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Stillwater's Steven Price takes fast trip down Canada's Yukon River

Price and his partner make in two days a trek that normally takes two weeks
by Ed Godfrey Published: July 13, 2013
/articleid/3862277/1/pictures/2158328">Photo - Steven Price, associate vice president for technology development at Oklahoma State University, rows on the Yukon River in Canada. Photo by Steven Price
Steven Price, associate vice president for technology development at Oklahoma State University, rows on the Yukon River in Canada. Photo by Steven Price

Price said the most harrowing part of the journey occurred in the first few hours on Lake Laberge where strong headwinds and waves forced them to stop and bail water from the boat. It almost forced them to abandon the voyage.

“That was not fun,” Price said. “The water was very cold. If we had gone in, it probably would have been all over for us. Colin said if the waves had gotten an inch higher, we would have pulled the plug.”

Another spot on the river called the Five Fingers Rapids was supposed to be a hazard, but Angus, once a professional whitewater rafting guide, handled it with ease, Price said.

“He made it look like duck soup,” Price said. “I got three drops of water on my legs.”

The pair averaged 8.6 mph in the rowboat during the trek even with a slow current.

“We had read the Yukon would normally have an 8 mph current,” Price said. “The average current was 4 mph. If it had been eight, we would have killed the record.”

The two rowers didn't see another person on the river during the two-day journey. The only wildlife they viewed was one moose and a calf.

Price and Angus had to navigate a river that contained numerous channels and islands. A fast time would be determined by making the right decision on which way to go.

“Learning to read the river was the big challenge,” Price said. “My wife didn't think we would find our way out of there.”

More than 700 teams have entered the Yukon River Quest since 2001. Price and Angus made the fastest unsupported journey from Whitehorse to Dawson City (no shelter, food or water was provided along the way).

And, they are the only team to make the trip to never set foot ashore. But since they were not officially entered in the race, those records might not be recognized by anyone.

“We felt we could have done it for a month,” Price said of the rowing trek. “We felt we could do it all the way to the Bering Sea if we wanted to.”

If they can raise the money, the two men are planning to enter an ocean rowing race around Great Britain in 2015.

by Ed Godfrey
Copy Editor, Outdoors Editor, Rodeo, River Sports Reporter
Ed Godfrey was born in Muskogee and raised in Stigler. He has worked at The Oklahoman for 25 years. During that time, he has worked a myriad of beats for The Oklahoman including both the federal and county courthouse in Oklahoma City for more...
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