“The line between disorder and order lies in logistics.”  Sun Tzu


Logistics is defined as the detailed coordination of a complex operation involving many people, facilities, and supplies. Logistics for independent adventurers often means researching, route planning, fact-finding, and considering every imaginable and unimaginable detail solo. For some, it’s mentally tedious and can even feel like a lonely chore. Personally, I find adventure planning to be a geographical, sociological, and historical learning opportunity that enhances my pre-trip excitement.

While navigating the logistical nightmare of “‘Finding Tuktoyaktuk”, it became rather clear that I would have to create and pen my own guidebook. There was no “Walking the Dempster for Dummies,” or “Pack-rafting The Yukon’s Southern Lakes” to refer to. Based on my research, it seemed no one had pack-rafted from Bennet to Whitehorse and only one man had walked the Dempster all the way to Tuktoyaktuk.

In the early stages of planning, I focused on five main categories: Routes, Transportation, Equipment, Food, and Shipping. These categories created a basic foundation to build upon.


First, I had to determine a hiking, pack-rafting, and walking route that would take us from Skagway, Alaska to Tuktoyaktuk, Canada. Mileage, time frames, and resupply points felt less overwhelming after breaking the route down into three separate legs.

Stage 1Backpack the Chilkoot Trail to Bennet Lake ( 33 miles)

Stage 2Pack-raft Bennet Lake to Dawson City  (600 miles)

Stage 3 Walk from Dawson City to Tuktoyaktuk  (580 miles)


After reading that day-to-day commuting and travel accounts for thirty-five percent of an average person’s environmental footprint, I made a conscious decision to use alternative modes of travel that were kinder to the planet. Trains and boats are considered less harmful than planes as they do not release carbon emissions into the upper atmosphere. I wondered if it was possible to travel to Skagway via train and boat.

Yes, it is possible! Even though it wasn’t the most time efficient, I took the Amtrak Starlight train and the Alaska Marine Highway Ferry from Los Angeles to  Skagway, Alaska. Besides taking the slow scenic route, the train and ferry generously accommodated my one hundred and fifty pounds of expedition luggage.

With my Alaska travel arrangements booked, my focus turned to the transportation of our pack-rafts, paddling gear, and food resupply to Bennet, British Columbia. Inaccessible by road, Bennet can only be reached by backpacking the Chilkoot Trail or by taking the White Pass and Yukon train.

Upon completion of the Chilkoot Trail, we were faced with two transport options. Either board a train back to Skagway to retrieve our gear or have our pack-rafting equipment delivered directly to Bennet. From a time efficiency perspective, it made little sense to backtrack or retrace our steps. After speaking with Anne Moore, (from the Dyea-Chilkoot Trail Transport company) I felt confident having her transport our gear across the Canadian border to Fraser and using the historic White Pass & Yukon train to deliver our pack-rafts to Bennet.

Not only was this decision time and cost-effective, but it also allowed us to have rest and preparation days before beginning the second leg of our journey.


After determining our multi-disciplinary route, it was now time to focus on the gear needed for the backpacking, pack-rafting, and push-carting sections of the trip.

Knowing we’d be subjected to wet weather on the Chilkoot Trail and gusty winds on the Southern Lakes, I opted for my time-tested Alps Mountaineering Zephyr 2 tent. While it may not be ultra-light, this tent is quick to set up, has kept me dry in nasty monsoonal storms, and held its ground during forty miles an hour winds.

As someone who lives with Reynaud’s Syndrome and Rheumatoid Arthritis, it’s critical I stay warm. My sleep system consists of a down sleeping bag, bag liner, ultra-light bag cover, down socks, and down balaclava. For some, it may seem like thermal overkill; however, I consider this a preventive measure to help reduce the possibility of Reynaud’s and Arthritic flare-ups.

Our pack-rafts, dry suits, and dry pants were custom-made by a manufacturer in China. Besides being far more affordable, we could tailor the gear to our liking.

For the Dempster Highway, I realized we would need a push cart to carry all our gear and supplies. Ordering jogging strollers and bike trailer carts online was counterproductive. Shoddy wheel alignments caused them to veer to either the extreme left or right. These carts were not Dempster Highway worthy. In the eleventh hour, I resorted to having a push-cart custom-made by a fabricator in Oregon and arranged for it to be shipped to Dawson City.

Considering our expedition was starting so early in the season, we had expected winter conditions on both the Chilkoot Trail and along the Yukon’s Southern Lakes. Hopeful for summer conditions by the time we reached Whitehorse, I also expected to be walking into autumn and perhaps winter on the Dempster Highway. After considering local temperature averages, I knew we could experience temperatures from five to eighty degrees Fahrenheit. Keeping this in mind, seasonal clothing and gear supply boxes were shipped to accommodate the changes in temperature and weather.

Being disconnected from the power grids of the city, we found ourselves solar dependent. Keeping our iPhone’s and Inreach’s (satellite two-way texting and navigation system) charged was a necessity. The combination of portable battery chargers and solar panels kept us connected and eliminated the fear of having a dead device.


Because of the remoteness of the areas we were traveling, we shipped food resupply boxes to Skagway, Bennet, Carcross, Whitehorse and Dawson City. Once we arrived in Whitehorse, we purchased food from local supermarkets for our paddle to Dawson City and for our walk up the Dempster. My only own concern was being able to find soy free products. Being allergic to soy, I am very limited as to what I can and can’t eat.

Soy is now used as a filler in most processed foods, even Crystal Light.

Soy poisoning creates an immediate migraine and vomiting that can last from a few days to a week. Soy is like kryptonite to me and it can create a trip of misery if consumed.

Jeanetta and Evelyn, from the N.W.T. Arctic Visitors Center in Dawson City

The North West Territory Visitor Center in Dawson City arranged our food drops along the Dempster Highway. Tombstone Territorial Park, Eagle Plains Lodge, a local Fort McPherson family, and the Inuvik Visitor Center were more than happy to receive and store our resupply boxes. Staff at the Yukon and North-West Territories visitor centers are more than just a welcoming, friendly face. As community ambassadors, these ladies played key roles in our preparation for the Dempster. Despite every obstacle and set back we encountered in Dawson City, the staff rallied around us and encouraged us every step of the way.


For adventure trips within the U.S.A., I have always relied on sending food resupply boxes via USPS General Delivery mail.

Unfortunately, Canada does not permit International General Delivery mail. I’m forever grateful to the local businesses in the Yukon and North-West Territories that agreed to accept our food and gear packages. Without their help, organizing this trip would have been problematic.

Photo by C Black

(Stroller pictures and YouTube Video by C Black)

FINDING TUKTOYAKTUK – Mission Accomplished


On October 16th, 2018, we completed our four and half month journey from Skagway, Alaska to the Canadian Arctic town of Tuktoyaktuk. Honoring the Tlingit’s trading path, we hiked the Chilkoot trail and crossed the border into British Columbia, Canada.


Following the Klondike Gold Rush route, we then pack-rafted 900km along the Yukon River to the heart of the former gold rush town, Dawson City.


Using a push cart to carry 45kg of supplies, we became the first women to walk the Dempster and the Inuvik-Tuktoyaktuk Highway to the Arctic Ocean.  Click here to read more.


I’ve officially been home for one week now. The reality of our accomplishment has yet to sink in. Reintegrating back into society after an extended period of time in the wilderness can be a mental challenge and social adjustment. The sounds of civilization seem amplified and I’m living in a currency that few people understand.


How does one describe or attempt to explain the spirit of the Yukon and The North West Territories?  Is it a feeling, an action, or a way of life? Does the geographical remoteness of the North create a deep sense of community, caring, and connection?


Since returning, I have wondered how I can adequately thank everyone who helped, hugged, and supported us throughout this journey. The encouragement, kindness, curiosity, and campsite visits from complete strangers carried us through the chilliest of nights and never-ending hill climbs.

In the coming weeks and months, I will start to blog about the expedition and my experiences in the North.

Create Your Adventure,

Remote Leigh



Preparing for my “Find Tuktoyaktuk” adventure can be summed up in one word, logistics! The planning, implementing and coordinating of transportation, food drops, and gear, can be as exciting as it is stressful. Befriending the environment and utilizing available resources is key when organizing your own adventure. Thinking outside of the box and a demonstrating a willingness to bend is a prerequisite when creating a personal guidebook.

“Finding Tuktoyaktuk” is a multidisciplinary adventure that includes backpacking, pack-rafting, and push-cart walking. Geographically speaking, some sections of the adventure are extremely remote, resupply towns are few and far between, and cell service remains a sporadic luxury.

From a creative perspective, I wondered how I could film “Finding Tuktoyaktuk” with minimal camera gear. Would it be possible to document my Arctic journey with ultra-light gear and not jeopardize the quality of the video and sound? Could a streamline film kit be carried on the Chilkoot Trail, float down the Yukon River, and survive the Dempster Highway?


As a generation X’er, I continue to romanticize old-school technologies and the rituals associated with their use. As convenient as iTunes is, I still prefer the sound of vinyl. Purchasing an album was considered to be an investment in an artist and listening to their recorded magic in its purest form felt sacred. Record stores in the 80’s were public libraries for music fans. Countless hours were spent in my teen years scouring through boxes of records in search of new music.


Photography wise, I still reminisce about my 35mm SLR camera. Digital camera technology has robbed me of the anticipation and anxiety associated with film processing.


Granted, I appreciate the immediate satisfaction of digital photography determining the fate of a photo. With that said, I do miss waiting an entire day to see if a captured memory among friends was accurately transferred onto paper. Leaving a camera store horrified and disappointed was a common occurrence after having a film processed in the 1980’s.


As a generation X’er, rotary phones continue to make me smile. In the late 70’s, it was a conscious decision to leave the comfort of the living room couch to answer the communal phone in the kitchen. I have often wondered if societal laziness was a direct result of our fingers no longer circling numbers on a wall mounted phone.


Ultimately, documenting this journey has forced me to embrace technology and invest in lightweight camera gear. I was the person who vowed to never buy an I-Phone. I was the person who could not justify spending a thousand dollars on an I-Phone. I have since realized it’s more than a phone. It’s an adventurer’s dream piece of film equipment. After extensive research and feedback from friends, I can honestly say it was the I-Phone that inspired my ten piece film kit.






















I am not affiliated with any of these brands; however, all these products can be found on Amazon.



In January 2018, I was inspired by an Australian Women’s Adventure Magazine Travel Play Live. Offering grants to support Aussie female adventurers, I finally felt like a publication understood the true value of adventure – creating and developing community connection, enhancing personal growth, and inspiring change.

After spending endless nights on Google maps, I created a grant-worthy route that would take me to Tuktoyaktuk. Tuktoyaktuk is a western Arctic town that most people have never heard of, never lone seen.

Until November 2017, this remote Inuvialuit community was only accessible by plane in the summer and ice road in the winter. After the completion of an all-season road, the town was connected to mainland Canada. I want to be the first person to walk the permafrost path to Tuktoyaktuk.

As I was preparing my application for the Travel Play Live grant, I found myself engaged in a late night facebook conversation with Kevin Schon. Little did I know that our chat about women’s empowerment, the visible invisibility of adventurous women in mainstream media, and my long-term plan to start a non-profit would result in the Kevin and Suzanne Schon Foundation supporting my adventure and life mission.

FINDING TUKTOYAKTUK begins May 24, 2018. The 2000km journey begins in Skagway, Alaska. Honoring the Klondike Gold Rush Miners, I will hike the Chilkoot trail and cross the border into British Columbia, Canada. Following the miner’s route, I will paddle 900km along the Yukon River to the heart of the former gold rush town, Dawson City. Using a push cart to carry 35kg of supplies, I will complete the final 900km to Tuktoyaktuk capturing the spirit of the landscape, wildlife, and its people.

You can follow my journey here, on Facebook – and on Instagram –

Create your own adventure,

Remote Leigh


P.S After securing support from the Schon foundation, I decided not to apply for the Travel Play Live grant. With that said, I am a huge fan and supporter of the magazine and will continue to encourage other women to become part of their Travel Play Live community.



Considered to be the “Galapagos of North America”, the Channel Islands is one of America’s most remote and least visited national parks. Located off the southern California coast, the park’s five islands offer sanctuary and solitude for those willing to forsake some basic creature comforts.

Known for its coastline cliffs, sea caves, and isolated beaches, Santa Cruz Island is a mecca for divers, snorkelers, kayakers, campers, hikers, and nature lovers. After being fortunate enough to obtain a three-day camping permit to the island, I booked my boat ride and headed for Ventura harbor.


With an 8am departure, I loaded my gear and boarded the Island Packers boat.

Embracing the reality that I would be spending the next hour managing my motion sickness, I headed for a bench seat towards the bow of the boat.

Over the years I have tried medication, acupressure wristbands, and ginger chews in attempts to alleviate my motion sickness symptoms. Nothing has successfully worked! These days my best case scenario is to take Dramamine, keep my food intake to a minimum, sit outside, face the horizon, and suffer through it.

After leaving the harbor, it wasn’t long before we entered the Santa Barbara Channel. Recognized as one of the most diverse and biologically sensitive ecosystems in the world, the Santa Barbara Channel is the seasonal home of blue, fin, and humpback whales.

Sharing their feeding areas with cargo shipping lanes, migrating whales are vulnerable to ship strikes in the channel. In 2007, four blue whales were killed by cargo ship collisions. Their deaths led to moving the shipping lane one nautical mile, increasing the distance between vessels and whales, and hopefully reducing the chances of future ship strikes.

With Santa Cruz Island in the distance, several migrating whales approached our vessel. In spite of my motion sickness, I reached for my camera and staggered over to the port side of the boat.

For the next several minutes, the Baryshnikov’s of the sea captivated passengers with their deep dives and tail flukes. Living in southern California, it’s easy to take whale-watching opportunities for granted. I still remember my first experience whale watching in Cape Cod, Massachusetts.

Arriving in Scorpion Harbor, the Island Packers crew prepared the passengers for a dingy landing.

Once all the passengers were on shore, an assembly line formed to unload everyone’s camping gear. In less than thirty minutes, the unloading process was complete.

Two national park rangers then conducted a brief orientation, covering basic rules and precautions that were specific to the island. As a non-smoker, I smiled when the ranger announced that only two locations on the island permitted smoking. The first spot was the landing beach and the second was four miles away at Smugglers Cove.

After registering with the ranger as a camper, I left the beach and headed inland to the campground.

Greeted by a welcoming party of island foxes, it was hard to imagine that less than a decade ago this species was on the brink of extinction.

With their numbers dropping below a hundred in 2004, a science-based restoration program was initiated. Today, their population has increased to twelve hundred.

Entering the campground, I felt like I was walking in Australia. Surrounded and shaded by massive blue gum eucalyptus trees, I wondered how Australian trees ended up on a remote island off the coast of California.

Who planted these non-native and non-invasive trees? I doubt it was the Chumash Indians; who considered this island home for over 11,000  years. My first guess was colonizers. I learned early in grade school that colonization is a combination of claiming, removing and introducing. Claiming a land that is not yours, removing its inhabitants, and introducing new inhabitants who identify themselves as landowners. Colonization often sees the introduction of non-native flora and fauna. In Santa Cruz island’s case, it appears it was the landowners and European ranchers who planted eucalyptus trees. I’m sure the eucalyptus trees provided shade, windbreaks, fuel, and construction material for the islands new inhabitants.

I set up my camp remembering I was a guest on sacred land. I considered the historical irony that a stolen island could have more federal and environmental protection than its original inhabitants.


After an early lunch, I hiked out to Smugglers Cove. Just under four miles each way, this hike follows old ranch roads that lead down to a secluded cobble and driftwood covered beach.

After three and half miles of walking across dry hillsides, the trail descended through some olive trees, before spilling out onto the beach.

Having been the only hiker on trail, I was the only human at Smugglers Cove. Seldom have I hiked within a national park and experienced such solitude.





As the only visitor exploring Smugglers Cove, I wondered about the life of pirates, smugglers, sea otter hunters, and bootleggers that utilized the area as a secret hideaway. Did they stay at the cove for extended periods of time or was the cove more of a secret storage facility? Is it possible that some hidden treasures remain in the area?


After being awakened by a curious four-pound island fox, I rolled out of my tent and prepared for a mid-morning island paddle.

Exploring giant sea caves and kelp beds was on the day’s agenda and I could barely contain my excitement. Santa Barbara Adventure Company had a last minute kayak spot become available. I didn’t waste any time securing a booking.

I’m not usually one to partake in group tours; however, having no experience paddling into sea caves, I decided to take my maiden voyage with a guide.

After spending a few hours navigating my kayak through several sea caves, I have a new appreciation for the finesse, timing, and tide awareness needed for cave exploration.

To complete my final full day on Santa Cruz Island, I opted for a late afternoon and sunset hike to Potato Harbor.

Leaving my campsite, I hiked up the chalky ridge and followed the backbone of the cliffs to the potato-shaped cove.

With no trail down to the beach, Potato Cove had to be admired from above.

On my way back to camp, mother nature painted a crimson canvas that exploded across the pacific skyline. The dramatic color changes; from burning orange to bright pinks and purple. I couldn’t think of a better way to end my day.


With a mid-morning departure, I packed up camp and said goodbye to my island fox friends. Ten years ago, it would have been rare to see this handsome fellow hanging out in the campground.

As I waited for my return boat back to Ventura, I was already planning a return trip in my mind. While day trips are available, consider spending a few days exploring the island on foot and by kayak. Santa Cruz Island’s history is one of sadness, survival, and struggle. Honor it’s past, present and future; by paying it a visit.