Childhood memories of the Nahanni

Returning to the Nahanni each summer feels like a homecoming. Having had the privilege of spending time in this incredible area first as a child with my family and now guiding groups through the Nahanni’s deep canyons and dramatic valleys.

This is a place that I love deeply. With each trip down the river, forgotten memories resurface from earlier trips with my parents and grandparents. Long before nature deficit disorder or screen time were being talked about my parents recognized the importance of spending time outside as a family. Today as a family we celebrate the time we have shared together in these incredible places and it is our deepest pleasure when we have the opportunity to support other families explore the Nahanni together.

Going way back with three generations of Hibbards on the Nahanni River. Family has always been at the core of Nahanni Wild.

Going way back with three generations of Hibbards on the Nahanni River. Family has always been at the core of Nahanni Wild.

Over three decades we have supported countless families to leave behind their daily realities and spend time together in wide open spaces. Highlights have included having three generations on the river at one time between age seven and seventy five and a family whose parents had paddled the Nahanni years earlier, returning to share the river with their two teenage daughters.

I was four years old the first time I rafted the Nahanni. I viscerally remember standing at the top of Nailicho (Virginia Falls), understanding my own mortality for the first time as the roar of the falls echoed in my ears. On that same trip my mother coaxed me around the portage trail to the tune of “the ants go marching one by one” which remains helpful on late night laps to the bottom of the falls with heavy food barrels. I also remember floating on my back in Kraus’ hot springs while my Grandparents luxuriated in the steaming waters. These memories remain vivid over twenty five years later and are testament to the lasting impact of getting kids outside at a young age. Doing it together as a family contributes to creating shared memories as well as shared values of clean air, wild places and connection to family. Values worth celebrating.