Thursday, July 22, 2010
Chilkoot Trail Again
After last August's rather damp hike over the Chilkoot, Andrew and I organized a second venture for late June. Five woman friends, all novices at backpack camping, joined us for the adventure. We discussed equipment for a couple of weeks in the spring and everyone bought, borrowed and dried the necessary tents, anoraks and food for the trip. Practice hikes with packs and a pre-trip packing session finished off our preparations and everyone had a pack weighing less than 17 kilos, not too bad.
Over the past twenty-five years I've worked and hiked on the trail there has been a considerable improvement along many sections of the route. Trail crews have added firm stone steps and chipped out foot holds on most rock slopes and creek fords. In the rock slides and up the "Golden Stairs" to the summit though, it is the same gruelling boulder scramble it has always been.
Our group took on all these challenges in good humour and, in three days of fine weather, we humped our way through the coastal rainforest and over the summit to Happy Camp. As we bedded down though, the wind began to blow and rain pelted down through the night and into the next day.
We were drenched by the time we made Lindeman City and gratefully hung up our wet kit from the rafters of the warm cabin. The rain faded in mid-afternoon and we made it to Bare Loon Lake to shorten our next morning hike to catch the train at Bennett. On the train there was rest and the beauty of Lake Bennett until we returned to a triumphant welcome at the Carcross railway station.