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Exploring the Rivers of Canada

Jun 28, 2008
If you enjoy spending time in nature, few vacations can compete with a Canada canoe trip. With almost two dozen rivers to choose from, Canada naturally provides a landscape that can accommodate everyone from beginners to experts.

In addition to being diverse, Canadian rivers are also beautiful. On the Nahanni River, paddlers particularly enjoy the towering canyon walls along the shore and the cascading water of Virginia Falls. And the Coppermine River is especially famous for wildlife like eagles, moose, and caribou. On other rivers, the morning mist that rises off the river shrouds miles of sloping pine forests and nearby mountains.

Guides
Even though Canadian rivers can accommodate paddlers of all skill levels, the same river could contain a jumble of easy and difficult stretches. One way to ensure that the trip is as safe as possible is to hire an experienced guide. Since they are familiar with the river, they can protect the group from dangerous areas. For example, Virginia Falls is definitely a sight worth seeing but, at a height that doubles Niagara Falls, it's not a waterfall that you should try riding.

Guides can provide other valuable services too. For example, if you have children or other beginners on the journey, a guide can serve as a teacher who instructs them in basic canoeing skills and safety instructions. Guides can also help keep you on schedule. After all, if you only have seven days to meet up with return transportation, you don't want the trip to take eight or nine days to complete. And finally, guides often know the whereabouts of the best campgrounds and other attractions like hot springs and hiking trrails that it would be easy to drift by when you don't know what you are looking for.

Gear
It is possible to bring your own gear and hire an independent guide to accompany you, but it is much easier to just hire an outfitting company that provides everything from the guide to the food and the gear. In addition to canoes, paddlers will need tents, cooking supplies, sleeping bags, life jackets, and enough food for a week or two. Another nice thing about outfitting companies is that they provide transportation to and from the river. This eliminates the need to have your own cars at both the drop-off and take-out points.
Generally, the longer your trip; the more you get for your money. Unfortunately, work and other responsibilities may not allow you to spend 20 days on the water. That is why many outfitters usually offer several different kinds of trips.
About the Author
Black Feather (http://blackfeather.com/) is an outfitter that has been planning river adventures since 1971. Their guides have enjoyed canoeing rivers across Canada with people of all ages. For more information on a Canada canoe trip, visit their website. The author, Art Gib, is a freelance writer.
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