Thursday, May 29, 2008


posted by Nathalie

I've spent the past week exploring Canada's rugged and remote Yukon Territory as a possible new destination for Big Mountain Bike Adventures.
Before this trip, my knowledge of the Yukon was admittedly quite limited. I've eaten a lot of Yukon Gold potatoes (which turns out are not actually grown in the Yukon), I knew that it's located somewhere between / around British Columbia, Alaska and the North Pole, that Jack London's "Call of the Wild" was set in this region, that the Klondike Gold Rush took place here in the nineteenth century, and that its capital is Whitehorse (well... ok... fine...I didn't really KNOW that for sure. But I had it narrowed down to probably either Whitehorse or Yellowknife. And even 10 time returning Jeopardy champions get stumped by Canadian geograpy).
But I had read a trip account by Big Mountain guide Andreas Hestler in Mountain Bike UK wherein he described the riding on Whitehorse's Grey Mountain as one of the "top 10 rides of his life". And I had spoken to Ray Warner, who lives in Whitehorse and joined Big Mountain on the Swiss Cloudraker trip last summer. Ray told me that the variety and amount of riding in the Yukon rivals the Alps. And I'm always up for an adventure and a chance to explore a new region so here I am.
Below is a brief summary of some of the new things about the Yukon that I've discovered so far:

31,608. Population of people in the entire Territory which, parenthetically, is larger than the state of California.

185,000. Population of caribou in the Territory (including the one in the "caribou casserole" that we ate for dinner last night).

26. degrees celcius (79 fahrenheit). Average daytime high this past week.

7. Number of fleece jackets and / or sweaters that remained in unpacked in my suitcase. Would have been helpful to have known the previous fact before packing for the trip

18 hours. 12 mins. 36 seconds - average amount of daily daylight during the month of May. Which is still not enough to explore the approximate 750 kilometres of singletrack accessible from the doorstep of our hotel. The second photo was taken at 11:45pm.

Yukon may have more abundant, diverse and unspoiled riding options than anywhere else in North America. Northern explorers, aboriginal fur traders, and Klondike Gold Rush prospectors created thousands of kilometres of trails and doubletrack. In addition to endless fast flowy singletrack and challenging technical trails, Yukon offers stunning panoramic views, pristine wilderness, unique terrain and landscapes, majestic peaks and glaciers, and some of the warmest most welcoming people imaginable (special thanks to our hosts and guides Elaine Maisonneuve and Ray Warner).
Big Mountain Bike Adventures will be offering a 10 day trip to this mountain bike vacation paradise next July 2009. Check back at later this summer for details. My advice for now - plan on packing some eyeshades/sleepmask. And tank tops.

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