The Thelon is a barrenlands river best known for its remote beauty and relatively easy paddling. The trip begins with a float plane flight to a lake on the Clarke River, a small tributary of the Thelon. We’ll spend 3 days descending the Clarke to the confluence of the Thelon just below Thelon Canyon. From here it is 10 days to our take out, some 235 km away.
The Thelon Wildlife Sanctuary is home to a surprisingly large amount of wildlife. In the past, the Beverly caribou herd migrated across the river, both north and south. Although in recent years the Beverly herd has experienced significant decline, we will keep our eyes peeled for these wanderers of the Arctic. Other large game may include moose, muskox, barren-ground grizzly, wolves and fox. Birds-of-prey are very common with bald and golden eagles, peregrine and gyrfalcon nesting on our route.
The river is also rich in human heritage - with archaeological sites of the Dene and the Caribou Inuit alongside evidence of northern explores and adventurers. Infamous John Hornby became known as the "hermit of the north" in the early 1900's for his efforts to live off the land with limited supplies. In 1926, Hornby tried to spend a year in a spot by the Thelon with his 18-year-old cousin and another young man. Unfortunately, the trio missed the caribou migration southward and therefore lacked sufficient food to survive the winter. Hornby died of starvation along with his companions in 1927. The graves of the three men can be found by the Thelon River.
This trip is an opportunity to explore a remote barrens river steeped in history.
Recommended Skill Level And Dates
- 5:1 ratio
- Excellent trail meals from Day 1 lunch to Day 14 lunch
- 17’ Prospector expedition canoes
- Paddles, PFD, (you may bring your own)
- Throw lines and other safety accessories
- Tents - free standing custom expedition dome tents - 2 per tent
- 'Kitchen’ - tarp, fire box, cooking stoves, utensils, dishes, etc
- Dry bags and containers for food and group equipment
- First aid and repair kits, communications equipment (satellite phone)
- Canoe rescue gear
- Transportation of guides, group gear, food, canoes etc to Yellowknife
- Charter flight from Yellowknife to the Clarke River on Day 1 and from Beverly Lake back to Yellowknife on Day 14
Trip Rendezvous Point: Yellowknife, NWT