Raindrops on the tent in the wee hours. Birds sing their varied songs. All of Deep Lake is quiet, no one stirs in the tents, sleeping off yesterday’s adventures. Eventually, I rise to a chilly morning and boil water from the river. The weather is not cooperative for a day of art-making, but we still linger a bit with our paints. The old wooden bridge we crossed yesterday is scheduled to be replaced next year and must be preserved in the memory of art. With chilled fingers and toes, I do my conservation work as the cold works its way under my jackets and long johns. It’s time to get moving. The last big group from Whitehorse are just starting to emerge. They had a late night, judging from the bursts of laughter we heard while drifting off to sleep.
A gradual descent along the lakeshore and above a roaring canyon leads us to a glacial green lake of magnificent proportions. This is Lindeman. Once home to 4000 would-be argonauts, they razed the surrounding forest so thoroughly that wood had to be packed in from higher up. Now the forest is reclaiming its territory. The few shelters and canvas tents of Parks Canada nestle respectfully in the protective trees, all less than 100 years old. I chat with the hikers as they settle in. An older man and a young boy and two women from Portland restore my faith in the friendliness of the trail. The big groups are inward-focused, jealous of their family time, but the smaller parties are happy for external diversions.
Back at the warden’s camp, we are five girls – two Canadian rangers, a park biologist, me and my sister, who is happy to finally be off duty and away from the unleashed dogs. Steph cooks up a dinner of Thai curry and we laugh as only women can do when they are together in the wilderness. The wood stove is warm and there is a double sleeping bag waiting for me in the tent cabin. I’m so happy to be warm!
More pictures and drawing on Flikr: The Chilkoot Trail – an artist’s journey
Read More: Trail Journal Day 9