What else can I do around Whitehorse and in the Yukon?
There is no end of what you can do in the Yukon while you are here. Whitehorse itself is thriving community, and seems to be a magnet for artists (performing, visual and literary) and outdoor enthusiasts. There are a number of festivals throughout the year around which you could plan your trip , or at very least there will likely be some cultural activities happening while you are here. And as for the rest of the Territory, you could spend a lifetime exploring it, and still only scratch the surface. See Travel Yukon for the Department of Tourism’s annually updated information about what to see and do in the Territory, or call toll free 1-800-661-0494 to request a hard copy of their annual publication. And Yukon Info and Explore North both have an abundance of information to help you plan your stay.
What does a typical day look like?
It depends on the trip. The typical day of our more activity-oriented adventures tends to be somewhat destination oriented. A certain amount of flexibility is built into each itinerary to allow for rest and day hikes. Day-length is not a major limitation during the summer months so our schedules will be dictated more by wind, weather and wildlife viewing opportunities, than by the hours on the clock. In general, a discussion at breakfast time, or during supper the evening before, will outline the plan for the day. On our “creative sojourns & retreats” there is time built into the daily schedule for creative expression and group activities. These trips are either based out of a camp or lodge, or involve multiple nights in a specific location, which minimizes the amount of time needed for packing and setting up camp.
Do I/we need to have previous hiking or paddling and camping experience?
Each trip outlines experience/skill level required. A good general level of fitness is recommended however for all trips, to maximize your level of enjoyment. The only exception to this are some of the Creative Sojourns and Retreats, where fitness is not necessarily a pre-requisite.
What about safety?
Your safety is one of our prime concerns. Any decisions regarding safety are ultimately made by your guides, with full consideration for your comfort and well-being in mind. Listening carefully to the instructions and directions of the guides is ultimately your responsibility and in the best interest of yourself and that of the group. Your guides are professionals, familiar with the equipment and environment you are traveling through. They are trained in advanced wilderness first aid techniques and river rescue skills. And they will be equipped with a satellite phone for logistic and emergency communication.
What are the meals like?
We take special care to provide meals which are both nutritious and delicious. We use organic ingredients as much as possible, buy locally grown produce when possible (to minimize our carbon footprint and support local businesses). We use a combination of fresh and dried foods (made at home and dried in our own dehydrator); the ratio of each depends on our weight restrictions on any given trip. Snacks and treats are provided but if you have any special favorites, feel free to bring some along. We can accommodate any special dietary requirements (such as allergies, vegetarian, wheat-intolerant etc) if given enough advance notice (this information is requested on the medical form). Guests have raved about our meals, and we take pride in delivering them. We know how important good food is when camping out doors, at many levels.
What about bugs?
Mosquitoes can be annoying during their peak season, from mid june through July, particularly in the northern part of the Territory. Wearing pants and long-sleeved shirts (of a tightly woven fabric), and using some insect repellent for areas not covered, helps. A head net can easily be carried in a pocket and slipped on over a hat when needed. Bug jackets can be purchased at outdoor equipment stores, although the shirt and head net combo can suffice.
What about bears?
It is very unlikely we will have any encounters with bears. We normally consider ourselves lucky to see bears, as they are such powerful symbols of the wild. Generally they are far more scared of us than we are of them, and they make themselves scarce when they catch our scent. Your guides will instruct you in how to act around bears to minimize the chance of any negative interactions. They will also be quipped with bear spray (containers of capsicum pepper spray) that has been proven to be effective in deterring the very occasional bears that get too close for comfort. And they will carry bangars and flares which have also been found to be an effective deterrent.
How do I keep myself and my gear dry (especially on boating trips)?
We will provide you with one large river dry bag for canoe and raft trips for waterproofing your gear . We recommend that you bring a small dry bag for the gear you need during the day. Alternatively, you can line your day pack with garbage bags. We recommend a pelican-type case for camera gear and binoculars. If you are kayaking you need to pack your gear in small bags that are easily stowed in the boat. You can bring small flexible dry bags, or waterproof stuff sacs lined with plastic bags. For waterproofing yourself we recommend that you bring high quality rain pants and coat. You can get chilled easily when paddling in cool weather, especially if you get wet. We also suggest that you bring rubber boots. We recommend boots that fit tightly around the calves, to reduce the amount (ie.weight) of water they can hold. Boots not only help keep your feet warm and dry while you are paddling in cool or wet weather, they are also useful for loading and unloading the boats. You may also want to bring river sandals for hot days. Keep in mind that northern waters are cold and bare feet can chill easily. A pair of neoprene socks worn in your sandals can help keep your feet warm.
And what type of boats will we be using?
We use 16 to 17.5 foot canoes, made with durable Royalex and Duratuff materials, single and double fiberglass and plastic sea kayaks, and 16 and 18 foot Sotar and Achilles inflatable white water rafts. The rafts carry people and gear and are rigged with an oar frame which enables the guide to steer and power the raft. Participants do not have to paddle but they are encouraged to in order to increase the raft’s manoeverability and momentum.
Expectations: Yours and Ours
We realize that as our guests you have high expectations of us, and justifably so. You desire a high quality wilderness experience. You expect your guides to be knowledgable, the meals to be delicious, and the scenery superb. You also demand your experience to be a safe one. We strive to meet all these expectations. And we pride ourselves in the high quality experiences we are able to provide. We do, however, have some requirements of our guests. We ask that you be open minded and flexible. The wilderness is not a controlled environment. Nor is the weather. The more open you are to whatever presents itself each day the more you will enjoy your experience. The more responsibility you take for the quality of your experience the more you will gain from your time in the Yukon.