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Riding The Tatshenshini River, A Yukon Whitewater Rafting Adventure

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One day I was on top of a 7oo metre thick ice field in the Kluane National Park & Preserve and today I will be riding the rapids of the Tatshenshini River, a glacier fed river that begins in British Columbia and flows North into the Yukon. From the top of a mountain to the bottom of a valley I’m having one adventure after another here and I am loving it. This Yukon whitewater rafting adventure is with Tatshenshini Expediting who have been doing this since 1982. I think 35 years qualifies them as experts and I couldn’t feel more excited and safe with them guiding our raft. Have you got your wool socks on? It is time to raft down a glacier fed river.

White water rafting on the Tatshenshini River Yukon

Before you embark on this Yukon whitewater rafting adventure please make sure you pack smartly, including wool socks, warm underclothes and a complete change of clothes to change into afterwards.  

The adventure starts at the Tatshenshini Expediting base camp on the Blanchette River. It appears pretty rustic but they have everything you need. Paperwork signing happens in the registration hut and then we are shown to the wet suit area.

Registration starts here for a Yukon Whitewater rafting adventure

This is where we strip down and gear up. For me, it is a pair of board shorts and that’s it. With our guides help, I select a wet suit and boots. Wearing a lot of clothes underneath those suits start off ok but very quickly you heat up and the underclothes can bunch up in places that it isn’t very comfortable. The wet suits are much warmer than I expected. I may need to go for a dip just to cool off.

Wet suite drying area

Wet suits ready for people

Wet suit boots

I am all suited up and ready to ride the waves.

All that is left to do is to launch our raft into the river. Deep breath, I am ready for this.

Our rafts all ready for us to launch

From this point onwards all the photos are courtesy of Tatshenshini Expediting. I focused on rafting and staying in the boat and let them take photos from select view points. 

It has been quite a while since I’ve whitewater rafted but muscle memory quickly kicked in. In all honesty, our guide did 95% of the work. It looks like we worked hard but in reality, there were plenty of moments where we just enjoyed ourselves.

Rafting on the Tatshenshini River with Tatshenshini Expediting

All good here

A couple of hours into our rafting we pull off the river to visit the lunch camp site that has been pre set for the season. It may have been the best lunch I’ve ever eaten. All that exercise makes you hungry.

It's lunch time on the river

It is time to hit the water again. The first portion of the day was training for what’s next. The big rapids are in front of us and I’m stoked for them. Cruising along is fun but it is way more exciting when there is a bit of a challenge. Full disclosure at no point was I nervous as our guide had everything in complete control.

In the thick of some rapids

Stroke stroke, that’s the command we are given to power through some whirlpools and through the toughest rapids. The reward is a brief respite and easy rafting.

paddling through a whirlpool

It looks scarier than it was

We have reached our destination and I couldn’t be happier. What an exhilarating ride. My thighs are a bit sore from squeezing the raft and I’m sweaty from the wet suit but I’m happy. Our guides load the rafts onto a trailer and we board a bus for the ride back to base camp. I am super grateful for the change of clothes I brought as I am just a wee bit sweaty and smelly.

Even though I’ve been in the water all day I can’t wait for a shower at the lodge tonight. I think I am going to sleep well after a full day of Yukon whitewater rafting on the Tatshenshini River. Next stop, bed.

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Disclosure: General

Thank you to Travel Yukon for hosting this adventure and making this travel series possible. Also thanks to Aeroplan for getting me to the Yukon. All views and opinions are 100% my own.

About Author

Marc Smith is a former event planner turned vagabond adventurer. He loves strong Americano's, great wine, cold beer and zip lining over tree tops. Formerly of Vancouver, most of Marc's time when not travelling is in Canada's largest city, Toronto. Follow along on his nomad adventures and discover places to stay, things to do and where to eat & drink as he explores the world one city and region at a time.

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