Fairbanks Paddlers kicks off our Spring Slideshow series on Wednesday, February 20 at 7:00 p.m. at the Blue Loon.

“Navigating the Nahanni”

A slideshow by Torre Jorgenson
and the accompanying river rats Janet Jorgenson, Don and Tracy Pendergrast, Brad Fleener, and Donna Manders

The “Dangerous River”, flowing through the Mackenzie Mountains in the Northwest Territories, became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1978 in recognition of its incredible landscape and world class river system. The South Nahanni River has been called the “Grand Canyon” of Canada and contains the highest large waterfall in North America, Virginia Falls, at 90 m high. Once the ancestral  home of the nomadic Dene First Nation, tribal members reestablished their connections to the river by constructing a 12-m-long moose hide boat and paddling it down river while we were there. Following the days of the Cassiargold rush, it became a land of mystery with unsolved murders and disappearances, as recorded in place names such as Broken Skull River, Vampire Peaks, Deadman Valley, Headless Range, and Funeral Range.

During summer 2018, six of us in three canoes navigated 267 river miles over a three-week period. Highlights of the trip include Virginia Falls, four canyons up to 1000-m deep with challenging class 3 whitewater, side-canyon hikes, RabbitkettleLake, Tufa mounds, Hells Gate, WhitespraySprings, Kraus Hot Springs, and wood buffalo in camp. In the slideshow we discuss the history, ethnography, and ecology of the region, as well as canoeing challenges, logistics, and culinary entertainment.

Admission is free. Donations are welcome. The public is invited. Under age 21 must be with parents.

Nahanni River

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