Tag Archives: yukon

And we’re off…

Teslin scenic shot

For all those that have driven across Canada, you know how long it takes to get through Ontario. Well, it’s the same experience “leaving the north”…  We feel we hit civilization aka Smithers, B.C. after 14 hours and many would still consider that being “in the north”!

We hit the road on Tuesday September 4th and managed to make it out of the driveway only 45 minutes later than our target, which was pretty good considering all the last minute things that seemed to crop up.

We are learning how to recognize “homeschool moments” and did some quick geography work when we came across this Continental Divide plaque just outside of Teslin, YT.

continental divide + hunter

 

We headed south on the Alaska Highway until just before Watson Lake where you turn right onto Highway 37 and start the journey down the Stewart – Cassiar Highway that leads into Northern BC. With dusk coming and smoke from a forest fire starting to settle in, we called it quits at Boya Lake Provincial Park in B.C.. A fabulous deal at $16.00 per night  – nice play ground for kids, well treed camp sites, 1.5km wooded walking trail and a swimming dock for those hot summer day.

 

Takhini River Paddle – YCKC Youth Group

takhini kids kayak day

Our last paddle of the Yukon summer was today. It’s actually fall here now so it should be no surprise that it was cool (11c) and rainy… We pushed through and were rewarded with a break in the clouds by late afternoon and a fun day.

A group of 6 youth paddlers (ages 10-13) from the Yukon Canoe and Kayak Club Youth program headed out to finish off their paddling season by running the Takhini River. It is a class 2 river that has 1 class 3 feature depending on the water levels. This late in the season, it was mostly class 1 and 2 which made for a fun and easy day.

There were 5 adults in kayaks and another 3 in the raft so the kids were well supported. Not a single swimmer all day which was great.

The major feature on this section of the river is referred to as the “Jaws of Death” which makes a much bigger deal out of it than is necessary. Others have referred to it as “the gums of worry” which seems somewhat more appropriate. Today, for the kids sake we decided it should be renamed the fluffy bunny or something equally benign as it definitely gets them more anxious than is required.

It is basically a bend in the river with a series of haystacks and wave trains. From the perspective of a youth boat and paddler, the waves are definitely something to be considered. At the same time, there are sneaks on river right and all those that needed to do the sneak were successful and happily finished the day proud of their paddle.

takhini loaded raft

Yukon kids are quite hearty and somehow we managed to take 2 hours to paddle the last section of the river (average is 45 minutes) to take-out as they opted to  jump in and out of the raft, climb on each others boats in the water, swim and generally have a great time. At one point I think they had 5 kayaks in the raft and another one being pulled behind!

Thanks definitely go out to Sean Stark, the fearless leader of youth programming at the Yukon Canoe & Kayak Club.

Mount Mcintyre, Grey Mountain or Carcross??

Whitehorse has been recognized as a top Mountain Biking destination by Outside Magazine and is consistently written up by various bike magazines. Living in the middle of 500 miles of trails that are a mix of single track, double track and old animal trails, makes us a bit spoiled.

The trail system in Whitehorse and Carcross has been built through tremendous investment of time, energy and money by locals and various government programs. The end result is a comprehensive network of trails that has something for every level of rider. We even have our own skills park with jumps, ramps, skinnies and a pump track.

hunter mt mac park

The three main trail locations are Mount Mcintyre (a world class cross country ski facility in the winter), Grey Mountain and Montana Mountain in Carcross.

With all of this just outside our door, we have been lucky to bike at least 2-3 times a week all summer long.

 

Wheaton River – Yukon

wheaton river group shot

Yukon rivers are all snowpack fed and it’s always a crapshoot as to when the flows will happen. All paddlers in Whitehorse become amateur meteorologists come late May and there are daily discussions about comparisons of snow pack to last year and recent rain levels all in an attempt to figure out when the Wheaton River is going to “RUN”.

It’s a class 2/3 river that is about 45 minutes out of town and is located in the midst of an incredibly scenic river valley. It has a couple of different put ins depending on water levels and can either be a great half-day paddle on the weekend or a quick run after work during the week.

Local companies Yukan Canoe and Tatshenshini Expediting run courses on the Wheaton for anyone interested in learning more and experiencing the river.

This year the river ran in early June for a few weeks, quickly dropped and then came back again in early July thanks to multiple days of continuous rain.

Here are a few fun photos of one of our trips out – higher water levels lead to creative shuttles (ATV & trailer) and this year it opened up a channel that we don’t normally run and there was a near miss in the group with a canoe getting pinned. Lucky to have a group of very handy folks to rescue the canoeist and the canoe! A great teaching opportunity for all the kids with us.

wheaton river shuttle

wheaton river canoe wrap

Lapie Canyon – Yukon

Lapie Canyon Campground

We spent 4 days at the Lapie River in the central Yukon camping and whitewater kayaking. It was also adventure test trip #1 to work out the bugs and start the lists in earnest (what do we need to figure out or do over the next 8 weeks before we hit the road for 8 months).

The adventure set up for the 4 days was:

  • Ford F250 (and all it’s intermittent electrical system issues)
  • 2003 Adventure Queen 8 ft truck camper
  • 2008 18ft Hallmark V-nosed enclosed trailer
  • 4 Jackson kayaks (Duo, Zen, FunRunner, 1.5)
  • 4 mountain bikes (as Hunter is transitioning sizes)
  • 1 ATV for shuttling etc.


Waiting to hit the river

 

Our first day on the river was sunny and 30c – woo hoo summer!  We ran the lower river section with Tim & Hunter in the Duo to help Hunter read and scout the river as we were hopeful he could run it on his own. Fabulous water levels made for a really fun day. Below is the view of the canyon looking upstream after we put in.view of canyon from duo

 

Day two on the river and Hunter’s the man! He ran the entire run in his own boat, surfed and boofed with a smile a mile wide…

Fridge issues in the camper caused some frustrations– we’ve tried every setting and still get 10c on the thermometer. To avoid food spoilage we hooked it up to the generator for a few hours to try to get things back down to a better range but we’re stumped as to why the propane isn’t working.

 Hunter on kayak pile

 

Day three on the river we ran the lower section with a group of tandem and solo canoeists. It was a group of 9 in total. I was definitely worried about Hunter’s ability to focus but he pulled it off and stuck with coach Dad. Some stressful moments when I found him sitting in the one of the surfing lines in the eddy – I thought he was just in the wrong spot, and then he peeled out to surf the wave without anyone ready in case of a swim! He wondered why I was so stressed… Run #2 with no swims and lots of enthusiasm – he even wanted to head off to a nearby lake to practice his roll!

The fridge is still an issue – we’ve tried the highest setting & the lowest and neither are making a dent. Back to the generator for a few hours to cool things off and we made cookies to create an excuse to drink the milk!

down time in the trailer

 The boys also tested out their “Man Cave” set up in the trailer. They have set up a carpeted play zone in the front third of the trailer that provides a place for Hunter’s Playmobil, Lego & Trucks along with the bean bag chair and DVD player/flat screen.

In between paddling we fit in some biking and visiting with other paddlers. A great 4 day adventure that we will definitely repeat next year. The territorial campground is a great resource and well set up for families with lots of space, easy walking trails, a covered cooking area and take out for the lower section is right at the campground.