Living in the Yukon can be a challenge- even when COVID19 isn’t throwing a wrench in our plans. With the minimal sun and chillier weather sometimes it’s a struggle to get out and about- so pull on your layers, fill your thermos with some hot cocoa and give these activities a whirl.
1- Take a Lap on the Millennium Trail Loop
The Millennium Trail is often plowed and/or gravelled before most roads are. The winding path takes you along the Yukon River, past the SS Klondike and over a pedestrian bridge with views of the dam and the fish ladder. This 5 km trail is a multi-use trail that is fit for the whole family. “Starting Monday, April 27th, usage of the trail will go in one direction only along the narrow River Wall portion of the trail (between the S.S. Klondike and the Eagle’s Nest parking lot). Trail users travelling in the other direction will be required to use the wide shoulder of Robert Service Way.”(*1) Catch a glimpse of one of the many foxes, ravens, eagles and maybe even a coyote that frequent the area. It’s a photographer’s dream with the textured banks of the mighty Yukon River and gorgeous Goldenhorn and Grey Mountains in the background. Plan your arrival around sunrise or sunset to really catch the colours and all their beauty.
2- Chase the Auroras
I know this isn’t done in the minimal sun, but it’s a great physically distanced adventure! The elusive Aurora Borealis can be seen from Whitehorse. There are many apps you can get to try and predict her arrival, but take them with a grain of salt- she comes out when she wants to. The best way to see her is to pop in the car and drive somewhere dark on a clear (not cloudy) night and wait. This is where the hot cocoa will really come in handy. Stay warm while you watch the skies in hopes of her arrival. Some hot spots to view The Aurora Borealis are Fish Lake Road, Long Lake, Schwatka Lake, Miles Canyon Road (when it’s open or park at the gate and hike to the lookoff) and Grey Mountain Road. You don’t have to travel far to be out of the light pollution. I have even been fortunate enough to see the Auroras from my backyard in Riverdale. No two shows are the same and I don’t think I will ever tire of seeing them, so look up!
3- Take a Walk on the Wild Side
Take a relaxing walk, run, kicksled or bike ride around the Yukon Wildlife Preserve. By paying the admission price, you are helping the Yukon’s injured or orphaned wildlife. The Preserve helps to rehabilitate wildlife back to health with the goal of releasing them back into their natural habitat. As you stroll around, you will meet many four and three-legged including a tripod fox and lynx. It’s easy to feel you’re the only ones in the park on the 5km loop- distancing made easy! With daily hours between 11:30 AM and 5 PM, you can really take advantage of the daylight while supporting this not-for-profit facility.
4- Give Mushing a Try
Have you ever thought about what it takes to become a musher? Sky High Wilderness Ranch is giving Yukoners the chance to learn how to dog sled. I was lucky enough to be in the first-ever Dog-Sledding Boot Camp and couldn’t feel more honoured. From harnessing your pups, learning their strengths/weaknesses, putting them on the line, learning the parts of your sled (don’t worry- there is plenty of room to put your hot cocoa) and how to safely start your adventure. It’s a three day, once weekly course that takes full advantage of the limited daylight. Using the skills you learn every week and building on that knowledge is incredible. It’s a lot of work and many sore muscles, but when you are crossing Fish Lake with your dog team all in stride- it’s euphoric. Finish your day by removing the canine athletes from the line/harnesses and reward them with their high-quality meaty meal. After some more sled dog love, it’s time to bring them back to their home within the dog yard. Be warned, this is not for you if you do not like dog kisses! The next session is planned to begin in January and I highly recommend this! What a great experience and you are at least one dog team away from others. Contact Sky High Wilderness Ranch for more details. (Sky High Wilderness Ranch)
It doesn’t have to cost a fortune to make the most of our daylight. Be a true Sourdough and get out there and enjoy our beautiful Territory. Whether you are walking, hiking, biking or hitching a ride with some beautiful sled-dogs- make the most of this season. I know I will.
Footnote *1- Whitehorse Recreation
Hero picture: My team and I crossing Fish Lake on a blizzardy day Captured by Adam Luciano as he and his team follow