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Ted's solo trip on the Teslin August 2013
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Author:  Ted [ September 7th, 2013, 9:28 am ]
Post subject:  Ted's solo trip on the Teslin August 2013

Firstly, I loved the trip and took a ridiculous number of photos. My trip report is really really long so, rather than overwhelm, I have it up on my website. Hope you enjoy and, warning, the webpage is photo heavy. As I was alone, I spent several days canoeing 80km over 8 hours just because it was so enjoyable and relaxing.

I also did some of the Yukon - Labarge to Carmacks - as I wanted to spend a lot of time in 30mile. This meant re-doing Hootalinqua to Carmacks but....

And just to finish the month off, I also canoed the Nesutlin.

So a total of 730km over 18 days with some time in Whitehorse to replenish gear and get rides to the put-ins.

Author:  Watersong [ September 7th, 2013, 10:18 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Ted's solo trip on the Teslin August 2013

Looks like an amazing trip!

Author:  dunkin' [ September 7th, 2013, 12:59 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Ted's solo trip on the Teslin August 2013

Great trip report, Ted. Looks like a fantastic trip.

Author:  MartinG [ September 7th, 2013, 4:29 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Ted's solo trip on the Teslin August 2013

Great trip report Ted! Very inspiring. Amazing how much river you can cover in a day. What sort of solo canoes did Up North Adventures provide?

Author:  Ted [ September 8th, 2013, 7:01 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Ted's solo trip on the Teslin August 2013

Hi Martin,
solo canoes are really hard to come by almost nobody trips alone up there.
Up North Adventures has a solo Wenonah Rendezvous that's used on occasion by their guides.
That's the one that they let me rent.

Thanks for the kudos everybody.
cheers Ted

Author:  erich [ September 14th, 2013, 1:53 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Ted's solo trip on the Teslin August 2013

Nice report, Ted. I saw that Rendezvous on the Big Salmon two weeks ago paddled by a young Japanese man. The folks at Up North(Mark and the crew) are very helpful. I'll also put in a plug for Scott and Joanne at Kanoe People who I've used for more than a dozen years. I'm glad to see that the Baker place at Boswell River is still standing as it has been many years since I paddled the Teslin. A correction on the steamers...they were actually able to get all the way up the Teslin River to Teslin Lake. That's why that bridge at Johnson's Crossing is so high.

Author:  Ted [ September 14th, 2013, 5:16 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Ted's solo trip on the Teslin August 2013

Hi Eric,, I'd really like more info on your Big Salmon trip as I'm planning on doing it next year.

The two books that I have on the Teslin state that, in the late 1800s early 1900s, the furthest that the paddle wheelers could go upstream was Mason's Landing and that Mason's Landing was actually built as the terminus. The supply vessels out of Hootalinqua couldn't get any further due to the shallows just upstream of Mason's. From there, all of the freight was by wagon road to Livingstone Creek. The gold fields at Livingstone Creek was the primary reason that the paddle wheelers moved freight up/down the Teslin. They also supplied some of the "homesteads" but that was an non-money making add-on. Mason's was apparently abandoned as a terminus around 1920.
The bridge at Johnston Crossing was built as part of the Alaska Highway in 1942.
cheers Ted

Author:  erich [ September 14th, 2013, 9:58 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Ted's solo trip on the Teslin August 2013

Hi Ted, you are correct that the bridge at Johnson's Crossing was built for the Alaska Highway. Steamers were still running up to Teslin Lake at least until then. I would like to know what books you have on the Teslin, as the research that I have done definitely has steamers going all the way up the river. Unfortunately, there is much misinformation that has been printed in the past. More recent research, as well as talking to the few old timers still around, has proven very helpful. Much of the graveyard at Dawson went undocumented until a few years ago when lines and construction details were carefully documented.

No doubt at the Baker's place, you saw the cable. I have a copy of a journal kept by one of Baker's daughters and she tells of the steamers tying up there to off load supplies that her father would horse pack to Livingstone. That was as late as the late 1930's.

The shallows above Mason's no doubt prevented the larger steamers from going up without damaging themselves. However, the Quick was able to go all the way to Teslin. Mason's had a wagon road so was a better supply drop than Boswell river which only had pack animals.

Regarding steamers on shallow rivers. Perhaps you passed by the Dease or have paddled it. The upper river isn't much more than a trickle. Yet steamers were able to negotiate it and I have photos documenting that. These were not vessels even as big as the Keno, or certainly the grand dame, the Klondike. These were small boats, perhaps a maximum of less than 100 feet, with at most two decks. The hulls were scow shaped usually, and often, much of their cargo was on scows that they pushed. Some drew not much more than a foot, loaded. In the smaller streams and even the larger rivers, sand and gravel bars were frequently encountered. The trick was to turn the boat around and use the paddle wheel to dredge a new channel.

While I don't doubt that many today would question a steamer's ability to go up the Teslin, it is a much bigger river than many they traveled. For further research, you might try looking up a book on the Barrington's. They were from Everett, Washington and the family was involved in steamers in the North for many years. They ran boats down the Dease. As well, there has been extensive research in the last few years to document the steamers that plied the Yukon drainages. The Norcom/Evelyn was one I did some research on early. Her timber was cut not far from my home in Seattle at a mill in Issaquah. She might have been built here, and reassembled at St. Michael, a practice that was not uncommon. I have not been able to determine that. Then she plied the Yukon in Alaska for a short time, before heading up to the YT. While some accounts have her suffering damage on the Thirty Mile, most likely she was getting tired by then. They lived a hard life. Again, she is much larger than the steamers that worked the smaller rivers.

Feel free to PM me about the Big Salmon<>. Hope the information about steamers has been helpful. Researching their history, design and construction has been a hobby for a number of years.

Author:  scouter Joe [ September 15th, 2013, 5:25 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Ted's solo trip on the Teslin August 2013

Thanks for posting this report . Brings back lots of memories of when Carol and I did this part of the route on the way to Dawson . Definately one of our favourite trips . scouter Joe

Author:  HOOP_ [ September 15th, 2013, 6:18 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Ted's solo trip on the Teslin August 2013

Great TR Ted! Any fish?

Author:  Ted [ September 15th, 2013, 4:06 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Ted's solo trip on the Teslin August 2013

Eric - absolutely great information. Many thanks as you are correct that there is a lot of misinformation out there which is where I probably got my information from! I had heard that most stern wheelers didn't go up past Mason but that several real small ones like the 60 foot long Quick did by pushing/pulling barges. The impression that I got was that bulk of the freight was destined for the Livingstone gold fields so that the larger freighters stopped at Mason's to unload. It must have been quite the site to see the small stern wheelers backing up through the shallows. It makes sense that small stern wheelers like the Quick would have a real shallow draft. The 120 foot long Evelyn/Norcon and it only had a 4 foot draft.
I'll have to reword that section of my webpage.

Hoop, crazy amounts of pike and grayling.

cheers Ted

Author:  littleredcanoe [ September 15th, 2013, 5:38 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Ted's solo trip on the Teslin August 2013

Author:  erich [ September 15th, 2013, 7:03 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Ted's solo trip on the Teslin August 2013

When the Alaska Highway was built, small steamers pushed scows laden with road building equipment, down the Dease. There is apparently one caterpillar tractor somewhere in the much along the Dease when a scow overturned. There is still a scow barge at McDame, near where the burned remains of the HBC post was.

I once had the opportunity to speak with a former deckhand on the Keno. It is interesting that a fully laden steamer was often out of plumb from the weight and the rods with turnbuckles that attached to the masts would be used to pull the hull straight.

The splinters on the bottom of the Norcom are clear evidence that these boats often dragged bottom. In the more difficult sections of the rivers, it is still possible to see the large eyebolts used to help haul the steamers up. A large steam capstan winch on the foredeck would be used in conjunction with the main engines, and men along the side with long poles, holding the boat out from shore. They also burned prodigious amounts of wood going upstream, some of the bigger boats reputedly burning as much as 3-4 cords an hour, which kept the wood yards very busy.

As far as steamers on the Teslin, the Alaska Highway pretty much eliminated the need for steamers to go all the way to the lake, as Teslin could be supplied from Whitehorse by the highway. However, the lakes also had steamers, notably Atlin Lake. These boats were clearly not constructed for river travel and many were screw steamers.

As far as Livingstone goes, early on, the camp was supplied by going up the south Big Salmon, which I almost did this trip. Later, Mason's became the drop off point and Baker's as well was one. A winter road still goes in there as there is still some activity.

Ted, feel free to PM me about the Big Salmon. I have coordinates for some good stopping places, current info on the log jam and various logs, as well as a couple of good hikes.

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