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An opportunity came up this year to do the Wind River in the Yukon. We had been aware of the Protect the Peel campaign and the associated court/legal issues. The Wind River is one of the rivers in the Peel watershed.

We flew out of Pearson International and changed planes in Vancouver. After arriving in Whitehorse, we booked in at The Coast High Country Inn and spent a day being tourists in Whitehorse. We visited the Yukon Transportation Museum, the Beringia Interpretive Centre, the S.S. Klondike among others.

The next evening, we met our guides from Nahanni River Adventures.

One of the guides, Liz, was a guide on our Nahanni River trip in 2008. We knew that we were in good hands! The other guides, Rob and Joel were equally amazing. After going over equipment and some details about the trip, we were told to be ready for the 5 hour van ride from Whitehorse north to Mayo, where we would catch a bush plane up to our start at McClusky Lake. During the long van ride, we got to know our fellow paddlers. It felt like a really good group to be with.

July 25   Day 1   To McClusky Lake

We arrived at the float plane base in Mayo, weighed our gear, and loaded.

A bit cramped, but comfortable. Some of these Otters and Beavers have been around for over 40 years and they still are the "go to" aircraft for the North.

En route, we flew between the mountains.

The tent spacing was a bit tight, but we made it work.

Supper was set up beside a trail rider's cabin.

Firewood was in short supply, so off we went across the lake to gather.

July 26  Day 2  McClusky Creek & The Wind

It had rained overnight and continued for most of the day.

We ate breakfast in the trail rider's cabin. Nice to be warm & dry (at least for a while).

It was a rather damp portage to McClusky Creek, which looked a bit shallow.

McClusky Creek was a bit of a "Bump &Grind" made more challenging in the rain.

We entered the Wind and paddled for a while.

The sky gradually cleared and by the time we made camp, the rain had stopped.It stayed windy and cold over night.

July 27  Day 3 The Day of the Dump

A smorgasboard for breakfast.

Low cloud followed us today. After lunch, we misread a current from a side stream and dumped. Rather cold water 4-50C. Go figure. Dave learned not to wear sandals while on the water. His feet were really uncomfortable for quite a while.

We set up camp on a gravel bar.

The clouds persisted and the air stayed cool.

Dave found a good sized antler along the shore.

After supper, the sky started to clear. Hopefully this is an indication for tomorrow's weather.

July 28  Day 4

The day started out with great weather.

The mountain views were spectacular.

A bit of current kept us going.

We stopped for lunch.

The river widened, necessitating some 'walkies'.

Our camp was on an alluvial plain - wow!

The Dutch Oven (with our chefs) produced a cake - delicious!

Watching the sun play over the mountains . . .

. . . was awesome!

July 29  Day 5

What a great day for a hike!

Most of the valleys were scree walks.

There was some easier, more sloped sections.

The ridges were followed when possible.

An anomalous quartzite outcrop.

Several waterfalls drained the upper regions.

When you get more altitude, the mountains look closer.

It is amazing where plants can survive!

This is the peak we could see right behind our camp.

Joel and Dave almost "summiting".

Our camp from part way up the mountain.

The creek exit from the highlands.

July 30  Day 6

Another magnificent day. Lots of class I & II water.

The guides show the line.

But it is ignored. No one dumped.

Our last mountain camp.

It was pretty warm during the day.

But cooled off after supper.

The canoe makes a great prep & serving area.

Unnamed mountain - gorgeous!

July 31  Day 7  Another Hike Day!

Scree slopes were a given.

Some parts were easier.

Looking down on the camp and the Wind.

Amazing how this "Pinnacle" has weathered the environmental forces!

Dave nearing the top.

At the summit!

August 1  Day 8  Back on the water.

Breakfast included cinnamon rolls.

Ready to launch.

A darkening sky - not great.

Gray skies for most of the morning and into the afternoon.

As it cleared, a rainbow!

We camped near a previously burned area. It had already begun to regenerate.

August 2  Day 9  To Mount Deception.

Mount Deception ahead.

Along the way, wildlife - Grayling ...

and a Bald Eagle

Looking for a campsite near Mount Deception.

Mount Deception - begging to be hiked.

Looking back from a short hike up.

August 3  Day 9  The Wind is winding down.

More evidence of wildlife - Bear tracks,

wolf prints at a lunch stop

and Moose "presents".

Nice and smooth!

Sandstone layers.

Very comfortable, flat campsite.

August 4  Day 10 The Wind ends, the Peel starts

We start seeing the coal seams along the Peel.

Some pockets of coal have been burning for years.

The coal is mixed in with other ancient sediments.

Tectonic forces have uplifted,

and contorted the rock layers.

The river is wide and smooth here, so we 'raft up' for quite a while. We were moving at about 7 kph.

August 5  Day 11  Last Day on the river

Parts of the Peel are a bit choppy.

More tectonics!

The last of the Peel canyons.

A lunch break before heading out to look for firewood.

We got plenty for us and enough for following groups at Taco Bar.

We set up on Taco Bar. The flight out was to arrive early next morning.

A couple of grizzled old buggers.

After a 'Marguerita celebration', we did the dishes.

You can tell by the shadows and light level that we are close to the Arctic Circle.

14 started, 14 finished. What a great group!

August 6  Day 12  Fly Out

The morning arrival of our plane meant early rise and pack. We "leashed" the plane while loading.

As we left Taco Bar, we circled over the Bonnet Plume River where there was still a fire burning.

Over the past few weeks the fire had burned over a large section. This is part of the rejuvenation process.

Looking down on the Wind River. It sure looks different from above!

We had been aware of Royal Mountain for several days during the trip. It is still spectacular from the air.

Trip video produced by Dinah & Roger MacLean, two of our intrepid group.
Note: There were no canoes harmed in this video.

All in all, a memorable trip with a great group and outstanding guides, Rob, Liz & Joel.

Many thanks to Neil Hartling for creating a "user friendly" wilderness experience with his company, Nahanni River Adventures.

Canoe trips to these kind of destinations are not cheap. You get what you pay for. With Nahanni River Adventures, you get top of the line service and guides who go way beyond the expected.
The cost is worth it!