Go Light – Paddling and Hiking the Soper River OverviewDiscover the pristine beauty of Katannilik Territorial Park by water and land on our Go Light – Paddling and Hiking the Soper River adventure. This surprisingly fertile oasis, found tucked in the middle of the ancient Meta Incognita Peninsula (“The Place Unknown”), stretches from the top of Pleasant Inlet, near the village of Kimmirut, toward the south shore of Frobisher Bay, across from the City of Iqaluit, and follows the Soper Valley and the Itijjagiaq Trail. Within this verdant valley and spectacular wilderness, we follow the long green ribbon of the Soper River, a Canadian Heritage River known locally as Kuujjuaq or “Big River”. Streaming out from this great river, we find many tributaries, streams, and rivulets that wash down into the valley. It is these cascading waters, which resound throughout the park, that inspired its name of Katannilik, “The Place of Waterfalls”.
For centuries, the Soper Valley served the needs of the Inuit both as a source of game and berries as well as a travel route to other parts of the island. Signs of these paleoeskimo speak of the adventurous spirit of those who came before us, evident with tent rings as old as 4,000 years. In the early 1900’s, European whalers, traders, and explorers visited the Soper Valley looking for food, furs, and minerals. When Canadian biologist and Arctic explorer J. Dewey Soper travelled up the river in 1931, he found it still largely unknown to the outside world.
As we paddle and hike our way along the Soper River, we’ll be graced with a profusion of Arctic wildflowers that spread across the valley, while caribou, wolf, fox, and hare graze the hillsides. The valley is also home to rough-legged hawks, peregrine, and gyrfalcons, along with other Arctic species such as snow buntings, horned larks, and plovers. Seabirds frequent the area and may include red-throated loons, black guillemots, arctic terns and thick-billed murres. Arctic char are plentiful in the river and Greenland cod are found further downstream in Soper Lake.
In addition to the breathtaking natural wonders you’ll encounter, this adventure also allows you to experience modern Inuit life as we visit Iqaluit, “The Place of Many Fish”, and Kimmirut (formally known as Lake Harbour), which is famous for its soapstone carvings. Relish an opportunity to discover Nunavut, “Our Land”, with its landscape of endless skies and big open country that is teeming with wildlife and rich cultural traditions. Other highlights of your trip will include superb campsites, fresh fish grilled to perfection, hikes to waterfalls, impressive photography opportunities, and simply taking in the majestic beauty and wilderness of Baffin Island. We invite you to share in the beauty of Nunavut and exclaim, “Katjaqnaaq!” (I am content in this beautiful land), on this holiday that may just change your life.
Our Go Light – Paddling and Hiking the Soper River adventure is recommended for those seeking an active, yet relaxing backcountry trip in spectacular surroundings. Offering a fusion of exciting activities along with nature, culture, and history, this adventure has something of interest for all travellers.
Skill Level: 2 (Novice)