Wong will take over Hall’s licence to guide in the Thelon Wildlife Sanctuary this season, guiding at least five 10 to 12-day trips along the river – the same number Hall had planned for both 2018 and 2019.
The Thelon River runs through the Barrenlands of the eastern Northwest Territories into Nunavut, emptying into Baker Lake.
While they never paddled the Barrenlands together, Wong did spend time with Hall poring over his notes and maps, learning everything he could from the man who spent more time than anyone on the river.
“We will be thinking about him a lot this summer,” said Wong. “We will never fill his shoes … no one will. He stands alone.
“It’s unlikely anyone will ever paddle that area as much, know it as well as he did, and love it as much as he did.
“It’s going to be an adventure this summer, and it’s something I’m really looking forward to and working hard to get ready for.”
‘We don’t want to lose what Alex had’
Change on the Thelon comes at the same time as the Nahanni River opens up for a new licensee.
In both instances, there is friction between operators.