Protect the Peel & first pics

Three weeks have passed by now since my return from my six week hiking and packrafting trip in Arctic Canada and I’m ready to show you a first small selection of the many pictures I took on my way through this vast wilderness area of the Peel river watershed.

Before I will come to tell you more about the experiences of the trip itself, I would like to draw your attention in this post to a serious threat. The Peel river watershed is today burdened under pressure by the mining, oil and gas industries to be opened for exploration. Do you know what this means? This vast untouched wilderness area, home to a wide variation of wildlife and the cultural homeland of four First Nations, might become seriously damaged by man’s ever growing hunger for natural resources. Cutting pipelines for oil and gas, dirty gravel roads for heavy truck traffic, mine pits left behind as devastating scars in the landscape,… this will become reality if we let the industry execute their plans.

Today there is a petition going on to preserve this valuable wilderness. If this petition gets many followers, the Yukon government would take measures to protect (at least part of) the area. I want you to please read the whole further situation on the Protect the Peel website and to sign the statement of support. Let’s hope I’ve not been one of the last persons who could travel through this region without being disturbed by human activity.

Peel 201208Arctic ground squirrel on the tundra in the Wernecke mountains.

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Ridge camping with the trailstar in the Wernecke mountains.

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Mountain caribou in the Wernecke mountains.

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Ridge walking in the Wernecke mountains.

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A bull moose bathed in Hart lake.

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A striped ground squirrel in the thickets near Hart lake.

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The dark peaks of the Wernecke Mountains towering above Hart river.

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Hart river and the untouched Wernecke Mountains.

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A North American porcupine at the banks of Hart river.

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The endless limestone peaks of the Taïga ranges from the summit of Mount Kinney.

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An arctic ground squirrel in the Taïga ranges, fattened up by early autumn.

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Ridge camping in the Taïga ranges.

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Dall sheep with young in the Taïga ranges.

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A bald eagle on the lookout above Hart river.

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An atmospheric evening in the Taiga ranges above Hart river.

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Hart river leaving the Taïga ranges.

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Hart river rapids before its entrance in the Peel river.

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Up to Class IV rapids are encountered on the Peel river before the river enters the canyons.

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Portaging the Peel river rapids.

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A Peregrine falcon at the entrance of Aberdeen canyon.

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Evening down the quiet middle section of Aberdeen Canyon.

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Down deadly Aberdeen Canyon with its many unpredictable whirlpools after I almost capsized in an earlier rapid.

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The wide braided Peel river and the Richardson Mountains at the horizon.

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The unpredictable Peel canyon.

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Urinating moose with calf (and yes, I still drank from the river after this point).

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A beaver in the Peel river.

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The lower Peel river on a windy autumn evening.

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Birch bark and stem along the camping spot on a zero day with 6 beaufort headwinds along the lower Peel river.

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A North American red squirrel in a tree in the Mackenzie delta. This must be one of the most northerly living red squirrels in North America.

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The Mackenzie delta and the snow covered Richardson mountains at the horizon.

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Whitened mountain ridges of the Richardson Mountains, photographed from the Air North flight between Inuvik and Dawson.

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Hart river valley and the Taïga ranges after an early autumn snowstorm, photographed from the Air North flight between Inuvik and Dawson.

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Blackstone river (bottom) and Hart river (central) flowing through the Taïga ranges after an early autumn snowstorm, photographed from the Air North flight between Inuvik and Dawson.

24 thoughts on “Protect the Peel & first pics

  1. Well Joery, guess it’s gonne be hard to not put this in next Sunday’s TWIR as a recommended see. Superb (and two thumbs up for the intro, went and signed the petition immediately). You like the E-M5?

    • Thanks Hendrik! Would be nice if you could bring the demand for protection of the Peel river watersched to the attention of your blog followers since you have a huge audience.
      I must say I like the E-M5 a lot. This is actually the first camera I can fully enjoy while photographing.

    • I was already on the Wind and Snake River for paddling, but the Hart River is also on my “To Do”- list. Mid August, begin September is a nice time in the Peel River Watershed. Begin September is also the start of the rutting season for moose and to see a lot of wildlife on this kind of trips is super!

  2. Absolutely fantastic and a wonderful way to start the working morning. Many thanks and looking forward to more. Be interested to know a little more about the lenses you are using.

    • Hi Roger! I mainly used the 9-18mm, 14-150mm and 75-300mm with the E-M5 and had the Samyang 7.5mm and Panasonic 20mm with me for the northern lights (that appeared several times luckily). Maybe a little over equipped. ;-)

  3. Glad you all like the pictures. There will be definitely more coming in the trip report but that will still take several weeks to finish that.

  4. Inspiring pictures and it’s reassuring to know such beautiful wilderness still exists on the planet.
    Thanks for taking the time to post the report.

  5. Nice! I signed the petition to protect the Peel so hopefully it is still untouched wilderness by the time I make it up there.

  6. Your pictures are amazing!!! I only regret that I have not spent more time in the upper Hart area for hiking. I think my journey down the Hart 2012 will not be the last time for me in the Peel watershed -I am dreaming to do the Hart again, maybe down Rae Creek….
    Now I am looking forward to read your story and get more pictures from the Hart,

    regards,

    Stefan

  7. Pingback: The Peel watershed packraft trip: an upcoming talk « DZJOW'S ADVENTURE LOG

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