What excursions can one do out of Vancouver? Truth be told, there are multiple options: Victoria and Vancouver Island is a multi-day affair, skiing at Whistler is only a short drive away, and then there's a weekend adventure combining the Northern Lights, dog sledding, snowmobiling and more. Bubbly Tourist decided upon the off the beaten path thrill seeking combo Vancouver excursion package that took advantage of this great white North - The Dog Sledding, Snowmobiling, Northern Lights weekend adventure through Discover Canada Tours. Read more about this amazing adventure and some of the logistical details behind it.
Off to the Yukon
A two hour direct flight north on Air North (excellent service by the way) from Vancouver got us into Whitehorse. You are way up there, just about the same latitude (61º) as Anchorage, Alaska. In fact, you're only a one hour drive on the Alaska Highway from Alaska. As one would expect, it's very remote. Approximately 30,000 people live in Whitehorse with about 44,000 in the entire Yukon territory.
Things to do in Whitehorse
As mentioned, the city of Whitehorse is very small. However, there are a few things you can do there. You can visit the SS Klondike National Historic Site and learn about life on the rivers on one of the few remaining steam-powered paddlewheelers. You can visit the Copper Nugget at the MacBride Museum of the Yukon which is a massive copper slab dedicated to the pioneer prospectors in the early 1900's. As well, you can see a three-story log cabin, go to a casino, and shop for local art and textiles. Bubbly Tourist didn't stay in Whitehorse but we did spend a few hours here prior to our airline departure.
The Amazing Vancouver Excursion: Northern Lights, Dog Sledding and more!
Snowmobiling, in itself, is absolutely thrilling. There is something about the power you can generate outside in the fresh air that gets the adrenaline flowing. This was a guided tour so it wasn't like we were without assistance or could go wherever we wanted or as fast as we wanted. Yes, there was a little open-throttle time on the lake allotted for us thrill seekers but generally speaking, this was a follow-the-leader tour on a groomed trail so we were always safe and in control. We could ride it solo or do it in pairs, whichever we preferred.
Ice Fishing, Hockey and Sledding
On our snowmobile tour, we stopped for lunch and a little playtime outside. There was a site set up with a teepee housing supplies. So when we arrived, we started up the fire, hacked through the ice with an axe to do some ice fishing, got out hockey sticks for a friendly game across the shoveled lake and pulled out a sled to take turns going down the little hill at our camp. It was an absolutely spectacular setting with the mountains in the distance and no noise (apart from ourselves) for miles. Click here if you want to see a video of our camp while we stopped for lunch.
Dog Sledding / Mushing
So much fun! We went to Alayuk Adventures who was led by a professional dog sledder, Marcelle, who actually raced the Iditarod and the Yukon Quest several times. Marcelle is an interesting lady who was nearing her retirement and had plenty of stories to tell. In the summer, she also guides hiking and backpacking trips. She has a number of Alaskan Huskies that are very well taken care and just love to lead the dog sleds. The actual dog sled trip is a good 45 minutes out into the woods with beautiful fresh snow everywhere through a gorgeous backdrop of pines and mountains. You are actually given the opportunity to lead the dog sled yourself ( for a short period of time) should you desire. So enjoyable and highly recommended! Click here or on the photo if you want to see an extended video of this scene.
The Northern Lights
This has been on the Bubbly Tourist bucket list for a while and ,alas, it still remains on our list. You never know when Mother Nature will let you get a glimpse into the spectacular auroras in the sky and ,unfortunately, the conditions were just not right for us. Pro Tip: There are apps you can load onto your phone that will tell you when the lights are at their brightest and most spectacular. However, if there is cloud cover then you are at their mercy to part.
Where to Stay in the Yukon
As part of our package, we stayed at the Inn on the Lake in Marsh Lake. It's a 40 minute drive (transportation provided) from Whitehorse and was perfectly suited for our adventures. They have very comfortable accommodations with different types of bedrooms that fit different size parties. They provide breakfast and dinner which was quite good and the wine selection was adequate. Lunch was never required as it was always provided as part of our excursions each day. The hosts are pleasant and the views out on the lake and for sunset are perfect. Highly Recommended!
Yukon Lodging Amenities - Borrow the winter gear
Perhaps the single most perk of our lodging was that they provided winter gear as part of the package. They had everything you need for cold weather: heavy parkas, gloves, ski pants, boots, socks of all sizes and hand warmers for sale. What's absolutely fantastic about that is you don't have to pack any of this winter gear. No worrying about how you're going to fit things in your bags. Brilliant! And for some social fun, you can hike on the lake, take a bike sled out on the trails or stay in the lodge and play billiards or chill by the fire. Fair warning: there's a decided home table advantage for those who can play the slope and around the obstacles. See the photo below.
Bubbly Tourist had an absolute blast on this Vancouver excursion! How often does one get to dog sled, especially in the beautiful surroundings of remote Canada? Snowmobiling may be a little more common for some of you, but for those of us who don't have regular access to it, so much fun! As the Northern Lights, if those had been visible, that would have been the trifecta! But no worries, we'll plan another trip when ( hopefully!) the timing will be in our favor.
Bubbly Tourist Bon Voyage!