Trail Cafe: Trip report - Nahanni Day 4 Flat River to 3rd Canyon


Title: Nahanni Day 4 Flat River to 3rd Canyon
Trip type: canoeing
Summary: A short Day chasing the thunder clouds, down the Nahanni River, from Flat River to the third canyon
Author: M. Tanton
Date of Trip: Monday Aug 7, 2006
Country: Canada
Province: NWT
County/City/national park/etc: Nahanni National Park
Location Route: Nahanni River
Distance: 21.6 km
Weather Conditions:Mixed clouds morning -> heavy clouds and occasional rain in evening
Directions to Set in or Trail head: See Day 1 report
Directions to Set in or Trail head: keep paddlin'
Partners: R. Barrow, G. Watson
Group experience level: Intermediate
Author's Experience level: Intermediate
River grade: Grade II - Intermediate
Rapids and Hazards: Hazards inidcated as present, but not described
Boat Type Used: 18ft Prospector (tandem), 16ft prospector (solo)
Authors Trip Rating: V. Good
Author's Email: myrinmungeatshawdotca (no 'munge' in my email)

The Trip Report:

Nice surprise this morning, the Mosquitoes are not so bad as last night (not even close), the sun is out, and my camera decides starts to working again. It is shaping up to be a great day.

Sitting back enjoying the morning. Sitting back enjoying the morning.
Today we again got off to a late start. We watch the group camped just up river of last night float by us as we were making breakfast, tents still up, and not a single item of gear packed. The morning looks good today, although
there are clouds in every direction, there is blue sky almost every direction too. It is not clear if the sun will burn off the clouds or they will grow.

The extra time to dry out some gear seems well worth it, except a short time before we leave it rains a bit dampening much of the gear I had out to dry. Trying to dry damp gear (but not really wet), would be a battle for me through the trip.

The start of the trip is awesome, basking in the warm sun, a beautiful trip down the river.

By Lunch however the weather does go a bit ugly, it threatens to rain, complete with thunder in the distance. We pull off and set up a tarp and cook some lunch. It rains a bit, but not much. The clouds floated down stream, and seem to be gathering ahead of us a bit, and we threaten to over take them, and then do as the day progresses. We do end up paddeling in dry weather for the day.

The rock formations are remarkably varied in this area. there are twisted, and folded sedimentary layers, there are what look to be perfect bricks layered in the side of the cliff, Sandy banks rising up for hundreds of meters.

There is at least one small water fall trickling down the side of the mountain.
merge_2519.jpg merge_2519.jpg

We paddle until around 7:30 and get off the river just inside the start of the third canyon. Camp is set up, this time the storm is definitely blowing over the canyon and strait at us. We get our tarps up, and gear under just as it starts to rain. It never really opens up, but for twenty minutes it rains a bit then blows past. I'm glad to be setting up dry. We are just at the start of the 3rd canyon Very picturesque. It is a nice camp site, and it was nice to get off the river earlier than the day before. However if you are making the trip consider going a bit further to the pulpit rock/the gate, the shear walls of that canyon are spectacular.

After the rain passes us by we are treated to a fantastic double rainbow, that spans the canyon on ahead.

Unfortunately by the time we got the camera out, one side was in the shade, and none of the pictures do it justice.

All of us were taking pictures of it, perhaps Rich or Glen got a good shape of it. In fact I'm not able to get the full rainbow in a single shot, and the 'stitched' pictures result in a warbled bow, so I've cut the top of in the one picture here.

Canoes pulled up end of Day 4 Canoes pulled up end of Day 4

The far side of the river is a fantastic double green colour, a bright light green of the moss, (or what ever type of ground cover it is), and the dark of the trees. You can see the water level, was much higher than it is now.

This river must be a monster river at those levels. All the drift wood smashed up at the base of the larger trees also points to the hight and power of the river. If we had a fire, finding fire wood would not be an issue, nor will it for years to come.


Glen off in the distance, just after leaving camp.

Rich stretching his legs.

Oh look another mountain.

Stop for lunch.

Glen checking out the folded rock layers.



not all mountains seem to be solid rock.

Rich really wanted to see what was in that whole

One tough tree.

Small falls.

Time to get off the river. _entrance to 3rd Canyon_

Evening camp 5

It was a really nice rainbow.

sitting back at the end of the day.

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Content Copyright M. Tanton 2006

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