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Canoeing Down the Yukon River Canada


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Canoeing down the Yukon River

Most individuals don’t strap a bicycle to paddle 715km canoeing down the yukon river in Canada! Fortunate I’m not most individuals. The thought of canoeing the Yukon River was first put into my head a number of years in the past once I met a bike owner that was staying with me who instructed of an important adventures he had on the river. The considered touring the river by no means left my head so off I went.

I began my journey in Whitehorse, a metropolis not not like my hometown of Darwin. I felt fairly comfy there, tons to do within the space. I had visions of heading off into the wilderness of the Yukon River once I set off on this journey however my analysis revealed that previous to the existence of the highway networks on this a part of the world the Yukon River was the equal of the highway community. Canoeing the Yukon river Whitehorse to Dawson promised to be an important journey.

The river had every thing a contemporary freeway has corresponding to roadhouses, resupply factors, Police stations, Motels and every thing in between. There was as many as 250 paddle steamers working the river. Now there may be little left besides decaying remnants of a previous virtually forgotten. Nothing has carried out a lot to open up the wilderness areas of the Yukon than the Klondike Gold rush. This journey on the river and my journey on the Chilkoot Path was following of their footsteps.

Want any light-weight gear earlier than heading to the Yukon River

Whitehorse on the Yukon River
Day 1 leaving Whitehorse on the Yukon River

I had hoped to set off early and make good way on the river earlier than the anticipated dangerous climate hit. But it surely was nicely into the afternoon once I lastly received on the water. I used to be touring by canoe solo. One thing I had by no means carried out earlier than. I needed to discover ways to management the canoe.

What was its tipping level? How finest do I load the canoe? It was a studying expertise. To not point out my bicycle was strapped to the canoe! I didn’t make it very far within the first day! I arrange camp alone subsequent to the river simply wanting the notorious Lake Leberge.

camping in style
Some folks camp in type!
First campsite next to the Yukon river
First campsite subsequent to the Yukon river about 35km downstream from the Metropolis of Whitehorse
Campsite on an Island while canoeing the Yukon River
Campsite on an Island
Campsite on a newly formed Island
Campsite on a newly fashioned Island

I had been warned there have been two most important risks in Canoeing the Yukon river Whitehorse to Dawson. Firstly, Lake Leberge was thought of harmful as a result of sudden and brutal storms that materialise from nowhere and smash folks canoeing the Lake. Years in the past when this space was frequented by paddle steamers a few of them ended their voyage on the backside of the Lake with a number of folks loosing their lives to the vicious storms. Secondly there was the 5 Fingers Rapids that swallows canoes for breakfast and spit them out the opposite aspect. I used to be instructed of many canoe journeys that resulted in catastrophe as a result of rapids!

The second day of the journey I noticed calm climate as I set off throughout the possibly harmful  Lake Leberge. The climate was calm with no wind. The anticipated tailwinds didn’t materialise and I smashed out a really exhausting fought 27km on the scenic proper hand shore earlier than making camp. My arm muscle groups haven’t had a piece out for some time.

The Lake is about 50km lengthy and between 2-5km broad, with mountain ranges surrounding it on all sides, a few of that are nonetheless coated with snow even at the moment of 12 months. With such a small distance coated within the earlier 2 days I began to doubt if I’d make it to Dawson Metropolis. The gap I deliberate to canoe was 715km. I used to be carrying 14 days of meals however anticipated that I’d full the journey in a soothing 10-12 days.

Undecided the place or how I picked them numbers out, simply figured that I’m a bit fitter than most individuals these days! There’s a race held right here yearly and other people paddle the river in about 40 hours!

The third day I solely made 2 hours on the Lake Leberge earlier than I made a decision that issues had been changing into too harmful for me. On this journey and on my journey on the whole I’m at all times assessing and reassessing my security because it suits with my skill stage. I’m not an skilled canoeist. I’ve been canoeing earlier than however not alone and never like this.

When the wind and waves received past my consolation zone I took myself off the water. My intuition was telling me there was a storm coming. I’ve discovered to belief my intuition. I had a map with me that instructed me that I had many kilometers of cliffs and headlands that afforded little in the best way of protected anchorage or campsites. Higher to go to camp early and chillax and browse a guide relatively than danger operating foul of the climate.

Seems my resolution to camp early was clever as a collection of three storms moved in.The Lake became a monster. The waves would have brought on me sure grief. Though I’ve restricted expertise canoeing I’d name myself skilled sufficient within the open air to know my limits! I made a clever alternative and really pleased that I listened to my intestine intuition. The images don’t actually present the true top of the waves or intense darkish colors of the storm.

Calm Lake
Calm Lake
canoeing the yukon river
canoeing the yukon river Canada
need a hand
storm lake lebarge
Positively shouldn’t be on the water at this level
Storm approaching lake lebarge
Storm approaching
campsite yukon river
Ready out the storm
Lake Leberge storm
Lake Leberge on the top of the storm, not a spot for me in a canoe!

The forth day noticed me go away early and energy my method throughout the remainder of the lake until I made it to its exit level the place it turns into a quick flowing slender river once more. Though its the Yukon River this part is named 30 Mile River. I sat again for a lot of the 30 miles or 50 kilometers and simply drifted downstream. It took me 3 hours to float the 50 kilometers. At this level I hoped the remainder of the river can be this simple.

I made camp on the junction of the Teslin River and had my first (of many) contact with different canoeists, a bunch of actually cool faculty children from Japanese USA who had canoed the Teslin River. On my cycle journey to Inuvik, I cycled with Murat who canoed this river and I practically determined to take this river because it bypassed the Lake and was stated to be very scenic. I used to be proud of my alternative although.

ghost town of Hootalinqua
Previous constructing on the ghost city of Hootalinqua the place I made camp for the night time

I woke to low cloud and mist from the in a single day rain. It made for a 3 espresso morning despite the fact that I needed to be on the river for a lot of the day. I discovered that I loved spending time on the river solely stopping for historic websites. I’d eat on the water, pee whereas on the water and even learn and replace my diary whereas on the water!

Low cloud canoeing yukon river
Low cloud on the river after an evening of rain
Old steamer abandoned on an Island on the Yukon River
Previous steamer deserted on an Island on the Yukon River

The midway level was the small city of Carmacks. I stayed solely lengthy sufficient to fill up on contemporary fruit then I hit the water once more. Forward was probably the most well-known and daunting rapids on the river, often known as 5 Finger Rapids. As I approached I grew to become fairly anxious, my mouth was dry, my coronary heart price elevated as did my consciousness that one mistake may end in me loosing my bike and canoe to the river. There was no buoyancy within the canoe so if it took on an excessive amount of water it could sink, specifically with my bike strapped firmly to it. I used to be nervous.

I made a decision simply to hit the fast with out stopping to clamber across the rocks to test it out first. So, I hit it exhausting and quick. The low water stage appeared to make the rapids much less scary. Once I received by the fast I hit the standing partitions of water beneath. I managed to hit the waves sideways on account of me stress-free and pondering I used to be by the worst of it.

The waves threw me off stability. I attempted to regain my stability by paddling exhausting with the left paddle however within the effort to take action I hit one other wave which threw the canoe into the air and my paddle didn’t even hit the water.  I should have seemed like a goose, attempting a paddle stroke however failing to hit the water!

I used to be milliseconds from plunging into the water once I fortunately hit one other standing wave which knocked the canoe stage once more. My coronary heart was racing. Not a lot as a result of it was troublesome, it wasn’t, simply that if something went improper I used to be alone, no others to rescue me, no person to rescue my canoe and bike.

There’s even a viewing platform overlooking the rapids for those that journey down from the close by Klondike Hwy on the mountaineering path. No one was there to observe me. When it was throughout I felt that I ought to improve the buoyancy of the canoe however I wasn’t certain find out how to do it. I figured I’d don’t have any extra issues from now as I had previous the two harmful areas. A few kilometers downstream I noticed a tour group drying themselves out, appears a few of them didn’t make it by the rapids with out mishap!

Canoeing with a bicycle yukon river
Canoeing with a bicycle strapped to it’s not how most individuals journey on the river
Five Fingers Rapids yukon river
Remaining method to Fiver Fingers Rapids
Five Fingers Rapids
Made it by the 5 Fingers Rapids
overcast and rainy yukon river
Some days had been overcast, chilly and wet
Some days were overcast and rainy
however the overcast and wet days made the nice days even higher
Sometimes I would just lay back and read a book while the river took me downstrea,
Generally I’d simply lay again and browse a guide whereas the river took me downstream
Paddling late into the evening on a nice day
Canoeing down the Yukon River, Generally I’d paddle late into the night on a pleasant day, this picture is taken at about 10pm
Paddling late into the evening on a nice day
Canoeing the Yukon river late into the night was a magical expertise.

There are lots of deserted locations alongside the river in numerous states of decay or restoration. Nature and the river are doing an important job of dismantling all proof of the earlier excessive quantity of human visitors by the Yukon. The crops are colonising the beforehand stripped areas.

The river is slicing new channels and eroding away the river banks at a quick price. The pure ebb and circulation of the river. Some historic website have been misplaced eternally, washed away within the river, so have peoples grave websites because the river consumes them on its continuously evolving journey. Some Islands are being made in the midst of the river which made nice campsite for me.

I had been instructed to go to the Islands as they had been a lot safer as bears don’t go to the Islands. Nicely, I used to be misinformed. I noticed 3 Black Bears on the journey. 2 had been on Islands and I handed a number of meters away from one other with out seeing it because it was on a slender strip of land subsequent to the river with not possible to climb cliffs close by!

A lot for protected tenting on the Islands. Once I camped I made a recon journey of the realm to see if there have been contemporary Bear poo or tracks. I had no Bear issues and tenting alongside the river was probably the most nice issues in regards to the journeys. I camped subsequent to lengthy deserted Police Stations, in ghost cities, on newly fashioned Islands, on gorgeous Lakes and subsequent to the river in locations that had been gorgeous and exhausting to go away.

Fort Selkirk
Fort Selkirk
Fort Selkirk
Fort Selkirk
Fort Selkirk
Fort Selkirk
Fort Selkirk
Fort Selkirk
I canoed past this Black Bear and didn't see it until I passed it, then it took off upstream
I canoed previous this Black Bear and didn’t see it till I handed it, then it took off upstream
bald Eagle yukon river
Mountain Goats
Mountain Goats
Erosion of the riverbanks is ongoing. Buildings, gravesites and whole Islands have eroded into the river to make new Islands further downstream as the river changes over time
Erosion of the riverbanks is ongoing. Buildings, gravesites and complete Islands have eroded into the river to make new Islands additional downstream because the river modifications over time

As I used to be coming nearer to the tip of the journey I began to hit some vicious headwinds within the afternoon. A lot in order that ahead journey on the river was troublesome. I discovered it simpler to only stick an oar within the water and let it push in opposition to the present of the river to battle the wind. Instances like these I wanted for an additional particular person within the entrance of the canoe, would have made the troublesome instances significantly better.

On the penultimate day of my time on the water I felt fairly annoyed by the massive numbers on the water. In the course of the journey I handed about 40 different canoes despite the fact that it took me 4 days till I met my first particular person on the river however I didn’t anticipate to share the water with that many canoeists. Sufficient stated. The final day I cruised into Dawson Metropolis and was ingesting good espresso and maintaining a healthy diet meals for lunch.

I estimate I spent a complete of 75 hours paddling and drifting down the river, if the climate had been type on Lake Leberge and lack of headwinds in the direction of the tip of the journey I’d have accomplished issues in a lot much less time, perhaps 8 days. Now its time to go south earlier than the Northern winter units in. Its been enjoyable.

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At Dawson City the Yukon River (loaded with silt) merges with the Klondike River which is clear (almost).
At Dawson Metropolis the Yukon River (loaded with silt) merges with the Klondike River which is obvious (virtually).
At one time there were as many as 250 paddlesteamers working the Yukon River
At one time there have been as many as 250 paddlesteamers working the Yukon River. That is at Dawson, the tip of my journey on the Yukon River.

How lengthy does it take to Canoe the Yukon River

Most individuals take between 10 to 16 days to Canoe the Yukon River Whitehorse to Dawson. There are alternatives to decelerate and revel in among the nice campsites alongside the best way.

  • Day 1 = 34km
  • Day 2 = 27km
  • Day 3 = 9km
  • Day 4 = 75km
  • Day 5 = 92km
  • Day 6 = 62km
  • Day 7 = 109km
  • Day 8 = 93km
  • Day 9 = 99km
  • Day 10 = 91km
  • Day 11 = 24km

Considering of Canoeing the Yukon river Whitehorse to Dawson? 
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Subsequent : Biking the distant Robert Campbell Hwy

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Canoeing the Yukon River Canada

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