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There's hiking, and then there's the Canol. Possibly North America's most rigorous backpacking trail, this 355-kilometre trek follows the route of a defunct military road that once transected the Mackenzie Mountains. Tackling it is an exercise in self-sufficiency and endurance: Most hikers require three weeks to make it to Norman Wells, carrying food, survival gear and an inflatable raft to cross numerous swift, glacier-fed rivers.