Posted by: Bob Fisher | July 23, 2009

A Great Yukon River Journey



… with Chris Vetterlein of The Great River Journey

Chris Vetterlein

Drops of water

Suggesting a timelessness and some kind of other consciousness inherent in nature, Antoine de St.-Exupéry, one of the world’s best-loved writers, once wrote:

“How could drops of water know themselves to be a river? Yet the river flows on.”

The river in this case is The Yukon in the Territory of the same name in northwestern Canada. Along its extensive route, it passes through or by places that have been embedded in the collective memory of Canadians, and many others. Does the name Lake Laberge mean anything to you?

At 3185 kilometres in length, The Yukon is  the fifth-longest river in North America. The exact location of its headwaters has been debated for a long time. Some attribute the genesis of this great river to a glacier, which itself is part of a great watershed area in the northwest. The Canadian Encyclopedia however, has declared that the river rises in the mountains above Tagish Lake near the northern border of British Columbia.

Whatever the “source,” it’s all rather immaterial to The Yukon.  It just keeps doing what it has for eons. It even at one geological point in time changed course; and instead of flowing south, decided it would head northward. Any life forms along the way just went with the flow.

Like all great rivers of the world, The Yukon has witnessed many comings and goings. Some anthropologists believe that the Yukon Valley was the main immigration route for North America’s first human inhabitants; those who came across the frozen land bridge, called Beringia between Siberia and Alaska. I should add that some First Nations peoples dispute that theory, preferring their own traditional beliefs that their ancestors originated in North America.

But like all great rivers on the planet, The Yukon has nourished human culture in various hues and shades.

What sets The Yukon apart from those other great rivers (The Nile, The Amazon, The St. Lawrence, and the list goes on) is that it has managed to retain most of its original glory. In this writer’s opinion, it is a river that has been only lightly touched by human intervention.

A crooked beauty

Nature has its own rules, and even though you can find symmetry and a renewed sense of equilibrium in The Yukon, you will have to put aside your urban constructions and integrate into an environment that has its own rhyme and reason.

The eclectic, sustainable, and non-conventonal programs and amenities offered by The Great River Journey blend well with the landscape and with the history and culture of The Yukon. As the images indicate (see link below to my Flikr site), this is a travel supplier that builds integrity and meanngfulness into its operations.

And as you will hear in the comments by Chris Vetterlein in the podcast (see link at the beginning of this article), there is a very coherent and adaptable plan of action in place that is also open-ended, coherent, and brimming with passion.

As many in the world of travel and tourism begin to “think it through” more and more, many such operators are returning to fundamental principles and long-term thinking which intrinsically represent the concept of “best practices.”


Images and imagery of The Yukon River, Lake Laberge, and the amenities of The Great River Journey

To view a slideshow of this part of The Yukon, go to my Flikr site.


Yukon: Larger Than Life, the official Yukon tourism website:

The Great River Journey

Horizon & Co, one of Canada’s most respected tour companies which provides specialty programs in collaboration with The Great River Journey.

The Great River Journey is also very appropriate for the corporate and incentive markets. For those companies that want to give their personnel a breath of fresh air, a sense of renewal, some corollary challenges, and some moments of inspiration, head north to this very special place in The Yukon.

Condor Airlines. You may surprised to learn that this German airline has non-stop flights from Europe to Whitehorse, the capital of The Yukon.

Numerous other airlines have excellent connections to The Yukon, including Air Canada, but you may also want to check out Air North (Yukon’s Airline).

Chris Vetterlein2

Coming soon to The Philosophical Traveller

“The Yukon: A Study in Bliss”

… a multimedia narrative of travelling in Canada’s most northwesterly territory.


The Yukon was another destination covered by

The Travel Educators:

Lifelong Learning Through Travel

And to see some amazing and artistic wildlife photos

from The Yukon,

visit Marty Samis’s website

Yukon Wild Photographic Arts


  1. […] A Great Yukon River Journey with Chris Vetterlein on Lake Lebarge in Canada’s far […]

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