Canoe the Yukon River

Location Yukon, Canada
You have just left the city of White horse, but already you have the teal-green waters of the Yukon River to yourself. Above soars a pair of white-headed bald eagles. The only sound is the slosh and drip of your paddle as you glide along. You may even find yourself alone when you reach your campsite—save for the black and grizzly bears that inhabit the surrounding woods. Even in peak season, the Yukon River is a sparsely populated place.
It was not always so. As you pitch your tent, you will notice rusting artifacts from the Yukon’s gold rush days, for this is Klondike country. The story goes that in the summer of 1896, a rich seam of gold was struck in the creeks of the Klondike River. The United States was in the grips of depression, and when miners carrying boxes of nuggets reached the outside world, they elicited a frenzied reaction. “GOLD! GOLD! GOLD! GOLD!” hollered the Seattle Post Intelligencer on July 17, 1897. “Sixty-eight Rich Men on the steamer Portland. Stacks of yellow metal.” Around 100,000 dreamers headed north to seek their fortune. Many climbed over the Chilkoot Pass and White Pass, then built boats to paddle along these same waters, which bustled with stern-wheelers and wood camps until the 1950s, when the Klondike Highway was built. Today, you can still see the dilapidated ruins of one or two of those mighty boats, laid up on the shore.
As the world’s cities have become ever more packed, this tiny corner of the globe has settled ever more blissfully into tranquility, a remote retreat ruled not by humans but by moose, wolves, and bears.