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Jul 21, 2009 -

Finnigan’s Point to Canyon City

The rest of the first day of hiking was quite easy and we reached Canyon City mid-afternoon, covering a total distance of about 12km (7.5mi). This was my favourite campground, with private sites along the Taiya River. Camp routine hadn’t set in yet, but was starting. After setting up our tents, we all stripped down to wash off the day’s grime while our guides boiled hot water for afternoon drinks.

We had a pleasant afternoon at Canyon City and after dinner we hiked a few more klicks (without our packs!) to the site of the gold rush era Canyon City to see a few artifacts. This involved crossing a suspension bridge, something that I can now do without any fear or hesitation whatsoever. How far I’ve come since last September!

More about this stretch of the trail and Canyon City can be found in my ebook about the Chilkoot. 🙂

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Jul 21, 2009 -

Chilkoot Trailhead to Finnigan’s Point

Last post left us at the trailhead in Dyea. Let’s pause for a bit and talk about who ‘we’ are. ‘We’ are a group of seven, five guests and two guides, Mark and Victor, from Sea to Sky Expeditions, based in Delta, BC (near Vancouver). There are only a handful of outfitters with permits for the Chilkoot Pass and I picked Sea to Sky for two reasons:

1) They are the only outfitters who start in Whitehorse and return guests to Whitehorse. All others start in Skagway and return to Skagway;

2) Their itinerary provides an extra night on the trail so the trip is less rushed.

I was extremely pleased with my experience with Sea to Sky and look forward to taking another trip with them in the future!

Back to Dyea:

Our guides made sure we started off on the right foot by feeding us a fabulous breakfast of fresh blueberries topped with vanilla yoghurt as well as muffins. Hot drinks were up to us, with hot water provided first thing each morning. When filling out our pre-trip paperwork, we had to state what sorts of hot drinks we wanted and I had asked for coffee in the morning and herbal tea in the evening so I did not have to go into caffeine withdrawal on this trip. 🙂

We set off at about 8:30, with a quick stop at the Chilkoot trailhead sign for a group photo and then the adventure finally began!

The meanest miles in history show their true colours just a few feet from the trailhead with challenging ‘Saintly Hill’ (ha!) that tests hikers even before they are warmed up. Once up that slippery mass of earth, roots, and rocks, it’s fairly easy trekking through marshland to the first campground, Finnigan’s Point, where we had lunch.

More about this section of the trail will be found in my ebook about the Chilkoot trail. 🙂

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Jul 21, 2009 -

Dyea, Alaska (Chilkoot Trailhead)

Gold rushers had a choice of two land routes to the Klondike, the White Pass from Skagway and the Chilkoot Pass from Dyea. Thanks to the White Pass Railroad, Skagway has survived while Dyea has passed quietly into history. Today, there is little to see in Dyea and we arrived too late to explore the area.

More about Dyea and the rude arrival of gold rushers to this former boom town can be found in my ebook about the Chilkoot Trail and the ’98 gold rush.

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