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Canada: Northwest Territories


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Northwest Territories: Untamed Tundra
National Geographic Adventure picks the 25 best new outfitted trips.
Text by Bonnie Tsui   Photograph by Paul Nicklen/NG Image Collection
Photo: Caribou
Caribou wander the tundra of Canada's Northwest Territories.

WHAT'S NEW: A broad, 10,000-square-mile (25,900-square-kilometer) swath of rolling tundra and deep river canyons, Tuktut Nogait National Park lies inside Canada's rugged Northwest Territories, 105 miles (169 kilometers) north of the Arctic Circle. The ten-year-old park's three main valleys are valuable nesting areas for raptors and migratory birds. One of its rivers, the Hornaday, flows northwest into the Beaufort Sea and will be the site of an exploratory trip by Ontario-based Black Feather next summer. "Few paddlers have ever navigated the Hornaday," says Black Feather guide Wendy Grater. "In the summer the river is clear and easy to paddle, but its major canyon is impassable."

ON THE GROUND:
Along with two guides, you'll start by paddling the upper Hornaday to the mouth of the river's canyon. From there you'll swap paddles for hiking boots to trek the barren tundra. The going is moderate, says Grater, with some challenging river crossings—there are no bridges in this isolated region. But the isolation makes for tremendous, unspoiled scenery: A herd of 80,000 caribou moves through the park each summer (including calving females that can be seen from the Hornaday); once overhunted musk oxen have been steadily increasing in number; and, in late July, wildflowers set the entire park aflame.

Vitals

Outfitter: Black Feather (www.blackfeather.com)

Length: 14 days

Price: $5,000

Difficulty: Moderate

Departs: July
 


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Our November 2006 issue features the best new adventure travel trips; an exclusive look inside Iran; a Greenland global warming report; backcountry spas; digital cameras; travel Web sites; weekend getaways; and more.

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