By , April 18, 2012 11:00 am
This is a really old post that we never got around to publishing.  It is a journaled account of our two week canoe trip from Whitehorse, Yukon to Dawson City, Yukon.  At the end of each night, we would lay down in our tent and spend a few minutes re-hashing the days events.  It seemed fitting that we should finally get around to posting it while we ourselves our on another two week boat trip. You may be interested in reading Part 1 and Part 2 if you have not already done so. I present here the unedited, unabridged diary.

Day 1

Whitehorse to Lake Laberge 45km

On the river, just outside Whitehorse

  • started at 10:45AM
  • little map trouble
  • 2 raft snack breaks (2nd sunny & great)
  • rain on and off all day
  • 30 minute lunch
  • got to Lake Laberge 5:00ish
  • smooth sailing til storm came in
  • stopped to cook supper at 6:00 & had to wait out storm (wind & rain)
  • got to camp @ 8:30
  • Mike started fire w/ wet wood
  • Shared glass of wine and went to bed
  • High spirits (surprisingly - for Ashley)
We're the pacesetters.

Day 2

Lake Laberge 24km
  • no sleep (kept waking all night)
  • rained all night
  • woke up & waited in tents for rain to stop
  • got up, opted for cold breakfast, packed up
  • waited for weather to clear
  • left @ 10:45 -> waves a plenty still
  • bathroom stop, snack stop, lunch stop - slow going
  • stopped @ Laurier creek for lunch
  • saw a fox (1st wildlife sighting)
  • Mike caught 2 grayling (threw 3 back)
  • first catch on first cast ($9 fishing rod was knotted)
  • cleaned fish and left
  • paddled til weather got iffy (5:30)
  • stopped & cooked fish & bannock / waited out weather with wine
  • battled waves to get around bend & find camp
  • camped on rocky, hilly shore w/ abandoned kayak #76 (no signs of ppl)
  • hot chocolate & Bailey's

Day 3

Lake Laberge to 30 Mile 22km
  • good sleep though Ashley woke to think Mike was bear, Mike woke to think girls were bear
  • windy & whitecaps
  • bagel sand for breakfast
  • Mike separated egg powder & added water to wrong bag... oops!
  • tried to eat the result (Ashley actually did)... double oops
  • sandwiches were great
  • forced to wait out whitecaps till 11:30
  • Ashley felt eggs with every wave
  • tried a tarp sail... worked @ start, then we pretty much just floated
  • lunch stop & filtered water back to back (1 hour)
  • paddled the rest of lake... weather cleared up & girls serenaded us w/ 99 bottles (in every genre/voice imaginable)
  • stopped at Lower Labarge
  • looked around, used outhouses (no squatting!)
  • cooked supper: spaghetti with meat sauce... Soooooo Gooood!!!!!

Best meal of the trip

  • burned blasted egg powder
  • paddled a little ways down river... the tug of the current was welcome
  • camped on 1st available site... grassy hill (gorgeous!!)
  • narrowly avoided another Mike dehydration spell
  • spirits still high

Day 4

30 Mile 48km
  • great sleep... snoozed a bit in th emorning b/c we didn't want to get up
  • last bagels (pb&j) for breakfast
  • had a nice float down 30 mile (barely paddled)
  • stopped @ Domville Creek for water & hike to waterfall

Waterfall upstream at Domville Creek

  • almost tipped canoe on rocky landing @ creek
  • stopped for leisurely lunch by Red Painted Mountain
  • saw a lynx
  • Ashley got stung by wasp @ bathroom break
  • got to Hootalinqua early (4:00ish)
  • saw sights/cemetery
  • Enchiladas & pudding for supper
  • joined by fake Germans - turned out to be Spaniards
  • lots of them (10) - noisy, wet, and setup tents right beside ours
  • visited by fire
  • named ourselves Mashley & Jananna
  • Ashley was kept awake by Spaniards snoring & squawking

Day 5

Hootalinqua to Cyr's Dredge 70.5km
  • mmm... oatmeal for breakfast/beautiful summer weather
  • went to Shipyard Island and saw Evelyn/Norcom (9:30)

Evelyn/Norcom Steam Ship

  • Mike rammed other canoe landing
  • Ashley & Deanna took a turn steering
  • paddled most of morning/afternoon - except for pee breaks
  • rafted together for lunch
  • made it to Big Salmon Village -> the Spanish Armada already took over the place for camp
  • paddled on to "potential camp" on island... it sucked
  • everyone cold & tired
  • morale at all time low
  • battled the wind and current to camp @ Cyr's Dredge (7:00ish)
  • mashed potatoes, chili & cheese for supper... so good!
  • went to bed early... everyone played out

Day 6

Cyr's Dredge to ... 68km Writing obviously influenced by alcohol almost illegible
  • pancakes for breakfast
  • slow going
  • paddled to Little Salmon (only stopped for bathroom breaks - Mike had a weak bladder)
  • explored cemeteries
  • saw a porcupine
  • went silent by Eagle's Bluff... canoes turned to see it

Majestic Eagle's Bluff

  • paddled most of day
  • tried to stop @ island but saw bear tracks
  • found awesome unmarked campsite on bluff with bench
  • Spanish armada took up camp right across river from us (now 6 canoes)
  • went for swim in river... Mike had freak out about cold
  • drank  wine & had fire
  • mooned Spanish
  • really hot day when sun was out
  • saw beaver (or 2)

Day 7

... to Island past Carmacks 30km
  • Ashley woke up hungover, quinoa flakes for breakfast
  • slow to leave camp - left @ 10:45
  • paddled to Carmacks
  • arrived @ Coal Mine Campground @ 1:30
  • rough landing @ dock
  • found it overtaken by Spanish
  • went to "downtown" Carmacks
  • split into 2 groups
  • one stayed w/ canoes other showered, laundered, shopped, phoned home
  • bought cheese burger & fries - shared $20
  • left to find camp (6:00)
  • got to island (#3) at 9:00 after combo of paddling & rafting (and a small rainstorm)
  • after some debate decided to set up camp
  • snacks for supper
  • bed @ 11:00

Day 8

Island past Carmacks to Thom's Cabin 74km Writing obviously influenced by alcohol almost illegible
  • woke up early & left @ 9:45
  • stopped for break before 5 finger rapids
  • ran rapids... were great but too short/too tame
  • ran rink rapids... didn't even notice
  • stopped for lunch on island - hot & sunny
  • paddled a ways, (rafted the whole way) then spotted forest fire
  • stopped @ cabin to inquire about fire but no one was home
  • waited an hour to decide what to do
  • paddled to another private cabin
  • was told fire was burning for a month & was under control

Controlled Forest Fire at Minto

  • stopped @ Minto for Supper - it was too smoky to camp
  • lost gorp
  • paddled around island to Thom's Cabin
  • great campground
  • met Johnny from Czech Republic (capsized in Laberge)
  • drank wine, Baileys & hot chocolate
  • went to be about 1AM

Day 9

Thom's Cabin to Good Camp Island #2 (past Fort Selkirk) 62km
  • woke up around 8:00
  • left @ 9:45
  • switched partners up: Mike & Jane (up ahead) Deanna & Ashley (behind)
  • hard paddling all morning (very windy)
  • arrived @ Fort Selkirk 1:30
  • had hummus for lunch (mmm..)
  • met large group from Edmonton/Ontario/Whitehorse
  • really nice group, shared candy store with us
  • warned them about Spaniards
  • watched video & looked around Fort Selkirk
  • left @ 5:00 to find camp
  • rafted for 2 hours
  • saw sheep
  • missed 1st "good camp" on map
  • island hopped to final camp
  • stayed for supper @ failed attempt - Indian Tacos (complicated, tasty, too filling)
  • paddled to next "good camp" on map
  • arrived @ 10:00 - found Johnny Czech here
  • setup camp
  • went to bed

Day 10

(Mosquito) Island Camp to Crappy Island Camp somewhere before Britannia Creek 46km
  • woke up late (9:30) to rain
  • got going around 11:30
  • slow pace set by girls
  • cold, windy, rainy
  • got to Selwyn River Cabin @ 1:30 (23km)
  • had lunch & lit fire - used Sawvivor & Mora Knife
  • enjoyed dryness & warmth & shelter from wind until Spaniards arrived (4:00ish)
  • put out fire
  • left to find suitable camp
  • saw male moose

Male Moose

  • island/shore hopped until spirits were low (and Deanna's shoulder hurt)
  • stopped for supper @ potential (but ultimately crappy) spot
  • did some more investigations by rafting by
  • stopped @ gravelly beach on shore 9:30
  • set up camp on mucky uneven slope (our tent site sucked but was the best sloppy seconds available)
  • went to bed early:  cold feet, no fire, no tea

Day 11

Crappy Island Camp to Better Island [10km pas Kirkman Creek] 58km
  • woke up @ 8:00ish - super sore
  • left @ 9:30
  • cold & windy again, some rain
  • paddled slowish
  • rafted up for lunch
  • paddled a good pace (because we led) to Kirkman Creek where the Burian family has a bakery
  • bought a homemade rootbeer & chocolate cake to share... delicious
  • decided not to camp there (would find something free)
  • planned to find island 5km away
  • 1st two islands had bear tracks... decided to move on
  • found a suitable camp (5:45)... flat sandy tent spot (girls chose to setup on rocks)
  • bannock & soup for supper
  • played a game of 31... nice to relax & visit (girls had never played before) Ashley won
  • went to bet @ 10:00

Day 12

Better Island to Bushwhacked Shore Camp (just past Stewart Island) 37km
  • slow start
  • left @ 10:40
  • paddled until White River
  • stopped to hike up slope and look @ white River (trail rough & overgrown)

View of the White River

  • Deanna lost thermos
  • had lunch w/ the bugs
  • hiked down
  • found creek to pump water from
  • got brown water - delicious
  • took a back channel past Stewart Island
  • found camp on 3rd try
  • got to camp @ 6
  • cut down some thistle to pitch tent
  • while we had supper (Italian Savoury Pasta & butterscotch pudding) girls heard a loud crash in bushes (we think it was a startled moose)
  • tied down barrels & canoe
  • launched bear banger
  • bugs got bad, so we spent night in tent
  • played a game of crib - Ashley won
  • read books
  • went to bed
  • rain started: poured hard (a little worried about sleeping on cliff)

Day 13

Bushwhacked Shore Camp to Nice (Wild) Shore Camp @ Reindeer Creek 53km
  • woke up @ 7:30
  • took down tent in rain
  • left @ 8:30
  • paddled for about 1/2 hour and stopped on island for breakfast (in the rain)
  • paddled all morning in rain
  • stopped @ misty creek for H20

Misty Creek

  • stopped for lunch @2 on island (terrible Halal corned beef)
  • stayed there til clothes dried out (rain had stopped & blue sky was out)
  • paddled to camp (2nd try)
  • arrived @ 4:30
  • set out tents to dry
  • cleared camp
  • had supper
  • drank some wine
  • played war (Mike won)
  • saw a mouse
  • played Yahtzee with girls (Deanna won)
  • went to bet @ 10:00

Day 14

Reindeer Creek to Island just before Dawson City 40km
  • woke up @ 8:30
  • left @ 10:30
  • paddled/rafted until lunch @ 1:00
  • left in search of creek for water
  • Jane was feeling sick so we rafted
  • found adequate creek
  • rain started... poured for a little while
  • rafted up in search of camp
  • went until jane had to pee and Deanna realized how close to Dawson we were
  • island we stopped at turned out to be great camp
  • had roaring fire on sand & burned most of our garbage
  • had some wine, Bailey's & hot chocolate
  • tried cooking Tomato Alfredo Sidekick on fire - didn't work so we reverted to stove
  • sat by fire
  • went to bed @ 8:30
  • talked & read
Thus ends the journal.  The next morning we spent about 10 minutes on the river paddling into Dawson City, returned the canoe, checked into the hostel, and checked out the the first of the Dawson City Music Festival concerts.

4 Responses to “Yukon River 2010 – Part 3”

  1. Jenny Smith says:

    Sounds like an amazing trip down the river guys

  2. William says:

    Wow, great photos. Looks beautiful up there. Might need to make a trip myself.

    • Mike Lenzen says:

      If you do, try to leave some time for a few nights camping in Northern BC. It’s beautiful there as well.

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