Those on group flights will arrive in the late evening and be transferred approx. 20 minutes to the first night's accommodation. Land only clients should meet at the start hotel.
After an initial briefing from your leader there may be an opportunity to visit the local shops for any last-minute supplies. After packing up our canoeing gear into a large waterproof bag, we load the van and trailer and drive via the Klondike Highway for about three hours to Carmacks, our canoeing start point. It takes a while to unload the van, allocate all the equipment evenly amongst the canoes and load up. Before setting off, the leader will give a full briefing about the canoeing and will advise you about bear safety. The aim is to start canoeing in the late afternoon - the beginning of an exciting 10-day canoe trip down the Yukon River.
We spend our days on this mighty river, travelling over 400 kilometres and exploring the vast hinterlands of the Yukon. As the trip is done in expedition fashion, changes in travel itinerary are flexible and are left up to the discretion of the guide. It is difficult to know exactly where the group will be each day as this will depend on river conditions, weather conditions and the ability of the group. If possible we will try to fit in some bush walking on one day. We will paddle through the exciting but easy Five Finger rapids (Km 25, usually on the first full day of canoeing), the only section of rapids we will come across. One of the highlights of the trip is a visit to the historic settlement of Fort Selkirk, only accessible by water. Although abandoned since 1950, the fort remains one of Yukon's best-preserved and most important sites (Km 128). Ancient relics have been unearthed here, dating back as much as 10,000 years. Downstream from here we pass many more ruins, and abandoned woodcamps, and we may see a steamboat wreck en route as well. With a keen eye, we should see an array of birdlife on the river, including Bald eagles and falcons, as well as water mammals such as beavers and otters, not to mention the possibility of sighting Black or Grizzly bears. The pace is relaxed on the river; time ceases to have real meaning, especially during the summer months where there is almost constant daylight. Each evening the leader will find a suitable place to camp. After setting up your tent you can relax by the campfire and enjoy the peace, tranquillity and natural beauty of the Yukon.
Day 10 - 11
Our final stretch of paddling brings us to Dawson City, the historic gold town sited on the confluence of the Yukon and Klondike Rivers. Here we unpack the canoes for the last time and say goodbye to the tranquil lifestyle we have enjoyed on the river. Although Dawson City is small by usual standards, after the peace of the Yukon it seems surprisingly busy. It provides a gentle reintroduction back into 'civilisation' and the chance to reacquaint yourself with hot showers, beds and other luxuries! The rest of the day is free for you to explore at leisure or perhaps even try a Sourtoe Cocktail (made with a real toe!) Dawson City is rich in history and it feels a bit like being in a living museum as you wander along the boardwalks past windows with artefacts from the goldrush days. A visit to the Jack London and Robert Service cabins is recommended. Both of these writers were inspired by their surroundings; Robert Service turned his creativity to poetry while Jack London wrote a series of novels, the most well-known of which are 'White Fang' and 'The Call of the Wild'. You can pick up a copy at the store in Dawson.
This morning we get a touch of 'gold fever' as we go panning for gold in the Klondike River, just as the miners of yesteryear would have done. A short drive (approx. 45 minutes) takes us to the Goldbottom Mine, which is still being worked today. The miners take us on a guided tour and explain how the gold is extracted. We also get the chance to pan for gold ourselves and can keep any that we find! En route back to Dawson it may be possible to go to the top of the 'Dome' for views down to Dawson and the rivers below. The afternoon is then free in Dawson for further exploration. Dawson City Museum houses some interesting artefacts from the goldrush days and the Danoja Zho Centre tells the story of the First Nation who were relocated once the goldrush started in earnest. In the evening you can visit Diamond Tooth Gerties Gambling Hall to try your luck at the tables or to enjoy the dance show with Gertie and her girls.
A long drive today (approx. 8 hours with stops) via the Klondike Highway back to Whitehorse, where we overnight again in a hotel.
Those on the group flight will depart early afternoon and land in the UK the following morning.