This is a series of posts that has been a long time coming!
About 7 months ago I started planning my quest on the Chilkoot Trail. The Chilkoot is an ancient trading trail used by the Tlingit Indians for as long as history has been recorded. In the last years of the 19th century, when gold was discovered in the Yukon, Canada, men (and some women!) from all over the world rushed to Skagway, Alaska to hike this trail and find their riches in the rugged and remote world of the North.
Of course we all know how this story ends… by the time the first gold seekers got to Dawson City, the rush was already over and no claims were left for the taking (thanks to the men who had a little bit more money to get to Dawson City just a little bit faster than the rest of the world). But did you know that the gold that was mined during those few years at the turn of the century brought in 48 million dollars (in gold!) to banks in Seattle and San Francisco? And much, much, much more was to be made by the merchants of the cities that cropped up all along the Chilkoot trail. Things like bars, restaurants, hotels, entertainment houses, boat kit makers and so on were all along this 53km trail, making it boom to around 100,000 people total during the height of the rush.
And then the railroad was built and all the towns disappeared almost overnight.
Now the Chilkoot is a rugged, strenuous hike that takes you through an outdoor museum of what little is left from those few short years when gold fever infested the world. It is a hike I recommend to anyone who is of the hiker’s mind (you’ll know who you are).
These next few posts will be about my trek up the trail. I hope you enjoy the images!
To get to the Chilkoot Trail from the Mat-Su Valley, we have to drive 18 hours into Canada, then back into Alaska (Skagway) and begin the journey.
I was lucky enough to have one of my best friends, who also doubles as my sister-in-law, Andrea as a hiking partner. Here we are, excited about our trek into Canada!
I have two rules in my rig that no one breaks. No eating. No one else drives. Here Andrea gloats in smashing both of those rules to pieces as we head into Canada.
Sunrise or sunset? It’s about 3am. Reason number #437 I love living in the North.
Skagway! A bustling metropolis when compared to the adventure ahead.
The next entry will be about Day One on the trail.