A week after the trip I am still digesting it all. Discovery no. 1 is that Canadian people are the most friendly in the world. No. 2 the Yukon is the most beautiful part of the world and the only way to see it is from the river. It really does calm your soul.
- What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?
Where do you begin on inspiration? Canoeing down a peaceful river in any weather is the most calming feeling ever. You are surrounded by the beauty of nature which is largely unspoiled. The further into the trip the more your worries get left behind.
This trip takes a lot of team work as you have to set up and strike camp daily but everybody mucks in and somehow finds their talent and their role in this work. I can only think that is how the group, made up of people from all walks of like, gelled so well. I for one felt slightly bereft when the time came to say goodbye.
- What did you think of your group leader?
The group leader was amazing. He was so knowledgeable and passionate about the Yukon and canoeing. This was more than a holiday - it was a mini expedition where I learned about the countryside and landscape. The leader was a great canoe coach too. I had no experience of canoeing prior to this trip but his instructions have given me the confidence and desire to go off and do more.
However, I can't really put into words how special both guides made this trip and what they added other than I doubt anybody could have done the job better.
- Do you have any advice for potential travellers?
Wellington boots were so useful but don't buy them at home, get them in Whitehorse as you will have time (and they are cheaper).
If you aren't a regular camper 9 nights will feel like a long time, especially if the weather isn't always great. However, bear with it. The campsites later in the trip are much better and once you reach Dawson City, you will have a great sense of achievement. Also, don't forget that everybody is probably feeling the same and really looking forward to that hot shower at the end of the trip.
Don't overpack and you don't need a rucksack - so don't go out and buy one especially. You can empty your belongings into the large dry bag you get at Whitehorse and send your empty luggage up to Dawson or have it wait for you at Whitehorse. You don't need bin bags, matches (on the trip notes) but themals, waterproofs, woollen socks and hat are a necessity. Anything you haven't got can be bought locally in Whitehorse before you set off for Carmacks - and significantly cheaper than the UK too.
- Is there anything else you would like to add?
SUMMARY OF THE TRIP ON TRIP NOTES - They really don't do the trip enough justice. Read up on the Klondike Gold Rush, the Yukon and Dawson before you leave as you will get more from the trip. The landscapes and skies are out of this world. Bring binoculars to see more of the wildlife - especially bears climbing the mountainsides. Read Jack London's Call of the Wild and White Fang too. There is a museum of sorts dedicated to him in Dawson.
CAMPING - Early in the trip this is in woodland, so difficult unloading and unloading of canoes with all the supplies. Woodland camps are more sheltered and there are more places to find privacy when you need the loo. However, the downside is that they are full of hungry mosquitos who will seize the moment when when they see your bare flesh, so stock up on repellant. The camps on gravel beaches are are amazing and the views from your tent are outstanding. If your guide suggests making a beach sauna towards the end of the trip - go for it! It is an amazing experience and if nothing else it will be the most cleansed you feel the whole trip, especially after you run into the river afterwards.