It was that early struggle with the river that windy afternoon that taught us the most about the river. Swift Canoe & Kayak is a leading manufacturer of high quality composite canoes and kayaks, built right here in Canada. We were alone. For dessert we enjoyed a crunchy, sweet apple and a piece of rich, dark chocolate. A gentle rain during the night taught us a valuable lesson, filling the canoe with puddles of water, and after that we turned the canoe over each evening so the interior would stay dry. Steve, spotter extraordinaire, made the sighting, again on the right bank. Swift Canoe & Kayak. I thought of the early explorers, the ones who came across the Bering land bridge. Prior to this our sole paddling experience had been a two-hour guided tour in inflatable kayaks on … I dug, but nothing useful happened. Visitors can canoe an easy-going river with views of … The original inflatable, all drop … The first day Steve and I were in different places, he jovial and relaxed, while I worried about the unknown. This gave new meaning to the phrase, “go with the flow” and we learned to do just that, letting the river be the guide. This massive freighter canoe is sufficient to push two hunters, two bull moose, and a heavy camp against rivers like the Yukon. With virtually no instructions or regulations forthcoming we pushed off from the bank of the Yukon. “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. YUKON RIVER GUIDED CANOEING “The Yukon River, our first choice for paddling into the past.” Canoe and Kayak Magazine. © 2016 Inga's Adventures. We had no electronic gear with us. 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. The weak Northern sun almost felt warm on my face and I dozed. After a tumultuous blur of barked instructions, paddling this way and that. The fine grains of rock resulting from the grinding action of the glaciers obscured the clarity of the river. 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. I quashed any concerns about not feeling ready and reached for my paddle—it was too late for a panic attack. “It’s the sound of the glacial silt running under the fiberglass canoe,” I said. One evening, after a day spent hunting moose, we pulled the canoe up on the sandy shore of an island … I looked back at Steve and said, “What are you doing?”, He said, “I’m trying to get a closer look.”. These are some of the best: Nova Prospector 17 Esquif Prospector 17 Wenonah Cascade Swift Dumoine Swift Yukon … Glacial fed rivers dumped their load of chocolate milk colored water, heavy with silt. Day 5 -16: The canoe trip down the Yukon … I recently sold 2 cedar strip canoes and purchased a Swift Yukon in royalex. 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. We hadn’t tipped the canoe. The hump on his back sent shivers down mine. 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. Originally published as Rolling Down the River-How the Yukon Can Transform a Traveller, p. 16 in Coast and Kayak Magazine (Fall 2012). Meet up with your guides in the morning and gather gear to begin the canoeing portion of our trip. 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. This slough might have looked similar when they first saw it for this land was fairly temperate, even in the last ice age. “Yeah, there you go. After dinner we sorted our gear on the beach and pulled the canoe out of the water so it wouldn’t float away. One day in the canoe Steve whispered, “Look on the right bank.” Scanning the distance I noticed some movement. 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. 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. Copyright © 2007-2020 CCR Inc. All rights reserved. Though forever changed by the discovery of gold, the landscape does not suffer the pressures of being loved to death like so many of the National Parks in the U.S., partly due to the remoteness of the land, partly due to less developed tourism infrastructure. Bow / Stern Height: 23" / 20" 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. 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. As we proceeded over the next few days a few rivers joined the Yukon and the character of the river changed. Most trails begin with a welcoming sign followed by a lengthy list of what not to do. I carefully and quietly dipped my paddle into the water with the intention of putting some distance between us and him. Prior to this our sole paddling experience had been a two-hour guided tour in inflatable kayaks on the Dart River in New Zealand and some quiet afternoons canoeing on Green Lake in Whistler. I don't think … The first night, when I realized how alone we were, I felt a rush of panic, but today, while it gave me pause, I relished the feeling that the river was ours. Moose tracks criss-crossed the sandy beach. All Rights Reserved. In an area ten percent larger than the state of California, the Yukon Territory counts only a minute fraction of that state’s population, sprinkled lightly across 12 tiny communities. However, in summer, as we were experiencing, the weather is mild and forgiving, allowing exploration in relative comfort. seaeagle.com. My thoughts wandered from the confines of the boat down the placid river and on to the Arctic Circle. Licensed guides from Yukon Wild operators will reveal Yukon’s secret places to you over the course of a multi-day adventure. 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 couldn’t figure out why were spinning around–after so many days paddling together we had mastered synchronizing our strokes. 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 boat started feeling precarious and visions of bodies and clothing scattering across the river propelled me to dig harder. In contrast, our Yukon River expedition began abruptly without any regulation-laden preface. Neither of us paddled. We bent down closer to the canoe and marveled at the sound miniscule grains of sand could produce. You’re a real river woman now,” said Steve with a smile. Learn how your comment data is processed. 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. Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. 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 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. Weight: 79 lb. […]. 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. At the end of that day, you should be able to steer a canoe on moving water, keep a straight course or get … The Yukon River Quest is the world’s longest annual canoe, kayak and stand-up paddleboard race. For awhile we could hear comforting sounds of trucks from town trundling in the background, reminding us that civilization was near. Travel Canoe from Sea Eagle. “Shhh,” we said to each other, wanting to prolong our surreptitious viewing. Width: 37" Scores of eagles soared overhead, their white heads contrasting with the jet-black ravens that competed for airspace. Handles whitewater and tripping conditions well. Darkness fell at 11 pm, though not complete darkness, for a faint shadowy light backlit the low hills for a few hours until dawn broke, around 2 am. Right away I could tell this was going to be a different kind of backcountry trip. That still gave us enough time to set up camp, fire up the camp stove to boil water for our hot chocolate and re-hydrate our freeze-dried meals. Back in the early 1970s I wrote a monthly outdoors column for an Ontario outdoors magazine. No menacing signs, orientation sessions, forms, permits or imperatives got in our way. Frequent visitors to our campsites included chattering red squirrels and squawking gray jays looking for a handout. I stopped paddling and found myself looking upstream as the canoe found its own sweet spot, going backwards. I run a canoe … Manufacturer's Description: The Yukon grew out of paddler requests for a larger Dumoine with greater capacity. Broad wings flapped mightily, whipping the still morning air, shrill cries filling the sound waves. 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. Days 6-17: Canoeing and exploring the Yukon … The radius of the area is estimated to be about 22.71 kilometres … I thought about the hundreds of miles more that the river still must course before it spread out into countless braids of water streaming into the Bering Sea, free, yet confined to its banks, and what a small speck we were in this vast land. The preferred engine for this model is a … Fortunately we possessed a great deal of wilderness experience and an abundance of enthusiasm as we set off to explore the relatively uninhabited Yukon. I grabbed the binoculars and the bulky blond bear came into sharp focus. 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. The 8-day canoe trip down the Yukon from Whitehorse to Carmacks is specially tailored for visitors who like to travel far away from tourist routes, following the trail of the old history. A wolf danced on the beach with his fresh kill, a large herd of mountain goats somehow clung to high, barren cliffs and a fisher stealthily swam to shore off in the distance. Swift canoe, Dumoine in Royalex plastic, 16' 8" long.New this was a $1600 boat- Swift still makes this, but not in the plastic.Asking $800, open to offers.From online; asymetrical design, can … So far so good. The water moved silently and unceasingly, careless to the activity of our preparations on the shore. Without even realizing it we had become one with the river, adapting to its rhythm, two more sojourners flowing downstream, harmonizing peacefully with the natural world. 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. One of the worst fire seasons in history hung over the Yukon … The Charley River demands more advanced skills, but … Check out our new to us "Swift" canoe! “It would have been bad,” he said in his dry, laconic style. We paddled in a straight line. 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. The Yukon integrates a remarkable balance of performance characteristics to suit northern paddling conditions. 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. Floating the Yukon - by raft, canoe, or powerboat - is a popular way to experience the grandeur of the river, rich with history. In many visits to the North we had seen black bears but never a grizzly (also known as the brown bear). Typically, we head out on the water in the early afternoon. For a truly classic Yukon journey, join a canoe or kayak trip on the Yukon River. Wilderness Adventures in British Columbia & Yukon since 1988 . I saw the bow angle toward the right bank and paddled harder to correct the course, to no avail. 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). Centre Depth: 15" Now we were in sync, as I gained confidence and we learned to work together, and with the river. “What’s that sound?” I asked, hearing the hiss of white noise. This leg of the trip involved paddling 460 miles down the Yukon River in northern Canada, just the two of us. Introducing more models brought over from our Swift canoe line, as well as some new lightweight laminates and options, the … The Yukon is one of a very few places where one can experience boundless wilderness. “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. One good thing about the largely roadless Yukon is that we couldn’t get lost on the river. Like its … 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. This leg of the trip involved paddling 460 miles down the Yukon River in northern Canada, just the two of us. Capacity: 440-640 lb. 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. Swift River is a settlement in the Canadian territory of Yukon, primarily a service stop on the Alaska Highway at historical mile 733. 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 were a small part of nature that surrounded us, and found the paddling easy in the swift current. Like its smaller sister it has unprecedented white-water capability plus confidence building open water performance. During the winter of 1897–1898 the Klondike gold rushers crossed the Chilkoot Pass and reached the frozen lakes of the upper Yukon … Enjoy sweeping panoramas of mountains, plateaus, and river valleys as you search for grizzlies, caribou, … Has a very good glide and is easy to keep up at cruising speed. “The wind is kicking up pretty good swells,” said Steve, gesturing toward the water. This is the best platform for dipnetting. (Expedition Kevlar) It wasn’t until days later that he told me how close. Other operators can give you advice, provide information and rent you the appropriate equipment for a clean and simple self-guided excursion. 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. I considered the lessons of mastery and acceptance the river patiently taught me, leading me from my fear of the unknown to the self-reliance I gained. This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. We learned that the morning rains often gave way to clear skies so we’d just snuggle into our sleeping bags when we heard the pitter- patter of raindrops. The far northern reaches of the continent have long been a draw for me and Steve. 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. Day 6: Begin canoe trip on Yukon. The clear, swift water and the superb scenery of the coast mountains compete for your attention. After slogging through the still waters of Lake Laberge, a very large widening of the river that causes the current to fade to nothing, in a drizzly rain, for 3 very long days we were more than thrilled to see the river again. We progressed down the river. 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. They, like most other wildlife we saw, never noticed our silent canoe freely slipping by—we were just part of the landscape. I slid into a reverie, warmed by the sun. From the narrow confines of the “30 Mile”, the river broadened to become braided with sandbars and tree covered islands. Excelling in Fibreglass, Kevlar, Carbon. Wonderful all around canoe. “Dig in!” Steve said. Exploring Yukon from the water is an unbeatable way to experience our wilderness, and offers opportunities for beginners and pros alike. We spoke in hushed tones, our voices sounding unnaturally amplified, as we unconsciously became part of the quiet land. 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. 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. It starts in Whitehorse and sees participants paddling day and night to reach … […] Read a first-hand account of Canoeing the Yukon River. Off we went, full of energy, and perhaps some trepidation, as we embarked on a journey into the wilderness—true untamed wilderness. The Yukon has the capacity to be a good family canoe and is also suited for wilderness tripping. “The water was less than an inch away from flooding the canoe,” he said later, over a glass of wine, far downriver. Price: $1,649-$1,999. I gazed at the swift current in the middle of the broad river, which suddenly seemed to be moving faster than it had before, then at the towering clay riverbank topped with stunted spruce trees on the other side, and wondered what I was getting myself into. Here is my account. The current slowed and instead of tight turns the curves became more meandering. All of a sudden a gust of wind interrupted my reverie and I popped up like a jack in the box. As signs of civilization receded we noticed fewer houses, then finally none at all. We have completely re-designed our Northern Canoe offering for 2019. 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. The long daylight hours give us lots of time to enjoy the vast scenery! Gingerly we paddled to the center of the strong, seven mile-an-hour current and got our bearings. A happy ending to Canoe week! We’ve been to Alaska and the Yukon to hike, backpack, canoe and sightsee so many times that I’ve lost … The water whipped up tiny whitecaps that in the Pacific would be negligible, but seemed to take on considerable significance for our tiny craft. Swift Canoe & Kayak is a leading manufacturer of high quality composite canoes and kayaks, built right here in Canada. Our wildlife count for the day stood at wolf-1, beaver-2, mountain goat-30, human-0. Axis of the region, the silt-laden Yukon here flows constricted and swift … Our eagle count dropped from dozens in a day to one or two per day, but the venerable raven, held in great esteem by northern aboriginal people, was ubiquitous. I grabbed my paddle, preparing for I knew not what. Use without permission is prohibited. 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. With the sun hanging low in the sky Steve stared across the river to the shore wistfully and casually said, “What about the Teslin River?” and I knew it wasn’t over–we would be back one day. Letting go of my fears allowed me to embrace the ebb and flow of each day, fully absorbing each experience. Over the last 31 years, Swift and AO have tested the latest in canoe technology using the AO rental fleet and … It is an excellent choice for every kind of paddling, from local white-water rivers to offshore coastal waters. I leaped confidently out of the canoe as we angled onto the beach, grabbed the bow line and hauled the canoe in. We test it out on a very narrow river. The bear reared up and crashed into the bushes, his peace, and ours, dispelled, and that’s the last we saw of him. Length: 17`-6" “I see the outlet of the lake,” I cried out excitedly, sitting up straighter on my diminutive bench. 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