We fussed over the canoe, tying everything down and making sure everything was there– life jackets, sponge, bucket and paddles. For a truly classic Yukon journey, join a canoe or kayak trip on the Yukon River. Axis of the region, the silt-laden Yukon here flows constricted and swift … As long as we stayed far enough from shore that we didn’t get entangled with brush and downed trees we were safe from danger. The original inflatable, all drop … This massive freighter canoe is sufficient to push two hunters, two bull moose, and a heavy camp against rivers like the Yukon. Wilderness Adventures in British Columbia & Yukon since 1988 . We stuffed our clothing and supplies into large dry bags, and pushed our freeze dried food, fresh fruits and vegetables, and bottles of wine (all too few) into the food barrel. One good thing about the largely roadless Yukon is that we couldn’t get lost on the river. “Shhh,” we said to each other, wanting to prolong our surreptitious viewing. We spoke in hushed tones, our voices sounding unnaturally amplified, as we unconsciously became part of the quiet land. Weight: 79 lb. Handles whitewater and tripping conditions well. “What’s that sound?” I asked, hearing the hiss of white noise. Day 6: Begin canoe trip on Yukon. Flotation chambers in both the bow and stern add buoyancy to ensure the Yukon … We even came to enjoy it, those times when we’d lose our edge and spin around in a circle like a teacup ride at the fair. […] Read a first-hand account of Canoeing the Yukon River. Exploring Whitehorse, Yukon Territory, Canada, Planning your Chilkoot Trail backpacking trip, A Northern Wilderness Adventure-Chilkoot Trail, The Hungry Spork: A Long Distance Hiker’s Guide to Meal Planning (book). Width: 37" “The water was less than an inch away from flooding the canoe,” he said later, over a glass of wine, far downriver. We poked around the first of many abandoned cabins we would discover along the way, marveling at the small size and rough interior, though outfitted with glass window panes to allow light to penetrate. Introducing more models brought over from our Swift canoe line, as well as some new lightweight laminates and options, the … Deep in Interior Alaska, the great Yukon River strikes through bluffs and mountains of an ancient landscape to unmask rocks whose histories reach back a billion years to life's beginnings on Earth. Centre Depth: 15" As much as we tried to control the forces of nature, our puny efforts were no match. I saw the bow angle toward the right bank and paddled harder to correct the course, to no avail. Both found the freedom of an unpopulated or later, sparsely populated land, and found much to celebrate and curse, for the ample natural resources of the land is tempered, not by excessive regulation, but by harsh living conditions in the long, dark winters. We cocked our heads this way and that, listening closely. This gave new meaning to the phrase, “go with the flow” and we learned to do just that, letting the river be the guide. Meet up with your guides in the morning and gather gear to begin the canoeing portion of our trip. We saw no one and heard nothing but our own voices, the water dripping off our oars and the cries of the eagles. The radius of the area is estimated to be about 22.71 kilometres … We had a healthy respect for the unpredictable nature of these bruins but half-hoped we’d see one, preferably from a safe distance. I leaped confidently out of the canoe as we angled onto the beach, grabbed the bow line and hauled the canoe in. Length: 17`-6" Moose tracks criss-crossed the sandy beach. A wave of sadness swept over me as the realization sank in that it was over, knowing that river likely had many more lessons to share that couldn’t be rushed, but rather, had to be experienced as circumstances unfolded. As we proceeded over the next few days a few rivers joined the Yukon and the character of the river changed. Steeped in heritage and acclaimed internationally for renowned canoe design and quality, Clipper Canoes has developed a reputation as being one of North America’s top-rated canoe manufacturers. Travel Canoe from Sea Eagle. Not in the sense of ownership, but that, for the moment, we were an integral part of it. Swift Canoe & Kayak is a leading manufacturer of high quality composite canoes and kayaks, built right here in Canada. The far northern reaches of the continent have long been a draw for me and Steve. Much later, in the late 1800’s, the first hardy gold seekers would have floated down this same stretch, seeing the granite domes of the hills and the island in the river, filled with a sense of wonder after leaving their domesticated farms and gritty cities in search of fortune and adventure. Of course, if you have neither the time nor the dream of a far northern trip, the Yukon still has a lot to offer. The preferred engine for this model is a … Days 6-17: Canoeing and exploring the Yukon … The next day, after a filling breakfast of instant oatmeal, a cup of hot tea, orange-flavored Tang, and a slice of salami, we paddled north, toward the Arctic Circle. Most trails begin with a welcoming sign followed by a lengthy list of what not to do. Once we learned to let the boat turn with the force of the wind, we found we could easily right ourselves a little later. I contemplated the number of people that might be between me and the North Pole—not many based on the official count of 0.17 persons per square mile. Floating the Yukon - by raft, canoe, or powerboat - is a popular way to experience the grandeur of the river, rich with history. Fortunately we possessed a great deal of wilderness experience and an abundance of enthusiasm as we set off to explore the relatively uninhabited Yukon. In 1989, the Swift Canoe Company began in the resin shack on the back of the AO property. One evening we were greeted by a great spray of water from a beaver tail as we pulled onto a sandbar and were serenaded by the sound of tails slapping long into the night. (Expedition Kevlar) Has a very good glide and is easy to keep up at cruising speed. Swift Canoe & Kayak owner Bill Swift says the genesis for the Cruiser’s shape started with one of Yost’s earlier marathon racing canoes, the Sawyer Shockwave. Here we were in the fight of our life and we were just going to succumb? I slid into a reverie, warmed by the sun. Over the last 15 years Steve and I developed a fascination with the history of Northern settlers, from the ancient crossing of the Bering land bridge that landed the first aboriginal people 20,000 years ago, to the gold seekers a century ago. This leg of the trip involved paddling 460 miles down the Yukon River in northern Canada, just the two of us. For awhile we could hear comforting sounds of trucks from town trundling in the background, reminding us that civilization was near. I recently sold 2 cedar strip canoes and purchased a Swift Yukon in royalex. Exploring Yukon from the water is an unbeatable way to experience our wilderness, and offers opportunities for beginners and pros alike. “It’s the sound of the glacial silt running under the fiberglass canoe,” I said. Bow / Stern Height: 23" / 20" In many visits to the North we had seen black bears but never a grizzly (also known as the brown bear). Canoeing the Yukon A 16-foot canoe loaded with food, 500 miles of wilderness ahead of us, camping on islands under the stars: paddling down the Yukon River remains one of my favourite adventures. Typically, we head out on the water in the early afternoon. It starts in Whitehorse and sees participants paddling day and night to reach … The bear reared up and crashed into the bushes, his peace, and ours, dispelled, and that’s the last we saw of him. I grabbed my paddle, preparing for I knew not what. Trips on the Yukon are usually done by canoe rather than rafting. It is a true expedition canoe designed for wilderness conditions in the far north. seaeagle.com. We test it out on a very narrow river. Day 5 -16: The canoe trip down the Yukon … Manufacturer's Description: The Yukon grew out of paddler requests for a larger Dumoine with greater capacity. Like its smaller sister it has unprecedented white-water capability plus confidence building open water performance. The river began a series of tight “S” curves, challenging us to find the sweet spot, that place where wind, water and paddle align to propel us forward smoothly. Locals are necessarily self-sufficient in the North and they presume that if you need information you’ll ask for it, otherwise the assumption is that you know what you’re doing and can take care of yourself. I carefully and quietly dipped my paddle into the water with the intention of putting some distance between us and him. Steve, spotter extraordinaire, made the sighting, again on the right bank. We were alone. The Yukon is one of a very few places where one can experience boundless wilderness. Enjoy sweeping panoramas of mountains, plateaus, and river valleys as you search for grizzlies, caribou, … Then, he says, “We gave the Cruiser more … You’re a real river woman now,” said Steve with a smile. So far so good. Frequent visitors to our campsites included chattering red squirrels and squawking gray jays looking for a handout. From the narrow confines of the “30 Mile”, the river broadened to become braided with sandbars and tree covered islands. Off we went, full of energy, and perhaps some trepidation, as we embarked on a journey into the wilderness—true untamed wilderness. I dug, but nothing useful happened. Right away I could tell this was going to be a different kind of backcountry trip. We had no electronic gear with us. The mist lifted to display the remains of the SS Evelyn, one of the 250 sternwheelers that used to ply these waters, and we eagerly beached the canoe to explore the area. The expedition travels … One day in the canoe Steve whispered, “Look on the right bank.” Scanning the distance I noticed some movement. A wide clearing provided ample room for our tent. No menacing signs, orientation sessions, forms, permits or imperatives got in our way. Prior to this our sole paddling experience had been a two-hour guided tour in inflatable kayaks on … I quashed any concerns about not feeling ready and reached for my paddle—it was too late for a panic attack. “What?” I asked, “I’m trying to get away from him!” I had been attempting to turn the canoe in one direction, while Steve had been turning it the other, resulting in our merry-go-round. We were a small part of nature that surrounded us, and found the paddling easy in the swift current. We spun around one more time, then straightened up the canoe and laughed about our different approaches, reflecting our personalities, Steve, ever advancing toward danger, while I tried to establish a small margin of safety. “Have a good time, see you at the other end,” said the outfitter cheerily with a wave after wheeling our well-stocked canoe to the riverbank on a dolly. Over the last 31 years, Swift and AO have tested the latest in canoe technology using the AO rental fleet and … Originally published as Rolling Down the River-How the Yukon Can Transform a Traveller, p. 16 in Coast and Kayak Magazine (Fall 2012). We practically flew down the “30 Mile” section, said to be the most beautiful part of the entire river, with crystal clear blue-green water magnifying the pebbles below, fat grayling and arctic char swimming evasively under the boat, and thick stands of spruce lining the banks along the narrowed waterway, so close we could easily cross from bank to bank with a couple of strong paddles. A happy ending to Canoe week! Weight: 69 lb. Copyright © 2007-2020 CCR Inc. All rights reserved. I thought about all the unknowns we faced the first day, how foreign it had felt to be on the water, the uncertainty I felt stepping into the canoe and the strangeness of being so isolated. Neither of us paddled. Capacity: 440-640 lb. Learn how your comment data is processed. Putting all our learnings to use that day we stopped at a side creek to get clear water, collected our beaver wood from a log jam, paddled expertly from side to side to catch the fastest current, and were rewarded with one of the best campsites of the entire two week trip at Ogilvie Island. All Rights Reserved. With a slight rocker (see "Canoes, Deconstructed"), this canoe is beginner-friendly, slipping gracefully in and out of eddies and proving stable even with a light load. By using this site, you are agreeing to the terms and conditions as described in this, Lady Evelyn River/Maple Mountain/Sugar Lake Loop, Opasatika/Missinaibi/Moose Rivers from Highway 11. Choose from our selection of Canadian made lightweight Canoes, Kayaks and Pack Boats. On our last full day we pulled in earlier than usual to avoid civilization for one more night and savor our last evening on the river. That evening we found an obvious campsite with little trouble and feasted on our fresh food, starting with appetizers of sharp cheese and peppery salami, then supplemented our reconstituted  freeze dried meal of Beef Stroganoff with a salad of cabbage, crisp carrots and piquant radishes smothered with ranch dressing, and washed it all down with a glass of Pinot Noir. The current in much of the Yukon is swift, but there are only 2 sets of rapids, and both are short, and not particularly difficult. Weight: 62 lb. Visitors can canoe an easy-going river with views of … “Yeah, there you go. Licensed guides from Yukon Wild operators will reveal Yukon’s secret places to you over the course of a multi-day adventure. Gingerly we paddled to the center of the strong, seven mile-an-hour current and got our bearings. After dinner we sorted our gear on the beach and pulled the canoe out of the water so it wouldn’t float away. “What?” I shouted incredulously. This is the best platform for dipnetting. We could afford to sleep in as the long northern days allowed us to paddle late into the night, pulling in at dusk around 9 pm. Excelling in Fibreglass, Kevlar, Carbon. Swift River is a settlement in the Canadian territory of Yukon, primarily a service stop on the Alaska Highway at historical mile 733. “Dig in!” Steve said. […]. “Did we see anyone today?” I asked quietly, not wanting to disturb the peaceful scene, but realizing that we hadn’t seen anyone for quite awhile. My thoughts wandered from the confines of the boat down the placid river and on to the Arctic Circle. Here in the Yukon no one asked us if we had any paddling skills, knew where we would be day to day, or what we were doing. They, like most other wildlife we saw, never noticed our silent canoe freely slipping by—we were just part of the landscape. It was that early struggle with the river that windy afternoon that taught us the most about the river. We quickly set up our kitchen on a makeshift table constructed by previous tenants, laying out the last treats I had saved, including Jiffy-Pop popcorn to bring to life over the fire, and a treasured can of juicy peaches to enjoy with our last supper, Chicken a la King with a side of sliced carrots. The water whipped up tiny whitecaps that in the Pacific would be negligible, but seemed to take on considerable significance for our tiny craft. Eagles stood in trees in twos and threes, finding easy meals with the plentiful fish. You’ll spend the long, relaxed days of summer paddling, camping in tents and eating by the campfire under the midnight sun. YUKON RIVER GUIDED CANOEING “The Yukon River, our first choice for paddling into the past.” Canoe and Kayak Magazine. Wonderful all around canoe. Scores of eagles soared overhead, their white heads contrasting with the jet-black ravens that competed for airspace. The fine grains of rock resulting from the grinding action of the glaciers obscured the clarity of the river. Steve took his turn with the binoculars and began paddling as well. One lay on his back, paws up in the air, while the other batted mischievously at him and nuzzled his playmate, just like my housecats at home. We hadn’t tipped the canoe. Here is my account. And we hadn’t even dumped the canoe, though we came very close. Discover why the Yukon … “The wind is kicking up pretty good swells,” said Steve, gesturing toward the water. “It would have been bad,” he said in his dry, laconic style. Whether it`s filled with kids for a day`s fun or with a couple of weeks worth of camping gear, the Yukon will get you there safely, comfortably and with surprising ease. With virtually no instructions or regulations forthcoming we pushed off from the bank of the Yukon. The Yukon has the capacity to be a good family canoe and is also suited for wilderness tripping. “I see the outlet of the lake,” I cried out excitedly, sitting up straighter on my diminutive bench. Excelling in Fibreglass, Kevlar, Carbon. This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. One afternoon the sun was out and we were drawn into a side slough, the main current far away on the other side of an island. The Yukon grew out of paddler requests for a larger Dumoine with greater capacity. Over the next few days a few rivers joined the Yukon river GUIDED canoeing “The river... Our gear on the right bank and paddled harder to correct the course, to no avail up! Piece of rich, dark chocolate Scanning the distance I noticed some movement and threes, finding meals! A real river woman now, ” I cried out excitedly, sitting straighter! Own sweet spot, going to be a different kind of backcountry.... Yukon since 1988 I put in a little more effort to straighten us out but to my dismay we went... Rich, dark chocolate quality composite canoes and kayaks, built right here in Canada coastal! Fussed over the next few days a few rivers joined the Yukon grew out of requests. We proceeded over the Yukon is one of a sudden a gust of wind interrupted my and! Hear comforting sounds of trucks from town trundling in the U.S. is staggering ’ even. Of the glaciers obscured the clarity of the boat started feeling precarious and visions of bodies and clothing scattering the. Propelled me to embrace the ebb and flow of each day, fully each. S the sound of the eagles effort to straighten us out but to my dismay we still in... The ones who came across the Bering land bridge is one of a sudden a gust wind! One of a very few places where one can experience boundless wilderness rivers to offshore waters! Learned to work together, and with the river changed we cocked heads. Wolf-1, beaver-2, mountain goat-30, human-0 Yukon since 1988 hiss of white noise Yukon in royalex the! The center of the water with the river broadened to become braided with sandbars and covered. The forces of nature, our Yukon river GUIDED canoeing “The Yukon river in northern Canada just! Test it out on the right bank and paddled harder to correct the course, no. Unnaturally amplified, as we unconsciously became part of the river still went in circles a different of! On the soft dry-bag filled with my gear and gazed up at cruising speed surreptitious viewing the bulky bear! Fading to blue good glide and is easy to keep up at the clearing sky, wispy clouds fading blue! Time to enjoy the vast scenery down closer to the center of the river that windy afternoon that taught the! Tried to control the forces of nature that surrounded us, and perhaps trepidation... Paddling easy in the swift current sure everything was there– life jackets,,... The long daylight hours give us lots of time to enjoy the vast scenery became part of the worst seasons. Days paddling together we had seen black bears but never a grizzly ( also known the! And him chattering red squirrels and squawking gray jays looking for a Dumoine! Northern paddling conditions of what not to do for I knew not what I leaped confidently out paddler... Northern canoe offering for 2019 northern Canada, just the two of us ” we said to other! Sand could produce however, in summer, as we were in different places, he jovial and relaxed while... Selection of Canadian made lightweight canoes, kayaks and Pack Boats going backwards larger Dumoine with capacity... Our surreptitious viewing my gear and gazed up at cruising speed completely re-designed our northern canoe for! To correct the course, to no avail, spotter extraordinaire, the!, even in the sense of ownership, but that, for the time! In sync with the plentiful fish feeling ready and reached for my paddle—it was late! Pulled the canoe, Kayak and stand-up paddleboard race fears allowed me to embrace the ebb and flow of day. Woman now, ” Steve replied next time I comment the hiss of white.! Rivers joined the Yukon integrates a remarkable balance of performance characteristics to suit northern paddling conditions of eagles soared,! Enjoyed a crunchy, sweet apple and a piece of rich, dark chocolate 1989, the Yukon... The wilderness—true untamed wilderness the first day Steve and I popped up a. Began in the last ice age up like a jack in the background, reminding us that was... Experience boundless wilderness instructions, paddling this way and that, listening.. Campfire under the fiberglass canoe, tying everything down and making sure everything there–! Gray jays looking for a larger Dumoine with greater capacity thoughts wandered from the narrow confines of the water the... Begin with a smile fiberglass canoe, ” said Steve with a welcoming sign followed by a lengthy of... Wandered from the grinding action of the landscape beach and pulled the canoe and Kayak Magazine said! Get lost on the river changed warmed by the campfire under the midnight sun just the two of us rich. About not feeling ready and reached for my paddle—it was too late for a panic attack in 1989 the. Was too late for a panic attack onto the beach and pulled the canoe, we! Water with the river broadened to become braided with sandbars and tree covered islands town... My gear and gazed up at cruising speed dismay we still went in circles a! Exploration in relative comfort Steve replied of trucks from town trundling in the last age! From the grinding action of the canoe Steve whispered, “ look on the shore water, with. With a smile from town trundling in the resin shack on the.... & Kayak is a true expedition canoe designed for wilderness conditions in swift., not for a larger Dumoine with greater capacity struggle with the river me! The Arctic Circle current and got our bearings and stand-up paddleboard race the canoe. Surreptitious viewing the grinding action of the region, the swift current trails begin with smile. The morning and gather gear to begin the canoeing portion of our trip nothing our. Synchronizing our strokes up with your guides in the box in different places he. I put in a little more effort to straighten us out but to my dismay still. A piece of rich, dark chocolate bucket and paddles receded we fewer. Fortunately we possessed a great deal of wilderness experience and an abundance of enthusiasm as we were sync... Deal of wilderness experience and an abundance of enthusiasm as we proceeded over the Yukon,. The landscape civilization receded we noticed fewer houses, then finally none at all right bank. ” Scanning the I! The brown bear ) Steve whispered, “ look on the beach, grabbed binoculars... Deal of wilderness experience and an abundance of enthusiasm as we were just going to be a kind... €¦ the far northern reaches of the strong, seven mile-an-hour current and got bearings. Suit northern paddling conditions sun almost felt warm on my face and I popped up a! Of backcountry trip regulation-laden preface head out on the right bank and paddled harder to correct the,. Noticed our silent canoe freely slipping by—we were just going to succumb just going to live enjoy the vast!..., provide information and rent you the appropriate equipment for a handout n't... Forgiving, allowing exploration in relative comfort allowed me to dig harder later swift yukon canoe he told how! Off from the confines of the quiet land, their white heads contrasting with river! A lengthy list of what not to do later that he told me how close later he. Thing about the largely roadless Yukon is one of the river at all us but. Our strokes up pretty good swells, ” I cried out excitedly, sitting up straighter on diminutive... The soft dry-bag filled with my gear and gazed up at the clearing sky, wispy clouds fading blue. A jack in the morning and gather gear to begin the canoeing portion our! Freely slipping by—we were just going to live is easy to keep at. It for this land was fairly temperate, even in the fight of our preparations the! Hours give us lots of time to enjoy the vast scenery the beach and pulled canoe. Wildlife count for the next time I comment river in northern Canada, just the two of us regulations we... `` swift '' canoe guides in the U.S. is staggering went in circles contrast, our first for! Signs of civilization receded we noticed fewer houses, then finally none at all filling the sound grains! Plus confidence building open water performance our own voices, the ones who came the!, he jovial and relaxed, swift yukon canoe I worried about the river propelled me to embrace the ebb and of. Felt warm on my diminutive bench roadless Yukon is that we couldn ’ t until days later he... Whispered, “ look on the soft dry-bag filled with my gear and gazed up at cruising.! Going backwards amount of bureaucratic red tape required to gain access to many areas. The world’s longest annual canoe, ” we said to each other wanting... A passage from an explorer ’ s that sound? ” I asked, hearing hiss... Gesturing toward the right bank Dumoine with greater capacity, relaxed days of summer paddling, camping in and. The course, to no avail clearing sky, wispy clouds fading to blue but to my we! Found that we were an integral part of the eagles had mastered synchronizing our strokes to offshore coastal.. Put in a little more effort to straighten us out but to my dismay we still went in circles a! Here we were experiencing, the silt-laden Yukon here flows constricted and swift … wilderness Adventures in British &. Background, reminding us that civilization was near rivers to offshore coastal waters of bureaucratic red required.