Klondike Letters Project

Translating experience into memory through inspired creation.

Month: May, 2013

This amazing snickers bar!

Hi self,  It's 2012 right now and I'm obviously 16 years old. My hand's shaking so bad I can barely write. I'm about to eat this amazing snickers bar. I just climbed the Golden Staircase, and reached the f***ing summit. It was a lot different than all of the other stuff I've done. I don't know where I'll be a year later right now but I hope it's somewhere good.  P.S. I love you self!

Hi self,
It’s 2012 right now and I’m obviously 16 years old. My hand’s shaking so bad I can barely write. I’m about to eat this amazing snickers bar. I just climbed the Golden Staircase, and reached the f***ing summit. It was a lot different than all of the other stuff I’ve done. I don’t know where I’ll be a year later right now but I hope it’s somewhere good.
P.S. I love you self!

In honor of a great man

I write this in honor of a great man. A great-grand-father to my dear children. Born July 1,1917, passed away today: July 1,2012. A Historic moment for a fine family. Sad profound news to be learned by way of satellite phone. A call from the edge of the country the top of this mountain pass made on modern communication. And now I know he has left this earth shortly after celebrating his 95th birthday. And the world is a little lonelier today. Fare thee well.

I write this in honor of a great man. A great-grand-father to my dear children. Born July 1,1917, passed away today: July 1,2012. A Historic moment for a fine family. Sad profound news to be learned by way of satellite phone. A call from the edge of the country the top of this mountain pass made on modern communication. And now I know he has left this earth shortly after celebrating his 95th birthday. And the world is a little lonelier today. Fare thee well.

Mount the Cooter

ca

Way to mount the cooter!

Klondike Mike and the Unfortunate Piano

In February, 1898 Mike Mahoney aka “Klondike Mike” made a deal with Hal Henry. He would escort the Sunny Samson Sister Sextette and their luggage over the Chilkoot Pass and down to Dawson city for $3000 plus a share of the musical group’s proceeds once they started performing in the Dawson Saloons. The six blonde and virtuous sisters were sure to be a huge smash in the rough Klondike frontier, where feminine charms were worth their weight in gold.

There was just one problem – the sisters insisted on bringing their accompaniment piano. Klondike Mike, a strapping Canadian farm boy and champion boxer turned stampeder, duly hoisted the entire piano onto his back and went step-by step up the Golden Stairs and into Klondike fame. Fortune eluded him, however, because the Canadian customs officer at the top of the pass, seeing the piano, asked what he was about. When he heard that 6 delicate, ill-equipt showgirls were coming his way, he was aghast (this was only his second day on duty – he had yet to see the sort of folks trying to get to Dawson). Certain they would die on the trail! He refused to let the party continue any further.

Fuming, Mike stormed back to Skagway and left the piano atop the pass, where eventually someone hauled it back down and sold it for a tidy profit.

Animation: Corrie Francis Parks
Banjo Pickin’ : Ranger Kyle Kaiser
“Saloon Piano Gem No. 1” by Black Keys Bob Stevenson
References: The Hougen Group – Yukon Nuggets and Klondike Mike: An Alaskan Odyssey By Merrill Denison

Interviews recorded at the top of Chilkoot Pass.

This is part of a series of animated postcards from Chilkoot Pass. Read more about the project here.  These mini-documentaries are rooted in reality, with live interviews and photos from the Chilkoot Trail providing a catalyst for my personal memories and playful reinterpretations of history. As an artist, this is about as fun as it gets!

Hot tea with Southern Comfort

Wildflowers blooming in the snow - an eagle soaring in the fog - cold wind- beautiful vista - rocky, rushing creeks - hot tea with Southern Comfort - granola bars -  looking forward to a hot shower and my warm be - do the trail again sometime.

Wildflowers blooming in the snow – an eagle soaring in the fog – cold wind- beautiful vista – rocky, rushing creeks – hot tea with Southern Comfort – granola bars – looking forward to a hot shower and my warm bed – do the trail again sometime.

Canada on Canada Day

I remember my sore feet, catching up with my brothers, sisters, nephew and nieces and missing my wife. The scenery was grey and misty, the wind pushed us up over the summit. We arrived back in Canada on Canada Day. Being herded the whole way.

I remember my sore feet, catching up with my brothers, sisters, nephew and nieces and missing my wife. The scenery was grey and misty, the wind pushed us up over the summit. We arrived back in Canada on Canada Day. Being herded the whole way.

Boardwalk, settlers and tents

The first day was very long but so cool! When we walked on the boardwalk in some parts the water would come up onto the boardwalk. The first night we played settlers and when we finished there was 6 other tens right by ours and there were tents an inch away. 2nd day we saw 2 people who were trying to redo the goldrush. The golden stairs where long and we had to get up at 5 but we got up at 3!

The first day was very long but so cool! When we walked on the boardwalk in some parts the water would come up onto the boardwalk. The first night we played settlers and when we finished there was 6 other tents right by ours and there were tents an inch away. 2nd day we saw 2 people who were trying to redo the goldrush. The golden stairs were long and we had to get up at 5 but we got up at 3!

Alton Family Expedition

Alton Family Expedition

Soupe du chocalat chaud

Les escaliers d'or sont très cocheux mais quand on est arrivé au sommet on a mangé de la soupe du chocalat chaud.

Les escaliers d’or sont très cocheux mais quand on est arrivé au sommet on a mangé de la soupe du chocalat chaud.

Love the flowers, especially

If God leads you to it, He'll see you through it! Whit the grace of God, I was able to complete the Chilkoot! Thanks, God for the gorgeous scenery on this trip - love the flowers, especially.  Blessed to have met such wonderful people who shared the trail. Blessed to have 2 wonderful friends to share the total experience. Blessed to have the health and ability for this trip. Wonder what has happened by the time I receive this back.

If God leads you to it, He’ll see you through it! With the grace of God, I was able to complete the Chilkoot! Thanks, God for the gorgeous scenery on this trip – love the flowers, especially.
Blessed to have met such wonderful people who shared the trail.
Blessed to have 2 wonderful friends to share the total experience.
Blessed to have the health and ability for this trip. Wonder what has happened by the time I receive this back.