Arriving at accommodation in the private Beaver float plane of the lodge sets the tone for this remote getaway. Slap bang in the middle of the wilderness in the North West Territories, of the Yukon, just getting to Inconnu Lodge is an adventure.
A nine-hour drive from Whitehorse along the Canol Heritage Trail to the Kluane airfield on the banks of Findlayson Lake followed by a flight to the lodge located on the shores of McEvoy Lake should qualify as remote in anybody’s book.
Head guide Kenny and two clients were collected on the way from an isolated spot on a wet, windy and decidedly cool day. They had appeared in good form however, with some fishermen banter going on, most of which sailed over my head by several feet.
I was met by owner Warren on arrival at the jetty, with a warm welcome and firm handshake, instantly reviving memories of survival documentaries watched about capable men pitting their wits against the elements and environment.
The lodge is a family affair as Warren’s wife ensures all guests are extremely well fed throughout their stay, purchasing supplies and liaising with the chef in menu building. His two sons are fishing guides and one of the waitresses is a girlfriend.
This provides a cosy, friendly atmosphere, although the conversation over dinner can be wide ranging and sometimes high powered, including politics, flying, which is a passion of Warren’s, business and of course hunting and fishing. Most of which also went way over my head.
Warren and his team, ensure all guests enjoy a comfortable stay in the lodge with excellent facilities and meals, which frankly in a place as remote as this are amazing. Any high end restaurant in the fashionable cities of the world would have been proud of the presentation and flavours offered with every meal.
Each guest, couple or family group is provided with their own, comfortable and cosy lodge which is home for five or seven days, depending on which option was chosen at booking. Most guests during my visit were individuals, though there was a couple and also a father and son.
Head guide Kenny, and the other guides fly guests to the many remote lakes and rivers, sometimes far from the lodge, ensuring they have the best chance of success.
Deciding whether fly fishing for the trout, grayling or even inconnu, the whitefish the lodge takes it’s name from or spinning for pike will provide the guest with the most fishing stories and jokes to share later at dinner. It’s also all catch and release, so there’s not any evidence to the contrary either.
The guides are of course extremely familiar with the surrounding area, the lakes and rivers, the seasons and weather, knowing exactly how to put guests on the fish. A discussion of plans for the following day usually ends each fishing session and is followed up by a more informed conversation before setting out to fish.
Fishing or hunting are not top of my list of skills, although I’ve somehow managed both when on escape and evasion or survival courses during my military career, beginners luck I guess. However, I found catching grayling in a fast flowing stream on a fly rod great fun and learning the art of fly casting was absorbing, though despite my determined approach, there was a distinct lack of success.
If fishing was fun, flying around in the photogenic Beaver trying to spot moose was exciting, but just being in this place was enough for me. In a wilderness, it is possible to discover the true meaning of peace and serenity; spend a few moments lakeside here and a new understanding of silence is found.
I enjoyed sitting on the small jetty as the sun went down, returning after each enjoyable dinner and spending an hour or so just soaking up the stillness of a cool evening in the Yukon wilderness.
If preferred there’s also a hot tub, perfect for relaxing in luxurious comfort while enjoying a cold beer and hoping the Northern Lights will make a welcome appearance. Suffice to say, it’s also a great place for stargazing or astrophotography as light pollution is almost non-existent.
If I was being overly picky, having somebody from the lodge on aurora watch would have been appreciated. A wake up call when the lights did appear, yes please! Though in truth, it’s all about the fishing, so maybe the demand just isn’t there.
There are side trip options available, visiting Virginia Falls, the Logan Glaciers and the “Cirque of the Unclimbables” are just a few. Warren also has plans to expand, offering heli-hiking in the hills around the lodge.
Wi-Fi is available, although thankfully it can be patchy at times adding to the sense of seclusion.
I left, not wanting to, it’s the ultimate wilderness escape, that few of us ever experience, though even if I spent a lifetime here, those fishing jokes would still go over my head!