Coke Smith Photography & Travelogue

Yukon: Canada's Great White North

Wild Horses seen along the Dempster Highway on the way to Inuvik.


A side trip to our honeymoon to Alaska expedition was a two week camping expedition to Canada’s Yukon and Northern Territories!  This expedition was part of our honeymoon.  Both of these provinces are home to amazing wilderness.  Endless forests giving way to arctic tundra, the area is rich in wildlife and impressive flora.

We spent two weeks exploring the Whitehorse area and Kluane National Park.  We had sightings of such animals as Moose, Arctic Ground Squirrels, Black Bears and Grizzlies as well as Dall’s Sheep and numerous birds.  The wilderness in the Kluane is amazing. 

During our second entry to the Yukon we came in on the Dawson Highway.  A more amazing roadway would be hard to find!  Traveling through taiga forests, filled with black and white fir and true arctic tundra, the Dawson is one the most impressively scenic and adventurous road trips that one can do in North America.  We spent three days trekking and driving the Dawson.  On one occasion while camping just west of Dawson City, Lien and I were camping in the wilderness.  We found a great campsite situated in the middle of the taiga forest.  After setting up camp and eating our dinner in the midnight light, I noticed a pack of wolves entering the area.  I could hear their non-stop howls approaching very quickly!  Lien was mortified and refused to get out of the cab of the truck and made me come in to the safety myself!  She wouldn’t even let us get out long enough to climb in to the back of the truck to the camper.  We spent the entire night in the front cab of the truck.  When the wolves ravaged the campsite while we slept, she felt vindicated. 

After a short stay in Dawson City learning about the Yukon history, we headed up the Dempster Highway, another amazing road trip.  In fact, I am pretty sure the Dempster travels further north than any road on the planet.  The nearly five hundred mile gravel road travels through some amazing wilderness all the way to Inuvik in the far north – well beyond the arctic circle.  The five day sojourn to Canada’s far north was fantastic.  With only six flat tires, we made the journey without incident. 

We were able to see some wildlife on the journey as well.  At one point along the trip, we were trekking in to the arctic tundra for a few kilometers and we came across a herd of wild horses grazing and sleeping on the plains of this vast wilderness.  The image of these wild horses is permanently etched in my mind as one of the more spectacular things I have ever seen.  We spent several minutes staring at each other in awe.

We arrived in Inuvik just in time for Canadian Independence Day celebrations.  We enjoyed the festivities of the town.  We spent one night in the noisiest hotel I have ever had the horror of sleeping in!  I should have known better when I smelled intense cigarette smoke in the hallways of the lodge.  But it wasn’t until near 10 PM when the country band started playing right next door (literally - the pub was only a half inch away from our room - we shared walls!) that I realized that we weren’t going to get any sleep that night!  The next hotel was much better.  We decided not to camp there as the mosquitoes were simply awful.

I was supposed to go on a Muskox safari, but Lien was unable to get on the plane so we shifted gears to something else.  So we explored the arctic tundra wilderness in the area instead.  The flora were in full bloom and the day was well spent even if we were unable to see Muskox!

The rest of our Yukon experience involved heading south.  Many miles had to be covered, but at least the scenery was beyond compare.  By this time in the expedition, we had seen so much in the way of wildlife. We had seen so many moose that I would not even be able to count.  On one of our last evenings while driving down a very remote road, Lien jokingly said, “wouldn’t it be funny if a moose ran right out in front of us…?”  No sooner than she said this that a huge bull moose rand right out in front of our speeding truck!  His rear end was so close to our truck that all I could see was his huge moose balls quickly approaching my front bumper!  Luckily I was able to stop in time, but I told Lien to cool it on the “wouldn’t it be funny…” lines.


Please take a look at our North America Image Galleries!

Alaska & Yukon Landscapes Image Gallery


Here are some more images of our Yukon adventure! 




The remote and spectacular Yukon River seen during one of our many treks through the wilderness of Canada's great white north.



Round Leaf Willow (Salix rotundifolia) is a typical tundra plant species.  This one one of the tallest "trees" found in the tundra woodland, the land where "mushrooms are taller than trees!"



Mirror Lake in the Klondike area of the Yukon.



Arctic Ground Squirrels were commonly spotted along the roadsides and trails of the Yukon Wilderness.



I will never forget the afternoon I decided to take a trek off in to the tundra wilderness and came across and even startled this herd of wild horses.



My first time crossing the Arctic Circle in the Northwest Territories of Canada.  A bit younger and more thin...



One of at least six flats along the Dempster Highway heading toward Inuvik!  Mosquitos feasted on my blood while I was out changing each and every one of these flats! There was one tire store on this route at this time and they were doing a booming tire business!