We are Monique and Bohdan Renaud, and single mom and her little sidekick who like to go go go. Allison has invited me to share one of our favourite adventures – and of course we chose something in Canada! It’s important to get to know your own country and Boh and I have dreams of visiting every corner of Canada. That might be impossible, but let’s see how far we can get. The furthest we’ve been so far? The Yukon!
I was extremely lucky to have a work project take me to Whitehorse and, of course, I brought my sidekick along with me. The down-side was that I couldn’t select our travelling dates – work was there in April and I wasn’t going to say “no.” For Northern Canada, that means that winter is almost over but spring activities haven’t begun. Snow and ice are furiously melting, making a lot of outdoor activities (winter & spring) dangerous.
No ice fishing, no dog sledding, no rock climbing, and no kayaking just yet! So how the heck did we experience the Yukon in April? We were there at the wrong time! Or were we?
There were no tourists in April – which was actually much more suited to the Mo and & Boh style. No crowds and endless hospitality from the locals. Here are 5 of our Yukon favourites:
- Baked Cafe
The Baked Café is the local café and a place to warm up as you walk around the downtown core – the very small downtown core so you won’t miss it! As we sipped our hot chocolates on our first day in Whitehorse, we introduced ourselves to some of the locals and got tips on what to do while visiting their home. This was the place to start and get acquainted. It’s a colourful, kid friendly cafe that is next door to a toy store with occasional live stand up events happening in the evenings.
- Takhini Hot Springs
Boh and I were invited to the Takhini Hot Springs with a local family. Sitting in the hot springs while snow fell onto the evergreens felt so right. I almost cancelled our flight home right there! Check out their website to see when their frozen hairstyle contests are.
- Swan Haven
While we were at the Baked Cafe, I asked another parent to suggest activities that they like to do with their kids in the Yukon. He suggested we look for Swan Haven. We followed our Google Maps and found the very small Swan Haven Interpretive Centre. The man who ran the centre encouraged us to walk along the frozen Marsh Lake and look for the swans. If we saw the swans, it meant spring was here. If we didn’t see any, then it wasn’t time. He wasn’t sure if we would see them because we were there a bit early in the year. We went for our ice hike anyways and after an hour of walking out in the middle of a beautiful nowhere, we heard them. Far far away, we saw the swans celebrating the arrival of Spring!
- S.S. Klondike National Historic Site
This is a quick stop as you walk or drive through town (Whitehorse) but it’s very neat for a little one to see. The S.S. Klondike is docked on the Yukon River and if you’re there at the RIGHT time (unlike us) you may be able to get inside. It was closed while we were there but we did get as close as possible… eventually setting off an alarm and running away to watch security drive in and make sure we weren’t trying to steal the S.S. Klondike…
Skagway, Alaska is only two hours from Whitehorse and you even get a bonus of driving through Northern B.C. for a portion of this car trip. Snow covered mountains, frozen waterfalls, and historic towns like Carcross (Caribou Crossing) are just a few of the spectacular sights that won’t let you put your camera down. You can also take a neat train trip to Skagway that gets you closer to the alpine scenery… but again you should go at the right time (summer months) if you are looking for a train adventure. When we arrived in Skagway there were about 3 stores open and maybe 5 people were seen in the entire town. I think that’s the definition of Ghost Town? This put me in a pretty bad mood but as we wandered aimlessly, we found one of the best hiking trails of life. Just look for the Skagway Footbridge and start climbing. The scenery is breath-taking and if you go at the wrong time, you get the mountains pretty much to yourself.
If you do happen to visit the Yukon during the winter or the summer months, please feel free to share your adventures with me @morenaud on Instagram. I would love to know what it’s like when you do it right 😉 For now, we will keep doing it wrong and enjoying every moment of it.
Mo & Boh
We are Monique and Bohdan Renaud – a single mom and her little side-kick who like to go go go – whether it’s to a different town or a whole new country. Our favourite kind of trip is a deep dive into the local culture – discovering new homes across the map. Staying in less touristy areas, eating at hidden restaurants that may not make it to the top ten on Google, and choosing transportation that allows us to go anywhere (not just the tourist attractions) is the way we like to go!