How to have an adventurous family friendly week in the Yukon.
Full disclosure, this post is about a wedding. Ours.
There are a lot of things about weddings I don’t like.
Bridezilla moments where someone screams THIS IS MY DAY! Stuffy halls with awkward seating arrangements. Long drawn out speeches that are meaningful to only one or two people in the room. Over the top decoration that costs more than the honeymoon. Obsessing over useless details that take away the opportunities to interact with those who matter most.
On the flip side, there are a lot of things about holidays that I love.
Simple moments around a campfire. Fun and games with family and friends. Delicious food that never seems to end. Too much wine. Lots of conversations. Stunning settings and plenty of activity.
So when we planned our own day to tie the knot, we treated it like a holiday.
One week long featuring all the best the Yukon has to offer. A chance to catch up with friends and family of all ages while giving them a glimpse into a lifestyle we love. And a quick set of I do’s in front of one beautiful backdrop.
And it all worked out!
We started the week with our families arriving from down south. Kieran’s family boarded a houseboat, taking them to a far flung glacier at the end of BC’s largest lake. My parents who had driven four days to arrive in the north spent the weekend with me exploring a former gold rush town with a population that hovers around 300.
Once my larger family arrived, it was time to explore the best of Whitehorse. The Wildlife Preserve was our first stop, admiring bison, muskox, caribou, lynx, and foxes while strolling around an easy path with an autumn pallet of gold and red leaves changing before our eyes. We had picnics at wilderness lakes, strolled ridges along the Yukon river and the kiddos panned for gold within the city limits.
After a few days, we took the gang down south to Carcross to explore the sandy deserts. Months prior Kieran and I had special ordered crazy carpets in hopes that we could slide down the sand dunes and re-create a favourite winter pass time.
Well, it was a fail.
Sand was gusting in our eyes, the sleds came to a dead halt as soon as they touched the ground and we all had to hike up then hike down the large dune holding on to a pair of sleds flapping violently in the wind. But the view from the top was scenic and even though it was fairly hilarious how bad it was, the hike was well worth it.
We spent the nights sleeping either in cozy cabins above Crag Lake, or a cliff edge at Conrad campground. We bbq’d and enjoyed beverages while the sun went down and the fire pits raged. We kept our eyes out for the Northern Lights but the cozy beds got the best of us.
The following day was a chance for us to do our own thing. My sister took the scenic drive to Skagway, Alaska while my parents and brother’s family explored the Native art around Carcross Commons. Kieran and I took a few of our more active guests for a hike along the magnificent Sam McGee Trail, a former silver mine trail that reaches the alpine and affords one of the Yukon’s most stunning views across multiple lake and glacial valleys.
As the weekend arrived our location changed, this time to Haines Junction which is set on the edge of Kluane National Park and St Elias Mountains. We’d rented a lodge on the edge of the park, and spread out volleyball nets and campfire rings across the ample grasses while the kiddos fished for graylings in the creek out back. We cozied in the house warmed by laughter and a wood fire till the wee hours of the night.
Our wedding day came and went how we wanted it. Starting with a hike into a scenic river valley with most of our family, we said our vows in the late afternoon and followed it with a BBQ, a volleyball game, and a small dance party. Our few guests who were campers survived the -5 temps and frost over the night and we all nursed a bit of a hangover the following day.
In retrospect, I’ll admit planning your own wedding is a bit strange and stressful. Planning to do all the food, booze and activities is probably an unwise thing for those who aren’t organized or easy going. But it is a lot like a family holiday. We had lots of help in making sure all the details were covered but an overall understanding that making memories was most important.
Not everyone wants to spend the day hiking with their loved ones or fretting if another grease fire might overtake the BBQ (thanks Dad for solving that problem and not burning down the log house!)
I’m sure almost everyone will say their wedding was perfect, but our week perfectly reflected us but was able to include all those we loved most.
In reflection, my advice to any future brides, forget those silly details decor and skip the formalities. Have fun. Have a holiday. Keep it simple and keep smiling.
Looking forward to the start of our honeymoon explorations, our first stop is this week with GlampingHub.com to Bear Camp in British Columbia’s Chilcotin region. Luxury safari camp to view grizzlies -sounds romantic to me!