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,
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 – https://www.facebook.com/remoteleigh/ and on Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/remoteleigh/
Create your own adventure,
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.