuts a passage just past Mary River. You will be awestruck as we float silently between the kilometer high canyon walls which rise skyward above the river. We will camp at The Gate in view of Pulpit Rock. The following day we will layover and make a short hike to a lookout above The Gate that affords a magnificent vista of the valley below. The following day we will continue on through Third and Second Canyon (15 km) into Deadmen Valley - known for its legends and mystery. This spectacular open valley offers numerous exploratory options. Following an exciting run through George's Riffle, we drift between the sky-high walls of First Canyon which reach heights of over 1400 m. This 26 km canyon will lead us to Lafferty's Canyon, a side canyon which joins the Nahanni on its east side. We often take a second layover here and spend the day exploring chasms and pools which dot the canyons floor. The following morning it is down to the soothing waters of Kraus' Hot Spring. We then bid farewell to the canyons and make our way into the Splits - a maze of islands that provide sanctuary to moose and bison.
Following breakfast, we will continue on to the Native village of Nahanni Butte. (Pop. approx. 120) Remote yet surprisingly modern, a stroll into town provides insight into a culture far removed from most of North America. Following a snack from the village store we will board the Nahanni Butte River taxi for the 15 km ride to the Nahanni Butte Road Landing on the Liard River. The awaiting NWA shuttle van will take your group on the short drive to Blackstone Territorial Park. This beautifully situated park offers hot showers, a private day shelter, an information centre and tenting. Any baggage you left behind will be waiting for you. Sue Lindberg, a local homesteader and a connection to the legends of the North, provides your meals, mainly from her garden for the last night and morning with inviting Northern hospitality.
After breakfast, we will depart with a van shuttle for Fort Simpson. We will arrive in time to meet your Southbound flight with First Air, or for you to begin the drive with your own vehicle.