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Tuktoyaktuk Summer 2017

Tuktoyaktuk Summer 2017

The Journey

We decided a little while ago to plan and undertake a big journey in classic old Land Rover’s and we wanted to do something unique, challenging and never done before. After some research we realized that we wanted to go to the Canadian Arctic and explore some of the least explored terrain in the world.

We found that there is a new section of dirt road being created across the Mackenzie Delta in the northern North West Territories and this road was yet to be travelled upon by anyone other than construction crews.

The iconic Dempster Highway currently runs from Dawson in the Yukon to Inuvik in the Northwest Territories. This road is about 750km’s long and is part of the famous winter ice-road. In the summer it is a maintained dirt road that passes through true wilderness with very very little human habitation or settlement. During the winter months an ice road is made across the Mackenzie River Delta from Inuvik to Tuktoyaktuk on the very edge of the Beaufort Sea, part of the Arctic Ocean. During the summer months there has been no way to drive to Tuktoyaktuk from Inuvik until now. The Northwest Territories provincial government has been constructing an extension of the Dempster Highway to allow resource supplying and tourism within Tuktoyaktuk and area. The new section of road officially opens later this year or early next year.

Our trip is hugely unique in that we will be the very first public to be allowed to travel this new section of road before it is open to the general public. We managed to secure a permit to be able to travel this new section of road, escorted by the Northwest Territories Department Of Transport – a huge privilege.

Dates

Our journey starts at the US / Canada border on August 22nd 2017 and we hope to be in Tuktoyaktuk by August 29th 2017.

Who

Our journey consists to two vehicles as that is all our permit allows. Ray Hyland in his 1988 Land Rover – Range Rover Classic and myself in my diesel 1996 Land Rover – Defender 90.

The Route

The “first” journey itself is about 4000km in one direction from the Peace Arch Border Crossing just south of Vancouver, all the way to Tuktoyaktuk. Our route is planned as follows. Our aim was to take two separate routes there and back where we could to be able to enjoy the most of Canada’s amazing scenery and to visit a couple of Ray’s families historic sites.

View route on Google Maps here

Waypoints

The journey there, the world’s first section

  1. Peace Arch Border Crossing, BC / WA

  2. Liard Hotsprings Provincial Park, BC

  3. Watson Lake, YK

  4. Tungsten, YK

  5. Ross River, YK

  6. Dawson, YK

  7. Inuvik, NWT

  8. Tuktoyaktuk, NWT

The journey home

 

  1. Tuktoyaktuk, NWT

  2. Inuvik, NWT

  3. Dawson, YK

  4. Whitehorse, YK

  5. Hyder, AK

  6. New Aiyansh, BC,

  7. Prince Rupert, BC

  8. Haida Gwaii / Gwaii Hannas, BC

  9. Prince Rupert, BC

  10. Port Hardy, BC – via the True Inside Passage

  11. Vancouver, BC

  12. Whistler, BC

Whipsaw 2016 Recreational Trip

Whipsaw 2016 Recreational Trip

There is something about the British Columbia classic trail that is known as the Whipsaw Trail. Located in mid southern BC near the small town of Princeton, it draws hundreds of would be fanatics, challengers and new comers each year.

The trail is usually a two day affair that on relatively dry conditions and is fairly straight forwards. Of course it can be done longer or even quicker, but for us time wasn’t the point. As soon as it becomes wet or snowed upon, things change somewhat. Still fairly navigable but the lower traction, often tighter confines of the BC woods and clay like mud add to the challenges!

Paul and I were lucky enough to find some spare mid week time and we able to cruise over to the trail and enjoy what it has to offer. We were lucky to have amazing weather, the trail was dry essentially so pretty straight forwards. Even luckier, we were the only ones out there, amazing and peaceful. We therefore set ourselves a small challenge, to enjoy the wheeling but to run it as simply and as quickly as possible without using diff locks, without touching, without spinning tyres, without using winches, spotting and other modern off road aids. Instead using, skill, knowledge, experience, good driving technique and standard vehicles. The challenge really was to build on trail driving experience using finesse and mechanical sympathy.

We managed to complete the trail in I think a healthy 9 hours including one stunning evening camp, with no drama. I think we got out twice to look, one spotted section, one failed climb very briefly by me but with a small direction change had no problems in the end. Sometimes it’s not about taking the biggest or hardest routes, sometimes it’s not about challenging the many mud holes, it’s about enjoying the scenery, enjoying the personal challenges you set, enjoying the flow of good off roading, enjoying continual technical movement, picking good lines and so on.

Such a great couple of days in the beautiful British Columbia woods on an iconic Canadian off road trail.

Escaping the Ordinary — Embracing the Adventure

Escaping the Ordinary — Embracing the Adventure

By Glenna Barron

For those who know even a little about it, overlanding conjures up visions of traversing rugged terrain, of meeting new cultures, of camping in remote locations and of embracing “the journey.” That is the heart of overlanding. What makes overlanding different from off-roading is that it is not just about overcoming obstacles in the terrain. While off-roading is greatly enjoyable, and many overlanders do it, they have cultivated a different ethos for their pursuit of adventure. Overlanding is about adventure between a starting and finishing point, of wanderlust and traversing remote regions often underexplored and underdocumented. It can be over difficult-to-manoeuvre terrain — a good example was the Camel Trophy event — but it can also be on easier to drive secondary roads and trails in remote locations, respectfully using them in the Tread Lightly! ® spirit. Always the vehicles are self-sufficient, ready for much of what they might encounter over trips of many days to many years, and at the close of each day, camp is set up.

And so the story goes for five stalwart friends who ventured into a remote region of British Columbia, Canada, their journey spanning hundreds of breathtaking and inspiring kilometres.

The journey was what it was about: exploring, each day bringing unique challenges, exhilarating terrain, seeing and doing things that would be woven into stories to be told again and again. Trail lore. Overlanding lore.

The friends navigated a desert area where glaciers had deeply incised mountains; today, velvety sagebrush, cacti and other plant life adorn them, fragile in their existence. It was an area where First Nations once fished for abundant salmon from the Fraser River and hunted herds of wildlife. Later, white settlers moved in to farm; their now decaying cabins dotting the hillsides, thousands of metres above the Fraser River. The roads and trails, some graded and some exquisitely rugged, perched on avalanche-prone hillsides, open to big sky, offering thrilling views. From there, the friends followed a once-wide logging road that became narrower with each passing kilometre, rarely used, nature reclaiming it. Small landslides roughened the trail, providing some off-camber thrills on the way down. Fallen trees blocked the trail, necessitating pruning and removal. The team worked efficiently to make the trail passable, always with safety in mind. This was where trust borne of many trips taken together, the camaraderie, bonded them further.

Around the campfire every night, the five recalled events of the day, each person adding their flavour to a hearty story soup, pausing once in awhile to savour the peace and joy that comes of being in locations that not many of us get to enjoy. Locations that leave a mark on your soul, calling to you again and again. It is a feeling, a melody, that settles in your mind, making itself comfortable: “The adventure is calling, and I must go; must go and live the life about which people write novels.”