2014 Alumni Trip: Hart River, Yukon Territory

Alumni Trip 2014 1

For the last few years, a growing group of Wanapitei alumni has been heading North each summer to recapture some of the “VII experience.”  Our Board Chair and CEO, Ted Moores, shares memories of this summer’s trip on the Hart River. 

A group of twelve Wanapitei alums, (nine former campers and staff from throughout the 60s, 70s, and 80s), plus three spouses who have been on adult Wanapitei trips, did another spectacular Arctic trip during the summer of 2014.  This time, our travels took us on the Hart River, the fourth large tributary as you go up the Peel (after the Snake, Bonnet Plume, and Wind rivers). The Hart has spectacular scenery and remains in the north-central Yukon mountains for its entire length, longer than the other three and, unlike the Snake and Bonnet Plume, its largest white-water is at the end rather than the beginning. Not everyone knew each other at the start of the trip but, apart from the three spouses, (spice?), everyone was someone’s camper or counselor in the past. Three participants are also on the executive committee of the Wanapitei Board. The age range was from 69 to 51, with most people right around 60. The youngest two were dubbed “GITs”, (geezers in training). The weather was very cooperative and only rained during convenient times, giving us sun to set up, pack up, eat lunch, run rapids and so on. We ate fish every night but the first and the last; a total of around forty-one grayling were added to the regular gourmet meals. In chronological order the participants were: Ant Southam, Eric Hodgins, Hilary Heath, Gary Norris, Gaye Wadham, Teen Sivell, Gerard Gagnon, Alister Thomas, Vin Norris, Janny Padelford, Don Mason and Ted Moores.

As always, it was a privilege to travel with such a fine group of people for three weeks, living in the moment, playing, working and problem solving together. It was equally a privilege to be able to travel in such incredibly beautiful country, and in its extreme remoteness, feeling, at least for me, more at home than I usually do in my house in the city. We were all conscious of how lucky we are to be able to do this, especially at our ages, and how lucky we are to have peers who feel the same way. Who would have thought fifty-plus years ago at camp, that we’d still be doing this with our Wanapitei friends.

Elliot Lake, Yukon, at the start of the trip.

Master Instructor Ted explains river dynamics.

Master Instructor Ted explains river dynamics.

A magnificent canyon on the Hart.

A magnificent canyon on the Hart.

Eric Hodgins shows fine form with Ant Southam.

Eric Hodgins shows fine form with Ant Southam.

Thanks to Don Mason and Alister Thomas for the photos. Check out the upcoming edition of the Paddler for Ted’s CEO update.