What did the Chilkook mean to me?

This tremendous, arduous, adventure is still top in my mind. I can’t believe I actually finally went to the Yukon and completed such a difficult journey.  I watch videos and view pictures and think that it should have been easier than it was for me.  But then I remember that I am indeed 55 years old, have never done a hike like this before, have not carried a heavy backpack since I was 23 years old, and suffer from arthritis.  So I suppose I did alright.  The Chilkook has been a journey done only in my imagination since I was a young student studying western Canadian history.  I was captured by the haunting pictures of Stampeders lining up to complete the Golden Staircase; of stories of eggs being sold for $2 a dozen (a price that at that time would have been like highway robbery); of hardship and treachery; and of innocent hopefuls being scammed by those wanting only to make a quick fortune off the backs of the naive.   I have wanted to go to Yukon to see it for myself. To view the endless expanses of nature seemingly untouched has been on my bucket list since I was young.    I am overwhelmed with a sense of accomplishment for finally having reached my goal.  I feel empowered to do more.  I have accepted that whatever I try, I will most likely be the “Leader of the Back” (one of the slowest ones on a trail), but I am OK with that place.  It doesn’t matter to me that I am slow or trudging; it matters  more that I set a goal and accomplished it.   Of course, not being near the back would be an awesome bonus, but really, the gold comes from just finally meeting my dreams.

 

The picture of the “Golden Staircase” below illustrates the hurdles to cross for those who ventured through the goldrush.  It also symbolizes my personal struggle to finally reach my dreams.  You can see the “Golden Staircase” path just to the left of center on this photo. The trail has a small patch of snow on it’s right side.  Image

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