The Stikine River – August, 1994

This was our second canoe trip with Pierre Trudeau since he joined us on the Hanbury Thelon Rivers in 1979.

Stikine River

The Stikine

The 600 kilometre long Stikine River has its beginnings in Tuaton Lake in the Spatsizi Plateau region and we made that the starting point of our trip. From there this fast-flowing river makes a wide arc as it circles to the east and north of the Spatsizi Plateau before heading southwest into the Pacific Ocean near Wrangell, Alaska.

Our takeout point would be a couple of hundred kilometres downstream at the Stewart Cassiar highway overpass and a fair distance above the impassable Stikine Grand Canyon located further downstream.

While we did encounter some difficult rapids along the way, including the turbulent water at Beggarly Canyon, the river, for the most part, was quite canoeable with few portages. The scenery along the river can only be described as breathtaking – spectacular snow covered mountains, plenty of wildlife including Bears, Dall Sheep, Wolves, Moose, and Caribou, good fishing and attractive campsites.

Two members of the canoe team describe our Stikine adventure – John Gow and Ted Johnson.


John GowA River “Down South” by John Gow

Craig called in early in ’94 to tell me that the wise men had met and chosen the Stikine as that year’s river, and adding, “Since you are in B.C., would you mind organizing access from Terrace to the river, canoes and flights?” No worries there, other than I was in Victoria, the southernmost point in British Columbia, and the Stikine was far to the north, I knew little about it, and had no contacts in the area. More


Ted JohnsonOn the Stikine with Pierre by Ted Johnson

Our group was generally cautious and we stopped to inspect most rapids from shore before running them. Early in the trip, on a day when it was Pierre’s turn in the stern, he and I were caught on the “wrong” side of the river….the better route through the whitewater was on the opposite side of the river. More

Stikine River Team – August 1994

Group Stikine

L-R: Tim Kotcheff, John Macfarlane, Pierre Trudeau, John Gow, Craig Oliver, Peter Stollery, Eddie Goldenberg, Ted Johnson.

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