Zunoquad 3–Canoeing the Teslin and Yukon Rivers (1)


At the end of last year’s excursion, Peter had suggested that we go on a river trip in “The North.”  Andy came through late in the game, on June 24 with a fully developed proposal:

My work schedule has blown me away for a good part of the year.  As unreasonable as it may seem I have only one window of opportunity for a wilderness trip. I can leave Edmonton on the afternoon of the 8th of September and I have to return to meetings in Vancouver that begin at 6:30 in the evening on the 17th September.

If the timing works then I think we can have a fine time (without the joy of any bugs of the biting variety) in the Yukon from Sept 9th to Sept 17th this year.


At that time of year the length of day will change from about 13.5 hours to 12.5 hours during that period as the world plunges the North into twilight by November


and the temperatures will not sustain black flies and mosquitoes


I am heading up to Whitehorse again on business tomorrow and will try to scope out essentials and good advice from those well disposed to me J in those parts concerning the Teslin River and the Yukon River.

See link below to have confidence that a 7 day trip is possible “ we could likely easily make that distance on our own considering that the guided trip is 7 days on the Teslin¦.I have some friends on Lake Labarge ¦.not related to Sam McGee


Within four days ten men had signed up including first timer Allan, a friend of Lionel’s, who volunteered to be head cook.

Steven ordered a crudely produced but authoritative guidebook about the route by local guide Mike Rourke and posted several pages thick with detail. Its  handdrawn maps indicating every riffle and possible campsite proved essential to our daily navigation.

Converging from afar, our group assembled at Vancouver International at the check-in desk of Air North in the early evening, excited to meet again after a year and thrilled by anticipation, a cross between the Fellowship of the Ring and the Three Stooges. The hole left by the absence of Peter, who had bowed out because of a rib injury and family obligations, highlighted the sense of privilege shared by those who managed to get away. The wait in the terminal was enriched by a superb exhibit of Inuit sculpture.


Landing in Whitehorse we were greeted by a welcoming face I hadn’t seen in decades: Noah C, whom I, Steve, Ian and Murray knew from Lund since birth, a friend of my son’s, whose parents had also come to live in the woods circa 1970.  He lives there with his family, a teacher of elementary school, handsome, healthy and happy in the place where they say “Down in B.C.”  He agreed to join us at our hotel for dinner.

When we debarked from the airport bus in front of the Best Western Hotel someone in a group of youngsters loitering at the door asked if we were from Whitehorse and when answered no said, “You’re lucky, this place is a hole.”  A few seconds later there was a crash of glass and the smell of gin, followed by a long series of howls as the kids lurched down the street leaving a broken bottle on the sidewalk.

At our long table in the bar, we were also joined by Jonah, a cousin of John’s who lives in Whitehorse, and his partner Monica, two young people employed in the business of recreation that makes this place seem youthful and prosperous –he as a sponsored mountain biker and shop manager and she as a designer.

Day 1

To view a complete set of photos for this trip go here.
To view a slideshow of these photos go here.

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