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Rafting the Yukon

9:16 p.m. on July 31, 2013 (EDT)
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A couple friends of mine are currently in Dawson City Alaska building a raft and are planning to float down the Yukon River from Dawson to the Bering Sea.

11:08 a.m. on August 1, 2013 (EDT)
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Gary, I hope they are already on their journey as the lower Yukon is slow and frequently windy and freeze up comes early. BTW, our Canadian neighbors would take offense on the location of the last great gold rush. Dawson City is in Yukon Territory, Canada.

11:19 a.m. on August 1, 2013 (EDT)
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Thanks Erich for making that distinction. Dawson lies around 60 miles or 100 km within Canada, thanks to William Ogilvie. We also dropped the "City" status.

I canoed the Yukon river in August and September of 1996; it was a beautiful season to be on the river then, although there were some forest fires still burning. Towards the end the weather was getting cooler and rainy, making the campfire at the end of the day that much more inviting.

8:03 p.m. on August 1, 2013 (EDT)
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They say they are not starting for another 3 weeks. I bicycled from Denali Park to Homer Spit and back to Seward then took the ferry to Valdez an cycled up to Paxson and over to Cantwell then down to Anchorage in the month of August 2006. I had worked at the Denali River Cabins south of Denali Park May, june and July that summer before taking the bike tour.

1:06 a.m. on August 2, 2013 (EDT)
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If they are building a raft and not starting until September from Dawson, I hope they have plans to overwinter on their journey. I've been on the Yukon twice in August and it is a beautiful time. I will be in WH on the 23rd for a trip and anticipate frost by September. I was breaking lake ice the first week of October 2011.

North, I'm not sure where you heard that Dawson dropped the "city" from it's name. A friend's official mailing address is Dawson City and the municipal addresses, such as the mayor's office for the City of Dawson, is still "Dawson City".

8:15 a.m. on August 2, 2013 (EDT)
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Dawson officially became a town in the 1980's when I lived there. However, for tourism reasons some industries still refer to it as City. There is a sign outside of town that says "Welcome to the town of the city of Dawson" which only creates more confusion in my opinion. Northerners generally say Dawson, I have never met anyone who refers to the place as a city anymore.

9:42 a.m. on August 2, 2013 (EDT)
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How long does it take/could it take to float the Yukon River? I read Yukon Summer by Eugene Canton in the 1970s who floated it in a Folbot or Klepper folding Kayak, but don't remember how long it took him.

11:08 a.m. on August 2, 2013 (EDT)
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If by "float" you mean not dipping a paddle in the water, generally around 2 to 3 months. From Whitehorse the current is ripping along all the way to Dawson. As you enter Alaska and the Flats, the current slows down considerabley as the river expands into a lake size delta.

In a canoe, I easily paddled 60 miles a day to the Alaska border, slowed down a bit as I approached Koyukuk and the days became shorter. However, the upper part of the river has alot of interesting history so you may want to spend more time there.

The Yukon river is far from a "wilderness river"; there are many towns along its course and people live and work along the shore; still living the dream. The only place along the river I felt any sort of solitude was between Dawson and Eagle.

It is a big, powerful river, though and weather can certainly play a factor any time of year.

 

11:35 a.m. on August 2, 2013 (EDT)
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North, yes I still with my friends refer to Dawson, though with other friends who live in Edmonton and are from Dawson Creek, I have to differentiate and so say "city".

Gary, a number of people have "floated" but probably more correctly, "paddled" the Yukon River. An early read is Warburton Pike's "Through the Sub Arctic Forest", which recounts a journey he took in the late 1880's. He and his companions went up the Stikine, crossed the height of land to the Dease, down the Dease to the Liard. Either on the Liard or Fort Francis they wintered, and then continued the next spring and summer to the Bering Sea.

Paddling great Verlen Kruger also paddled it shortly before his death, though I don't think he paddled the entire distance.

As North says, it will take months, not weeks. 

3:06 p.m. on August 2, 2013 (EDT)
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I figured it would be months, as I think it took Canton 3 months. Meaning my friends could be as you said before that they will most likely have to over winter somewhere along the river. 

North1 said there are many towns along its course. I guess it has changed a lot since the late 1970s when I last read about it.

I am an adventurer but it is beyond my adventerous dreams. I hope they know what they are getting themselves into. They lived in Alaska for a year or so, so I guess they know what winters can be like.

3:35 p.m. on August 2, 2013 (EDT)
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The river was probably even more crowded in the 1970's before the BLM kicked alot of homesteaders off. But then "crowded" is a subjective term. The towns along the Yukon are spaced about 100 miles or so apart; some closer, some farther; most have been around since the start of the last century. One hundred miles might seem far away for some; too close for others.

6:25 p.m. on August 2, 2013 (EDT)
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Homesteaders were kicked off, Why? I went to Alaska to homestead in October 1977 and waited till December 1979 and never got any word on any land. How come if they were homesteaders they got booted from their land?

April 20, 2014
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