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The Chilkoot Trail is a 33-mile path that begins at tidewater in Dyea, Alaska, runs over the coastal mountains and ends at Bennett Lake in northern British Columbia, the headwaters of the Yukon River. The trail was used for hundreds of years by native peoples and served as an important trade route from the coast into the interior. In the late nineteenth century it became famous as one of the most popular ways of getting to the Klondike gold fields in Dawson City, Yukon Territory.   It is in this more recent history that the image of the trail is often represented in popular culture with a wild sense of individuality, romanticism and myth.

Chilkoot Legends is a project that took place for two weeks in July 2014 as part of a residency sponsored by the National Parks Service, Parks Canada, the Yukon Arts Centre, Alaska Geographic, and the Skagway Arts Council. Signs were posted and stories were collected from hikers all along the trail.  A video was then created based on those contemporary stories and Chilkoot experiences.

The first part of adventure-art is all about creating an exciting and unusual life experience.  The second part of adventure-art is the image of that experience.  People that decide to hike the Chilkoot Trail have already put themselves in a situation of adventure.  Chilkoot Legends serves to provide them with an image of their adventure.

The video is currently in post-production, however, a short preview and some stills are posted below. Also, a post-adventure radio interview with the CBC in Whitehorse, Yukon Territory!

 

Video Trailer

 

Interview on CBC Radio in Whitehorse, YK

 

Installation View: Gallery Darger HQ, Lincoln, NE, November 2014

(contains fake bear skin pedestal-seat, wall-size video projection, hand painted signs, and a framed, digital photograph)

 

Eric Kocher (friend, collaborator, and official artist-in-residence support person)

The first sign people would see in a series of seven

This is somewhere between The Pass and Happy Camp. Eric and I were hiding behind the rocks to take shelter from the wind.

This was to let people know I was serious about the project

This was to let people know that we were official

Peter, Family, and Friends (Whitehorse, YK)

Steve and Cliff (TN, USA)

Shari and daughter (Whitehorse, YK)

Jean-Baptiste, Vincent,& David (France)

Yishai (Israel)

Tom & Matthew (Sacramento, CA)

Camp Tamarak Group (MI, USA)

Karen, Kristine, Katie, Sarah, Kay, & Mary playing dice at Sheep Camp

Artist talk at Sheep Camp

Another artist talk at Lindeman City

The first false summit of the Golden Staircase

Standing in front of the Golden Staircase

Climbing the Golden Staircase

Eric on the Golden Staircase

Somewhere between the two false summits

100 canvas boats that were discarded at the top of the pass in 1897-1898

Ruins at the pass

Happy Camp (first campground after The Pass)

After leaving Happy Camp

Long Lake

Ruins at the beginning of the trail

Our backpacks

At the border in 1897-98

The Scales ahead of the Golden Staircase

The Golden Staircase

Climbing the Golden Staircase

(thank you, Kira from NPS for making this)