We know have 6 days to get to Little Salmon Village on the shore of the Yukon River. Rapids, wildlife watching, beautiful camping spot and good food are part of the plans!
The Big Salmon River, a paradise for Nature and wildlife lovers!
Our first day on the river is mostly spent avoiding log jams and sweepers which are numerous at the start of the river. It has been a while since we used our canoe skills and it’s quite fun to be reusing them on such a sweet little river! We stopped twice along the way to check out our way through dead trees and lucky us we didn’t have any portage to do! With all the stuff we took with us it would have been a lot of work to take everything out and put everything back in!
We get lucky with wildlife as well. The first moose we see is right in the middle of the river (which is 20m wide at that point), as soon as he sees us he freezes and watches us going down the river which carries us right his way… Great observation until he realises that we’re getting closes and closer and run away in the forest when we get 20m away from him. This first young male will be the first of eight moose that we will be seeing along the river.
Of course, when you leave on river trip knowing that is supposed to be great for wildlife your expectations are high, but we were not disappointed! On top of the moose, we also saw four lynxes, a black bear, stone sheep, beavers and a bunch of ducks often with their ducklings!
After we got out of the messy upper part of the river, the river become a mix of fast water crossing pebbles banks, offering great views on the mountains around and slower parts with large meanders which take us through the boreal forest with beautiful undergrowth.
Every night we pick our perfect camp spot, with river view of course, and cook gourmet meals, as usual ! Even without customers we like to treat ourselves!
Overall, this paddling trip was a great experience and a Yukon adventure as we enjoy them, beautiful and simple!
This is what the upper part looked like
This young moose hold that pose for almost a minute before running away!
Of course, getting in bed at 3am we didn’t leave the camp before noon the next day. But who cares days are long in the Yukon and we don’t have much paddling to do today!
From Quiet Lake to the start of the Big Salmon crossing Sandy Lake and Big Salmon Lake
After getting ready, we leave our camp leaving Simon behind ho will be fishing the whole day before getting back to Whitehorse. Right from the start we are surprised by the size of the river, it’s really small and way easier to look for wildlife than when paddling the Yukon River!
Let’s face it the weather is not that great, but we are so excited to start our little adventure that we don’t care that much. The only thing we’re hoping is that the lakes are easy to cross… Sandy lake is small, and we cross it without problem, Big Salmon lake is a bit bigger and rain is all over us, wind is blowing lucky us quite in the right direction! After passing a tip we end up with the wind on the side, the waves are big, and the water is getting in! That’s when we decide to stop for a lunch on the shore, finding on old tree to protect us for the rain and the wind before crossing the end of the lake.
After lunch, the weather is getting better and we can finally cross the end of the lake and get to the Big Salmon. It’s not easy to find the start of the river it is small and the high grass around it makes it hard to see it. But we finally found it!
Getting ready to leave our first camp on Quiet Lake
Just few minutes after leaving Quiet Lake
Crossing Sandy Lake and enjoying the rain!
The weather is not better on Big Salmon Lake!
Finally we're down with the lakes, let's start paddling the river!
A few weeks ago, we enjoyed a short break in our busy summer calendar to go on our own adventure. This time we didn’t go on a trek but on a canoe trip! We paddle 240km on the Big Salmon River, its headwater is at Quiet Lake and its known to be wild and great for wildlife viewing.
From Whitehorse to Quiet Lake along the South Canol Road
Organisation wise we couldn’t leave Whitehorse before the end of the day. Simon who was dropping us of picked us up at around 5pm but driving to Quiet Lake was not the only plan for the rest of the day. Indeed, Simon was taking us because we wanted to explore the South Canol Road for a project we are working on together.
After driving for three hours and exploring for three hours we got to the shore of Quiet Lake, almost 12:30am and we still planning on crossing the lake tonight. 8km to get to the camp at the end of the lake to be ready to start our canoe trip the next day bright and early (?)!
Of course, Simon is really motivated as he just bought a new electric motor, but on our side, we have to be ready for a 2-hour paddle across the lake in the middle of the night. The good news is that the lake is really calm, so it will be easy to cross and we’re in the land of the midnight sun, so the lights are amazing at that time of the night!
We finally got to our campsite at around 3 am, we found a flat spot in the dim light and set up camp. Ready to go to sleep and dream about our soon to be starting canoe trip!
A great Yukon wildlife experience with a grizzly bear!
Since we got to the Yukon we’ve seen many bears but last summer we got to experience our first real close encounter while backpacking in the Ogilvie mountains, close to Tombstone territorial park. We spotted the bear from far away, but it was right where we were supposed to go, so we took the time to observe it before deciding to let it know that we were here too. We started shouting at it and it took a couple tries to get it to stop foraging and get its attention. Our expectations were that it would turn around and run the other way… It stopped and starred right at us and started running towards us, jumping into the lake between us, swimming for a bit and then realizing that it was not the fastest way to get to us, got out of the water again. That’s when we realized that it was (fortunately) not that big, but our hearts were still pumping. We started getting our bear sprays and bear bangers ready because it was still coming straight at us. We were yelling and shouting as hard as we could but it didn’t seem to mind at all, that’s why we decided to give a try with a bear banger but that didn’t work either, it just sat down and looked back as it heard the echo in the valley behind it and then just kept on walking! We were just on a pass and the bear was where we wanted to go and that made us realized that maybe it was curious but that may be it was just trying to go where we came from. We decided to move away from the pass, to leave it enough room to get by and that’s what it did! He slowly walked by us probably 25 m away but didn’t show any signs of hostility. An experience that will stay with us for a long time!
Having the chance to witness a wolf and bear interaction, trying to get to a fresh sheep kill was one of the highlight of our last hiking trip to the Donjek glacier in the heart of Kluane National Park. Seeing a bear in the wild is not a common thing even in the Yukon and seeing a wolf is even rarer. So when you check out a wolf in the distance in the binoculars and then you realized that there is a bear around the next rock you get really excited! Seeing those two, fake charging at each other to win the carcass back and force was intense! In the end the bear left, followed by the wolf and it’s a second wolf that we didn’t even spotted at the time that got to the carcass! (we noticed the second wolf when watching the video again, that night in camp!)