French Toast: A Raft From the Past

Recently, with the massive interest in television reality shows, came a remake of old-style living and old-style adventure.

The Rivard producers from Manitoba are currently shooting La Ruée vers l’or: The New Adventure television show featuring various people to experience the great journey of the Klondike.

The series is hosted by a historian from Québec, Georges-Hébert Germain, and will be presented on TVA and TFO in February, 2011.

Late last month, the 10 travellers and gold seekers, men and women of all ages from all over the country, arrived in Whitehorse to immerse themselves in the spirit of the Klondike.

They left Montréal on May 27 for a trip by train to the other side of the country and, then, they had to take a boat to Dyea Bay.

Dressed like real Klondikers — traditional end-of-19th-century dresses, shirts, jackets and pants — they were willing to brave the many challenges they were about to meet.

Exposed to the same rude lifestyle and the precariousness as the Stampeders of that time, the participants were carrying 5,000 pounds of provisions over the Chilkoot Trail.

It took them seven trips, back and forth on the trail.

The big enemies of the trip were, of course, fatigue, very limited food portions and bad weather with just a few spare clothes (if it rains for an entire week … well, too bad).

After the trail, they had to cross Lake Bennett, paddling their old-style raft.

They portaged around the Whitehorse Dam and finally arrived in Whitehorse on a

Saturday, where they were greeted by a few locals, music and games.

They also got a well-deserved giant meal. “The trail was a whole physical issue because of our bad equipment, but also because we felt like we never had enough food to keep walking,” declares one of the participants.

They were tired and dirty when they arrived in town, but still the vibe was good considering that they had just met each other the first day of the trip and then had to deal with each other every minute since.

But the adventure is not done and the journey continues. They have to be in Dawson by mid-August to fulfil their purpose: to find some gold to pay for their trip back home.

Virginie Hamel is a regular contributor to What’s Up Yukon who keeps tab on events in Yukon’s francophone community.

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