The Lapie River, Yukon        

We were on our way out of the Yukon on July 11, 2004 when we stopped for the night at the Lapie River Canyon Campground. Despite being in the middle of nowhere (save for Ross River... exactly), we ran into a group from Whitehorse doing a white-water canoe course! They had completed a few days of instructional stuff and were tying it all together with a river day on the Lapie. Being that our whitewater skills were of roughly the same caliber, we were fortunate to be able to join the group for this day and a half. This allowed us to run a part of the Lapie which we would not have done on our own. We did terribly and mucked up all three class III runs but had a decent time anyway, making some good recoveries and only going over once when Stephen ejected himself from the boat. We were roughly the same caliber skill-wise but apparently very rusty.

Asker the Canoe Dog: She would run along shore wherever we went, then sleep all the way home in the back of the truck.

For some time, Carol and I had been talking of doing a solo boat course and being in the midst of a canoe class brought this topic to the forefront again. One thing lead to another and soon we were working out the details for a custom course right then and there with Trevor of 'Jane and Trevor's Canoeing Adventures'. It was all very last minute so it ended up with only the two of us, one instructor and a custom three day course as opposed to the normal four day affair. Another consequence of our last minute arrangements was that we had only one of the solo boats he usually uses for solo courses (his others were in Whitehorse - several hours away). This meant I had to use the only other one Trevor had with him - a hard chined Viper 12 and a fairly 'hot boat' as he put it. Boats with hard chines are boxy affairs with strong edges on the hull. These can catch the currents much like a skier catches an edge and can result in a fair amount of swimming practice for the unawares. Despite this, the Viper and I were getting along just fine by the end of things. Incidentally, the advantage of hard chines to more experienced boaters is that it increases the ability to carve sharp turns.

Carol and I did very well and had some of the most fun we ever have had canoeing. During stoke drills on a nearby lake we both surprised Trevor the instructor by successfully rolling our canoes. The next step is to turn this from a party trick into a practical skill we can use on the river when it counts. As an added bonus, the forest fire smoke cleared on the last day and we got to see some of the astounding scenery and mountain tops we had been blinding canoeing through for the four previous days. The course was much more casual than the chop-chop-chop efficiency of Ontario's Madawaska Kanu Center but it was all good. That was Ontario and this was the Yukon on Yukon-time. In our four short weeks in the territory we had learned that things were done a bit differently there... it was a little less intense than other parts of the country! We enjoyed it.

The nearest community was Ross River but we found it to be a bit of a sad case. It was originally a river access only community but road access and big money from near-by Faro's mine (now shut down) put it on hard times. The local name for it was Lost Liver and it fit.

Personal instruction

Great recovery

Trevor the instructor

Jet ferrying

Video sessions in the tent


The canyon

Old trapper's cabin

Outdoor shower

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