The McNeil River, Yukon, is a fly in trip but we looked for another way in. Theresa and I decided to give it a try hiking in; we left early October from the Ketza mining road.
My sense of direction is generally good and I can read a map. We found a horse trail right away. Down the first valley we encountered a no named creek, which eventually joins the McNeil River. We crossed it and flowed the horse trail towards the mountains and a pass headed for McNeil Lake. In one clear day we covered over half the distance; I was happy and let my guard down. When you follow a trail you sometimes forget to look at the land. We climbed over one pass, set up camp and went to sleep happy to be so close.
We woke up in a whiteout and a foot of snow. The trail was gone and we could not see the mountains to get our bearing. Yes, I was lost. Our only option was to follow an unnamed creek which I thought was going right to McNeil Lake, unfortunately I was one valley over; the creek lead right to the McNeil River not the lake. We trekked on down the creek, in wet snow, until we came to a river junction. Our unnamed creek join the first unnamed creek, now a river, we had crossed at the start. We named this river Tbob River after Theresa and Bob, us. It cleared up; I could see the mountains, got my bearings and found our location. We will have to trek upstream on the McNeil to meet the Lake. We had made an extra detour of half a day.
We came back, 2 years later, and hiked in the 7 kms over a pass, carrying our canoe and started right a little creek, which is the headwater of Tbob River. The creek is no more than 4 ft wide and right away drops over a 15 ft beaver dam; we slid right over it. We never stopped moving, dragging, pushing, jumping back in the boat. The scenery of these 20 kms of Tbob Creek is spectacular. We stopped at darkness and settled in our tent until daylight. We passed a grade III canyon and continued down the meandering flats. We reached the McNeil River the next day.