Day 0 WHITEHORSE, YUKON
Your journey north from your home will be a refreshing departure. You will fly over the largest expanse of wilderness in the world with stunning views on cloudless days, pass through quieter and friendlier airports, and generally begin to immerse yourself in the wilderness experience that is about to unfold. This is the arrival day and is the first day listed for your trip. The scheduled flights arrive in Whitehorse throughout the day.
Please make your way to your hotel and plan to rendezvous with your guides at the meeting point confirmed in your Welcome Aboard package at 6 p.m. for an orientation meeting with the trip leader. There will be a chance for last-minute questions concerning clothing, gear, packing and other details. Whitehorse is a great place to spend a few extra days and there are local day hikes, bike, canoe rentals, dog mushing kennels to visit as well as a National Historic Site and several museums. Renting a car for a day trip through the White Pass to Skagway, Alaska is a popular outing.
Day 1 (L/D) MOUNTAIN RIVER FLIGHT
Your Trip Leader will meet you in your hotel lobby at 8:00 a.m. following breakfast (not included). Travelling by van, we’ll make the scenic 5-hour drive to the town of Mayo. Here we will transfer to a floatplane and fly into Willowhandle Lake. This is truly a spectacular and remote part of the northern wilderness! Have your camera handy for the flight, this is one of the first of many great highlights of the trip.
Camp will be on Willowhandle Lake. An alpine gem, frequented by mountain caribou.
Day 2 PUSH-ME-PULL-YOU CREEK
The adventure begins with the portage to Push-Me-Pull-You Creek. Floating the loaded canoes in this narrow stream we will wade in the shallows, pulling the loaded canoes until the creek broadens enough to paddle. Camp will be near the junction of PMPYC and Black Feather Creek.
Day 3 BF CREEK & THE MOUNTAIN RIVER
BF Creek is a lively run with significant gradient. Class III whitewater skills are put to use immediately avoiding rocks and on the many sharp bends in the beautiful low canyons. Exciting whitewater that demands respect. Camp will be near the confluence of BF Creek and the Mountain River.
Day 4 WHITEWATER, FISHING & MORE
The channel triples in size at the junction with the Mountain. Navigational skills are required constantly to negotiate the braided channels. The gradient increases through the day with exciting hay stacks to challenge your whitewater skills. This day as on others there are chances to fish for trout and grayling in the clear mountain water. Keep your eyes peeled as locations such as “Grizzly Meadows” will live up to their name.
Day 5 ‘MOONSCAPES’ & MINERAL SPRINGS
The spectacular mountain backdrop has dominated the scenic panorama. Now it is time to get up close and personal with the geology. Visiting “The Moonscape”, mineral springs and “Fountain of Youth”, reveals the dramatic and beautiful creations of geothermal springs. These spots are often frequented by Dall sheep. Stopping at Cache Creek we can enjoy a mineral spring shower! This may be the location selected for a layover day.
Day 6 BATTLESHIP ROCK & CANYON BEAUTY
Entering the first of the canyons we enjoy an exciting run and more displays of geological features. The day continues with lively wave trains, more spectacular views and eventually brings us to Battleship Rock and the mouth of Second Canyon
Day 7 & 8 CONFLUENCE AT STONE KNIFE RIVER
Second Canyon competes with First for excitement. Challenging corners, holes and rebounding waves dominate all of the Mountain River canyons. At the confluence with Stone Knife River the volume doubles and the action continues. By now you will have realized that there is not a dull moment on this river and you must “have your wits about you” every minute.
Day 9 THIRD CANYON
Negotiating the rapids of Third Canyon challenges the whitewater skills. The river continues to wind through the mountain valley, dropping at a steep gradient. Moose, Dall sheep and grizzly inhabit the shores.
Day 10 FOURTH & FIFTH CANYON
After fourth Canyon the valley begins to broaden but the current persists. The ridges take on a new shape, providing diversity for the eye. Camp is in the vicinity of 5th Canyon.
Day 11 EAST & WEST MOUNTAINS
Paddling into the Mackenzie Valley, the landforms continue to change. The secret of the river’s name becomes clear. Early travelers on the Mackenzie River would have recognized the mouth of this tributary by the presence of East and West Mountains that overlook the junction
Day 12 MACKENZIE RIVER VALLEY
Paddling is easy and the surrounding mountains slowly meld into the Mackenzie River Valley. The surrounding environment changes dramatically as the confluence with the Mackenzie nears. Paddling a short distance “up” the Mackenzie brings us to a beautiful river beach. A beach combers paradise with large driftwood logs (certainly not from around here)
Day 13 FLOAT PLANE
In the morning we’ll be met by the aircraft that will take us back to Mayo. We’ll travel the Klondike Highway by van back to Whitehorse. Depending on timing, the group may decide to stop for supper at a diner along the way (not included) or upon arrival in Whitehorse. Camp will be in your hotel room in Whitehorse (your responsibility). If you have not eaten on the road, the group will likely want to gather at a local eatery (not included) to celebrate the return and recount tales of the adventure!
Day 14 HOMEWARD BOUND
After goodbyes and a last look around Whitehorse we’ll head home with a cargo of fond memories and lots of pictures of our river adventure.
Please Note: The above is a tentative agenda and has been designed with much thought to capitalize on the most scenic and exciting parts of the river while making time on other sections. Your guides will adjust the schedule to make the best use of river and weather conditions.
Wet suits or dry suits and helmets are mandatory for this trip. Plan to err on the side of extra warm clothing. If you wish, the guides can help decide if anything should be left behind.
Breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks are included from lunch on Day 1 the final river meal. Any other meals off the river are your responsibility.
Hotel costs and meals while in Whitehorse are not included in the trip fee.