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Kathryn O Brien

Off the grid in the Yukon

Kathryn O'Brien paddles the Wind River.

Kathryn O’Brien paddles the Wind River.

With a common love of canoeing, Form 4 teacher Kathryn O’Brien, her partner and five friends planned a two-week trip to the Yukon’s Peel Watershed, which flows into the Beaufort Sea. After taking a float plane in to the Wind River, two group members served as guides while another celebrated her 50th birthday in style.

“It was quite remote and extremely beautiful, difficult to put into words,” says O’Brien, who spotted many grizzly bear paw prints., a caribou and moose. “I had done some back-country hiking/canoe trips, but this was my first experience flying into an area to go canoeing.”

Also exhilarating was the experience of being away from cell phones and all digital technology for two weeks, she says.

But the most amazing part?

“We also saw a change of seasons as we went further north,” says O’Brien. “When we started, we were paddling in shorts and tank tops. When we finished, I had on four layers and watched the leaves change and the blueberries disappear.”