After summiting the Chilkoot Pass and trekking through miles of snow, we walked alongside Coltsfoot Creek through grassy terrain leading up to Happy Camp. EG

Ho! For the Klondike!

Story and Photos by Katie Emmets and Elise Giordano

This is the journey of two girls from Florida who were transplanted to Skagway by fate and followed in the footsteps of the Klondike Gold Rush stampeders on the Chilkoot Trail.
We spent three nights sleeping in a tent and four days walking through woods, trekking through snow, crossing through rushing streams and bouldering to the summit of the Chilkoot Pass.
We encountered porcupines and grouse, and sang our hearts out to Queen to keep away momma bears with cubs.
Tribulations awaited us at every turn, but through moral support and a heavy dose of comedic relief, we were able to accomplish a feat never before imagined by two flatlanders.
Afraid of heights, Elise wavered on the pass – the elevation playing tricks on her mind. And as Katie traversed the snowy slope after the summit, she slipped and fell a short distance to the rocks below, terrifying her for the remainder of the steep descent.
But through the fear and the tears we discovered a strong sense of teamwork, perserverance and accomplishment. When one weakened, the other was there to pick us back up and continue on – one foot in front of the other.
We met backpackers from around the world – Canada, England and Illinois – who all had different ways of experiencing the trail. Lorrie Williams, 72, from British Columbia hiked the 33-mile trail with her son and two grandsons. She said it was out of “stupidity,” but we knew it was to experience adventure with her family. A hiking class from Chicago that we met made sure to bring pancake mix, syrup, bagels, pasta, and a full container of olive oil.
But regardless of the circumstances or the parcels we were carrying, we were walking where thousands had before. We were making our own path. We were the Gold Rush stampeders.

Katie heading up Long Hill on a beautiful day. EG

Katie boulders up the Golden Stairs before reaching the false summit on the Chilkoot Pass. EG

LEFT: Katie boulders up the Golden Stairs before reaching the false summit on the Chilkoot Pass. EG

RIGHT: Katie slowly descends down the steep, snowy slope next to Crater Lake after summiting the Chilkoot Pass. Though the summit itself was treacherous, it was the snow that proved most terrifying for Katie. EG

 

Elise takes in the beauty of Moose Creek canyon before reaching Lindeman City. KE

After leaving Happy Camp on our third day, we stopped to take a photo near Deep Lake. We were trail weary and laughing at anything and everything - which isn’t out of the ordinary on a normal day. EG

ALSO SEE Elise's Chilkoot Trail video!