There are no small adventures in the Yukon
Hello Yukon, I’m back and I couldn’t be more excited. You may well remember my first visit to the Yukon was in the summer of 2017. To this day it is ranked as one of my top three travel experiences. Now I’m back and this time I am here to experience winter in Canada’s north. I’m not afraid of a little cold, are you?
From my first visit, I quickly learned that anything you do in the Yukon, be it in Dawson City, Whitehorse or any of the other small communities is bigger and more epic because of the location. Rafting the Tatshenshini River is exhilarating and bloody cold, thank god for wet suits. Horseback trail riding put you in the heart of nature with views and vistas your eyes can’t believe.
It just seems that everything in the Yukon is more epic because you are here. Will this hold true for my Yukon winter adventures? I believe so and nothing is more epic than witnessing the Aurora Borealis aka Northern Lights in all their splendour.
Chasing the Aurora
Certainly one of the main attractions in Whitehorse during the winter months is Northern Light watching. The best viewing times are between 11 pm and 2 am in the morning although we are talking about Mother Nature so anything anytime is possible.
On this trip, I have booked the Arctic Day tour package with Arctic Range Adventure. They offer many different packages but for me, this one night 4-hour viewing package was the best option. Fingers crossed we see the lights.
This package includes a 10:30 pm pick up at my hotel, driving 30 minutes outside of Whitehorse to their Aurora Centre and three hours of Northern Lights viewing time. The staff are also excellent with helping to set your cameras to the right setting to get the best photos.
Sad to say that smartphones do not take the best photos of the Northern Lights. Best to bring a tripod and lots of hot pockets to keep your fingers warm. They will also happily snap a pic or two of you with their cameras so you can capture the moment.
On this night we absolutely lucked out and saw an amazing light show. In fact, periodically the lights would die down so I would head into the warm hut for some hot coffee to warm up and then I would hear the screams to come back out as the lights were back. IT WAS MAGICAL!
Mushing the Dogs
My arrival in Whitehorse happened to coincide with the 1000 mile Yukon Quest international dogsledding race. From Whitehorse to Fairbanks, Alaska 30 mushers will join their team of dogs in one of the hardest and most extreme races in the world.
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It might be cold where you are but these athletes thrive in it. So inspired to witness the start of the 2019 @officialyukonquest where 30 mushers and their teams of dogs hope to finish the 1000 mile race drone Whitehorse to Fairbanks. @travelyukon #ExploreYukon #explorecanada #dogsofinstagram #dogsledding
You don’t have to mush from Whitehorse to Fairbanks to enjoy the thrill of the mush. I booked an afternoon mushing adventure with Muktuk Adventures. The half-day Takhini Express includes all the winter gear you need, return transportation from downtown Whitehorse and 2 hours of sled time.
At first, you may feel a little trepidation but these dogs are athletes and before you even leave the lodge you get a crash course on mushing. Once you hit the frozen trails it is you Mather Nature and Man’s best friend against the elements. Another epic adventure you can’t miss out on.
Flying over Glaciers
One of the highlights of my 2017 summer visit to the Yukon was flying through Kluane National Park over the glaciers and landing on the top of a mountain. When the opportunity to do this again but in the winter came up I jumped at it.
Rocking Star Adventures is who you want to book with. From 30 minutes to 2 hours you can choose the right flightseeing package for you.
I was up for over one and a half hours and was in awe the entire time.
The mountains look so small yet I know they are buried under hundreds of feet of snow. Nine of the tallest mountain in Canada are located within Kluane National Park yet they look so small. Best seat for photos are in the back seats as the front seat where I was located often gets the propeller in the shots. Epic none the less!
This is just half of what I did during my Yukon winter adventure. The next piece will share three adventures I had with the First Nations of the Yukon. Connecting myself to the people and place I am visiting is always key to an epic adventure and hanging out and learning from the First Nations of the Yukon is just another reason I’ve fallen in love with this northwest portion of Canada.