The Lapie River is five hours north east of Whitehorse (home), in the central Yukon. This is the third year that we have headed up there to catch some fun camping and paddling. Hunter didn’t want to miss his Weds night kayaking, and we were trying to fit this trip into Tim’s shift break, so we didn’t start the drive until 10pm on Wednesday night. Not a big deal when you live in the land of the midnight sun!
We hit Carmacks just after midnight and headed eastward towards Ross River – this stretch of the highway is much sketchier, with intermittent construction mixed with gravel and asphalt. We rolled into the campground at 3am and everyone happily crashed into bed.
Tim has been wanting a trailer awning for years and we stopped in a number of places in the US last winter looking to buy one but everyone said it wasn’t a great idea and they aren’t meant for utility trailers. Tim persevered (and paid a premium) and we were able to get one through our local RV dealer in Whitehorse. It was put to use right away and we certainly enjoyed having the extra dry space when it poured rain on Thursday and Friday!
Thursday and Friday we did runs on the lower lapie section as a family. Our focus was on continuing to build Hunter’s river reading skills and his overall confidence, without the distraction of other paddlers. It’s predominantly a class 2 river with class 3 sections on it and you can avoid or engage as you choose.
I also got to try out Tim’s magical throw bag surf elevator as there was a great surf wave just beside the shore but it was a one shot deal as if you fell off, you couldn’t eddie out and try again. It was a fun and great way to really play around with positioning of things – my paddle, my boat and myself. It was also a bit freaky and took a while to get comfortable with. I did manage to roll while attached, with Tim running down the shore to manage the slack!
Saturday was a “rest day” as Hunter was tired from paddling 3 days in a row. The sun finally came out so we amused ourselves with lots of campground fun. Tim was the overall hackie sack (and soccer hackie) winner with 19 hits in a row. Hunter took the stilt prize with both distance (all the way around the campground) and difficulty (going down the dirt path to the lower campground). I seemed to take 2nd place in everything!
Hunter tackled fire building and we had lots of fun with hotdogs, banana boats and science experiments. He and Pelly (15 yr old friend) decided to see if you could put water in a glass bottle and heat it up to blow the cork. This was some good amusement and then they moved on to see what else you could do/make with fire. At this point, Tim and I made the decision that they weren’t to be left alone together during the trip as they managed to escalate each other’s ideas and we didn’t want to come back to a destroyed campsite. It was a definite glimpse into the future with a teenage boy!
Sunday we headed back up to the put in for the lower section – it was bright and early (9am) as we decided to paddle with the larger group. It was also Hunter’s first river run in his new Jackson Fun 2.0.
When you take your “house” to the put-in, it takes some planning to make sure you have all the right things set up at the take out to keep wet kids happy. We make use of our trailer and Tim’s amazing custom interior – Hunter has snacks, dry clothes, a snuggly blanket and movies (thanks to the generator).
Monday brought about more sunshine and a mellow start to the day. The boys passed the time playing epically long crazy eights games and making wood carvings out of the local cottonwood bark.
We headed out for a late afternoon paddle and Hunter had fun hanging with Pelly and working to keep up to him. It is amazing how much harder he will play or paddle when there are other kids are around – I guess we are now officially “boring”!
Tuesday morning came and we loaded up and headed home. Pelly came with us as he needed to be back in town and his family was staying up at the Lapie for another week running canoe courses through their company Yukan Canoe. The boys had just a little bit of fun in the back seat together…
And the scenery was as beautiful as always… another great trip for everyone!