What is the Yukon River Quest??
460 miles the Yukon River Quest is the longest canoe and kayak race in the world.
Only the strongest and some might say the most foolhardy enter this race. Like scaling Mount Everest or swimming the English Channel, it’s one of the toughest adventure marathon events on record.
Held annually during the last week of June (around the summer solstice) teams and solos from as far away as Australia, Europe and South America push themselves just because they can.
Mother Nature tests their endurance with cold, wet and windy nights and blinding sunshine. Blisters, burns, mosquito bites and extreme fatigue are all part of the drama.
It’s not unusual to hear stories of broken bones, hypothermia and hallucinations. Some even imagine seeing bleeding trees and pulsating rocks as they struggle to stay awake.
In the land of black bear and herds of Porcupine Caribou, mental preparation is also important. Along its length you’ll spot fox, bear, wolverines and scenic views of spruce, poplar and alder trees.
A third of the way is the Carmacks rest area. Paddlers are required to check in and recuperate for seven hours.
The Five Finger Rapids are just up the road from Carmacks. Many people reach Five Finger Rapids at midnight but there’s still plenty of action because the sun never sets this close to the Arctic Circle.
But getting past Five Fingers Rapids doesn’t mean that the end is in sight. There are three more checkpoints at Fort Selkirk, Kirkman Creek and Sixty Mile – areas that are virtually inaccessible by road with little civilization.