Yukon Canoe Trip (Bio Chuck)


    The “Call of the Wild” is like a spell that won’t let go, “it grips you like some kinds of sinning”.  These words from Robert Service seem most appropriate, as we are about to begin a three month journey down the length of the Yukon River.  The Call is heard by most of us as we go about life’s daily chores and, occasionally, we can give marginal satisfaction to its urge.  Over the years of my life, it has pulled me from the clutches of civilization for many memorable experiences.  Hopefully, some of those outings have helped prepare me for this wilderness adventure.

Outdoor activities have been a part of my life for as long as I can remember.  Raised on a small farm, in Indiana, with lots of animals, especially horses, and lots of country to roam, my childhood was one continuous outside adventure.  My dad was a skilled hunter and outdoorsman; my brother and I eagerly learned from him.  After the family moved to Florida, my first real job was surveying in the Big Cypress swamp and involved months of camping.  My second real job was a thirty year hitch in the Army and they have their own outdoors skills program.  During this time my wife, Betty, and I took advantage of assignments throughout the world to sample some of the great places on this earth.  Our daughter, Susan, accompanied us on many trips until she was old enough to find other things to do when talk of yet another trip started. We have camped under tarps and worn out several tents, we’ve traveled in two VW Campers, a horse trailer with living quarters, and are now on our second RV.

Since retiring from the Army in 1994, we have seen this great country from many different viewpoints.  The first long venture was a canoe trip along an ancient fur trading route on the US – Canada border in northern Minnesota.  Much of this 400 mile trip was solo.  It was my first long solo trip and proved to be somewhat addictive.  Other recent trips Betty and I have enjoyed are: Riding horseback from the Atlantic Ocean (near Savannah, GA) to the Pacific Ocean (near San Diego, CA), hiking the Colorado Trail (500 miles), and hiking the Eastern Continental Trail (5,200 miles from Key West to Belle Isle on the northern tip of Newfoundland).

Last summer, while hiking in Newfoundland, a life long friend and highschool classmate, Bill Quayle, emailed me about his dream to canoe the Yukon River.  When I expressed interest in such a wonderous trip he asked if I would like to join him.  After consulting with Betty for about 15 seconds, I quickly agreed before either Bill or Betty could change their minds.

While I am responding to the “Call of the Wild”, Betty will be visiting with her family in Iowa and Minnesota.  Immediately after returning from the Yukon, I will join Betty for a trip to Korea to visit our daughter, Susan, and her family.  Susan’s husband is an Army JAG officer and is currently a judge in Yongson, Korea.  They have three rowdy boys and a beautiful little girl.  When not traveling, Betty and I live just north of Naples, Florida only a mile from my sister Mae and near my 87 year old mother who lives alone on an old farm and loves it.