In the summer of 2011, The Nature Conservancy’s lead scientist Dr. M Sanjayan and Canada Program Director Dr. Richard Jeo went on an expedition through one of Canada’s most pristine areas with young members of the Lutsel K’e Dene First Nation.
They traveled by canoe along the Thelon River ending in North America’s largest and most remote wildlife refuge, the Thelon Game Sanctuary.
Want to experience more of the Thelon River Expedition?
You can follow Sanjayan’s expedition journal here!
It is a place ruled by the biggest and smallest—the grizzly and the mosquito—and by the extremes of sub-arctic seasons. Read the full post
The great Antarctic explorer Ernest Shackleton had a hard time getting out of town, they say. On expeditions, he was decisive and brilliant — but in the run up to setting out, he dithered endlessly. Read the full post
Joseph Catholique returned to his village of Lutsel K’e to go to a local school and learn from his father the land and how to hunt it. Read the full post
I write in the light of the endless Arctic dusk, filtered into a golden hue through the walls of my tent. Outside, I hear wolves howl across the river. Read the full post
It sounds as if it’s raining outside — a light gentle drizzle, perhaps. But outside is dry and the sound comes not from drops of water but the ferocious attacks of mosquitoes and black flies as they bounce off the nylon walls of my tent. Read the full post
Though the Thelon River is big and its banks wide, our campsites tend to be picked with great care. Often, starting around 4 pm, we will begin to scout likely sites and our Dene guides. Read the full post
For the past week, it is as if I have been travelling through the Thelon with blinders on. I am like an ant removed from its colony and set down in strange territory. Read the full post
Now at Camp 8 we were pinned by a storm that would last for four days. The buggy evening, without a spot of wind, was transformed near midnight into a gale. Read the full post
River travel worried me. Two hundred kilometers on a poorly charted arctic river, with no cavalry to come to the rescue, is not the place to practice canoeing. You either make it or you don’t. Read the full post
We have been shadowed on our Expedition by photo-journalist Ami Vitale, whose work has been published in a variety of media outlets including National Geographic. Read the full post
The end is in sight. We have reached Hornby Point where the hungry bones of three men rest beneath wooden crosses staked in a copse of black spruce. Read the full post