RubiKon Adventures

Tales and travels of "GrizzLee", "Looksha Lori" & "Yukon Johann"

Sunday, July 22, 2012

RubiKon Quest 2012: Yukon River Paddle Trip Summary (June 27 - July 18, 2012)

RubiKon Quest 2012 is the story of GrizzLee and Looksha Lori's nearly five hundred mile paddle adventure down the remote Yukon River in the Yukon Territories. The journey begins and ends with the road journey to and from Seattle to Whitehorse, Yukon Territorites.

Our blog chronicles this trip with several posts. This entry provides a summary and link to each of the posts in chronological order so that one may read in more detail.

In our journeys and travels to the Yukon there are three themes that truly describe the Yukon.
1 - Larger than Life
2 - North of Ordinary
3 - 10 Minutes from Nowhere
We hope you enjoy reading about our journey. This is only one of several trips to what I think is the greatest place on this planet. A truly "Larger Than Life" experience.

Note to Reader:
Select the links below (in bold) to read a more in-depth description for that leg of the trip.

June 23 - June 26
RubiKon Quest 2012: Seattle to WhiteHorse  
The plan....  Paddle 500 miles on the Yukon River. This time it would be different. Looksha Lori would go. It would be Looksha Lori and me... no kids... just us this year. It has been a very long time since Lori and I had a trip like this alone. I was to drive and Lori would meet me in WhiteHorse 4 days after I left. 
Heading North, Turning onto the Cassier Hwy
June 27, 2012
Day one of our river journey began shortly after the noon start of the Yukon River Quest - The longest annual canoe and kayak race in the world.
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.
Day 1 - Camp Along Lake Laberge
June 28th - June 29th, 2012
Lake Laberge (ref . wikipedia) is a widening of the Yukon River north of Whitehorse, Yukon in Canada. It is fifty kilometres long and ranges from two to five kilometres wide. Its water is always very cold, and its weather often harsh and suddenly variable.
Day 2 of our adventure was calm, serene and it even got quite warm. On Day 3 we encountered wind and cold rain all day long. Only after we setup camp did the weather begin to improve a bit. And we met a fellow river traveler from East Gemany (A former russian)
Yukon Art - Bug Infested Leaf

Finally, we arrived at the end of Lake Laberge and got a chance to explore some artifacts from the early part of last century... before roads existed in the Yukon, the main hwy was the Yukon river. At the end of the day we arrive at Hootalinqua. This is place where the Teslin river and the Yukon River join, more than doubling in size.
The Scenic Thirty Mile River Section of the Yukon
One of the greatest things around Hootalinqua is Hootalinqua island. Here is a chance to see real history in the way of an abandoned stern wheeler. Hootalinqua island was a shipyard repair facility of sorts and a place to store stern wheelers.
We pass through an old village known as Big Salmon and surive a horrendous storm that lingers through the night.
A Ghostly Stern Wheeler Sits Abandoned on a Remote River Island
July 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 2012
RubiKon Quest 2012: Crossroads of Adventure - Days 6,7 & 8 on the Yukon River 
Day 6 was long day of paddling. The longest yet as we paddled 60 miles. The weather was very cooperative and we were anxious to get to Carmacks and have a burger to break the monotony of dehydrated foods. The other advantage would be that we could spend an entire day resting and doing some laundry. The Coalmine campground is a crossroads of sorts where I've personally met more than the lions share of adventurers’ from around the world. Aside from fellow river travelers, I've run into bicyclists, motorcyclist, hikers and campers from all parts of the globe doing their own trek.
Evening Camp at Merrice Creek

July 5th, 6th, 2012
RubiKon Quest 2012: Fort Selkirk - Days 9 & 10 on the Yukon River
Fort Selkirk holds many clues to the history of not only the first nations people, but also of the gold rush and geological history. There are some volcanoes nearby as well as old cemeteries.  Unlike many historic towns, the buildings here have not been rebuilt, in fact some of the oldest structures in the Yukon can be found here. In some of the buildings, wall paper from old newspapers circa 1906 can be seen. There was a telegraph station here at one time. On a quiet summer's evening, one can easily imagine what this town may have been like. The faded signs, shaky structures and dust tell a story all on their own. If you are fortunat enough to meet one of the elders, you may get a first hand account of what life was like in Fort Selkirk during the heyday of the Stern Wheelers.
Some of the Oldest Buildings in the Yuykon Can Be Found in the Abandonded Fort Selkirk Village
July 7th, 8th, 2012
RubiKon Quest 2012: Travels To Kirkman Creek - Days 11 & 12 on the Yukon River
We left Fort Selkirk refreshed and yet, our boats felt like slugs on the river. I think our arms were just a bit fatigued at this point, despite the layover at Fort Selkirk. It was a great day to paddle for sure, the current carried us along quite well and we enjoyed it immensely.
....Later that evening, the sun came out and we sunbathed in the buff in the midst of warm susnhine. Yes, being all alone in the wilderness has it advantages. Just be careful as you may get a bug bite in places that could cause discomfort or a curious squirrel may mistake you for a dead animal while you sleep and start gnawing on you... Don't ask me how I know :-)
Old Cabin at the Selwyn River

July 9th, 10th, 11th,12th, 2012
RubiKon Quest 2012: The Final Push to the Finish -Days 13, 14 & 15 on the Yukon River
Before we left this day, the folks at Kirkman creek said three things to us;  1) The river is higher than they have ever seen it, 2) Where the White River joins the Yukon it is like white water river conditions and 3) the weather forecast for the next 3 days called for rain and overcast. I also learned later that night that there was to be a price paid in exchange for beauty.
... When I first got out, my boot sank several inches into the soft mud and I fell into the river and had to quickly swim to retrieve my boat before it floated away. Lori was laughing and was happy it all turned out OK. She said I looked pretty funny and clumsy.  It was a real chore to get to shore.
Beautiful Alpen Glow at 2:30 a.m. on the Yukon River
July 13th, 14th, 15th, 2012
RubiKon Quest 2012: The Drive Home - Whitehorse to Hyder Alaska 
Shortly after leaving Whitehorse, we took a little detour down to Carcross and then over to Tagish.
Our next stop, Boya Lake just across the border inside of British Columbia on the Cassiar Hwy. We camped here for the night. GrizzLee took his kayak out on the water that evening. It was spectacular. Beavers, Loons, ducks... it was a very dreamy paddle. The water was like glass and made for nice lake reflection pictures.
Scenic Boya Lake

Local Residents Along the Cassiar Hwy
July 16th, 17th, 18th, 2012
RubiKon Quest 2012: The Big Finale - Hyder to Home (Sammamish)
This morning, it was hard to leave; the weather was soo very nice and the night before we had witnessed two bears play fighting. I have it all on video. It was truly a National Geographic type moment. However, we were quickly becoming sad as we knew the last days of our trip were nearing an end.
We left the hotel and drove up toward the Salmon Glacier. Days without clouds in this coastal marine environment are rare. We enjoyed a real treat.
Our First Glimpse of the Slamon Galcier

The Immense Salmon Glacier Looms Like a Giant Behind Us
As far as the "Spell of the Yukon" is concerned and what it personally means to me.
I can tell you personally, it is a medical condition. There is no known cure. Furthermore, I don't want to be cured. I shall die with this illness.
Some people may be impervious to it. As for me, I am infected. I'm helpless. I tasted the water, climbed her mountains, gazed upon her sunsets, enjoyed the stillness, loved the forests and lingered in the peace. For those like me, who have this condition, you understand well. For all others, I feel sorry for you.
May the wind be to your back, may the skies be favorable and may the gods smile upon you in your journeys.
Until next time...

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