Klondike Letters Project

Translating experience into memory through inspired creation.

Tag: memories

Return to the Trail

This summer I’ll be back on the Chilkoot Trail from July 5-9!  I’m excited to revisit my memories 4 years later and see how the trail has changed and how it has remained unchanged. Even more, I am looking forward to meeting new travelers and maybe even running into some ghosts from the past.

While I will only be on the trail for 5 days this time (a much faster pace than my 2 week journey in 2012), the Klondike Letters Project will continue all summer with postcards at the top of the pass. If you are hiking at any point this summer, be sure to stop for a moment and record a memory for your future self. What will you put in this space?

KLpostcardsFULL2016

174 Memories

174 memories of the Chilkoot Trail, ready to return to you.

174 memories of the Chilkoot Trail, ready to return to you.

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.

At 76 years old…

Last time I was here 11 years ago the sun was shining and there were no mosquitoes. This time it is raining and fogy and mosquitoes. Also, at 76 years old, the hills are higher now, the rocks harder and creeks bigger.

Last time I was here 11 years ago the sun was shining and there were no mosquitoes. This time it is raining and fogy and mosquitoes. Also, at 76 years old, the hills are higher now, the rocks harder and creeks bigger.

Solo but not alone.

A wonderful memorial hike for a lost friend. Solo but not alone. Great hospitality from Parks Canada. Curry shrimp for dinner. Still lots of snow on the trail. Taking in the healing power of nature. This place will always be a part of my life. A BIG turning point for me...

A wonderful memorial hike for a lost friend. Solo but not alone. Great hospitality from Parks Canada. Curry shrimp for dinner. Still lots of snow on the trail. Taking in the healing power of nature. This place will always be a part of my life. A BIG turning point for me…

With smiles on our faces

If life is truly a chain of memories, our hike is a strong, unbending and mighty link in this chain.  The early morning start today welcomed our day of extremes, beautiful green forests, lush moss beds, rocky paths, snow trails and finally the staircase. With courage, perseverance and a few reminders of the warm cabin waiting for us, our group of 8 made it to the top with smiles on our faces.

If life is truly a chain of memories, our hike is a strong, unbending and mighty link in this chain. The early morning start today welcomed our day of extremes, beautiful green forests, lush moss beds, rocky paths, snow trails and finally the staircase. With courage, perseverance and a few reminders of the warm cabin waiting for us, our group of 8 made it to the top with smiles on our faces.

Chilkoot Pass – Then and Now

when I stood on top of Chilkoot Pass, the vast, empty stretch of Canadian wilderness before me, it was hard to imagine a bustling, fluctuation community of thousands occupying the small saddle. Having a pencil in my hand, makes imagining easier! Here’s a look at some scenes from the first animated postcard from Chilkoot Pass. Soon I’ll have the entire animation up, but for now, scroll down and read some of the postcards travelers wrote on the top of the pass.

Chilkoot Pass then

Top of the Pass on a busy day in 1898.

Chilkoot Pass now

A wild, lonely day on top of Chilkoot Pass, 2012.

 

No One Will Truly Understand…

Snow has fallen on the Chilkoot Trail, obscuring the footprints of this season’s travelers  By now we’ve erased the memory cards in our cameras and filled them with other photos, our muscles have long-since recovered from the longs days and steep scrambling on the Golden Stairs. As the traces of our journey settles under the beginnings of a long winter, the memories of our time on the trail resurface.

“No one will truly understand what it is like to hike the Chilkoot, no matter how many pictures I take, or how many stories I tell.”

Who have you told about your journey on the Chilkoot Trail? What stories have become your favorite?

Forget Me Not…

I'm small, but I've got spunk!

Some of my favorite flowers are starting to pop out in the woods behind my house. There brazenly blue gaze has always charmed me, but this summer they are especially pleasing because they have become the floral mascot for the Klondike Letters Project.  The postcard project is an artistic experiment in the things we remember and the things we forget as we experience a wild place.

The box of postcards just arrived from the printer today and I’m incredibly curious to see how what words and images will appear on them in the coming weeks! I hope the people I rope into writing a postcard to themselves won’t feel like they have to pull some deep wisdom from the depths of the glacial past to write on these guys. I think taking a moment to observe what they are thinking and feeling right then, and “Quick! Write it down before it evaporates into the alpine atmosphere!” can elicit the best memories, years down the road. It’s the details we don’t consider important at the time that bring the most delight to our remembering.

Speaking of memories, the forget-me-not also happens to be the Alaska State flower, a fact I learned when I took my first trip to that grand state on a Girl Scout Wider Ops trip when I was 15. (Incidentally, that trip made suffering through middle school as a girl scout totally worth while!). Some things I remember from that trip:

  • visiting the Anchorage Airport traffic control tower (how many of you can say you’ve actually been inside an air trafic control tower??)
  • learning to skin a stoat from a Chugach National Forest Ranger
  • sleeping on a bed of moss thicker than my mattress at home
  • staying up all night at a salmon farm hoping to see the northern lights (no aurora but lots of stars)
  • hanging out with girls who lived in strange, far off places like Minnesota and Florida and the Bronx
  • eating Eskimo ice cream, which I think is sort of like eating poi in Hawaii – they give it to you so they can snigger at the expression on your face when it goes in your mouth.

We didn’t make it to southeast Alaska on that wonderful trip, so I am very excited to see what Juneau and Skagway have to offer, as well as all the fun with those Canadians on the other side of the pass. I’m looking forward to making some memories!