Bend down so you can hear about a marvel in the paddling world. Getting underway from the high-altitude Mackenzie Mountains of the Sahtu region, the Mountain River lives up to its name as it so kindly offers paddlers 320 kilometres of refreshing and revitalizing whitewater adventure that cannot be replicated anywhere else in the world. It has about only one portage, no bugs, gracious campsites, towering mountains and miles of runnable rapids. Hiking out after dinner offers spectacular views and the feeling of a day well spent. Canoeing this river extends to paddlers a significant physical, emotional and spiritual journey.
The six towering canyons invite laughter and joy as their entrances announce a wonderful journey through chasms carved out through eons of time. The canyon walls stretch a hundred … sometimes two hundred … feet high embracing magnificent turns and splashy waves bringing a belief in a connection in this wilderness world.
At Cache Creek, canyon two, two sparkling rivers emerge from an ancient tufa mound tumbling down to flirt with the dramatic canyon entrance. To playfully swim in the pool or stand invigorated under the falls is pure bliss. Splashing might be allowed! Even though it is as cold as the ancient land from which it tumbles.
Grizzly meadows could be called Panoramic Valley. Camping on a spacious tabletop gives a glimpse of where the next day’s hike will cover. Caribou are common here bringing with them their companions in the circle of life, the bear and the wolf.
Growing in determination to reach its destination, the Mackenzie River, the Mountain offers a luxurious respite where lying down in warm mineral waters soothes our souls. A time for reflecting on the universe, for celebrating camaraderie, and for knowing so clearly that this river has offered the best of life. A sandy beach embraces bare feet and allows us to feel young again.
The smell of delicate strawberries growing on small vines across a meadow stands in sharp contrast to the immense feelings this land generates. The berries are so rich and pure that the fragrance is intoxicating allowing us to feel alive and free. Most are saved for the small forest creatures but the burst of flavour of one on the tongue is tangy, sweet and seductive.
Hiking on the Mountain River brings alpine vistas that build indelible images across minds and make one feel small against the backdrop of immensity. The sparse forests allow for comfortable entry to easily accessible mountain hikes. Images captured from on high allow the memories of the north to stay in hearts and souls.
The Moonscape walk brings views of a place where it feels like a mountain collapsed on itself. Striking landforms rise up as our feet cause the tinkling sensation of crumbling rocks. Caribou often pass through on their way downriver. They look so small against a world that reminds us of the immense power of the world and make us dream about how such a strange place actually exists. Strangers in a strange land.