Y U K O N   R I V E R

21 days in the Wilderness in a Kajak

Whitehorse to dawson City

After much planning, it was time for the big adventure.

Paddle Whitehorse to Dawson City on the mighty yukon river



After a long flight with several changes, I landed in Whitehorse Canada. I checked in at Red Door Bed And Breakfast. Jacques "Jack" and Mary Ann Boiley are not only the nicest B&B owners you will likely ever meet, they are two of the nicest people you will ever meet. They make you feel like part of their family. Both are extraordinarily talented and gifted individuals. "Jack" greeted me first night with delicious

fine Whiskey. We sat in the evening and had a nice time and laughed a lot.

The rooms are spacious, beautifully decorated and immaculately maintained. A most memorable breakfast included a fresh fruit salad, a Denver egg casserole, toast & jam, raspberry scones, coffee & tea, and orange juice. Not only was everything delicious, it was far more than any guest also at the table could finish. If you have an opportunity to visit Whitehorse be sure that you stay here if at all possible. You will be glad that you did.

After a good breakfast, it was time for a tour of Whitehorse.

The first thing I saw was S.S. Klondike. For the first half of the twentieth century, the sternwheelers of the British Yukon Navigation Company plied the upper Yukon River between Whitehorse and Dawson City. The S.S. Klondike was the largest of the fleet. Sitting proudly on the banks of the Yukon River in Whitehorse, she has been meticulously restored and refurnished, paying tribute to an era before roads, when riverboats and rail linked the Yukon to the outside world.

Now I feel that the adventure ahead of me has historical roots.


Prospector and Dog

Prospector with shovel in hand and pack on his back stands, one foot raised, looking off into the distance. Beside him, also with a pack on its back is his dog, just as eagerly looking into the distance. Loaded down with a bag, a blanket roll and a bucket, the dog carries as much or more than the prospector.
These words below the statue read:
(To which we might add the following phrase: with the aid of their ever faithful canine companion)

Took the opportunity to eat Lunch at "The famous Klondike Rib & Salmon Restaurant"

Visited Kanoe People Ltd and bought Kayak and other equipment. Bear spray, bear barrel, food, fishing license etc.

Now everything was ready for tomorrow. Eager to get out on the river

Lake Laberg

The next day after packing everything in the kayak it was time to leave. The Yukon River has a fast current of 12km so it was a jump start. On the way down to Lake Laberg I pass a long rapids with a lot of headwind. It was important to paddle fast to keep the balance in high waves. But after hours I reach beautiful Lake Laberg and paddle to the right to set up my camp.What a wonderful view. I feel happy to experience this.
Tomorrow it's time to paddle in the beautiful but dangerous Lake Laberg. The weather can change lightning fast with big waves as a result. Not fun with a heavily loaded kayak. The water is just a few degrees and the wind changes.

Lake Laberge is 49,668 surface acres. On average it plunges down to 177 feet, and is at its deepest at 479 feet. Surrounded by the jutting points of mountain peaks, it has miles of beaches and numerous bays. It is one of those beautiful splendors of the earth commanding the stillness of the spirit and giving relief to the heart and mind.

I chose to paddle the left side of the lake as there are more bays to take shelter when it blows up. Which turned out to be a wise choice.

Lake Laberge has an exciting history.

Indeed there are treasures to be found beneath Lake Laberge's icy waters. In 2009, the discovery of a gold rush steamer was made in Lake Laberge. The steamer, called A.J. Goddard, sank over 100 years ago and represents a relic of the gold rush that emblazoned the Yukon Territory in the late 1800s and early 1900s. The wreckage, perfectly preserved in the lake's waters, was discovered by a team of archaeologists. Signs of life on the ship, like the stove left out on the deck, dishes and tools, or blacksmith's forge, reflected the crew's self-sufficiency and dogged frontier spirit in an era when thousands were rushing the gold.

After a few days of paddling, I reach the end of the lake.

I camp at the old telegraph office (See my movie and photo).

The Thirty Mile

I reach the abandoned telegraph station and police post at Lower Laberge. From there I follow the Yukon River as it winds through the beautiful "Thirty-mile" section, and eventually is joined by the Teslin River, the Big Salmon River, and the Little Salmon River, which all add their water to the mighty Yukon. The river takes me past old wood camps where the paddle-wheelers used pick up firewood, the trading post at Hootalinqua, the old shipyard on Hootalinqua Island where the remains of the S.S. Evelyn (Norcom) lie in dry dock, the First Nations villages of Big Salmon and Little Salmon, the cabins at Lakeview.....The area is rich in history from the Gold Rush, and the paddle-wheel steamboat era, and the countless years that it was inhabited by First Nations people who hunted and fished along its river banks. Relics and stories remain from all of these eras and I recapture the spirit of those bygone times as I stop at many of the historical landmarks along the way.

Carmack to Dawson

Carmacks to Dawson - This section of river contains other notable features from historic times, such as Five Finger Rapids (Se my film)and the abandoned (and now restored) village of Fort Selkirk, the oldest trading post on the Yukon River, which went on to become one of the most significant Yukon River communities during the days of the paddle-wheelers and was later abandoned when the steamboats stopped traveling the river in the 1950's. Throughout the river trip I experienced quicksand, bears, eagles, lynx, moose. But that's a different story. (Long Story)

Dawson City

Spent one night at the famous "Downtown Hotel" but first it was time for whiskey at Diamond Tooth with some cancan and live piano music. Tired and tanned, it became a full night partying in town.
The next day I booked the stagecoach back to White horse. Flew out to Europe the same day.
I will write more when I get time over

Below are movies, photos


Mixed Yukon (click to enlarge)

Whitehorse (click to enlarge)

S.S. Klondike (click to enlarge)

Lake Laberge (click to enlarge)