The magical flight into Drum Lake sets the stage for this remote and seldom travelled river trip. Drum Lake boasts some of the finest trout fishing in the Northwest Territories. The Redstone offers miles of challenging whitewater for intermediate or advanced paddlers. The deep slot canyon of the lower Redstone easily rivals those of the Nahanni River. Big game sightings are almost a certainty due to the remote location of this river.
The Redstone River is unique in that it flows through an ancient non-glaciated wilderness corridor known as Beringia – the pathway from Siberia to the Americas that allowed for the migration of prehistoric animals and humans. Today, the Redstone is seldom travelled and our exploratory 2009 canoe expedition was the first of its kind in many years. The area is sacred to the Mountain Dene as it represents an important and historic hunting and fishing region. The towering Mackenzie Mountains are rugged and rock-faced. The whitewater is both challenging and exhilarating – the lines are tight with some rocks and ledges in play and tight corners are complicated with rising boils and lurking hydraulics!
At the confluence of the Ravensthroat and Redstone River a sprawling mountain valley greets paddlers – lush with green and flooded with sunlight. We will explore a unique tufa formation and may spot moose, grizzly and many caribou on the move. We will scout the vertical-walled slot canyon which has a 90 degree left-hand turn at the entrance gate. The canyon walls easily compare with those of the Nahanni and at the exit of the canyon a series of huge standing waves make for a bouncy and exhilarating finish. On one expedition, a wolf family visited our last campsite as we awoke to barking and whimpering sounds. The cubs ran off playfully having been scolded by their parents!
As we canoe out of the mountains, we enter the Mackenzie Lowlands with great speed, bouncy waves and glorious views all the way to the Mackenzie River. We drift down the mighty Mackenzie basking in the Arctic heat and reflecting on our incredible journey.