|Our Horton Trip
We paddle to the Arctic Ocean
21 Days Above the Arctic Circle
On July 10, 2004, my 62nd birthday, Jackie and I began a 21 day paddle trip on the Horton River for
373 miles to the Arctic Ocean. It was one of the most amazing experiences of a lifetime.
Our trip began in Norman Wells in the Northwest Territories, where we met at the airport by our guide
and immediately taken to the river to repack our stuff in less a half hour and then board a bush plane
for our flight to Horton Lake. (The map below was from another outfitter so ignore the little airplane
as our trip was 3 times as long as the one shown here.) Our flight from Norman Wells took us over
the northern end of Great Bear Lake, the largest lake in Canada and the fourth largest lake in North
America. As we flew over both Great Bear Lake and Horton Lake, we could still see ice floating in the
Our group consisted of six people and three canoes. There was our guide Mark, his son and father,
an engineer from Toronto and Jackie and me.
The river started out relatively small. For the first two weeks there were trees along the river, but
when one hiked to the top, there were few trees but plenty of vegetation. This area of the Arctic is
desert with rain of only 5 to 7 inches a year. However, because it is cold much of the year and
relatively flat, there is plenty of vegetation and lakes.
For 21 days, we never had darkness. On cloudy days it was impossible to know the time of day
without a watch. The picture below was taken at 1:15 a.m. further into the trip when days had
become shorter altho it never got dark at night. Jackie and I managed to sleep just fine by bringing
along a mask to put over our eyes when we went to bed.
One of the best things about the trip was the amount of wildlife we saw. In the photo below, Jackie is
looking at a Caribou and wearing her "bug shirt" which has a cape with a mosquito net on the front.