bigquotes"So now what?", said Kenny Smith as we drove out from the Whitehorse airport in a rented truck along with James Doerfling and myself...



Kenny posed a good question. The plan was to fly to Whitehorse, and get a rental truck, but from here, we were running 'er pretty loose. We wanted to drive up the Dempster Hwy and see what we could find, but it was 6pm in Whitehorse and we had no supplies, and we needed to get our bearings set straight.

We had but one contact... Sylvain and Marsha over at Boréale Mountain Biking. The call was placed and within minutes we were racing over to check out Boréale's new headquarters.

Boréale is the place to go if you're in the Yukon with a bike. If anyone could set us straight and get our adventure going it was Sylvain and Marsha. That evening over a roaring Yukon-sized bonfire it was decided that we would warm up with the one ride that eluded us on our previous visit to the Yukon.


Yukon
The Mountain Hero trail is a resurrected old tramway trail that was used for an old silver mining operation. It is 40km long and climbs over 1400 meters up and over Montana Mountain. This was the high point.


Yukon
James and Kenny make their way past one of the many dilapidated mining shacks strewn across this ride.

Yukon
Finally, after five hours of climbing and traversing, and climbing again, we got a little taste of what we came for.

Yukon

Yukon

Yukon

Yukon
The Mountain Hero trail was better than expected and conditions were all time. Onward to the Dempster!

Yukon

bigquotesWe had unfinished business with the dempster highway.


Kenny Smith

Yukon

Yukon
First night's headquarters on the Dempster.

Yukon

bigquotesThis trip was one of a kind because we just wung it. Last minute we all decided to just pay for everything out of our own pockets and next thing we knew we were on the FTW journey!


James Doerfling

Yukon
Insert token Yukon Grizzly shot here...

Yukon
Kenny Smith, exploring possibilities.

Yukon

bigquotesThis was my favourite shot from this trip, and the one I entered into the PB POY contest. I thought we had a pretty good crack at it with this shot, but it was not to be. Our photo was beaten out in the third round by Christoph Laue, who went on to win it.


Margus Riga

Yukon

Yukon
Day one on the Dempster... done.

Yukon

Yukon
Onward along the never-ending ribbon of dirt that is the Dempster Hwy.

Yukon
The Eagle Plains motel. The only place to stop for supplies and a comfy couch on the whole Dempster Hwy.

Yukon
Kenny Smith designated himself as the full-time driver of this trip. Kenny works as a heavy logging truck operator in the off-season and gets squirrelly when he's in a vehicle and not behind the wheel. A happy Kenny is a nice Kenny.

Yukon
Our goal after such a great mission the previous day was to drive as far as we could up the Dempster and scout locations. Then head back down and hit all the good looking spots. Here we are at the Arctic Circle.

Yukon

Yukon
Looking back towards the Richardson Mountains from the top of the Dempster, somewhere north of the Arctic Circle.

Yukon

Yukon

bigquotesAround every corner there was a new ridge or peak to bag.


Kenny Smith


Yukon

Yukon

Yukon

Yukon
Arctic Circle camp location. Huddled behind our truck to shield us from the haineous winds and frigid temperatures, as the northern lights raced overhead.

Yukon

bigquotesThis was the hardest shot I have ever tried to take. It was only a short hike from our camp spot to the top of this ridge, but the unyielding, 50mph winds and the arctic temperatures (literally) made it hard to stand up, never mind try to set up for a shot. I couldn't use my main flash as it would have just blown away, so I was forced to bury my small backup strobe in the ground. Kenny and James were both lying down in fetal position waiting for me to get my shit dialled. I couldn't feel my fingers to adjust the dials and buttons on anything. What's worse; Kenny and James couldn't hear me when I was finally ready. When they did hear my screams, they were only able to stay on their bikes for ten feet before being blown off them. This was the one shot we managed to get before retreating back down to our camp.


Margus Riga

Yukon
A night at the Arctic Circle took it's toll on us. It was time to pay another visit to Eagle Plains to restock on vital supplies.

Yukon
We spied this little beauty steps from the highway and had to get it.

Yukon

bigquotesIt's so rugged and untouched up here with so much potential, we barely scratched the surface.


James Doerfling

Yukon
Let's play I spy.

Yukon
We liked this spot so much we came back for round two. We waited for light for this shot for two hours.

Yukon

bigquotesWe hiked a solid 2 hours up steep, loose rocks. Never realizing this would be one of the longest, steepest descents I have ever ridden.


Kenny Smith

Yukon

Yukon

Yukon

Yukon
What goes up, must come down. This 7km long ridge was a bitch to climb but coming down was an experience we will never forget.

Yukon
Yet another spot we had visited the previous year and witnessed James Doerfling take one the gnarliest spills of his career, ending with his bike getting tomahawked two hundred feet to the valley floor. Needles to say James opted to relax this session and watch Kenny get rad.

Yukon

Yukon

Yukon
Last camp spot of the trip.

Yukon

Yukon
Hits off the highway for miles and miles. James Doerfling.

Yukon
It was like we were in our own private paradise. We had the run of the place.

Yukon
Our trusty truck. Thanks for putting up with us and our shit, and not dying on us.

Yukon
Last ride of our trip. This was the only actual "trail" that was open to bikers. It was an out and back 5km long tourist trail built by the Tombstone Park rangers.

Yukon
Oh, the possibilities.

Yukon

Yukon

Yukon

Yukon

bigquotesOne Day I will disappear to Dawson City and turn into a crusty old gold miner.


James Doerfling

Yukon
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96 Comments

  • + 176
 Photo essay of the year right here. Amazing work Margus, James, and Kenny! Bring me along on the next trip?
  • + 19
 This is why I love the internet.....................................
  • + 12
 I was gonna say... HOW DO YOU POD/POY this whole thing??? EPIC.... As the kid says... " THAT WAS LEGITNESS "!!!

www.youtube.com/watch?v=MFhWH_pHqmo
  • + 7
 THE QUESTION IS - DID YOU SWALLOW THE TOE???????

epic journey guys, thanks. made me cry... I lived up there for a few years.... the heart is still there.
  • + 1
 Absolutely amazing!!!

@Margus, "haineous"... i like what you did there.... Ha! @kennysmith
  • + 2
 Hugh props to the epic photography! Most shots are very well composed.
  • + 33
 The Dempster and the Yukon.. a thing of beauty

There’s a land where the mountains are nameless,
And the rivers all run God knows where;
There are lives that are erring and aimless,
And deaths that just hang by a hair;
There are hardships that nobody reckons;
There are valleys unpeopled and still;
There’s a land—oh, it beckons and beckons,
And I want to go back—and I will.......... Robert Service
  • + 2
 spot on
  • + 32
 Why must you torment me so. Do you know how hard is to pick one picture to be my wallpaper now...
  • + 2
 Why just one? I added a few from this killer photo collection to my rotating screensaver....That one tho with all the fall leaves, on the trees and one the ground plants...WOW!
  • + 16
 I’m a simple man. I like pretty, dark-haired women and a single image for a wallpaper.
  • + 2
 Also 9th from the top, the road into the mountain speaks most to me.
  • + 0
 The one that was in the running for POY was the best of all of them. Should have one.
  • + 1
 Some contenders in there for sure
  • + 25
 Lacks a flow trail IMHO
  • + 6
 I almost spit out my coffee onto my screen at that one!!! Thanks for the early morning laugh.
  • + 6
 Oh Waki!
  • + 2
 Actually a flow trail is under construction at our local ski hill at this very moment.
  • + 16
 Incredible!!
  • + 11
 While the bike shots are brilliant, I think the real star is the beauty showcased of Canada's north. Having been blessed with the opportunity to spend a small bit of time there, I was blown away by the sheer vastness and the beauty of the place. You could drive the roads for 6-7 hrs and not pass a single vehicle. You can really find yourself up there. If you ever get a chance, go north my friends, you will not regret it.
  • + 1
 Must of been a lot of work photo-shopping out all the bugs! Actually it's not as bad up the dempster, but as you head towards dawson city lots of water & muskeg + warm temperatures - they always eat me alive. I guess the key is to stay high on an exposed ridge and ride fast!
  • + 1
 Plywan, or go up after the first hard frost. That kills off the bugs. Based on the snow and plant colours, that is why there are no bugs messing up the fantastic photos.
  • + 14
 Now that's a proper photo epic. Well done!
  • + 7
 Wow, one of the best photo epics we have seen, nice work Margus!
  • + 4
 Just to stress what the article says - Borealebiking.ca if anyone wants to get a sampler of the Yukon. Not to be a shill but they are the go to for Whitehorse Carcross and Yukon biking
  • + 2
 That epitomises what mountain biking is and should always be.
I f*cking love these adventure diaries.
Is it just me or does Canada seem to be THE best place to be for a biker?...Why am i still here working indoors when i could be outside doing this shit??!!
  • + 1
 Canada's 10 million km2. There's lots of awesome, but there's lots of suck over here too.
  • + 1
 This entire album just brought back every memory from last summer. The long desolate drives, Mountain Hero, Takhini Hot Springs, Yukon Gold Beer, the Dempster. All of it, and I want it again.... I need it. This is hands down the best photo epic I've seen to date. Bravo.
  • + 1
 I thought the yukon was an always snow covered land near alaska with white bears everywhere and little men with big hand harpoons hunting all day long, where you only can ride caribous or some. Probably I watch a lot of nature docus and that was what I expected to find on the article. Fortunately Margus opened my eyes n now I am more wiseman. What a pics!!! amazing man, if I were the owner of a beer brand I'd pay you good money for an ad campaign.
  • + 5
 You're a winner in my book
  • + 3
 Wow. Just Wow. Marcus certainly knows how to operate a camera.
  • + 1
 I just rode out my backyard here in Whitehorse (Yukon) and did 25 km without seeing another rider. I think he missed all the good riding!
  • + 2
 Every photo was amazing!!! Looks like an awesome road trip! Those two guys kill it every time they get on a bicycles
  • + 1
 DAWSON CITY YUKON / DEMPSTER.... MY HOME ! love it .. was dope riding with them when they came here !
  • + 2
 That's what i call a nice set of photos. Awesome!
  • + 1
 Painful to look at when I'm sat bored in the office, but your pictures are amazing.
  • + 1
 I was thinking that right now! There should be a Photo Epic of the Year and this could be it! Man nice edit!
  • + 0
 SO... MANY... POD's I love how the highway seems to go on forever through the landscape, definitely gotta get up there one day.
  • + 1
 This is simply SPECTACULAR! I want to ride bike in the mountains so much right now...
  • + 2
 it's bringing all the boys to the yard..
  • + 1
 Absolutely incredible. The best photo diary iv'e seen in probably forever. Congrats on an amazing piece of work!
  • + 1
 Wow...awesome photos..! Sylvain & Marsha's Boreale Mountain Biking is definitely inspiring..Smile
  • + 0
 Great stuff! Mountain Hero is one of the best all-mountain trails I've ever ridden, for sure. Second the props for Boreale too - amazing place and people!
  • + 2
 Incredible photography, landscape, angles, and color. #TopShelfStuff
  • + 0
 Top level content this week Pinkbike. This is too epic. It made me sad that where I live is so average.
  • + 2
 Socks - knocked off...
  • + 1
 OMD cracking set of images
  • + 1
 Absolutely phenomenal! This is bike riding
  • + 1
 This is the best photography I have ever seen.
  • + 1
 Now I wanna go mountain biking.
  • + 1
 Wow. That is on a next level.
  • - 1
 Don't know if the P.O.Y. is here, but for sure a LOT of P.O.D.s and an amazing amount of fantastic and inspiring pics! Great job Margus!
  • + 1
 Thanks guys. This is what mountain bike journalism should be.
  • + 0
 Ahhhhhh. I love my home! Just did an overnight trip on Mountain Hero last weekend. Loved it
  • + 0
 WOW! Makes me miss the fall. Best time of the year to ride, other than all the time.
  • - 1
 That's the best thing I've seen on PB in a long time. Definitely added to the road trip list!
  • + 0
 I've sooo many new desktop backgrounds now! Thanks for this work of art
  • + 1
 Superb
  • + 1
 im in love
  • + 1
 best!
  • + 1
 Awe!!!! Just awe....
  • + 0
 That was fantastic!!! Great shots
  • + 1
 Amazing!!!!
  • + 0
 excelentes fotos! Felicitaciones
  • + 0
 That's unfair! I'm out. I'll be back in 1000 years.
  • + 0
 This is where having 3 monitors comes in handy. WALLPAPER FOR DAYS
  • + 1
 stunning imagery
  • + 0
 Not sure if i want to go to yukon or new zealand first
  • + 0
 I do not envy you,not a bit
  • + 0
 Can't get enough of this! AMAZING guys!
  • + 0
 Thanks guys for these Amazing pictures!
  • + 0
 Unbelievable landscape and photos!! EPIC
  • + 0
 Top work guys. Every photo made me want to be there.
  • + 1
 Well, I liked that.
  • + 1
 For the next three months.
  • + 1
 Wow!!!
  • - 1
 MORE OF THESE STORIES, PLEASE! They make me want to hop in the vehicle and go ride someplace!
  • - 1
 In my humble opinion, PB should start a new category: Photo Epic of the year, just sayin'...
  • + 0
 HEYBRO I VOTED FOR THAT PIC
  • + 0
 This photography is mind-blowing. Picturesque really...
  • + 1
 Amazing Pictures!
  • + 0
 OMZG!
  • + 0
 Thanks guys!
  • - 1
 that was the best photo epic in years, wow great work guys !
  • + 0
 wow!!!!!!!!
  • + 0
 NICE!!
  • - 1
 Wow. Simply stunning. Killer work.
  • - 1
 How do I subscribe to your life @Margus?
  • - 2
 always fun to see the rich kids having fun, on mother natures back.
  • - 1
 PHOTO EPIC +
  • - 1
 sign me up!
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