Days 1: June 27th, 2012
10 minutes from Nowhere....
I've heard people say that the good thing about living in Anchorage is that it is only 15 minutes from Alaska. I think WhiteHorse has it even better where the locals say that WhiteHorse is 10 minutes from NOWHERE. With a population of just over 35,000 people in the territory, (25,000 of them living in the capital of WhiteHorse), Anchorage seems like New York City in comparison.
Day one of our journey began shortly after the noon start of the Yukon River Quest - The longest annual canoe and kayak race in the world.
Year long preparations come to a close as the noon start on main street approaches.
The race is limited to 100 boats consisting of mixed classes of racers; solo canoes, solo kayaks, tandem canoes, tandem kayaks, voayager canoes, etc... The weather looked threatening and it began to lightly rain shortly after the start of the race.
Our start had less fanfare, but was no less dramatic for us. Looksha Lori posing with her prized watercraft, a 17 ft Necky, sporting a sexy yellow fiberglass hull. Note her matching paddle jacket.
GrizzLee is no stranger to this river. This is his 3rd time paddling the river. His handsome Red NorthWest Kayak sports a sexy gel coat and is captained by a studly, experienced paddler. Yes, the tales grow big on the river and even bigger as the journey gets underway. Afterall, the Yukon is Larger than Life.
10 minutes out of WhiteHorse and we really felt like we were already nowhere.
The Takhini river joins the main river channel shortly after we leave. It gives us an extra kick, propelling us to the entrance of Lake Laberge.
Our 2nd rest stop on an island was quite impressive. Snow is still on the mountains and lots of bald eagles could be seen.
The threat of rain seemed to subside as we progressed further into the womb of the Yukon.
We were now beyond 10 minutes from nowhere and had a great snack.
The entrance to Lake Laberge.
These piling were early attempts by the early steamboat operators to re-direct the flow of the river into the lake to mitigate the ever present sand bars. The anceint limestone mountains in the background, formed from rising seabeds over the millenia, seem to have deep lines forming faces of wise native elders, who looked upon us with intrpedation. The fear factor began to ramp up as nowhere now included the possibility of rain and hostile winds. Lake Laberge is infamous for both. To reach the end of the 34 mile long lake, we were going to have to earn it.
Our first camp was nearly 35 miles from our start in WhiteHorse.
As luck would have it, the bugs were virtually non-existent here and the sunset...
...the sunset lasted until 2:00 that evening.. er night?
Our view out the tent showed a growing moon. The next day seemd to hold much promise. Our spirits were high and the anixety we felt at the start was much relieved.
Our journey has just begun. We had 14 more days.
Stay tuned for the next entry... tales of skinning dipping, bears and mother nature attempt to impend our progress.
Read on to the next day: