Bob Cameron is an icon in the world of Yukon aviation. He earned his private pilot’s license in 1961, followed by his commercial license in 1970. Retired from commercial flying since 2001, Bob remains just as focused on flying as ever. Recognized as an expert in aviation history, he’s currently at work on a book that will be released next year about an all but forgotten airline that was based in the Yukon but owned by an American railroad company.
Bob will take us on a VIP tour of the Transportation Museum in Whitehorse where he’ll reveal some of the forgotten relics of aviation history, including a Fairchild aircraft that Bob is restoring. He also shares stories about growing up in a flying family and shares anecdotes about some of the pioneers of Yukon aviation.
The Kitchen-Kuaick household is one of six families from across Canada competing in the Shell Canadian Geographic Energy Diet Challenge. The family that reduces its energy consumption the most before December 4th will win the competition.
The Kitchen-Kuaicks represent northern Canada and the challenges they face, especially when it comes to heating their home in sub-zero temperatures, are unique. As part of the competition they’ve constructed a solar cooking stove. We’ll see how that worked out and other ways they’ve reduced their energy consumption. You might be surprised how many of their tips can help you reduce your own monthly power bill, regardless of where you live.
Sue Thomas grew up in Beaver Creek, Yukon, population 300. The coldest temperatures ever recorded in North America occurred not far from her family’s cabin. During her early years, Sue attended classes in a two-room schoolhouse. When not in class, she often took to the skies with her father in his small airplane. Eventually she too earned a pilot’s license.
Now the Executive Director of the famed 1,000 mile sled dog race known as the Yukon Quest, Sue is right at home in the Yukon. Hear her story on this week’s episode of My Yukon Life podcast radio.
My Yukon Life podcast radio host Jennifer Hawks visits Sky High Wilderness Ranch on the shores of Fish Lake. It’s only about 30 minutes from Whitehorse, but it’s a world away from civilization. They offer dog sled and horseback adventures as well as cabin and lodge stay packages. They have a kennel of 150 dogs and 24 horses, so it’s truly a place for animal lovers. The ranch is also neighbors with quite a few wild animals, including lynx, moose, fox, and wolves.
In 1960, a woman named Sylvia left British Columbia in a covered wagon with a few horses, three of her own children and two others she adopted along the way. She headed for the Yukon Territory with a dream of starting her own trail riding outfit and pack horse business. Sylvia taught her children how to live off the land by farming, gardening, trapping, horseback riding, dog mushing and a whole lot of other survival skills. Then she met Ian McDougall. It was instant love and the two started Sky High Wilderness Ranch. That was over 30 years ago.
We hear from Ian and a few of the other present day owners, including Jocelyn LeBlanc. When she’s not helping run the ranch, Jocelyn is a professional dog musher and a veteran of the Yukon Quest.
“I mush dogs and play music.” This is Kate Weekes’ response to the oft-asked question “What are you doing in the Yukon?” In the years since hitch-hiking across the country from her home in Eastern Ontario to Canada’s North, Kate has found a lifestyle built on exploration and creativity. Kate has been moved to capture the stories of characters she meets along her way and ponder a sense of place within the varying lifestyles.
Kate released her debut self-titled album in 2007 and has since received national airplay and performed throughout Canada, Japan and China. Kate is the recipient of the 2007 Beth Ferguson Award as well as the Mac Beatie Award for being “quintessentially Canadian.” Kate has had the honour of performing for the Governor General and is making her mark on the Canadian music scene.
Bold guitar playing and thought-provoking lyrics accompany Kate’s strong, sweet voice that continues to captivate audiences. Kate and Grant Simpson recently released their album “Beneath the Yukon Moon.” The album features original material from Simpson and Weekes, a blend of folk and swing. Kate also performs and conducts school workshops with the fiddle-based trio Home Sweet Home, who released their debut album in the spring of 2011.
We first met special guest Ingrid Wilcox during the July 25th episode of My Yukon Life which featured Maralyn Rogers and the Paddlers Abreast team as they competed in the Yukon River Quest. In addition to also being a champion female solo kayaker, 62-year old Ingrid is a professional gardener and a Yukon homesteader.
Hear Ingrid share what it was like to live in a homemade cabin without running water or electricity while running a 50-acre ranch that included 9 greenhouses and livestock! She also talks about her record-setting solo kayak racing in the River Quest.
Doug Davidge is the owner and operator of Underwater Video North which is based in Whitehorse. He uses what’s called a remote operated vehicle to take video images deep underwater, or even under ice, to discover and sometimes recover what can’t be accessed any other way. Doug has used the ROV to find World War II aircraft, military ordnance, and even previously undiscovered fish species. He’s also been instrumental in finding underwater shipwrecks from the days of the gold rush. Doug will share some of those stories with us, and explain how the ROV works.
Hank Moorlag is the superintendent (retired) of the Yukon RCMP. We first met him during our August 8th episode when we featured Tagish Post—the historic Northwest Mounted Police post that operated during the 1898 gold rush. Mr. Moorlag described for us what life would have been like at Tagish Post for the officers stationed there.
On this episode of My Yukon Life, Hank describes what it was like to be stationed in the high Arctic, when patrols were still made by dog sled in brutal winter conditions. In his long career he witnessed the transition to more modern patrolling methods, and he shares with us some of the highlights as an RCMP officer.
Special guest Denise McHale is a long distance, adventure racer. She’s a veteran of one particular ultra marathon race that’s held in Alberta every August. It covers 125 km over three mountains with an elevation gain of 17,000 ft. The race has to be completed in less than 24 hours. It’s called the Canadian Death Race for a reason.
This last February, Denise competed in the Yukon Arctic Ultra– a 430 mile distance race. She came in not just first amongst the women, but 1st overall and set a new course record.
She shares her Yukon life with us and talks about what it’s like to compete in extreme races and some of the challenges she’s faced, including walking amongst crocodiles in the dead of night while carrying her kayak.
Every year during the Yukon River Quest, racers enter the Yukon River with their canoes at Whitehorse and paddle 740 kilometers/460 miles to Dawson City. The first team crosses the finish line in less than three days.
But for one team that competes every year, it’s not about crossing the finish line in first place. Though they make every effort to win, the concept of winning has a different meaning for them. The goal of Paddlers Abreast is to raise awareness of surviving breast cancer, and through the years, many team members have themselves been cancer survivors.
Maralyn Rogers is one of those survivors, and on this episode of My Yukon Life, she shares her message of hope and survival, and what it’s like to be part of a team that cherishes life as much as crossing the finish line. Because, after all, winning is as much about living as it is about taking first place.
In addition, the Paddlers Abreast team takes My Yukon Life listeners with them during the 2011 Yukon River Quest.
Dustin and Brook Davis, co-owners of Cabin Fever Adventures, offer their clients first-rate wilderness experiences with a variety of outdoor packages including canoeing, sea kayaking, fishing, and customized wilderness excursions.
As an eco-driven business, they walk the talk by living up to their high standards of green initiatives, even if the bottom line is affected. But what makes them truly unique is the specialized training they offer to First Nations/Inuit youth from Canada’s North to increase this future generation’s employment opportunities in the wilderness tourism industry.
On this episode of My Yukon Life, listeners will step into the lives of aboriginal youth who will learn wilderness first aid, navigation skills, and everything else it takes to lead groups of people into the Yukon wild and bring them safely home again.
Tim Hodgson will be racing solo during the upcoming Yukon River Quest. An accomplished canoe racer and marathoner, Tim shares some of the challenges and rewards he’s experienced during his career. He also offers tips for those who’d like to get into this rewarding sport.
We also take a ride on the historic Copperbelt Railway with Alex, the engineer.
A Yukon trapper who portrayed himself in the docu-drama, “The Last Trapper,” Norman shares some his experiences as a trapper with listeners of My Yukon Life. We also learn the story behind the making of the movie.
(Originally aired live)
Michelle Phillips first competed in the Iditarod in 2010, placing 27th in a field of 71 mushers. In 2011, on the heels of competing in her sixth Yukon Quest sled dog race, she ran the Iditarod again. This time she did even better—coming in 17th out of 62. Michelle is considered a rising star in the world of professional dog mushing. Accomplishments, in addition to an impressive fourth place finish in the Quest, include “Rookie of the Year” in both the Percy DeWolfe and the Copper Basin races.
Ever wonder what it’s like to lead a dog team through the dark in sub-freezing temperatures after not sleeping for 12 hours? Find out when Michelle reveals some of her biggest challenges when dog mushing. Plus, Michelle introduces us to her 50+ dogs.