Yukon River Quest - Dawson City, Yukon Territory
So we figured it would be best to spend Canada Day in Canada and the Fourth of July in Alaska. Since we were fresh off the Dempster, we decided we would go ask the Tourism people in Dawson City if they needed any volunteers around town or for events for the next couple days so we could spend some time helping out or being productive while we hung around town. At first, Paul and Melissa said, nope, we're all good, but then after thinking about it for another 3o seconds, we had a couple jobs to hold us over. The first would be helping out with the Yukon River Quest, the second would be face painting kids for the Canada Day celebrations -- in another post coming soon.
We started our shift with the Yukon River Quest at midnight. We were booked to stay until 4am. We were taught how to record the times of the finishers and how to welcome them through the finish line. I was given the power of a blow horn and Jordan had the iPad for time recordings. We met and worked with the legendary Peter Coates, a long time Yukon River Quest competitor and organizer. Jordan made him a coffee the first 10 minutes of meeting him, he loved it. The Yukon River Quest is a 460-mile canoe and kayak race from Whitehorse to Dawson City.
The Yukon river winds through some of the emptiest land on the continent and participants are expected to bring enough supplies to last them the entire race. Needless to say it’s one of the hardest races in the world and teams of people 1 - 6 compete in vessels such as kayaks, canoes, and big voyagers fitting the 6. We were lucky enough to spend the night shift with Peter and Phillipe the local traveling bicycle mechanic. The stories going back and forth between those two were unbelievable. They have both come face to face with A LOT of fierce wildlife in their time. Sometimes standing off with a wolf other times yelling at bears butt naked in the woods. They made our shift fly with constant story time. We hooted and hollered for all the finishers that came through between the wee morning hours of 12 and 4. By 3:45am the other shift was coming in to take over and we were ready to pass out. We said our thank yous and goodbyes, got some sweet long sleeve volunteer shirts and were on our way. We tried to camp at midnight dome again but it was full of cars. We ended up driving back down the hill 40 min into town and sleeping in the visitors center parking lot surrounded by massive rv’s making bagheera look like a micro machine stuck in between.
Get out and Vounteer!