"Standing amidst a migrating caribou herd, watching barrenland grizzlies play, and holding a wolf pup in my arms are experiences I count as some of the greatest thrills of my lifetime..." Joe Epley, Charlotte, NC
"...the highlight of my outdoor experiences of 65 years "
"Your virgin wonderland... has no peer in North America"
"... The beauty of that pristine country cannot even be imagined by those who
have never been there...We will always remember our trip with you as one of
the most important events in our lives."
"This brings our thanks for a million dollar trip. As you know, our paddle across
the Barrens with you was rewarding far beyond our expectations. I hoped that we
might see migrating caribou, but I never dreamed that we would have the great good
fortune of watching tens of thousands of caribou streaming past us for an entire
day. The glimpses of tundra wolves chasing caribou, stalking Canada geese, foraging
along the shore, and the beautiful white wolf that inspected our camp one morning
were revealing snatches of life on the tundra. Seeing the big, honey-coloured grizzly
asleep beside his muskox kill on shore was a thrilling climax to a great trip…
Your planning of the trip that left us time to hike over the tundra along the eskers,
to enjoy the wildflowers, take photographs and explore the canyon on foot made the
trip doubly enjoyable. And of course, we all enjoyed the swift runs down those wild
rivers. We appreciated your leadership too, competent but unobtrusive and your unruffled
"It's hard to single out just those aspects that stand out:
the Barrens grizzly, those beautiful arctic wolves, the char and grayling, the tundra
flora and birdlife, the surge of power in the swift flowing river, the intoxication
of the rhythmic paddling, the excitement of the rapids, or the fine fellowship of
my fellow travellers. They were all there and I want to go back. I appreciated your
excellent equipment… Your leadership was a comfort. I've thanked you before
but I want to put it in writing. My deepest thanks for a great experience."
"Your equipment, food and organization of the trip were excellent and are only exceeded
by your knowledgeable abilities on all aspects of canoeing and camping in the wilderness
area that we were in. It is an experience which all of us will never forget."
"We notice that more and more we talk about what a great experience we had on the
tundra. We are beginning to understand why some of your clients come back every
year… Whenever we look at our pictures we are transported back to that marvellous
land and are always somewhat amazed that we were really there."
"Soon that memorable trip into the vast wilds of the Northwest Territories began
to seem dreamlike – an exciting and exhilarating dream. You don't have to
be told that Bart and I enjoyed it immensely. It was a once-in-a-lifetime adventure
with many outstanding facets. If I had to choose one aspect that appealed above
all others it would be the remoteness. Our small party was literally miles and miles
and miles away from any other human being, in any direction. What a privilege to
share such unspoiled wilderness under those conditions… Thank you for everything,
"…What he wants to share, he says, is one of the most exciting adventures of his life…in the natural, still unspoiled beauty of a rugged wilderness where grizzly bears, caribou, wolves and muskoxen thrive and where eagles, falcons and arctic terns soar above cold, clear rivers that run roughshod and thick with fish through canyons, rolling hills and flatlands… He marvels at the varied and abundant animal life. Lasting memories include a white wolf sleeping on a sand beach in the sun only a few feet away, a grizzly bear emerging from the river, herds of muskoxen pacing and snorting like mad bulls, wolves killing and carrying away Canada geese, watching a wolf howling at its den, the abundant moose and caribou, a bald eagle ambushing a goose, young peregrines and gyrfalcons at their cliffside nests, and herring gulls attacking young swans which dive beneath the water to escape… The canoe party travels through a land carpeted with wildflowers, from purplish-blue lupine sometimes so thick its sweet fragrance fills the air, to mountain avens, delicate and daisy-like… By trip's end he's saddened to have to leave it all behind. In his journal he muses: ‘Will there ever be days to match this combination of achievement, fellowship, beauty and unfolding visual delights?" from a newspaper interview with Chuck Trabold, Syracuse, NY
"Alex, we are still riding such a wave of euphoria over
that trip. We really do not have words to adequately thank you. When someone has
a long-standing dream such as we did and then the dream becomes reality, there is
always the danger that it might turn out to be less than anticipated. But not so.
It was everything and more than we could ever have imagined…We will never
forget the glorious times of paddling, my birthday wolf, the scent of the blue lupines,
the portages, the mosquitoes, the never ending daylight, the big muskox herd, the
amusing ground squirrels, the canyons and waterfalls, the peregrines and gyrfalcons,
all those comical, moulting Canada geese, the thrill of paddling by that grizzly,
the stone weapon making sites of the primitive peoples, flying over the tundra,
Bert's big fish, the sand hills, the fellowship and fun we had with everyone, the
profusion of wildflowers, the remains of the old Inuit encampments and so much more.
It was all wonderful and thanks to you it will always be a cherished memory…"
"It was a wondrous journey…a remarkably gorgeous, unique and clean wilderness
and we did find it awesome at times. The silence there is beautiful. We miss it.
We are still suffering terrible withdrawal pangs. Your care, handling and tolerance
of us was special."
"Alex, we compliment you on running a truly memorable trip. It was a rare treat
for us to get to know you and the others in the party and a pleasure to travel with
someone who really ‘leaves only footprints and takes only pictures.' One day
we'll be back."
"My mind and soul are still somewhere on the Barrens. Sitting along the river or
eyeing across the tundra have been truly deep experiences that have intensely nourished
me spiritually. Your trips allow others to truly experience parts of Canada not
normally experienced…You must have a deep love for that country to be able
to carry on with your business year after year and still be able to share your own
excitement with your clients. However, not only do you have the skills to carry
on such a business with a superb safety record, you also provided the right glue
through your competent leadership to weld eight, strong-willed people into a cohesive
"Thank you for a beautiful trip. The silence, the vastness and the solitude all
replenished a part of me that at times seems to get neglected."
"Thank you, my friend, for showing me the central Barrens…The word freedom
comes to mind above all – those big skies and rolling landscapes."
"I arose the next morning before six to return to the wolf den and sit alone for
fifteen minutes, making cub sounds I'd learned from a cassette tape. I was about
to give up and go looking for the red-throated loons that were calling, when a fuzzy
black and brown cub emerged from the bushes. He cocked his head from side to side,
put his tail between his legs, jumped sideways and barked. I didn't move a muscle.
Two siblings emerged behind him, equally curious. Judging me harmless, they bumbled
about in the morning sun before disappearing into the den. I danced all the way
back to camp."
"…all those muskoxen, the numerous wolves, the
pictures of the wolf pups, the three grizzlies on the beach, all the bird life!
Unbelievable! What memories!"
"We both feel it was a privilege to have made the trip with you and the others…
We thank you for your insight, experience, intuition and incredible organizing.
At times I wondered if you had not tired of our endless exclaiming about the beauty
of the wildlife and their places. Every day contained so many unforgettable moments…"
"Thanks a million for the great trip! I could name highlights but really the main
thing was being there in that great country, travelling by canoe in a small party
and being all by ourselves. I appreciated all your planning and preparation that
made it possible, and all your hard work during the trip to keep it smooth…"
"…It was a thrill and the adventure of a lifetime. As I made up the photo album I found each picture evoked a memory – the tundra, the eskers, the muskox herds, the arctic hares and ground squirrels, the peregrine falcons, the caribou, my wolverine, our campsites, portages and the clear waters of sparkling crystal lights…Since my return back home I have felt and envisioned the vistas of the land we travelled through, the softness of the air, the blustery wind, the scent of foot-crushed Labrador tea and the utter immensity, tranquility and harmony of the whole land. "Alex, you lead an amazing trip. Everything was just right. We would love to return some day." Ann Kingston, North Vancouver, BC
"…It was the high point of my wilderness experience and one, I am sure, that
will never be equalled. The country, the wildlife, and as important, the people
on the trip were all a superb experience…"
"We loved the trip…and can't wait to go again. The whole experience was better
than we hoped for and we hoped for a lot… The wildflowers were amazing at
times and the country was awesome. What we shall always remember was your enthusiasm
for each and every animal, large and small, and your amazing knowledge of the country
and where wolves in particular are to be found. Your confidence made us totally
unafraid of close encounters, and we were thrilled to get so close to such beautiful
wild creatures. We will always carry with us the sight and sound of the elegant
white wolf that we roused from her den, who literally stared at me from fifteen
feet away before she bolted for the sand dunes. We recall how she followed us for
a very long time as we paddled downriver, etched against the sky atop a long esker,
howling all the way –– our personal escort out of her country. Magical!
And so were those very close encounters with the muskoxen. Enclosed find some pictures,
including some great skies…and the best shots I got of wolves, muskoxen,
moose, caribou, grizzlies and gyrfalcon chicks… We are thinking of you and
the great country. It is in our bones and we miss it. Wow!"
"…The trip was one of the highlights of my life. Nothing compares to it.
This is the sort of thing that continues to grow on you, bringing ever increasing
satisfaction and a sense of fulfillment long after the trip has ended. The trip
may be over but the adventure lives on…"
"...Thank you for the trip of a lifetime. That canoe trip surpassed all of my other
canoe trips over the decades by a wide margin. I can see why you were smitten when
you first canoed the tundra. I've had a glimpse now of how life could have been
different for me had I stumbled into that part of Canada in the early 70s as you
did. The wildflowers and the wildlife took my breath away. The way everything came
together made the trip an overwhelming experience.Sign me up for next summer so
I can spend the next ten months in grateful anticipation."
"...Jim and I still talk about that wonderful canoe trip we took with you over twenty
years ago. It was the highlight of my canoeing life. I just wanted you to know what
great memories we still have. One wall of our house is full of photographs we took
on that trip. Do you remember the wolf that walked into camp and was about six feet
from Jim before he realized it was there? We are now in our 80s, not canoeing any
more because of health problems, but we still lean over railings on bridges to decide
how we would run the river below."
"...That was an amazing trip. What a great river and the food was on another level
too I might add."
"Thanks for the opportunity to explore your world. I have a lot of respect and admiration
for your patience, perseverance and skill in opening up the remote tundra country
to people like me who would otherwise wonder what it's like to feel the tundra underfoot,
to stand beneath such a vastly more expansive sky than I experience here, and drink
the water every day that takes us from the beginning to the end of an unforgettable
"Alex, we had a grand time this summer with you---unforgettable and we hope to do
it again. We never stop talking about it. I have some fabulous pictures of muskoxen,
caribou, wolves and wolf pups. If anything, the trip only whetted our appetites
"The fishing we experienced was simply unbelievable. In the rapids we caught grayling
on almost every cast with lots of lake trout in places up to the 25 pound class.
The lakes and pools below rapids were full of big cannibal northern pike weighing
up to 30 pounds. If I didn't have the pictures to prove it, I'm sure none of my
friends would believe my fishing stories."
"Thank you so much for making my dream come true. Our trip was everything I had
hoped for. Each day brought fresh wonders. The space and the smells of the tundra
gathered me in. It is a very rich environment and one that has captured me. My best
and most evocative memories are of the wolves..."
"...Alex, that was the best canoe trip I've ever experienced...If I had to render
the whole experience down to one phrase, it would be 'care-free'. There's just something
about those huge skies and those expansive rolling tundra landscapes five hundred
kilometres from the nearest road that make you feel like a happy but totally insignificant
speck in a big, big land. It's truly one of the very last remaining wild places
left on earth."
"...It's hard to describe what it feels like to be alone with the wind, to walk
in any direction and see nothing but unfolding landscape of water, sky and untouched
land. Alex, anyone who has ever had any connection with nature, if only fleeting, will
be overtaken and swallowed up by the landscape we experienced on that trip."
"...I want to again express my thanks and appreciation for a great trip. I had a
fabulous time and really enjoyed becoming familiar with your beautiful part of the
world. My main goal was to experience some of the great fishing up there, and I
"...Your planning and knowledge of the area were just superb. Without your help
I would never have been able to achieve that particular dream of mine."
"I think often of you and our experience in the North with appreciation and awe."
"I want to thank you for the incredible trip you put together and guided for my
father and me. I had a great time. I appreciate all of the preparation, organization
and hard work you put into it. We are grateful to you for sharing your knowledge,
and indeed for sharing that amazing land with us..."
"Thank you for taking me to the Thelon. It was everything I had hoped for and more."
"...Again, thank you for a magnificent trip on every level. I am still riding a high.
I have the wolves branded into my brain..."
"...A year later and our trip still stands out as a highlight life experience for
"I have been thinking about all the trips I've done with you up there and without
a doubt they were the best outdoor experiences I have ever had. And that includes
a number of trips to Alaska, Siberia, Kamchatka, Chile, as well as backpacking and
canoe trips in many parts of the US and Canada. I have always quoted your comment
that if you saw anybody else on a trip you would consider it compromised if not
a complete failure..."
"Many, many thanks for an absolutely fabulous trip, especially the hike to the muskoxen.
That was a real highlight. Your organizational skills, the country and the canoeing
were all terrific and topped off with such a fine group of people. The whole experience
was first rate and an inspiration to do more."
"...Many thanks for a spectacular trip. We're still basking in the glow!"
"Thank you for the unique experience. That trip with you was special. I've had an
ongoing fascination with Canada's North---the land of solitude, harmony, peace and
beauty. I shall never forget this experience with you, the wonder and majesty of
every day, the constantly changing scenery and colours, the animal sightings, birds
soaring above in graceful flight, and the delightful company with whom we could
share laughs and good conversation..."
"Twelve years later and my daughter Lucy and I are still talking about our canoe
trip with you. It was the experience of a lifetime for both of us. We will always
be grateful for your hard work as guide, cook and genial host."
"...It was really great being out there again with such a good bunch of people enjoying
what the land had to offer, whether it was an interesting plant or a growling grizzly.
I greatly appreciate how you easily guided us past the more difficult rapids providing
enjoyable runs. Thanks again, Alex, for all your hard work in putting this trip
"Thank you for a fantastic trip on the Thelon. Your organization, expertise and
care for the welfare and safety of your clients is exceptional and greatly appreciated..."
"...Thanks so much for the wonderful canoe trip. Joyce and I had a fantastic time
and you made it all possible. We enjoyed every second of it..."
"…Thank you for the many happy memories…When people ask us about our
trip we have so much to tell them – but I always say: ‘We worked hard
but we were never afraid,' and that's because of you and the care and planning you
put into the trip. You've helped broaden our vision of our own country and we really
"I have very fond memories of the trip. Watching and hearing the wolves and seeing
four grizzlies were some of the highlights for me. But I was also captivated by
the stark and beautiful landscape…"
"I wanted to thank you again for a fantastic experience. I enjoyed every minute
of it…I was very impressed with how well you planned the trip and I thoroughly
enjoyed the good companionship in our group…I was deeply impressed by the
rich wildlife, the innumerable birds, the herds of muskoxen and caribou and, of
course, the wolves. Holding a wolf pup in my arms was a truly unique experience.
This will be something to tell my children and grandchildren about…"
"Thank you very much for a once in a lifetime trip and all
the extra work you put into it. I definitely want to go back again…Caribou
every day, the wolves and the Northern Lights were all incredible sights. The whole
trip was exciting from beginning to end."
"I am deeply appreciative of the way you ran and organized the experience. It was
a hell of a fine go and I thank you…It was wonderful for me to get an ever
so small glimpse of your world…I really appreciated all that you tried to
impart and your quiet joy of the surroundings we passed through."
"I want to thank you for a great trip. Your organizational and planning skills gave
me great confidence in the success and safety of the trip…Great memories!
I hope to do it again some day."
"…Hilary and I had one of the greatest journeys of our lives with you. Those
two rivers in the Barrens have become places I return to again and again in my thoughts…"
"I had a fabulous time. It was more than I had hoped for…It's hard to pick
out one thing that stands out, but seeing the muskoxen and being able to get so
close to them is something I think about often…Standing alone knee deep in
the Thelon catching grayling all afternoon that day near the end of the trip provided
me with the best fishing of my life."
"…It was a great delight being out in that magnificent place. Seeing all
the caribou, muskoxen and wolves was a bonus. Even if none of these had been present,
I would have been satisfied just to have been on that grand, remote river, to have
walked that seemingly endless tundra and to have watched those ever-changing skies."
"We can't tell you how much the trip meant to us…Thank you for a wonderful,
"…the scenic splendour and bountiful wildlife have made a permanent impression
"Last summer was extraordinary. You live in a magnificent part of the world…"
"The country was overwhelming in its variety and enormity."
"The country was majestic, breathtaking…"
"…many thanks for all the happy memories and for a great bunch of companions.
The memories linger on."
"I fully intend to return to that blessed wilderness of such sublime beauty."
"…What a joy to behold nature untampered, unfettered in the glory of its
"The trip was the high point of my life…Every time I think of me holding
that wolf puppy I get this big grin on my face."
"…I live in my memories – what a great time…"
"…other trips will pale by comparison."
"…the most beautiful place in the world."
"…the greatest adventure of my life."