August of 2003, I took my family; Mrs. Chief Guide, Leslie,
and kids Megin,11 and Brendan, 9, and our late dog Buddy down
the Teslin and Yukon rivers. The Teslin/Yukon river trip, from
Johnson's Crossing to Carmacks is a perfect family choice. The
250 mile journey from the Alaska highway bridge that spans the
Teslin to the the bridge at Carmacks is a great family trip –
consistent current, a few mildly interesting rapids, lots of
Gold Rush artifacts and generally good scenery. I was
pleasantly surprised how enjoyable the journey was. After
having been spoiled by many HACC trips, I assumed the Yukon in
comparison would be like paddling in a drainage ditch. The
river is surprisingly scenic, with large sweeping vistas and a
good flow that makes the kilometers pass by with little
effort. The only disappointment was that we did not see much
wildlife, and in some places the campsites were somewhat
crowded. Overall, though, we saw few people and felt, for the
most part, that we had the river to ourselves.
We took a week in total to travel between the bridges. The
highlight of the trip for me was seeing the old steamboat
ruins at Hootalinqua, and the post at Big Salmon (which had
just been cleaned up by maintenance crews). The biggest
logistical problem was the car shuttle. You can hire someone
out of Whitehorse to shuttle you, but only at a considerable
cost. We opted to drop our gear at Johnson's Crossing, park
the car in Whitehorse, then take the bus back to the river. At
Carmacks, Leslie caught a ride back to Whitehorse and returned
in a few hours.
For those wanting a simple family trip in an exotic
environment – especially those who are fascinated by the
Klondike Gold Rush – this is a great place to travel.
Whitehorse is also an amazing little place, quite unlike any
other northern town I've visited – lots of cafés and art
shops, lots of great restaurants yet affordable.