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October 25, 2021 3 min read

The majestic Yukon

She wasn’t always a runner, but running and hiking are critical for Changemaker Shailyn Drukis’ mental health and motivation, as well as a major part of her lifestyle.

Hiking and camping had been a big part of her childhood, so she’s always loved the outdoors. And when she asked if she could tag along with a colleague she’d observed going out for runs, she was hooked.

Multi-day backcountry hikes are in regular rotation too, and it’s no wonder - she lives in the majestic Yukon.

“It's not the easiest thing to do, but I always feel like it’s a bit of an accomplishment.”

Shailyn hiking in Yukon

Furry athletes for the win

Born and raised in Waterloo, Ontario, Shailyn found herself up in the Yukon 10 years ago for part of her undergrad. The joke is that she went up for 3 weeks 10 years ago, which seems to be the case for many people who come to visit and end up never leaving.

While its beauty is unparalleled year round, she especially loves winter. “The species you encounter on winter runs are random and wild - they’re badasses. You see ravens, who are so intelligent, eagles, coyotes, lynx… I love witnessing their northern adaptive survival strategies. They’re basically furry athletes.”

Winter runs are not without their challenges, though, with only a few hours of daylight each day. Caution must be taken; she keeps these runs shorter, sticks to familiar trails that are close to home, and she maintains a clothing diary recording temperature, wind chill, what she wore, how long she was out, and how she felt.  

She once stopped at -40°C (-40°F) to watch an eagle chatting with a raven, but within 10 minutes she was losing warmth and started sweating, which can be deadly.  So it’s not an undertaking to be taken lightly. But she loves it, and even does winter backcountry camping; a scroll through her Instagram shows many an icicled eyelash.

Shailyn with icy eyelashes

Advocating for wild spaces

With a vast network of trails she can jump on just outside her home, it’d be hard to resist getting out into such vast beauty at every chance.

(Check out Shailyn’s  favourite trails in the Yukon)

“I’m out year round. I’m the nut who’s out at -40, you’ll never recognize me, my face is covered in ice.”

Backcountry hikes aren’t solo. There are “too many bears” to do it alone, and it’s so incredibly remote in those settings that there’s safety in pairs. 

It’s fitting, then, that her role as a Changemaker has her supporting the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society Yukon Chapter. 

Advocating for the Yukon’s vulnerable wild spaces, it’sCanada’s only nationwide environmental charity dedicated solely to protecting public land and water.

Shailyn near river

So fragile, so unique, so wild

“I’m very passionate about protecting wild spaces. Living in one of the most untouched landscapes in Canada, you see how fragile the ecosystem is, how vulnerable it is to changes and disturbances. I’m really lucky that this is where I get to work and call home and run and hike and explore.”

The Yukon chapter aims to conserve the Yukon’s ecologically and culturally important lands and waters for all. As the world rapidly loses its wilderness, conservation must be a pillar in the Yukon to protect and preserve its rich wildlife and diverse landscapes.

“The Yukon is so fragile, so unique, so wild. I’m constantly amazed by what I'm experiencing.”

Follow Shailyn on Instagram

If you'd like to help support Shailyn in her efforts, just enter "shailyn" in the discount code box at checkout and we will donate 5% of your purchase price to Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society Yukon Chapter.

Learn more about our Changemakers program here.

This is in addition to the 1% of total sales Endurance Tap is committed to donating to 1% for the Planet.