Canadian Canoe Routes

Yukon River Trip - Minto to Dawson
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Author:  Yukonkev [ June 27th, 2002, 4:25 pm ]
Post subject:  Yukon River Trip - Minto to Dawson

Hey there, we are just about to head off on a river trip on The Yukon from Minto Landing to Dawson City. Should be about five days or so on the water, I will post some details of the trip on our return...
I will be taking plenty of digital photos.

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: Yukonkev on 2002-07-15 08:39 ]</font>

Author:  Richard [ June 27th, 2002, 4:38 pm ]
Post subject: 

Great! We'll look forward to your trip story and the photos, and we'd be happy to have your trip info posted in the Yukon section of this site.

Enjoy ... hope the blackflies don't carry you away.

Author:  Yukonkev [ July 15th, 2002, 7:30 am ]
Post subject: 

Well here we are, back home in Dawson City 18:00 hrs, Thursday July 4th, a bit ahead of our schedule (thank goodness!).
We started our three hundred-kilometre canoe trip in Minto at 13:00 on Sunday, June 30th.

It was a beautiful trip that had the full mix of weather, from 28ºC sunshine all the way to 30 Km head winds and heavy rain. Over the whole trip we averaged 70 Kms a day, although some days were longer than others!

The Midnight Sun allowed us to paddle until the wee hours if we wanted to.

Day One starts absolutely gorgeous, the wind is calm, the current steady, the channels are mostly easy to follow, it is hot, sunny and there is lots of wildlife to view as soon as we are under way. Hawks, geese, swans, ducks, mountain goats, sheep, and bald eagles all within the first couple of hours!

We paddle from Minto Landing to an island just in front of Fort Selkirk, a distance of only 38 Kms and six hours on the water. Although there is a campground right at Fort Selkirk, we decide to stay on the uncrowded island, as there is a large group at Fort Selkirk ahead of us.

Day Two we look around Fort Selkirk for a couple of hours; it is a very nice, mostly abandoned town site that has been restored extensively. You should certainly stop and see it.
As we set off on the river, the high cliffs on our right that start at Fort Selkirk continue on beside us for over eighteen Kms. Towards the afternoon, we are met by stiff winds of about 30 Km/Hr, which make paddling feel like we are traveling a foot at a time. We still make OK time, but the width of the river can make it seem like you are going quite slowly.

Around 19:30 it calms and we come around a corner in the river to witness a grizzly bear chasing a cow and calf moose out into the river right in front of us. The grizzly doesn’t try to go in the water after them, but is EXTREMELY angry about losing it’s prey, and charges the bank of the river and huffs towards the canoes several times before slowly leaving. As we float by, the moose are on one side of us, and the bear on the other. I relax a bit more as we leave them all behind. An hour later, we see a large brown bear walking along the shore. He doesn’t take much notice of us, other than a slow glance. After a short rain shower at 21:30, we are treated to a beautiful rainbow over the river.

In total, after about ten hours of paddling, we make about 62 Kms that day putting us at the one-third point of our trip. We again camp on an island, as we do the rest of the trip. This is certainly not a foolproof way of avoiding bears, but may help to avoid them, although I have been told exactly the contrary holds true. I know personally of people who have had attacks on their camps on these islands.

Towards 18:30 the white caps are so bad that we cannot continue, there are large sandstorms from the gravel bars. The waves are at least two-foot haystacks, and the wind direction is always changing, making it hard to keep the nose into the wind. When we add merging currents from the channels, it gets downright exhilarating! We make the decision to stop for a while, which turns into a few hours.

After having supper, we continue on until midnight in lighter winds. Just as we set up camp, the rain starts to come down heavily, which it continues to do all night.

Day Three starts off with sunny skies and calm winds! We are happy not to be fighting our way down the river, and even light paddling seems to speed us along.

The river charts from Mike Rourke have proven to be invaluable on our trip, as the numerous channels, sand bars and logjams are marked amazingly well! Be sure to get the newest copy you can though, as there were many differences in the two editions we had. I don’t think I would have enjoyed the trip quite as much without this chart!

Towards the afternoon, the winds pick up, and paddling becomes work again.

Day Four and the day starts off quite calm in the morning. Right at noon we paddle past the confluence of the White River. The silt-laden water mixes rapidly with the greener water of the Yukon, and soon the whole river is a greyish white. The sound of the silt on the canoes is quite a bit louder than it has been so far. There are suddenly a lot more logs, sticks and debris in the water from the White.

We pass Stewart Island today at 13:45; it is eroding at a very quick rate. Most of the shoreline is steep bank with sweepers and we don’t bother to try and stop. If you want a better landing, I believe if you take the first channel on the right after you see the abandoned store, it might set you up better…

Day Five starts off with the rains just finishing up, and the grey sky clearing quickly. The winds are mostly light, and the current is moving along quite well. Within a couple of hours we have blue sky. The wind picks up around 13:00, and by 15:00 is gusting to about 30 Km/Hr so we stop for a rest. A half hour later we are back on the water, and with calmer winds we make good time the rest of the way into Dawson, where we arrive at 18:00.

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: Yukonkev on 2002-07-15 08:31 ]</font>

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: yukonkev on 2002-08-06 12:04 ]</font>

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: Yukonkev on 2002-08-06 12:06 ]</font>

Author:  Yukonkev [ July 15th, 2002, 7:37 am ]
Post subject: 

Something that I didn't mention above, is that with all the wind we had on our trip, the mosquitos and blackflies were almost a no-show!

Author:  dksmith [ February 9th, 2009, 12:29 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Yukin River Trip Minto to Dawson TR

We did that trip two summers ago, only started at Carmacks. One of the best trips ever. Lots of wildlife, grizzly and black bears. Even saw a wolverine. We did not have the wind problems but I can certainly see how that could be big problem. Thanks for the report.

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