Yukon-Alaska Druzhynnyky Hiking Camp

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Hartuis!

This year marks the Ukrainian Youth Association of Canada’s (CYM) 70thanniversary! Not to be left out of the various CYM summer camps’ celebrations with youth across the country, the adult members also celebrated with their own CYM Adult Hiking Camp.  This hasn’t happened in many years!

For logistical reasons, The Yukon-Alaska Hiking Camp was restricted to 24 participants from Mississauga, Etobicoke and Calgary, and took place from August 1 to August 10, 2018. This camp was organized by the National Executive of CYM Canada.

Our adventures started in Whitehorse where it was very hot and sunny! At Carcross, we stood in the smallest sandy dessert in the world, crossed into Alaska to visit Skagway and then were ferried across to Haines for a two day stay.

Nine grizzly bears and cubs were spotted over those two days! We enjoyed kayaking and saw many bald eagles and other unusual birds. Moose jumping out of the water was a sight to behold too. The Totem Pole carvers we visited were fascinating as they explained how history was depicted in the carvings, going back thousands of years. Our group split into two one day, where one group hiked over 4 hours up Mount Riley for an amazing view, while the other group took in the sights and museums in town.

Of interest was the Hammer museum, where we even found a hammer from Ukraine! The next morning had us packing up our camp in a major hurry as there were bears very near our tents.  Some of us even witnessed two bears fighting from a distance! White water rafting was our next adventure, and although the water was cold, we were all thrilled to tip over into the water.  Soaking in Takhini Hot Springs was a welcome relief!

Dawson City was our next stop where we panned for gold, learned about the process of large scale gold mining and visited the largest river dredge in North America, on the Bonanza River. So many interesting things to see and learn about!  On our last day, we visited the Yukon Wildlife Preserve where we saw the coolest wildlife such as moose, caribou and lynx.

These ten days felt like one! So many unforgettable memories were created during our time hiking and camping together that won’t soon be forgotten. We all became great friends and will wait with anticipation for the next All Canadian CYM Adults Hiking Camp!

Larysa Stech – CYM Mississauga

Many thanks to Kathryn Brechun for the beautiful video!