Travel Agents

Agent guide to the Yukon

Ellie O'Byrne

Going to the Yukon Territory was one of the most amazing experiences of my life. Never have I felt so small and so close to nature.

Flying into the capital, Whitehorse, I was struck by the sheer vastness of the territory over which we flew; from the flowing turquoise rivers to the snowcapped mountain peaks.

We were greeted at the airport by our fabulous hosts, Stephen and Val, who informed us that we had arrived just in time as the leaves had decided to change early this year, leaving the landscape covered in a blanket of gold.

After dropping our bags off at the hotel we were given what was to be, unbeknownst to us, our only free time in the Yukon. There on in, every second of our trip was jam-packed full of amazing places, people and activities.

That evening, the other half of our group arrived in Whitehorse, only to be immediately bundled onto a bus and sent to the middle of nowhere, all in the hope of seeing the Northern Lights. Jetlagged and cold, we discovered that having a negative attitude was exactly the push Mother Nature needed to put on a spectacular show. Perhaps as punishment for our initially dour outlook, it started to pour just as the Aurora Borealis danced across the sky in magnificent greens, blues and even the rare pink hues.

Over the next few days, we were taken through the Yukon, seeing one breathtaking view after another. Even the most hopeless photographers amongst us captured pictures which could have come from the pages of a magazine. Under the gaze of some very stern American border patrolmen, we also had the opportunity to cross into Skagway, Alaska.

The train ride back into Canada was a particular highlight with its jaw-dropping views of the deep valleys below and our first bear spotting. From that moment on, we all had our eyes peeled as we passed through the wild, searching for any sign of a bear or another fury friend.

History and culture played a significant part in our trip, with visits to museums and cultural centres proving fascinating. The most amazing of these was our visit to Dawson City, a living, breathing piece of history. The entire town was either original buildings from the Gold Rush era or replicas to replace those that have been lost.

Dawson is also the home of the famous Sourtoe Cocktail. A few of our party were sufficiently game (or maybe just crazy enough) to have a shot of our desired alcohol with a black, wrinkled, dead toe as an added ingredient.

You can drink it fast, you can drink it slow, but your lips must touch the toe.

I am not sure if I will ever really recover from the horror of touching a dead toe with my lips, but it was a fun and crazy experience which I will never forget.

Our time in the Yukon was filled with activities, from Husky dog sledding to hot pools. The food was above and beyond our expectations and I am still suffering withdrawal symptoms from the Canadian Maple Leaf biscuits.

The Yukon is a phenomenal territory, with people whose hearts are bigger than any bear and a wilderness that will leave you in awe. The Yukon is simply larger than life!


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