Untamed Wilderness – The Yukon’s Peel Watershed

Fall colours photography tour,  Peel River Watershed

The Peel River watershed is one of Canada’s most striking and pristine mountain river watersheds – a region of serrated peaks, deep canyons, verdant wetlands and rolling hills and plateaus, laced by rushing rivers. All yours to photograph under the superb tutelage of international photo tour leader Christoph Fischer.

Stretching for 68,000 kilometres from the Northwest Territories border westwards into the  vast wilderness of northern Yukon, the Peel watershed dwarfs more famous landscapes – such as Banff and Yellowstone national parks – in size, unspoiled splendor and ecological integrity.

This  is a land that asks to be explored, discovered and captured, in dramatic and beautiful imagery. Images tell a story and this place needs stories to be told,  to bring it’s unique beauty into the wider public eye.  The Peel watershed has been the focus of a two decade long wilderness protection campaign, and its future is still undecided.  Photos taken on Christoph’s exploratory expedition here in August  2015 are helping to inspire others about the majesty and fragility of the Peel region, and in this way contributing to the campaign to protect this place from the ravages of potential mineral and oil and gas development.

After an hour long flight by float plane over this  vast wild mountain landscape we’ll touch down on a high altitude lake, where we’ll base ourselves for the duration of our stay. From there we’ll foray out on foot every day, cameras in hand, criss-crossing rocky slopes and tundra plains, ascending v-shaped valleys not glaciated during the last ice age, and exploring gothic-like rocky outcrops bisected by gushing streams and waterfalls. And all of it bathed in the spectacular golden and rosy hues of the autumn season.

For more details about Christoph, his photography and this particular photo tour  see http://www.beautysurroundsyou.com/p/yukon-photography

Trip Details

Dates
August 20-28, 2017
Duration
9 days
Price
$4890
Activity
photography,   hiking
Skill Level (minimum)
physically fit (for hiking in steep terrain); beginner to advanced photography skills

Detailed Itinerary

 

Day 0: We’ll meet at an assigned time and place in Whitehorse, to  talk about the trip and last minute details, check that your photography, camping and hiking gear is in order, and give you a presentation on how to best capture the incredible natural scenery that awaits you! This is also where we can get to know one another over dinner and drinks.

Day 1:   We’ll  head off after an early breakfast to Mayo, a 5 hour drive away, where Blacksheep Aviation is based on the banks of the Stewart River. Weather pending we will fly into the Peel watershed  in the afternoon, over spectacular  tundra covered river valleys and vast mountain ranges, brushed by the red hues of autumn. We set up camp near to the lake where we have landed, and if it is not dark yet, we’ll have time to  explore some nearby locations, in anticipation of our first morning shoot.

Days 2-7:  We’ll spend 6 full days hiking and exploring the surrounding valleys, rivers and mountain ranges for landscape and wildlife photographic opportunities. The days will start and end from chosen sunrise and sunset locations, with hopefully some night photography to follow.  We will visit all those locations that are particularly promising for compelling images, and which I have identified during our 2015 photography expedition into this area. However, there is much that still remains to be discovered, which makes this tour all the more exciting! We will be guided by maps, sun/moon time and location calculators, but at the end of the day it really comes down to us exploring and scouting it all by foot. The guide may accompany Christoph on most or all our excursions, in order to help with navigating difficult terrain such as scrambling up certain mountains and hills, or exploring canyons and river beds. When the weather is good, which is something you can’t take for granted in the mountains, we will make maximum use of the day and photograph as many locations as possible. The beauty of these mountains is highlighted by dramatic lighting, even in the middle of the day, and you will be able to take advantage of photographic opportunities throughout our hikes. The night sky will feature prominently in our efforts, including aurora if we are lucky. This is true wilderness and you will set foot where few people have been before. You will be surrounded by tundra covered valleys threaded by snaking rivers and framed by imposing mountain ranges, which we will visit at a time when the tundra autumn colors are expected to peak.

Day 8:  We’ll go out for one last morning shoot, return to camp for breakfast, and then break camp for our 1 hour flight over dramatic mountain ranges and autumn tundra back to Mayo. We then leave Mayo for our ride back to Whitehorse. If everything goes according to plan we’ll have time to go out for a celebratory dinner and drinks, after savouring a much needed warm shower at the hotel!

Day 9: We have planned this day as a cushion in the case our flight back from the Peel Watershed has been delayed due to bad weather, so that you don’t miss your flights home. If things go according to plan, we have a full day in Whitehorse, during which I give you a series of presentations on the artistic and technical aspects of photography, as well as highly effective processing methods. I will also be available to review your images with you, on a one to one basis as well as in a group setting. At the end of the day we enjoy a celebratory farewell dinner together with newly found friends, enriched with an incredible, once in a lifetime experience and a collection of spectacular images!

What's Included

WHAT’S INCLUDED

  • All transportation from Whitehorse, Yukon to Mayo (5 hours), where our plane and departs from, and return
  • Return flight by chartered float plane (approx 1 hour) , into the heart of the Peel watershed
  • 6 full day and 2 half days of expeditionary hiking and in-field photography instruction with photography workshop leader Christoph Fischer
  • the services of a fully qualified wilderness guide
  • all group equipment including tents (if needed), cooking gear, first aid supplies and satellite phone (for emergency and logistical communications)
  • all meals from lunch Day 1 to lunch on the final day

WHAT’S NOT INCLUDED

  • transportation to and from your home and Whitehorse
  • personal belongings and equipment as per equipment list
  • any accommodation or meals in Whitehorse
  • full emergency evacuation travel insurance (mandatory for this trip)

TOPOGRAPHICAL  INFORMATION

We carry a full complement of maps with us but if you wish to have your own, the1:250,000 scale map you will want is called ……….and the 1:50,000 one is……….. In Whitehorse, maps can be purchased at Mac’s Fireweed Books at 203 Main Street.