North Nahanni Summer Wilderness Adventure

Franco Nogarin's picture


Getting to go to a remote place hidden in the sub-arctic wilds of the Nahanni mountains is a once-in-a-life-time event. Getting to do it again, well, that's a whole other story.

In late July of 2011, I had the extremely rare opportunity to go back into the Nahanni!!!! This time I was able to bring my partner/love of my life, Heidi along. and this time it was summer so the challenges to get there were different but daunting to say the least.  These shots were incredibly difficult to get for a variety of reasons, but lets start with just getting there: 

The Drive

We start with a ~700km (~425 miles) Drive in our truck. This trip is made over pavement, chip-seal, and gravel roads, a dirty, slippery and dangerous drive.

By Jetboat

Once we arrive, we then make an incredible voyage by jet-boat. We start by making a 5km journey down the Liard River, which empties into the longest river in Canada (2nd longest in North America), The mighty Mackenzie River. This river travels from the Great Slave Lake all the way to the Arctic Ocean. The second leg of our journey see us making an incredible 120km journey down the Mackenzie. But wait, We now turn off the massive river which was a dream to travel flowing with the river, and turn against the current of the North Nahanni River which empties into the Mackenzie. Now we make a grueling 50km voyage against the current, fighting rain storms, rough waters and cold wind, In this boat, on this river you cannot go slow, you must keep the boat on step or stop. We had to stop and wait out a storm on the river bank for over an hour at one point. We finally arrived at the cabin.

At the Cabin

The 1st and 3rd videos were shot here. On our only good day that wasn't cold and raining, we decide to make the journey further up the river. another 2 hours against the current, about 7.5 km up river, we land the boat and go into the wilds on foot. Here we cross sub-arctic mountain rivers, wading through the rushing waters that are so cold your legs want buckle half way across, hauling all of our camera gear, UAV, a rubber dingy, and fishing gear. an epic 1 km hike along a semi-dry river bed until we arrive at the crack in the mountain. This was our objective and none too soon, since a huge storm begins to roll in on us. we set up, we film, we fish and we take the dingy into the crack, and paddle against the incredible current coming out of the mountain. then we rush to pack up and make the entire journey in reverse, only it begins to pour, crossing back over the river on foot while soaked was grueling, and all of us were near to hypothermia but we just did not want to admit it or give up. We made it back to the boat where we huddled under the canvas for about an hour and a half shivering, waiting for the pouring rain to let up. When it did let up a bit, we hightailed it out of there back to the cabin where warm fires, hot drinks and dry clothes awaited. The pictures cannot tell the tale nor can words. an Epic journey into he wilds of the Nahanni.

These photos were taken from oboard footage captured aboard ARDi (seen here Franco, Heidi, Kevin, Julie and Rod)