Wedged between Alaska and Canada’s Northwest Territories and with the Arctic Ocean to its north, The Yukon is made for outdoor adventures. We talked to guide Chloe Dumont Samson, an intrepid, adventurous woman who guides visitors on outdoor expeditions in the north American wilderness.
Inspired by a love of the great outdoors, we wanted to find out what inspires female outdoor guides to lead other women into the wilds, potentially taking them outside their comfort zone. In the first of this three-part series we meet Chloe Dumont Samson
Chloe Dumont Samson – Sales & Marketing Manager | Guide at Ruby Range Adventure
I moved to the Yukon after University, a complete change of scenery after several years studying in Montréal. I ended up in Whitehorse, Yukon not knowing how long I would stay, but I never completely left. Living in the Yukon opens the outdoor adventure doors to anyone; you end up hiking, paddling, biking, climbing most of the time and slowly your life starts evolving around spending time outside and in the wilderness. After a few years of office work, and some time traveling solo in South America I felt like I needed a challenge and decided that working outside as a guide was the logical career to pursue.
Was there one particular moment that led you into becoming a guide?
Yes, my good friend Silke had been working for Ruby Range Adventure for a few seasons already and every time she was talking about her trips I kept thinking: this is exactly what I want to do! Working outside, taking guests on trails and places I had already visited and loved. It seemed like the best job in the world! One day, I got a phone call; they needed a French speaking assistant guide on a trip, so I jumped on the opportunity.
Was it something you have always wanted to do or did you end up as a guide ‘by accident’?
I fell in love with the Yukon and Alaska a long time ago and Ruby Range is running trips in both locations, so it was simply perfect for me. I have always loved to work with people and traveling has always been a big part of my life so guiding simply became the obvious next step for me. I was not ready for office work and a more settled job just yet. I needed a challenge and I wanted to go on adventures all the time. I guess you could say it was an accident waiting to happen!
What qualifications or background helps you to be a great guide?
Speaking several languages is key. I speak French, English, and Spanish. My travels over the years have taught me many things and I have explored the Yukon and Alaska on my own and gained personal knowledge and love of this land. When you love something, it is easy to share it with others. Organizational skills are necessary, and all the first aid and other guide training as well. I also think some human qualities are required to be a good guide such as empathy and a good sense of humour!
How long have you been guiding?
What does a typical work day as a guide look like?
It depends on the trip I am on. River trips are different from hiking or road trips but let’s say we are on a camping road trip in the Yukon and Alaska. My day would start with making breakfast before guests wake up. I usually brief my guests about the day during breakfast, then we break camp and head on the road towards our adventure of the day, often a hike or another type of activity. My role is to keep everyone safe and happy and share my knowledge about the area. We then set camp for the night in a new location, where I cook dinner and the day usually ends around a campfire!
Can you describe a highlight?
I had the chance to spend time in Tombstone Territorial Park during the colourful days of fall three years in a row. I will never forget the beauty of this place at that time of year – it’s impossible to describe with words.
What about a situation that challenged all your skills as a guide?
Negativity from certain guests is the hardest thing to overcome. When you guide, you give a lot of yourself and your energy to every trip you lead. When people become critical and negative about things we do not control like the weather or technical issues it is hard not to be affected by the negativity. Guests with a positive attitude are always the ones having the best time!
How do women evolve during an outdoor adventure trip?
I have seen women starting a trip in fear of getting outside the tent at night and turn into keen hikers, adventurous and helpful guests three weeks later. The outdoors really has an effect on everyone, but I think women are generally amazing at adapting well to difficulties and challenges.
I see people slowly relaxing and enjoying themselves as any trip evolves. They smile more, they want to help, they laugh, they get stronger both physically and mentally. It is wonderful to witness these changes.
Anything else you’d like to share with Travel Play Live readers?
The message I want to send loud and clear is that adventuring outdoors is for EVERYONE. I am proof that you do not have to be a super athlete or anything out of the ordinary to enjoy spending time outside. You could even make it your job. It is accessible to every woman out there, no matter what you think, there is an adventure waiting for you!
More information: Ruby Range Adventures