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yukon river newbie

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  • yukon river newbie

    im thinking about starting to plan a trip down the yukon this summer. i guess i was thinking about bringing a canoe a 19'. possible 4 people. brining two canoes. is this enough? should i bring a power boat? should i bring a canoe with motors? i just feel like the power boat would requir alot of gas we might not have. same with canoe motors. my father made part of the trip with a canoe. not sure why he stopped. let me know what you think.

  • #2

    More information please. Where to where?

    Going down the Yukon takes very little fuel except in places like the Yukon Flats where currents are less. For four people, two 19' canoes would suffice in most cases. The Yukon is large enough that wind is often a problem.


    • #3
      i planned on doing the whole thing...i found airfair from emmanok, ak to anchorage, ak then back where im from. was going to purchase canoes and other items at whitehorse. bringing essentials and things i can bring on the plane. also a firearm .280 rem. there are a few places i see that we could if we had to take a road if we needed to stop short. i do understand that the roads are most likely not traveled and it would be an insaine walk back to any town. but i am usually well prepaired i do long distance hike very often but this is my first long boat trip. how long do you think that this trip would take and any suggestions for anything?


      • #4
        Guns in candia



        • #5
          I have a friend that did this (lake Bennett to the coast) in a folding kayak. Took him 4 months.

          There are several villages along the way where you can restock some supplies, but you may not find what you want, so I wouldn't count on anything. There are road accesses to the river below Whitehorse at Dawson BC, Fortymile BC (Clinton Creek road), and the Dalton Highway in AK. Otherwise you can bail out at most villages and catch a plane ride to where ever if you have to.

          What are you going to do with the Canoes at the end of the trip? Flying them out will not be cheap, and local buyers will be hard to find. Folding kayaks have a certain advantage with this. Inflatable canoes could be used, but they get blown about pretty bad, and don't paddle fast. Perhaps a raft would be a better choice. At least one group built a makeshift raft in Canada, dismantled it at the end, and gave the pieces to the locals.


          • #6
            do your studying

            It doesnt hurt to do a litle studying of the yukon before you attempt such a trip. two books come to mind: a land gone lonesome, and two in a red canoe. those two books were written by alasakans. both authors have floated the whole yukon from whitehorse to the coast (or almost to the coast). in the book "a land gone lonsome" the guy had a grumm. w/15hp evninrude/w lift. in the book "two in a red canoe" they actually shipped supplies to post offices along the river so that they didnt have to carry extra weight. You have alot of studying to do before you attempt this trip. I recommend you read the books and follow along the route according to the book while studying a computer programmed map like: topo usa, or mapsource. Another book you must purchase is: "the alaska river guide" it tells the whitewater rating of the route. You havent even chosen the boat yet. I recommend you buy a set up and test it first before you just dive right into a brand new boat that you just picked up. The scott 21 foot freighter would be the safest bet. a 9.9, 15, or 20 horse short shaft motor would be sufficient and about the best set up. With it, you could always turn back up river to check out something interesting. And float with oars whenever you are trying to conserve fuel. Good luck man.


            • #7
              thanks for the info. i was going to buy some literature before i went and read up. and of course by a couple maps. i wouldnt like ot use an inflatable anything. just afraid of the thing getting a leak. i was going to try to find a particular type of canoe online first before i went up. and i def will grab the book about the rapids ratings. i would try to sell the canoes and if that wasnt going to happen i would just give them to a local family. the trip would be worth giving them away. so you believe 4 months? i was hoping to hear 3.


              • #8
                I don't know that it *takes* 4 months. He just *took* four months.

                "i wouldnt like ot use an inflatable anything. just afraid of the thing getting a leak." I think you are more likely to hole a hard shell canoe than an inflatable. The chances of either are pretty slim, but at least with the inflatable you pack a patch kit.

                All you really need to know is; water runs down hill. Have a great trip.


                • #9
                  With two canoes

                  You could rig up a way to make them into a catamaran.

                  Get two identical canoes and use some two by fours and angle bracing and you could have a real stable platform. With that setup, if you find it is taking too long on some of the slow stretches you could mount a small outboard in the middle and motor along for awhile.

                  It gives you more options.
                  Wasilla Real Estate News


                  • #10
                    a friend and i have been planning a trip very like yours. We plan on going from whithorse to st.marys. i bought a book a few months ago called "Paddling the yukon river and its Tributaries" by Dan Maclean. Very helpful. her goes through the full river in almost full detail, where u can stop, re-supply, and ship out along with alot more info. I recommend it and im sure itl help u as much as it helped me.


                    • #11
                      P.S. Ive heard and read u can paddle the whole river in 2 months. Thats with 1 day off a week. And if u have a motor im sure it'l be alot easier and quicker.


                      • #12
                        i did it from dawson to the haul road in 1987

                        in (4 in 2 ) coleman scanoes 3.5 out board just for 6 days fished alot drank alot :rolleyes:to... been all over it in my river/jet boat watch out for the rollers..7' + near the bridge and 10+ on the lower end:eek: in the brackish water..anit any fun..a "little"/(alot) 1/2 way pass galena ..not much going for it...
                        Last edited by atvalaska; 02-11-2009, 12:17. Reason: spell'in!!!
                        WHEN IN DOUBT> THROTTLE OUT.......


                        • #13
                          There used to be an old gentleman here in Fairbanks Alaska by the name of Charlie Wolf who floated the Yukon numerous times. I read books by and about him many years ago that were enlightening. Do a search for him on the net as there are links to books about him. I remember one which wasn't particularly flattering about Charlie but I remember it was a good read. I think it was by Tom Mcquire and was called 99 days on the Yukon.


                          • #14
                            Charlie Wolf

                            he painted a eye on his paddle so it could see rocks and stuff under the water the mite impeeed his way....passed on... i want to say 8/10years ago? the fbks poineer home
                            WHEN IN DOUBT> THROTTLE OUT.......


                            • #15
                              paddling yukon river

                              Having paddled the Yukon four times, once from Whitehorse to Emmonak I can give a little insight. It is possible to paddle that distance in two months, but that means paddleing all day every day and doing nothing else. Many people complain the Yukon is very boring after the first 1000 miles. It is if all you do is get up in the morning , shove down some breakfast, pack up and commence paddling and then make camp, eat and go to sleep, to begin again the next day. Then most all of what you will see is sand, in your food, gun, teeth, tent, sleeping bag and so forth, willows, a moose or two, a bear or two and some scenery in the distance. I took three months and had time to paddle thirty five miles up the Koyokuk, and many other rivers to explore and enjoy. There is great fishing, so don't miss out where the clear water joins the Yukon. There is great duck hunting. Remember, one of the best bear guns is a shotgun with a slug, which will provide many ducks and geese. ( But learn not to shoot the fish ducks, they're awful tasting). Don't arrive in Emmonak later than the second week of September or you may possibly hit some bad bad weather. Past Ruby the swells can get worse than rapids. On thing is for sure, you will fight the wind 90 percent of the way. Past Dawson there are only villages, where evrything is very expensive. Buy a lot of you food and tools and so forth in Dawson or Whitehorse. Getting a canoe to Whitehorse and one out anywhere on the Yukon will cost way more than any canoe is worth. Best bet is to buy a used canoe at Canoe People in whitehorse( at least this was the case over ten years ago) A canoe that will last may cost 300 to 400 dollars US. Just leave it in whatever place thereafter you want to pull out, it will be acquired soon thereafter by the locals. The chance of hitching a ride to Fairbanks at the Haul road is fairly good, but may take a day or two. But the chance of hitching a ride for you and a canoe on the haul road is near zero point zero. Bears are all over the Yukon, especially the last 1000 miles, expct to wake up many mornings to the sound of heavy breathing, that my friends is a bear whose nose is a foot from your head with the only thing in between, your tent fabric. You may not need a gun, but you may. Better to be on the sure side. I know of two Japanese who tried to buy guns after their tents were ripped open by bears. One was sold a .22 by a village store, but then sold .22 mag bullets which of course didn't fit in the gun. You may not carry a pistol through Canada, though they may change that. If you have a gun carry it at all times, which means a rifle is not compatable with canoeing if you turn turtle, nor when picking berries and you come face to face with a bear and your rifle is twenty yards yonder. If you encounter natives who are inebriated, part company ASAP. They can be very anti - white when drunk. Anything not nailed down will disappear in Fort Yukon, even a 200 pound outboard, so don't leave you belonging unattended there. Holy Cross has more whitesox than anyplace I've seen. Carry a couple tubes of underwater epoxy or 5 minute epoxy just in case of a hole, a rock can be used to sand the gel coat or paint off to apply the epoxy.The rapids are negligable, the worst being at five fingers and they are not much.You won't need a toothbrush or toothpaste, after going the distance on the YuKon you will have the whiteest teeth imaginable, that's after eating and drinking sand for 1500 miles or so.
                              There's so many things to relate I don't want to write a book yet. The Yukon is very interesting if you take time, even the Yukon flats is full of life if you explore the area. Not many people go the whole way, I think the year I went the whole way it was me and one Japanese.Read all the books available first, many are not much help and you don't need to know how to carve a firestarting stick, just glean all you can from diverse resources. It doesn't require that much money if you don't have much, On the trip I made the enitre way it cost about $3000( a little over ten year ago), that included canoe and accessories( used) , food ( the basics, ) some fishing gear, and a plane ticket from Emmonak to Anchorage.That is pretty cheap for three months of seeing thousands of miles of Alaska, Real Alaska, desolate, beautiful, bugs galore, amazing scenery, relentless fishing, hunting, and long hauls where one will not see poeple for a week or longer. There is also that distinct possiblility of just staying in one place for months, there are countless areas along the Yukon where one may not see anyone for the duration of your stay. Just keep away from the old school bus'.


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