The Snake River
The Snake River trip starts with a spectacular floatplane ride over 14000 foot mountains. The tiny pond, called Duo Lake, where we land is nestled in the bottom of a deep Alpine bowl at 4300 feet. Being above tree line we can explore the mountaintops with ease and catch Artic Char in the pond to supplement our meals. We quickly descend to a new environment getting into the trees.
At the start the river is small and fast so we proceed with caution. We purposely have short days of paddling for the first week of the trip. This allows lots of time for hiking and watching for wildlife while we are still in the high mountains. The mountains offer a continuously changing spectacular view. After years of running this trip we can tell when were going to see the Grisly and the Dahl Sheep. We will point them out if you miss them. Mid-August is autumn in the artic. The leaves of what plants survive in the artic may already be blaze with crimson, orange and gold splashes of color sprinkled over the more subtle hues of the rocks and lichen.
As the river grows the technical rapids give way to swift current. For mile upon mile no pools nor eddies offer refuse. The river braids out giving you many choices. Which braid is the one that will allow you to paddle vs. drag over a gravel bar? At Mount McDonald we have a layover day to either rest or hike up the 7 miles to the McDonald Glacier picking berries on the way.
From here on the river is fast and we make 30 to 40 miles a day with little effort. When we hit the Peel River we are truly in a big river. Bears play on the rivers edge and pay you little attention to you as you sail past.
There is no sign or any mark to let you know when you pass the artic circle but we keep track of where we are and you feel it when you pass over the circle.
The ride back to Whitehouse down the Dempster Highway is an adventure in itself. Musk ox and Caribou are a common sight some times. Other times you may look for hours and not see anything but the gorgeous landscape. Many travelers drive the highway up and back just to see it all.
An adventure of a lifetime.
The trip starts on the South MacMillian River high in the mountains at MacMillian Pass. We drive to the headwaters from Whitehouse, Yukon Territory. For the first few days there is substantial whitewater to be dealt with, which will hone your skills for the rest of the 320 miles of the trip. The backdrop for the first week is snow caped mountains beside and behind you but they become further and further away. Although you are still very much in the wilderness you begin to see signs of bygone years when the trappers and gold seekers traveled these waters. These old signs send you dreaming of what it must have been like years ago when voyagers traveled up these rivers. Animal sighting on this river have been numerous and rare species are often seen. This is a 14 day trip for experienced wilderness campers, canoeing skills are not as demanding as the Snake River trip but will have to pay attention.
This river is the best place to start your Yukon experiences. The trip is only a week long and still promises the canoeing, camping, wildlife and remoteness desired for a true wilderness experience. This is a floatplane fly-in beginning, with a casual weeks paddle to the take out. Being in the southern portion of the Yukon the trips can be run later. This late, August, September, time frame results in warm days, some darkness, no bugs and a touch of fall color.
All Canadian trips meet in Maine so contact us for details.
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