Skiing The Yukon River Bluffs

Sometimes it is better not to know where the trail leads for ignorance increases the chance of adventure. This sunny morning we drive to Wolf Creek and start down what we thought was a 3 kilometer nature trail. Shoot, we’ll be back to the Whitehorse flesh pots in an hour.

Two and a half hours later we are skiing on the edge of a Yukon River bluff not having seen another person since we left town. The hard packed track made an easy passage as we skied through a mixed pine aspen forest. We followed a widening Wolf Creek Valley, stopping often to check out wolf and moose tracks or aspen trees savaged by now sleeping beavers.

Suddenly we break out of the forest and onto a narrow path that runs along the edge of a sixty foot bluff. The still frozen Yukon makes a sweeping turn toward a nearby mountain range. This world class stream passed by those mountains on its trip from the headwaters near Lake Bennett.

Here we could have watched an endless parade of gold seekers on their way to the Dawson gold fields in 1898. Settling for a single snow machine track on the river’s ice, we turn down river for a long slog back to the car.

Tomorrow we drive back to Skagway, making in a few hours, a trip that would have almost been impossible for the stampeders of ’98. Even taking advantage of the river, they would have taken months to make it this far from Skagway.

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