Yukon River Quest - Page 1
6.12.09
Hey, we're back! Got in Wednesday night. I need to talk to Kelly, but I think all is well.

Adam, Dick Howard and I arrived in White Horse, Yukon Territory, on Saturday night after
a three-day trek across Canada. It is a loooong way up there. We drove through
Saskatchewan, Alberta, northern British Columbia and the Yukon, a total of 2,636 miles,
somewhere around 44 hours in the car.

On Sunday, Adam hit the water about 9 a.m. after last-minute provisions and loading his
boat. He was chatty and maybe a bit nervous, but ready to head into the wilderness. The
outfitter told us only six to eight people attempt this every year. Unknown how many
finish. Adam will. But his adventure is enormous. After driving what seemed like an
eternity, we came to know that Adam will be paddling nearly the same distance -- 2,500
miles -- on his way down to the Bering Sea.

Adam is traveling with a satellite spotting system that will allow him to check in with a
designated group of people each night at the campsite to let them know he's OK. Or not.
Though at that point, it's kind of moot. He will be reprovisioned at several post offices
along the way. This is big country, and wild. On Saturday night, before taking off, our
intrepid adventurer, who has already logged more paddle miles than most people do in
a lifetime, admitted to never having done anything quite like this before.

The first leg of his trip will take him through Canada, through Dawson, where he
promises to stop at the local watering hole for the infamous "toe shot." Sometime
during the gold rush, I think, someone lost a toe and the bar tender decided it would be
a good idea to put it in a shot glass. Ever since then, people have been lining up to take
a shot of booze with a human toe in it.

His first town in Alaska will be Eagle, where he's expecting a drop, including a handgun
(illegal in Canda). Until then, he's warding off the bears with pepper spray.
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Email message from Dave Kraemer
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Some notes from the road:  

If you are traveling across the border, it will probably go better for you if you do not mention
that you will be leaving one member of your party there in that country when you return. It
tends to raise suspicion. It's also not a good idea to tell the guards that you met on the
Internet when you cross back in (though we were heading to Iowa, after all).

On Friday night we camped on a gravel turnout in the highway and were greeted by a black
bear. Made for some sketchy sleeping, but he stayed away most of the night.

North of the 60th parallel it stays light all night at this time of the year. Yet another
challenge for a good night's rest.

If you are ever in Saskatchewan, do NOT order the ginger chicken. Despite whatever the
signs say, there is a reason there are no Canadian restaurants in the U.S.

The road to the Yukon was spectacular. We saw lots of wildlife, many more black bears,
moose, caribou, mule deer and bighorn sheep. No grizzlies. Also drove through a forest
fire. For one stretch, a pilot car shuttled vehicles single-file through the smoke.

Dick and Dave have now entered the ranks of legendary shuttle bums. It is doubtful that
any other Iowans have run such a lengthy shuttle. And why would they? Our trip back took
us through Jasper and Banff parks, more stunning scenery, and then down through
Montana and South Dakota to home.

The real story will come from Adam when he returns. We wish him godspeed.

Dave
Thanks so much to Dave
Kraemer and Dick Howard for
getting me and my kayak to
Whitehorse!

Thanks also to these
sponsors for helping with this
Yukon expedition:

PhotoSynthesis
Richard Mohler

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