Mackenzie Valley

Discussion in 'Canada' started by jetdoctor, Dec 22, 2005.

  1. jetdoctor

    jetdoctor Master of the Obvious

    Feb 17, 2005
    Seattle, WA
    Has anyone done any exploring north of Wrigley in the NWT? On Google Earth it looks like there is a road, but some local knowlege would be good. I know there is a pipeline from Norman Wells south, so maybe that is what I am seeing.
    It would be cool to barge from Wrigley to Inuvik, but I am sure you would have to just be in the right place at the right time.
  2. Cheap Ryder

    Cheap Ryder Ride for enlightenment

    Nov 28, 2005
    Montana great divide
    I've been in fort simpson in the past. Camped in the bush there and the bugs sounded like rain on the tent all night. They were hungry and wanted in! I too would be interested in a boat trip downriver from somewhere on the river down to inuvik. I have rode into Inuvik several times and when taking the ferry across the mckenzie it has seemed like a interesting idea. A crazy britisher I met riding a XL500 RTW once built a raft in Inuvik and floated out to Tuktoyuktuk on the arctic ocean.
  3. Miguel

    Miguel off road junkie

    Jul 25, 2004
    Vancouver Island, BC
    Hey Doug: have a look at this site

    He's local to me here in BC and does a lot of guided touring. Take a look at his NWT, BC and YT photos and maps.
  4. Doug Just Doug

    Doug Just Doug Silly Party Candidate Supporter

    Aug 30, 2005
    Newark, Dela-where?
    I have nothing to add except that the valley (and a bunch of other places in western Canada) to which you refer was named for my great, great, great, great, great, great grandfather on my mother's side. Sounds like a good excuse for a long tour from my home in Delaware some day, eh?
  5. northrider

    northrider Traveler

    Nov 22, 2004
    Vancouver, WA
    If you are interested in putting the bike on a boat to Inuvik check out this site . I checked with them last Summer and they were willing to load a bike on the ship for the run from Hay River to Inuvik. It's a long haul though (8 days down river/10 days up river) and I didn't want to spend that much time on the boat. But, if your interested it's the only regularly scheduled service I found that would take the bike. Good luck.
  6. bluenoser

    bluenoser I'z da by that gets da UI

    Aug 8, 2005
    Nova Scotia, Truro area
    Hey Doug, sorry for the late reply.
    I've done the Wrigley - Norman Wells road (5 years ago) in an tracked Argo, as well as by truck on the winter roar (late Jan - open for a few weeks). It was an extremely difficult road as it was not a road, but a cut line.
    The best time to go would be early spring while the ground is still frozen and there are no bugs - lots of snow, mud and slush though. After this the place becomes pretty swampy, lots of river crossings, no people or traffic, etc...although there are a few community cabins left open to try and stay warm during the spring nights.
    The first community you come to will be Tulita (or two liters as it is more commonly known). There is a small "hotel" and fuel, and a northern store, but not much else.
    If you can manage to cross Great Bear River, you will then find your way to the last stop - Norman Wells. As far as I know, there are no more routes north from Norman Wells.
    Five years ago this would be completely impassable by bike (and after spending a day or two in Wrigley, you'd probably want to turn around anyway.
    With the Argo, we broke down (for the last time) about a two days walk from Tulita (a very wet during the day, cold during the nights -walk). With the truck, got heavily stuck in a river crossing, which could have been a very long, messy wait had it not been for a snow cat which happened by us on the way to pick up a grader operator who went through the ice - mild winter in the southren parts of the trail.
    As I mentioned, all this info is 5 years old, however, I did live in Norman Wells for five years and nothing changed then. There has been talk of making this a little more of a permenant route to service and build a US pipeline from Alaska (along with the already existing pipeline) - however, last I heard this was put on hold.
    Even though both trips for me were disasters, I would do them again in a second and would not hesitate to try on a bike if I found out conditions had improved. So if any of this info is contradictory to anything you've heard, pls let me know.

    BROKENTOOTH Been here awhile

    Jan 13, 2006
    no fixed address, Ontario
    Looking at N. Canol pics from it seems that a KLR 650 may be the ideal bike for this road. Just wondering if it's worth trying on a GS since some of the water crossings look rather deep. Not so much worried about the bike than being stuck 3 million miles from a footprint with a bent con rod like the 1200 from one of those magazine tests, (CMG I think). Is it true that late Aug/early Sep has the lowest water level? And just how "fordable" is a GS? Pics would be nice.

    "Better to be hated for what you are than loved for what you're not"