Weekend Warm-Up: Coppermine River Expedition 2012

How would you spend a getaway with the boys? Fishing? Watching sports with lots of junk food? Canoeing maniacs Max Florence, Jesse Coleman, Seth Wotten, Stef Superina, Andrew Stachiw and Jon Metcalfe kicked things up a notch in that department and decided to embark on a 50-day, 2,000km expedition to the Arctic Ocean for the ultimate guys’ trip through the Canadian wilderness.

They set off from Yellowknife, the capital of the Northwest Territories, prepared to navigate the great and minor lakes, unpredictable rapids and barren landscape to Kugluktuk, formerly Coppermine. They tried keep a steady pace of eight hours paddling a day (roughly 50km).

They paddled the north shore of Great Slave Lake into its scenic East Arm. As the tenth largest lake in the world, Great Slave can build up quite a fetch, but their journey blessed them with calm waters and pleasant weather. As canoeists often do, they indulged in elaborate cooking and camp life. Fresh fish and bannock featured often on the menu.

The Coppermine River. Photo: RiverSport Adventures


They then followed a chain of lakes into the Coppermine River, portaging between water bodies where necessary. On arriving at the Coppermine River, things got a bit more exciting. The encountered grizzlies, including a rare white individual, and arctic foxes. They dealt cautiously with the rapids: Some historic expeditions had failed spectacularly on the Coppermine. Always, calmer waters followed the rapids and provided a more meditative travel experience.

So if you’re looking for the ultimate recipe to a perfect guys’ trip, see the following: a map of a 50-day Arctic expedition, friendship, stale jokes and, of course, bannock.