1Woman3GreatRivers-The Great River Yukon

You can follow my progress using my SPOT tracker, just like my other expeditions. Click on this link to access tracking. You will find my messages posted on my loveyourbigmuddy expedition page. My concern is power as i do not have my solar panel this time. SPOT takes batteries so i can keep it going. I will post messages using my satellite communicator. I should be back in Whitehorse in a couple weeks. I hope to work out kinks by then. Cheers all! Heading to Atlin in an hour so it may be a Monday splash. Going with the flow!!!

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Let the adventure begin! I have arrived in Whitehorse, Yukon, Canada.

I arrived in Whitehorse yesterday, but nothing boring about the trip.

I will post here some of my Facebook “LoveYourBigMuddy Expedition” page posts because that is my main media for sharing.

Here we go…

I practiced packing in the kayak Tuesday morning. The foldable kayak is only 14′, three feet shorter than my other boat, Blue Moon. And, the owner who loaned it to me is a minimalist, of which i am NOT. I think i did pretty good for my practice run.

I made it in time to the airport for a burger before departure, but international search was cumbersome:

Air Canada would not let me on the plane b/c two minutes late because i was redirected through security for 3 ounces of water in my water bottle. I ‘missed’ my flight!! Let the adventure begin!! (I was actually quite ticked off!)

There’s my plane, six minutes past departure time, still sitting there, without me on it.

BUT THEN, as soon as i sat back down after photo-journaling the incident, they came and got me, something about couldn’t find my bags (4 of them, mind you!), and the plane had to be delayed. So, off i went, now quite polite, and slept all the way to Toronto. 

Whew! Close call. Must’ve been angels on the wings…

The whole flight scheduled took 19 hours, three flights: St. Louis to Toronto to Vancouver (eight-hour layover) to Whitehorse. The flights were all wonderful, but best of all was the last segment to Whitehorse:

The magic is beginning to swirl around the expedition. I was blessed with another perfect flight on Canada Air AND a port-side seat looking west. We flew RIGHT OVER Atlin Lake, Llewelyn Glacier, and the Atlin River which is my exit stream off Atlin Lake. Oh, the thrill was incredible!!! Kid in a candy shop! WOW!

Teresa Island and the wind-protected route (right side) up to the glacier (top and center). The town of Atlin is left of Teresa Island out of the photo.

The source i am headed to is Llewelyn Glacier in the upper center of the photo. SO AWESOME!

On Saturday i will get dropped off at Warren Bay, which is just out of the photo on the left side. I will paddle up the shoreline, through those little islands, then over to Llewelyn Inlet, there in the center. I’d like to camp there, and hike up the mile or two to the glacier if i can. Back down (i’ll actually be headed north) behind Teresa Island to the Atlin River where i will exit Atlin Lake.

Next Lake is Tagish, which was showing some signs of glacial waters.

Well, there’s a bit of ice, but it won’t last long with the gorgeous weather forecasted. Tagish Lake

I am camped now with a rental car and gathering the very lasy of my gear, trying not to accumulate too much. I picked up a new canister of Bear Spray, and a wool blend shirt for cold nights. I bought a burger and fries last night, YUM, and a Starbuck’s coffee this morning, YUM, after trying to get a shower in, but no darn hot water.

Feeling good now, at the library watching the river go by, Yukon River, that is, and squeezing in one last blog post. Earlier i sat by the river by camp and wrote this post:

The Great River Yukon making a couple twists and turns before presenting itself to the city of Whitehorse. Of course, there IS a paved path in a sweeping multi-mile loop up and down both sides of the river, with vista benches strategically placed, bicycles content to carry their happy riders, strollers with tiny passengers who are comforted by the babbling of their river sibling, dogs with swinging tails walking their obedient owners, joggers jogging, and walkers chatting.

Whitehorse is a hard-core river town in the middle of the Yukon wilderness. Life is ‘in’ the ‘outdoors’ (at least in the summer), as it should be. Strive to love what YOU do, inside and out, and do what you love.

Peace Out. Fasten your seat belts. We’re going on an adventure!!!

Details Details-The Who, What, and Where of Last Minute Preparations

I will be traveling right to left, beginning at the source on Atlin Lake and the Llewelyn Glacier, and ending in the Bering Sea near Norton Sound, looks like.

Lots to do, lots to do. Last day of school was last Thursday, so there was only so much I could do while school was in session. Teaching is an overtime job, with barely enough hours in the day. I have been taking care of a few major planning details over the last month, though.

I have activated my Inreach-Garmin satellite communicator. I will have lots of time in the airports during layovers to fuss with it. My flight to Whitehorse is 19 hours on three planes, so I am looking at a lot of down time. I have sent a test message to my Facebook Page so I am on my way to being prepared.

I’ll be carrying the start manual with me so I can work this thing to the max.

I have spent time twice in the last month assembling the Klepper T9 foldable kayak. I have a pretty good handle on it now. Today I will assemble one last time before leaving on Tuesday. I need to pack all my gear in little dry bags and figure out how everything will fit into the bowels of the boat. There are a lot of ribs to work around, making packing and unpacking a challenge in and of itself.

Small holes leading into small compartments. With only 14 feet of boat instead of 17 feet, I will be downsizing before I even start. Minimalist mentality.

Big thanks again to Cascade Designs for allowing me continued access to their PRO Discount for all of their gear companies: MSR (they make my tent and stove), Thermarest (the best sleeping pads), and Seal Line (source of my new dry bags).

Honestly, I am thinking the 20L bags won’t fit through my frame ribs. I need to figure this out today.
My assistant, Rio, keeping me focused on the task at hand. Is HE focused? On the river maybe…
I put together most of it on this dry run. A week later a did a full assembly, including lacing up the combing around the cockpit, and even took it for a little spin on a pond. Yes, this is indeed going to be an adventure…

I have been dehydrating vegetables, fruit and jerky 24-7 this past week. A drying session can take anywhere from 6 to 12 hours, so the assembly line must keep moving. I am trying to dry enough so that I can pack a bunch in my resupply box being mailed to the Yukon River Camp located where the Dalton Bridge crosses the river. I estimate it is a little under half way. Veggies, Knorr Sides, dry milk, coffee, dark chocolate are a few of the resupply items I’ll be mailing away.

First batch includes two of my favorites, broccoli and tomatoes. I am also drying onions, sweet peppers, jalepenos, mushrooms, yellow squash, carrots, apples, strawberries and beef jerky. Vacuum sealing completes the job.


Approximate location of the Yukon River Camp at the Dalton Bridge where I will be shipping a resupply package.

EDDYLINE KAYAKS-I’m just saying, I wasn’t going to pursue corporate sponsorship for this expedition, but Eddyline Kayaks, they’ve supported me all the way. They are the sweet friendship every expeditioner should have with a company. We weren’t able to feasibly work out boat support, but paddles have been a key component of their contribution to my success. Carbon paddles are extremely important for me as the feather weight makes so much difference in my case (more about that at another time). I asked them for a new carbon paddle and, without hesitation, I was granted one.

Thank you Lisa, and everyone at Eddyline, for your continued support of my loveyourbigmuddy expedition and, now, 1woman3greatrivers project. You have always been there to help me out, and for that I am hugely grateful.

I encourage all my followers to research Eddyline Kayaks and Paddles. Good people make good stuff!!!

Here is a map of two potential starting routes. I can paddle a loop (gold route) down to the glacier on Atlin Lake, or travel down behind Teresa Island (pink route) with maximum wind protection. I would backtrack to get out, so I’m partial to the loop (gold). The road goes right to Warren Bay and a campsite is located there. I will find someone in Whitehorse to shuttle my rental car back to town after dropping me off. I am welling up with excitement at the thought of this stunning section of the trip. Taking it slow and easy to absorb and enjoy the beauty will be my MO–method of operation. 🙂

Once I get back up to the top of Teresa Island, I will head down the Atlin River to begin the long journey to the Sea.

Archie Satterfield, author of “Exploring the Yukon River,” writes: “It is recommended that you hire a guide in Atlin to help you down the Atlin River. The 3-km-long river drops 15 meters and runs at about nine knots; it is filled with rapids, boulders, backwashes and shallows. It is very dangerous for canoes and kayaks, less so for larger boats.” He goes on to say, “Obviously, many boats and canoes have run the river with absolute safety, and this is not intended to scare everyone away from it, but it is meant to encourage caution.”

I have already had conversations with some Atlin locals. I intend to have more. If it were easy, everyone would do it. We’ve got ourselves an adventure here, folks! Climb aboard!

ONE MORE THING: My Atlin contact and now known as, Atlin Lake River Angel, Hans wrote in an email to me yesterday:

“Hi Janet,

Good to hear from you!

Atlin Lake started opening up a few days ago – there is no longer ice from town all the way south as far as we can see.
After next week it should be all melted and ready for any adventures.”

Music to my ears, Hans. Thanks so much!


I should arrive to glorious weather in Atlin around Saturday. All systems GO! Ya Ya! Doin’ the Happy Dance. Cheers!

Do what you love and love what you do. Until next time…

Don’t forget to follow along on my Facebook Page: LoveYourBigMuddy Expedition. And, I am going to try and post on Instagram, too, for my students who are following me. #loveyourbigmuddy


I can hear the tic toc of the river-time clock


I can hear the tic toc of the river-time clock. 

Exactly one month until lift-off. Lots of preparation and planning, and school responsibilities, too.

Bill Nedderman showing me how to assemble his Klepper T-9 foldable kayak last August. I will need to assemble the kayak on my own at least a couple of times. And, I’ll need to splash it before I go. I don’t want any surprises when it’s time to take off.
Packing and unpacking gear in this boat will be challenging. No shoving or dropping bags inside, they’ll need to be placed. And, strategically placed as well. My patience will be tried daily in many ways.
Version 2
This ride is a big change from Blue Moon. I have to go foldable because of the necessity to fly. I wish I could drive up but I have a new school year to return to in August. Efficiency and a light load are key. Oh, and careful paddling.

I’ve decided to avoid the sponsorship request route for my Yukon River Expedition. I don’t like the hustle it involves, and I am uncomfortable selling myself. I have plenty of gear, but may enhance with additional rain outerwear. And, of course, I need a satellite phone and service due to the remoteness of the river’s flow. Well, I think I do. I just found out from World Class paddler, Martin Trahan, who paddled the Yukon last year, that he used his smart phone for all his Facebook posting. There is wifi in all of the villages. A satellite phone allows texting anytime, anywhere. Hmmmm. So, I have to decide whether I need a sat phone. Currently, my SPOT service @ $150, travel (one way out-one way back), and food will be the bulk of my expenses. 

Photo by Jason Kolsch, Pull of the North Expedition 2016, with Martin Trahan. Martin is paddling the Missouri-Mississippi next summer (more like clear across the country: Seattle to tip of Florida) so we have exchanged lots of information. He has been a tremendous resource for me.

Once again, I am coining this Yukon Pursuit the People’s Expedition. I will paddle and share my journey for those who dream, imagine, wonder, or believe they can reach for their own star. I am not a famous athlete or high profile adventurer. I am a paddler who strives to set lofty goals, to step out of my “box”, and to model for others that they can reach for the stars and be successful, too. Make a decision, the desire will grow, and the details will fall into place. Go for it!  Follow me on my Facebook Page: LoveYourBigMuddy Expedition

LoveYourBigMuddyExpedition-FB Page

Believing is a powerful state of mind. Positive believing can move mountains (and paddle long rivers). It starts in your head. Join me.

And, support me if you are willing and able. All donations are precious to me. Let’s DO this!  1woman3greatrivers.com  Depart: May 23, 2017

Version 3
Do what you love and love what you do

See you on the river (syotr), The Great River Yukon