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Yukon 2020™ First Nations Interactions

(April 27, 2020, Arizona USA) The Yukon 2020™ team will be most likely interacting with First Nation residents in the Yukon Territory of Canada. In Alaska, the team will be visiting select Alaska Natives’ fishing villages along the Yukon River.

Art “Karts” Huseonica of Sun City and Lauren “Lolo” Sherwood of Prescott are expected to be good representatives of a professional expedition. Besides being the right thing to do, it is in their character to be accepting of and learning about all peoples’ beliefs and way of life. They are also sensitive to being respectful to a village leader’s decision whether or not to permit the team access to their village.

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Mr. Huseonica and Ms. Sherwood have already met with members of the Alaska Natives peoples and received helpful information and advice. The team will also coordinate visits with the village leaders far in advance of their anticipated arrival. Before starting their expedition on June 14, the team will meet with First Nation representatives in Whitehorse, Yukon Territory at the Council of Yukon First Nations headquarters.

They will seek from the First Nations representatives guidance about which villages to visit for the purposes of resting and making minimal resupply food purchases. Working in the other direction, Mr. Huseonica and Ms. Sherwood will make inquires into what items, within cost and bulk limitations they can bring with them that the villages might need.

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In Alaska, the team will be working with the Alaskan state government and the Alaska Federation of Natives. As the team moves down the river they will be in satellite contact with community leaders. Contact will be determined through the prodigious use of the State of Alaska’s community database at the Community Online Database. Similar to the Yukon Territory villages, the team will make inquires into what items to bring that the villages are in desperate need of.

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Except in villages, meeting people on the river will be relatively rare. When the opportunity does presents itself, interactions with others will be a unique opportunity to learn about the people and to share with them stories and information about the team’s expedition.

Mr. Huseonica and Ms. Sherwood will avoid interactions if either one is feeling ill, or if they suspect others are sick. When they visit isolated towns or fishing villages, it will be impossible to avoid people so social distancing will be practiced if conditions at that time warrant it. The team will carry an amble supply of face masks, latex gloves, sanitary wipes, and hand sanitizer with them at all times.

At remote villages, the team will be an interesting distraction to residents, and most likely bring attention to themselves since they are strangers. The team has provided this Blog link to the Canadian government to help explain plans for interactions with First Nations peoples in the Yukon Territory. The link was also provided to the Council of Yukon First Nations. And also to the US State Department to demonstrate the team’s good-faith intentions regarding interactions with Alaska Natives.

For more information about the Yukon 2020™ expedition, please visit www.yukon2020.com.

Yukon 2020™ To Go or Not

(April 10, 2020) Exclusive Blog post for Adventure Canoe an Kayak Camping

To go or not to go, that is the question. But I’m getting ahead of myself. Planning for a major expedition such as the Yukon 2020™ is a monumental task. Although very similar in process to micro adventures, it involves more people and organizations, more monies, more planning, and certainly more patience.

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I started formulating my plan for Yukon 2020™ in November 2018. I was going to solo canoe the 2,000 mile/3,200km Yukon River, but family, friends, and my long-term sponsors were unanimously insisting that I should have a teammate. Not only for safety reasons, but also because they were simply getting tired of me. After an international search, Lauren “Lolo” Sherwood, 25, percolated to the top of the list. We’ve been working together on this expedition since February 2019.

We got busy mapping out our route, schedule, and gear list. We decided to start on the west arm of Bennett Lake in the southern part of Yukon Territory of Canada. This gave us a solid 2,020 miles for the year 2020. A nice marketing hook for creating interest in our

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project. In addition, we learned that we could make this a record-attempt expedition by being the oldest at 69, and the youngest at 26 to complete a documented source-to-sea run of the Yukon River in an open canoe. Lolo will celebrate her 26th birthday on the river.
Next we wrote a detailed float plan outlining critical information such as contacts, expedition insurance, and description of our canoe and associated safety gear. The float plan also has the required tentative schedule. In support of the float plan, we will use the standard trilogy-of-proof to properly document the expedition. This includes a publicly accessible GPS track, documented eye witnesses, and location selfies and videos.

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This is an unassisted expedition which means we cannot use sails or motors on our 18′ open, Canadian-style canoe. Because it’s also a self-supported expedition, we cannot accept any direct help along the river once we start the expedition. Key help is being provided by our outfitters in Whitehorse Yukon and Fairbanks Alaska. They provide support at the start and end of the expedition. In addition, our Alaskan outfitter will forward along our resupply boxes via the U.S. Postal Service to key points along the Yukon River.

With everything and everyone in place, we inked a deal with a major news source to provide exclusive insider news coverage before and after the expedition. Feeling good about our training program, detailed planning, logistics, and fundraising, along comes COVID-19.

All extensive expeditions include defer plans; we have three of them. Feeling temporarily gutted, Lolo and I activated defer plan #1. At the request of government officials we adjusted our start date from May 31st to June 11th. Complicating things is the fact that many of the fishing villages in Alaska where we’d planned to resupply at might not be welcoming to strangers stopping by. Although things will probably improve by July and August when we’re in that area, we have to consider not stopping. This forced Lolo and I to increase our resupply drops in Alaska.

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Where are we at right now? We’re staying positive and focused on training including canoe tipping exercises. Fundraising has taken a significant hit that we don’t anticipate recovering from. Key is remaining optimistic and forging ahead. If necessary we can go to defer plan #2 and start as late as June 18th. Defer plan #3 is to postpone until 2021.

By the time you read this, Lolo and I will have been tested for COVID-19 exposure. Twenty-four hours before departure we’ll receive a second rapid-results test.

We realize the fact that there are so many things out of our control, but we’re determined to manage what aspects of the expedition that we can. Just like we’ll manage our risks during the 60-day expedition. Taking encouragement from my friend Bear Grylls, we will never simply give up; that’s not an option.

There is always hope and we will remain hopeful through all this. Why? Because we have the courage to be hopeful.
For more information about Yukon 2020™ or to contribute, please visit www.yukon2020.com

Yukon 2020™ Beads of Courage

(March 17, 2020) The Yukon 2020™ team’s choice of charity to support on their 2,020-mile/3,250-km adventure is Beads of Courage. Beads of Courage lauren v1

Beads of Courage mission is to provide innovative, arts-in-medicine supportive care programs for children coping with serious illness, their families, and the health care providers who care for them. Beads are used because just like medals, ribbons and certificates, many ancient and modern-day cultures use beads to show bravery and accomplishment. They have long been used to protect warriors from natural and supernatural enemies, along with lending special magical protection for heroes during long journeys.Beads of Courage karts v1

Art “Karts” Huseonica and Lauren “Lolo” Sherwood will each wear a string of 20 beads during their epic 2,020-mile expedition. Upon their return, they will return the bead strings along with an encouraging card to accompany each individual bead. The beads with the cards will be distributed to children in hospitals throughout the U.S.A. who are enduring traumatic and repetitive medical procedures.

The team was so humbled to be chosen as celebrity Beads of Courage logo v1ambassadors of the program. Giving encouragement to children who are going through numerous serious medical procedures is what makes this charity so worthwhile to the team. Expedition coordination for Beads of Courage is being performed by Becca Gladden and Jean Gribbon.

For more information visit: Beads of Courage

Yukon 2020™ Leaving No Trace

(April 24, 2020; Arizona USA)  The Yukon 2020™ team is excited to have outlined their plan to Leave No Trace on their expedition. They are expected to have a plan in place to demonstrate their commitment to conducting a comprehensive and professional expedition with regards to the environment. In these times of COVID-19, this is more important than ever.

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Leave No Trace means that participants leave only their foot prints; in other words, minimal impact. This international program consists of seven principles: plan ahead and prepare; camp on durable surfaces, dispose of waste properly; take nothing; minimize campfire impact; respect wildlife; and be considerate of others. Art “Karts” Huseonica and Lauren “Lolo” Sherwood will remind each other to stay focused on the principles throughout their entire expedition.

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This outline of Leave No Trace principles is part of the team’s planning and preparation process. Due to the length of the expedition in terms of time and distance, preparation is an all-consuming process. Leave No Trace is an important part of that process.

Considerable time will be allotted to finding suitable campsites each night that are durable for tents, cooking, and general camp life that will not leave a permanent reminder that they were there. This includes their fire pit areas. If they’re fortunate enough to find an old fire pit area, they will build their camp around that so as to avoid creating another fire pit area. Only drift wood will be burned; no trees will be cut down. If driftwood is not available, they will revert to using their small mountain stove.

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Trash will be burned when feasible. Otherwise, it be packed up for proper disposal in villages if residents are agreeable to doing that. Having trash containers and room in their canoe is part of the planning and preparation step. Prior to the expedition’s start on June 4, Mr. Huseonica and Ms. Sherwood will eliminate as much plastic from their supplies as possible. They will never use any single-use plastics. The team expects to find trash along their 2,020-mile/3,250km journey and will pick up as much as they can manage and properly dispose of, especially near their camp sites.

Human waste will be disposed of in cat holes, at least six inches deep and located 200 feet/60 meters from camp or water sources. Toilet paper will be burned in the cat hole.  When this is not feasible, the team will be carrying a supply of blue bags to store solid waste in and properly dispose of where appropriate.Wag bags v1

Mr. Huseonica and Ms. Sherwood will take nothing from the environment such as archaeological or historical remains, rocks, or vegetation. They will not build cairns (small piles of rocks) as a reminder they’d passed through an area. Only their foot prints will be left behind.

Being respectful of wildlife means not feeding animals, killing them except for food as permitted and licensed, or harassing them in any way. The team will have to fish throughout their expedition in order to have sufficient food and get the protein necessary to keep them healthy and strong.

Meeting people on the river will be rare. When the opportunity presents itself, interacting with others will be a unique opportunity to learn about local residents and to Lauren and Karts superstitions v1share with them stories and information about the team’s expedition. Mr. Huseonica and Ms. Sherwood will avoid interactions if either one is feeling ill, or if they suspect others are sick. When they visit isolated river towns it will be impossible to avoid people. The team will carry a supply of face masks with them at all times.

At small, remote villages, the team will be an interesting distraction to residents, and most likely bring attention to themselves. The team will provide to the Canadian government their plan for interacting with First Nations peoples in the Yukon Territory. A similar plan will be provided to the US State Department for interactions with Alaska Natives. This plan will include how and when the team will contact village leaders prior to their arrival to discuss visitation and health protocols.

For more Yukon 2020™ expedition information, sponsorship opportunities, or to donate to the resupply costs, please visit the official Website.

Inherent Dangers on Yukon 2020™

(March 1, 2020)  Danger will be ever-present during the Yukon 2020™ record-attempt expedition. This 2,020-mile (3,250 km) journey includes a myriad of situations that Art “Karts” Huseonica and Lauren “Lolo” Sherwood must be acutely aware of, including hypothermia, bears, mosquitoes, and people. The team is not afraid of any of these, but hold a respect for all and plan to manage their risks to successfully complete the adventure. Karts with life jacket v1

Except for a 1.2-mile portage, when the team puts in on June 4, they will be paddling the distance on lakes and a river that is fed by glacial melt and snow melt water. The cold water is their foremost danger. If they tip over, they have only a few minutes before their body’s temperature begins to drop below 95 degrees Fahrenheit (35 degrees Celsius). Once this happens, their bodies and minds will begin to slow down to the point of not being able to save themselves. After getting to shore, hopefully with their canoe and gear, they must immediately remove all their clothes, put on dry clothing, and then quickly start a fire to warm up their bodies.

Yukon 2020 first aid v1Each will be carrying a water-proof emergency fire-starter kit, good for starting a fire even in inclement weather. Karts and Lolo are trained in CPR and wilderness first aid. Preparation and self-reliance will be key in such austere environments. There will be surprises, but it wouldn’t be an adventure without them. 

Bears are certainly a possible problem. When making camp, the team must survey the area for recent bear signs such as paw prints and scat. After deciding on a camp site the team will secure all their food in air tight containers and avoid leaving any food scraps laying around camp. Black bears are the most common bear that the team will encounter. Grizzlies (brown bears) also frequent the team’s route.

Yukon 2020 spot v1Other preventive measures include good camp protocols, bear spray, and a gun (as a bear banger). The team will use these in that order of precedence. Supporting the team are the assets provided by a Globalstar systems satellite telephone and their SPOT X GPS tracking and SOS device (pictured). A link will be published so that everyone can track the team. Their SPOT device allows for text and email communications, and has an SOS feature. 

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Mosquitoes, also known as midges will certainly give Karts and Lolo discomfort during their expedition. They will be prepared with body mosquito netting, tent netting, and bug spray. Dangers include dengue virus from mosquitoes and Lyme disease from ticks. Also an unavoidable irritant on portions of their expedition will be black flies and biting midges, also known as no-see-ums. Black flies can cause black fly fever and blindness if left untreated.

Although people are Karts and Lolo’s least dangerous entity, the team is still aware of issues related to people along the river and in the fishing villages. Occasionally, adventurers are seen as easy targets of theft and other misdeeds. To provide extra Lauren tshirt v3measures of safety and security, the team will be ever-aware of their surroundings, be respectful of village residents and people on the river, and use personal security code words and signals. They recently met with an indigenous resident who briefed them on how to conduct themselves in remote villages.

Karts and Lolo are adventurous people up for the challenges, and not afraid of the known or the unknown. They know how to manage risks, assess situations, and have a plan in place to respond accordingly. This includes comprehensive expedition insurance. Of course, flexibility is an essential component of such a dangerous endeavor focused on a record-attempt. Lauren and Karts superstitions v2

To help cover the enormous costs of such a complex expedition, interested folks can donate monies through the Yukon 2020™ team’s Fund Me page. A free t-shirt is given to those donating $30 or more. Or you can contact Karts through the Contact page on this Blog or via eMail at arthuseonica@gmail.com, phone USA 443-254-5730.

Those wishing to become tiered sponsors can check out the team’s Support page to see what matches the amount that you can give.

Yukon 2020™ Website

(February 18, 2020) It’s so exciting to have the Yukon 2020™ Website published. Here’s the link: http://www.yukon2020.com.Yukon 2020 branding logo v1 copy

Lauren “Lolo” Sherwood coordinated the site’s design, development, and publication with her good friend and expedition supporter Jonathan Pierson.

The team wanted to have a platform for the expedition sponsors and folks who are interested in donating monies to support the expedition’s high resupply costs. In addition, the media is more apt to pick up information from a credible and official Web site via a Blog, and search engines produce better results for Web sites.Lauren tshirt v4

What’s really unique about the Web site is that it outlines three sponsorship categories for companies or individuals to donate significant supporting funds. Categories include Silver Stream, Yukon Gold, and Platinum Oar. 

Interested folks can also donate monies through the team’s Go Fund Me page. Or contact Karts through the Contact page on this Blog or via eMail at arthuseonica@gmail.com, phone USA 443-254-5730.

Karts and Lolo are very grateful for the support they’ve received thus far. Watch for videos, vlogs, pod casts, and more coming soon about this and other topics.

Yukon 2020™ Background Story

Art “Karts” Huseonica and Lauren “Lolo” Sherwood are frequently asked the question how their Yukon 2020™ expedition came to be in early 2019.

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Mr. Huseonica, a Sun City resident first pondered traveling the entire 2,000-mile/3,200km Yukon River two years ago. His 2016 Amazon River expedition leader and author Jacki Hill-Murphy suggested the adventure. Over time, the idea morphed several times, resulting into a Yukon River source-to-sea run in an open, Canadian-style canoe.

At first, it was to be a solo adventure, but many of Mr. Huseonica’s family, friends, and sponsors suggested that he sign on a partner. This suggestion was due to the inherent danger of taking on such a remote and challenging Lauren waterfall v1
adventure alone. He personally believes that it was partially because people were getting tired of him.
After a long international search, Ms. Sherwood (pictured here) was selected to be the second paddle. A native of Prescott,
Arizona, USA she brings to the canoe an adventurous spirit, knowledge on numerous expedition subjects, a great sense of adventure, and is not afraid of a challenge. Ms. Sherwood will be the expedition’s primary drone operator.

Making this a properly documented record-attempt expedition resulted from a search of past Yukon River runs. One example was Beth Johnson’s popular Yukon River expedition whose resulting detailed book Yukon Wild is being used by the team as a valuableYukon River Miles Canyon v1 reference. Ms. Johnson and several ladies, ages 27-52, put in at Whitehorse, several miles from what today is considered the river’s source. It was certainly an epic adventure.

Another valuable source was the exploits of the former United States premier long distance paddler Verlen Kruger. He was older than Mr. Huseonica when he ran the Yukon, but he used heavily modified watercraft. Despite this, years after Mr. Kruger’s passing, he still holds the total respect of the team. Pictured here is Miles Canyon in the Yukon Territory (PC: Simon Blakesley)

When Yukon 2020™ starts on June 4, 2020, Mr. Huseonica will be 69. Ms. Sherwood will FB_IMG_1549545433242turn 26 when they reach the Arctic Circle in late June. To properly document a record attempt of being the youngest and the oldest to paddle the entire Yukon River, the team is required to officially declare what they are going to do, explain what they are doing while on the expedition, and then tell what they did at the completion. In addition, during the expedition, they are required to provide a trilogy of proof. This includes: a publicly accessible GPS track, documented eyewitnesses, and location selfies and videos.

Panorama of the City of Whitehorse, Yukon

Before flying to the river’s headwaters near the border with British Columbia, the team will outfit in Whitehorse, Yukon, Canada (pictured here, PC: Simon Blakesley). This is a self-supported, unassisted expedition, meaning that the team cannot accept any help along the river, and cannot use wind power in any fashion. They will mail resupply boxes to remote villages along the river in Alaska. They are required to complete portages themselves; one portage being 1 ½ miles.

Early morning reflections on the Yukon River

Helpful input is being received from experienced Yukon River runner John “Double Tap” Van Barriger. In fact, the team anticipates seeing Mr. Van Barringer on the river this summer. Another modern-day source of information is respected extreme adventurer and Canada’s premiere long distance canoeist Martin Trahan. This includes info about river traffic and the numerous side streams and dangerous sand and gravel bars such as pictured here. (PC: Simon Blakesley)

Resupply costs along the river are exorbitant. For example, a can of tuna is $8.00USD. A Lauren tshirt v4bag of chips is $12.00USD. You can provide direct financial support to the expedition and receive an expedition t-shirt (pictured here) at the team’s Yukon 2020™ Go Fund Me.

A Facebook group page and a Website will be soon published to help keep the team’s followers updated. The group page will include a link to track the team’s progress in real-time and information not found anywhere else.

Meanwhile, you can also see the above information in this article.