First Timers FAQ
Can I Really Do This?
Many of our prospective trippers worry about the physical requirements involved in joining one of our trips. We encourage trippers to have an active lifestyle but we do not expect prospective trippers to ramp-up an intensive training program before embarking on a trip. Keep in mind that most of our trips have no portages – and this really limits the normal slogging to a bare minimum. Also, our rivers have steady current and this makes for light and easy paddling which is limited to four or five hours daily. As a minimum, we do encourage trippers to develop a daily stretching and walking program eight to ten weeks prior to departure.
Novice Canoe Trippers
If you possess an adventurous spirit but perhaps lack intermediate or advanced canoeing skills, we can select the perfect introductory expedition to responsibly take you just outside of your comfort zone by providing you with expert canoe instruction and coaching – both prior to your expedition launch and while on-trip. At Canoe North Adventures, we are passionate about sharing our extensive river knowledge and take pride in teaching dynamic canoeing and river-running skills.
Pre-Trip Canoe Training
Contact us for more information. 519-941-6654
Exceptional River Safety
Canoe North Adventures has experienced an impeccable safety record in over 160 expeditions and 25 seasons of adventure travel. We have never experienced a serious injury that required medical assistance or evacuation. By knowing and caring for each tripper; ensuring they have been well coached with expert instruction; and, by intimately knowing the regions and rivers travelled, we have delivered a level of safety second to none on Canada’s northern waterways.
Our licensed, senior river-guides bring a wealth of wilderness experience to each expedition. They enthusiastically share their extensive knowledge with their canoe groups and they can also entertain a group with tall-tales around the campfire! Our licensed junior river-guides bring advanced First Aid and River Rescue skills to every trip. They are recent grads from University Level Adventure Studies Programs and possess remarkable river and camping skills and are eager to share this knowledge. Each Canoe North Adventures Leadership Team is typically comprised of at least one Senior and one Junior Guide. Our typical guide ratio is 1:3 or 4, and 1:5 with a very experienced group.
Expedition Canoes & Gear
Our award-winning Outfitting Centre in Norman Wells has a fleet of 40 expedition canoes with handsome logos, spray decks, kneeling pads and throw bags. Our Royalex fleet includes 17’ canoes manufactured by Esquif, Nova Craft and Old Town. Our camping equipment and customized paddles, pfd’s and splash jackets are of the highest professional quality available.
You will be thrilled to know that our latrine takes the uncertainty and anxiety out of the phrase “when nature calls”. Our woodsy latrine consists of a sturdy three-legged toilet seat and tidy hole with the most stunning views imaginable. Paper products are discreetly collected and burned.
The Number One concern prospective trippers have is around “bugs”. We are happy to report that in the Mackenzie Mountains, there is little or no “standing water” and so there is very poor habitat for hatching mosquitoes. You will not require a “bug-jacket” unless you are joining an expedition into the high-arctic such as the Horton or Coppermine River. We recommend a bug-jacket on these specific rivers. All other rivers we generally wear shorts and t-shirts and almost never require bug spray.
The Number Two concern prospective trippers have is around travelling in grizzly and black bear country. We are respectful of travelling in bear country and have developed a comprehensive Bear Awareness Policy while on trip. Fortunately bears in these remote northern regions are “wild bears” rather than “park bears” and they have very predictable behavior – they want to quickly exit any area where there is human activity. It is always a thrill and a privilege to see large game in their natural environment. If we are lucky enough to see a bear on trip, we generally see only the hind-end disappearing at a full gallop. We have never had a group or individual threatened by a bear encounter of any kind. As a precaution, our guides do carry bear-spray and bear-bangers.