By Emily Gantner
February 12, 2013
This past summer of 2012 I had the opportunity to go backpacking through Southeast Alaska with a summer camp I have gone to for years. Hitting off our summer, 12 girls all excited and eager to go on this amazing trip. We went hiking in Klondike Gold Rush Historical Park on the Chillkoot trail in Skagway, Alaska. We got to experience snow in the summer(which to most people's surprise never happens in Michigan during the summer). We got to go sledding down the summit on the Canadian side of the trail and meet the most amazing people on our trip. We meet a families who hike the trail every summer, boy scouts, and an 80 year old married couple trying to get one last adventure in. Most of the people we meet were surprised that a group of 16 year old girls wanted to spend their summer backpacking in Alaska, but we told them we wouldn't have it any other way. One of the scariest moment of the trip was hiking up the Golden Stairs(this is where the trail begins to summit and it is covered in moving rocks) as a group we helped each other make it up the stairs and gave each other the confidence to over come a mountain. We made snow men, had snow ball fights, and even decide to go swimming in Deep Lake when we finished the trail. Our motto for the trip was Y.O.A.O which means you only Alaska once. We tried to get in all the "Alaskan" things we could think of to accomplish our motto. We ate salmon, saw whales, went ice climbing, and even went inside a glacier. Truly it was the most amazing month of all of our lives. Throughout the hardships, blisters, tears, laughter, and memories the true meaning of our motto came out and created lifetime friendships and families.
At Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park, you can tour the districts of Skagway and Dyea, which date to the gold rush, and hike the 33-mile Chilkoot Trail.