This summer, local traveler will become the youngest documented woman to canoe the Yukon River

By Lauren “Lolo” Sherwood

Just as this issue of Prescott Woman magazine hits the stands, I’ve been dropped off by floatplane in the middle of the Klondike. The drop-off marks the start of an epic expedition known as Yukon 2020™. It’s a record-setting, 60-day, self-supported canoe adventure along all 2,000 miles of the Yukon River from the Canadian Rockies to the Bering Sea in Alaska.

Though I wasn’t born in Prescott, I am very much “Everybody’s Hometown Lolo,” and quite possibly the local adventurer you haven’t seen yet. I am a firm believer that a price cannot be put on experience, and because of that motto, I’ll give just about anything a whirl once!

Yukon 2020™ found me at the perfect time during my quarter-life crisis. Having traveled solo in Mexico for six months during 2017, I started to wonder what my next major trip would be. Then, in February 2019, Art “Karts” Huseonica put on an international search for a travel partner for Yukon 2020™. In typical Lolo fashion, I applied for the challenge before I had ever set foot in a canoe! He selected me, and we quickly realized that I would be the youngest documented female to canoe the Yukon River and Karts would be the oldest male (I’ll celebrate my 26th birthday on the river with a historical Whiskey Toe Sour in Dawson City, Yukon Territory). Karts is 69, but only in numbers.

In addition to my age and the fact that we’re canoeing the entire length of the Yukon River, the watercraft itself sets the expedition apart. With no modifications for wind power or splash guards to protect us from freezing meltwater, we will paddle the 2,000 miles in an open 18-foot traditional Canadian-style Nova Craft canoe.

After a year of cross-training including rock climbing, canoeing, yoga, and endurance exercises, we’re as prepared as we ever will be to encounter massive grizzly bears, harsh environmental elements, isolated villages, and a multitude of communication barriers. Yukon 2020™ is exposed, raw, and real.

I have high hopes for this trip: to be successful, discover further opportunities for adventure, and most of all, to inspire others.

Visit our website at https://www.yukon2020.com/ for ways to support the trip and find a publicly accessible GPS track starting June 14, 2020. This GPS track is one part of our “trilogy of proof,” a system to document our adventure. The other two consist of documented eyewitnesses and location selfies and video. If you’d like to support the trip I’d love for you to connect with me on all my adventures, and I look forward to publishing a Part Two of this story when I return.

For more information, follow Lolo on Instagram @lolosherwood, on Facebook at Lauren Sherwood, or at www.yukon2020.com. Email her at laurensherwood622@gmail.com.