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.

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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.