Young Explorers Begin 900-Mile Paddling Expedition To The Arctic

by Kraig Becker

Six young explorers set out on an epic paddling expedition last week that will take them into some of the more wild and seldom visited regions of Canada. Their route will cover more than 900 miles as they paddle along three remote rivers before eventually reaching the Arctic. Along the way they hope to gather important data for research on the health of the waterways that they will visit along the way. 

The team, who are all under the age of 26, consists of Kyle Terry, Ben Woods, Henry Cordeal, Jess Hernandez, Chris Martella and Andrew Hubb. The six men are long time friends who grew up paddling the lakes and rivers in Manitoba and Ontario. That experience will come in handy over the next 70 days, which is how long they estimate it will take for them to cover the 900-mile route to the Arctic.

The long-distance paddle began on Black Lake in Saskatchewan and will next proceed down the Dubawnt River. From there, the team will actually turn onto the Morse River, as they attempt to make the first upstream paddle of that waterway. That stage of the journey will eventually grant them access to the  Armark River which will carry them to Queen Maude Gulf, their final destination which falls above the Arctic Circle. Early on, they’ll face some difficult portages out of Black Lake,  made all the more difficult thanks to the 700-pounds of gear they’re taking with them. The young men will also have to find a way to navigate across Lake Dubawnt which often remains frozen even in the middle of summer. In addition to starting in Saskatchewan, the route will also pass through Canada’s Northwest Territories and Nunavut, which inspired the name for the adventure – the Tri-Province Arctic Canoe Expedition.

While the team is undertaking this journey in large part simply for the adventure, they also have larger goals in mind. They hope to observe and catalog the wildlife they spot along the way, particularly inside the Queen Maud Gulf Migratory Bird Sanctuary. But perhaps more importantly they will be gathering water samples from the various rivers and lakes they will navigate along the way. Those samples will be turned over to a research program at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks where they will be closely examined to determine how the various processes of the water cycle change the isotopes that make up the water.

You can follow the team’s progress on their summer adventure via their Twitter feed and Facebook page, although updates have been sparse thus far. And if you’re interested in what you pack for a 900-mile, 70-day journey, check out the team’s gear list in this article for the National Geographic Adventure Blog.

[Photo Credit: Tri-Province Arctic Canoe Expedition]