Starting in the headwaters of Vermette and Damant Lakes in the southern region of the Northwest Territories, the Elk is a small and quick tributary that flows into the fabled Thelon River near Jim Lake. From its confluence with the Elk, the Thelon flows over 827 kilometers to the community of Baker Lake and Chesterfield Inlet in Nunavut. Most canoers begin their trips on the Hanbury or upper Elk Rivers, and finish in the vicinity of Beverly Lake after traveling through the Thelon Game Sanctuary. A few begin their trips in the east arm of Great Slave Lake (soon to be a new National Park, Thaydene Nene, or "Land of the Ancestors" in Dene), and paddle over the historic Pike's Portage and Lockhart River to the Hanbury and Thelon systems, and down through the spectacular lower lakes (Beverly, Aberdeen, and Schultz) to the Inuit community of Baker Lake. As with many of the waterways in the boreal forest and tundra, any number of other routes are possible by connecting river systems and lakes, traveling overland, and otherwise studying maps and speaking with knowledgeable Dene and Inuit travelers and other canoers about historic routes. This site features a video of my 2005 canoe trip to the Elk and Thelon Rivers (runtime: 55 minutes), which can be viewed on-line or in a separate DVD.
The Horton flows entirely north of the arctic circle in the remote northwest corner of the Northwest Territories. The upper river is a fast and clear stream with spectacular views and craggy canyons, and the lower river travels through the sulfur infused, steeply eroded, and predominantly treeless Smoking Hills. The watershed is relatively self-contained and fed by springs in the upper reaches. Most canoers begin their trip at (or near) Horton Lake and travel 600 kilometers to Franklin Bay. A few adventurous travelers venture farther up the river, or explore more elaborate (and challenging) travel opportunities on the coast. The entire river contains excellent opportunities for hiking, wildlife viewing, vast reaches of relatively bug free gravel bars, spectacular wildflowers, endless travel in 24 hours of summer sun, and the likelihood of cooler and stormy weather from the coast. The Horton is a popular river for guided trips with an outfitter, particularly early in the season along the lower river. This site features photos of my 2007 trip to the Horton, and will soon be home to a feature video and DVD.