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Wild Canada - The Yukon

Wild Canada: The Yukon

By Katherine Brodsky

A place where adventures happen, and humans can come face-to-face with untamed nature to find themselves.

I have to confess, my idea of an adventure has less to do with jumping off cliffs and airplanes and more to do with exploring cobblestone side streets and quirky cafés, armed with a GPS and a healthy data plan. But when the wild calls to you, you answer.

A bit of bug spray and a bear spray canister don’t hurt either.

When Jack London first headed over to the Yukon’s Dawson City in 1897, he, like many other dreamers, was eager to try his luck at the gold rush game. Although his book, The Call of the Wild, still inspires many visitors to the region to this very day, nowadays, they are looking to find something else amongst the region’s fireweed – themselves.

You see, the Yukon, even in the face of modernity, offers visitors a different kind of experience. Still wild at heart, its untamed landscapes pit men (and women) against nature. Some choose to tackle the temperamental Yukon River, camping along the way. Others dare to survive unmarked hiking trails and the wild animals they encounter on their path, including grizzly bears, lynx, mountain sheep, and moose. While from a distance, they can be rather photogenic, up-close and caught off-guard, they can be dangerous. But the Yukon is where humans and wildlife intersect, and often the payoff is priceless.

In the Yukon, there’s no shortage of mountains to climb and peaks to reach, with about 80 per cent of it being sheer wilderness – some well-trodden, the rest, unmarked. There’s no mistaking: This is the backcountry. Sheep Creek offers a day hike that pays off with a view into the picturesque Slim’s River Valley. King’s Throne is approximately 4,700 feet to the summit, taking hikers through a forest and an old glacial moraine with views of Kathleen Lake and the Auriol Range at the end. The relatively remote Tombstone Territorial Park, which takes you into subalpine terrain with majestic views, is worth a visit too and can be a great place to set up camp. You can even opt to follow the trail by horseback.

Inside Kluane National Park and Reserve is where you’ll find Canada’s highest mountains, including Mount Logan, considered to be one of the world’s biggest. The Slim’s River West Trail offers a trek through the park to the summit filled with river crossings, wildlife spotting, wetland marshes and breathtaking views.

But there’s plenty of more family-friendly and less athletically rigorous activities to partake in as well, like taking a walk in Dawson City, a Klondike National Historic Site that retains its old-school looks and charm, or gold panning in the Yukon River. For many, driving along the Dempster Highway is a bucket-list item worth checking off. For those who want to come face-to-face with Arctic foxes, lynx, caribou, and wood bison, a visit to the Yukon Wildlife Preserve is in short order. In wintertime, there’s no better way to explore than dog sledding through the wilderness.

And just because you can’t climb the highest peaks, it doesn’t mean that you can’t get a front-seat view of giants like mounts Vancouver, Logan, Steele, and Saint Elias by taking a flight-seeing tour.

Then there’s that one thing that’s sure to satisfy anyone: Watching the Northern Lights in the land of everlasting sunsets.



Lynx photo credit: Zdeněk Macháček on Unsplash

Aurora photo by Leonard Laub on Unsplash

A place where adventures happen, and humans can come face-to-face with untamed nature to find themselves.  Read more