TRAK Tour - Thaidene Nëné National Park: August 30 to September 7, 2023
Take the next step or the first step in developing your expedition skills to empower your next trips. Join TRAK in the Great Slave Lake in the Thaidene Nëné National Park, Canada’s newest national park! Thaidene Nëné National Park is a protected area in the most remote corner of Great Slave Lake, located at the northern edge of the boreal forest in the Northwest Territories, Canada. Thaidene Nëné boasts stunning landscapes, but the waterscape, too, is a wonder to behold. We’ll explore the aquamarine McLeod Bay, glutted by streams gushing from the Barrenlands, clear as glass and cold as fresh-melted snow. Enjoy the Northern Lights with very minimal bugs! Reserve your spot with a Full Payment or a Deposit with balance due 30 days prior to the trip.
Our route on this exploratory trip will take us along coves and bays of McLeod Bay, old Fort Reliance, and the historical Pike’s Portage. Thaidene Nëné is an angler’s paradise. McLeod Bay shelters Lake Trout a century old and as fat as a fireplug. In this part of park, Arctic Grayling leap as the base of in-flowing waterfalls and Northern Pike ply shallow bays and channels. Whether you are fly-fishing at the mouth of tributary rivers, sinking your line into the seemingly bottomless depths of McLeod Bay, or trolling behind your kayak, you’ll gather fish stories to last a lifetime.
The sun will rise at 6am and set at 10pm on this trip. For those willingly to stay up late and aurora hunt, it will be possible to add an element of magic to this expedition. You'll have a catch the glittering lights dancing across the sky, as we show you the best of our spectacular Aurora. Great Slave Lake lies directly in the magnetic “Aurora Belt”, which means it’s one of the most reliable places on earth to spot the northern lights.
If the North has been on your bucket list for ages, the majestic Thaidene Nëné National Park offers a place like no others: unspoiled, remote, and iconic.
Region: Thaidene Nëné National Park, NWT, Canada
Duration: 9 Days
Skill Level: Beginner/Intermediate
What we're going to do
Our route will take us deep into the East Arm and the far northeastern corner Great Slave Lake. In this remote place, 200 km from the nearest road, Thaidene Nëné National Park lies, known to the nearby Dene people as "The Land of our Ancestors". We'll have a chance to spot caribou, moose, wolves, bears and many bird species in this pristine protected area. Muskoxen populations have been making a dramatic rebound in this part of the North, and we have a good chance at getting up close to one of these prehistoric-looking beasts.
Since time immemorial, Thaidene Nëné has been home to Dene people – especially the Dënesųłiné. Often called Chipewyan, a thousand generations of them have paddled the waters, roamed the ridges and camped in the bays of the East Arm and adjoining Barrenlands. Evidence of their enduring habitation is everywhere you look, such as the numerous arrowheads found at traditional hunting sites.
Our paddling expedition will pass by old Fort Reliance, built as a winter camp by George Back during his 1833 overland expedition down the river that now bears his name, Fort Reliance lies at the eastern extremity of Great Slave Lake, on the brink of the Barrenlands. The Hudson’s Bay Company rebuilt the fort in 1855, and it was later used by an American hunter, Charles “Buffalo” Jones – who, contrary to his name, kept live muskoxen here. It is now a National Historic Site of Canada, and visitors can explore the old stone chimneys and ruins of the log structures.
- Day 0 - Arrive in Northwest Territories
Day 1: In the morning, we board an air charter to Thaidene Nëné National Park. As our float plane lifts off the waters of Yellowknife Bay, we get a bird's eye view of the spectacular Canadian Shield as we fly deeper into remote wilderness. Once at camp on a majestic rocky shore, we take in our new surroundings: pristine air and clear deep water. It doesn't take long to reel in our first lake trout. Fish fry for dinner!
- Days 2 - 8: We spend our days kayaking to a new location each day, setting up camp on beautiful natural sites on the subarctic shield. As we work our way along the north shore of McLeod Bay we explore pocket beaches and clear turquoise bays. Eventually we will have a chance to explore the historic sites of Fort Reliance and Pike’s Portage.
- Day 9: We bid farewell to the northern wilderness before a float planes roars in to whisk us back to the nearest civilization of Yellowknife. After hot showers we meet up in town for cold celebratory beers and final farewells!
Sign up for an orientation call for more info!
Meet Your Guides
Jackpine Paddle x TRAK Kayaks
We employ experienced guides who not only live in the Northwest Territories, but grew up here with deep roots on our rivers and lakes. Based out of Yellowknife, NT, we know that when it comes to the North, there is no other place like it. And we know it like no one else. It’s the best paddling in the world: pristine, epic, and wild!
Our team, alongside TRAK Kayaks and TRAK Pilot(s), will improve your kayaking and canoeing skills in an atmosphere of fun and friendship! You can trust our teaching program and hands on approach to transform you into a safer, better and more confident paddler.
As Northerners, we believe in protecting our own wild backcountry and supporting healthy communities here.
“It was very exciting to be around such a culture of people and find myself on the open waters of the wild pacific coast with such an inviting and welcoming group, in these amazing high-performance kayaks. Never in my wildest dreams would those few basic skills that we learned on the first day, would progress to where we went today.”
“That was really fun. He just broke it down… It’s funny when you have someone take the time to go through things that might be natural. He broke down the surf process into little bitty pieces that made me way more comfortable. I would have never just dove in and done that on my own.”
Where we're going
- East Arm of Great Slave Lake, Northwest Territories
- Thaidene Nëné National Park
What you'll learn
This amazing program includes a wildlife and natural history focus, sail expedition with sea kayak day trip excursions. Hands-on experience and instruction and the opportunity to discover the best ways to plan, lead, and execute a multi-day, international sea-kayaking expedition.
- Beginner and intermediate sea kayak skills progression with TRAK kayaks
- Route planning and basic sea kayak navigation
- Expedition leadership and seamanship skills
- Cold water tactics including self and assisted rescues
What's included in the tour
We'll provide everything you need once the tour starts, until it ends. You may want to bring your favorite PFD and paddle, and if you have a TRAK kayak already, bring it with you and save.
Float Plane air charter from Yellowknife to Thaidene Nëné National Park, return shuttles from the airport when in Yellowknife
- Certified guides with a maximum ratio of 5:1
- Paddles & PFD's
- Group gear for each expedition (tarp, kitchen equipment, utensils, water filtration, etc.)
- Expedition first aid kit and canoe repair kit
- Emergency satellite phone, two-way radios for guide staff
- Expedition tents
- Hearty and nutritious meals including snacks while on trip
- Group will be limited to 8 participants + 2 guides
- Off-lake accommodations in Yellowknife
- Commercial flights to Yellowknife
- Personal gear including sleeping bag, sleeping pad, clothing
- Meals in Yellowknife before and after the trip (Day 1 Breakfast and Day 9 Dinner)
- Gratuity for guides
- Wine or spirits
- Insurance including evacuation, medical and trip cancellation
- Northwest Territories fishing licence available online
- Drysuits (mandatory, but available for rent)
- TRAK Kayak (mandatory, but available for rent)