Ice, whitewater, bugs and bears – these women have seen it all and they’re headed back for more! In 2005, the Borealis Paddling Expedition spent 95 days traversing the Barrenlands of Nunavut, Canada. This summer they are heading north again.
Consisting of five women in their mid-twenties, the Borealis Paddling Expedition has again set its sights on the Arctic Ocean.
Beginning in June of 2008 they will paddle from Great Slave Lake to the coastal town of Kugluktuk, Nunavut via the Emile, Coppermine and Rae Rivers. The crux of their journey is a 50-mile overland crossing from the Coppermine to the Rae River. There is virtually no record of recent travel on the Rae, and the women are excited to explore and document this remote area. They expect the route to take over two months to complete.
During the summer of 2005, the BPE undertook a three month expedition to the Arctic Ocean designed to initiate scholarship donations for campers of Camp Manito-wish YMCA.
The expedition began at Wollaston Lake in Saskatchewan (a traditional starting point for Manito-wish canoe trips) and continued north for approximately 1200 miles via the Fond du Lac, Dubawnt and Back Rivers.
In late August, after 95 days on the tundra, the BPE reached Chantrey Inlet on the Arctic Ocean; a few months later they surpassed their fundraising goal of $50,000. The money was used to create the Borealis Campership Endowment, which finances one young person’s Manito-wish experience every summer.
The heart of the Borealis Paddling Expedition centers around a certain fading ethic of wilderness travel. This ethic is one that is emphasizes the connection with the natural and cultural landscape and is rooted in a historical mode of transportation. It requires respect for the land in the form of extreme minimal-impact camping and travel.
These women are willing to set ambitious goals and then personally invest in long months of research and preparation.
In this way the Borealis Paddling Expedition hopes to balance exploration with tradition, and inspire a future generation of responsible and respectful wilderness travelers.
Sponsors of the 2008 Borealis Paddling Expedition include Backcountry.com, Kokatat, Isis, and Sierra Designs.
You can follow along on their website: http://s101324950.onlinehome.us/ where they will post weekly updates from the tundra.