Sparked by Autumn Splendour

An Artistic Retreat for Women at Primrose Lake
With Joyce Majiski and Jill Pangman

Join us in this exploration of the creative impulse, inspired by the crimson shades of the Yukon autumn and the remoteness of this mountain valley. Come experience the perfection of our vibrant autumn days, with all your senses, before the long exhale of winter. Enjoy the comradery of women creating together.

The setting for our retreat will be Primrose Lake, nestled in a stunningly beautiful mountain valley eighty kilometres southwest of Whitehorse. This is a true wilderness hideaway, where the only year-round inhabitants are the wild animals that call it home. A rustic lodge on the shores of this turquoise-hued glacial stream-fed lake will be our refuge for the week. The access is by float plane and we will experience the stunning alpine autumn colours flames from above as we navigate along the ridgelines of the Coast Mountains.

7 days
hiking, canoeing
Skill Level (minimum)

We’ll meet as a group at a pre-arranged time and place in the day(s) before the journey starts to discuss the trip and go over logistics, gear and any last minute queries. We’ll aim for an early departure on Day 1, weather pending of course. We’ll be flying by float plane from Schwatka Lake, which is conveniently only minutes away from downtown Whitehorse. The flight itself takes up to half an hour and is breathtakingly beautiful, so keep your cameras handy! Within minutes of lifting off the lake we’ll be flying over alpine tundra, sparkling azure lakes and colourful rocky ridges on route to Primrose.

Our home for the week will be Primrose “lodge”, which consists of a rustic log building (with a kitchen, dining table and lounging area), a sauna, an outhouse, and 2 small sleeping cabins. There is space to set up tents as well. The first half of September is a gorgeous time to be in at Primrose with the fall colours in full swing, whether one is sitting quietly, creating artwork, walking or paddling.

We plan to start our mornings with a combination of contemplative time and guided movement practices (eg. yoga or dancing) to be followed by breakfast. Specific daily activities will unfold depending on the weather but will always include outdoor explorations, inside retreat activities, and personal time. The focus will be on savouring the beauty of this mountain valley and using it as inspiration for creativity.

Throughout our retreat, Joyce will guide us through small projects to build our visual art skills. Cameras, journals and art materials will accompany us on our forays along the lake and for the more adventurous the beckoning mountain slopes. When the winds are light we can travel the lake by canoe. We’ll add to the creative fun over the week by conducting random spontaneous writing exercises that will definitely leave the editor behind and make way for the muse to play.

It may sound like we are planning a week that is jam packed with activity, but we promise that you will have ample “alone” time to sit by the lake with a cup of tea and savour the silence and sense of space.

Both Joyce and Jill are experienced wilderness guides and teachers, sensitive to the needs of others and have always been interested in creating and exploring in wild spaces. Their combined leadership skills allows them the flexibility to accommodate a range of physical abilities and interests each day.



  • float plane flight from Whitehorse to Primrose Lake return
  • guiding, retreat facilitation and cooking services
  • all group equipment including first aid supplies and satellite phone (for logistical and emergency purposes)
  • all meals from lunch Day 1 to brunch on day 7


  • transportation to and from your home and Whitehorse
  • personal belongings as per clothing/equipment list
  • any accommodation or meals in Whitehorse

Joyce Majiski

A nomadic life has taken Joyce from the jungles of Borneo to the houseboats of Kashmir and from the Great Barrier Reef to the Beaufort Sea. However, it is the Yukon Territory, a place with enough wilderness to find great inspiration and peace, which has been her home since 1984. Joyce feels a strong connection to wild places and her past work as a wilderness guide (as co-founder of Sila Sojourns) and biologist has provided her with countless opportunities to hike and paddle the remote wild spaces in the north.

Joyce’s artwork examines our connection to the natural world and inter-relationships found within nature. She is interested in how intangible concepts such as instinctive knowledge and connection to place (home) can be transferred into visual imagery and language. She works with an integrated series of layers, the result of using many techniques over a period of time. Joyce’s diverse interests are reflected in an intuitive approach to making art, moving from one media to another as the work demands. A facility with a wide range of techniques and willingness to experiment with others provides her with this flexibility.

Joyce has been selected for artists residencies in Canada, Russia, Morocco, Mexico, throughout Europe and the USA. In 2003 she participated in a Wilderness residency for the Three Rivers project in northern Yukon and in 2013 she was one of 26 artists during the Arctic Circle residency aboard a tall ship in Svalbard, Norway. Joyce’s solo show “North of Myth” toured to Finland, Sweden and Northern Ireland as well as showed at the Yukon Art Centre in Whitehorse. Her site-specific installations about Water have been mounted in Rota, Spain and Mazatlan, Mexico. She has been commissioned over the years to create three public art installations in Whitehorse : “Winging North”, “River Walk” and “The Magic of Libraries”. And her most recent installation Song of the Whale, was exhibited at the Yukon Arts Centre in Whitehorse in late 2020/early 2021.

See Joyce’s website for more information about and examples of her art work.

Jill Pangman

For bio go to About the Owner.