The Chilkoot Trail is a 33-mile path that begins at tidewater in Dyea, Alaska, runs over the coastal mountain range and ends at Bennett Lake in northern British Columbia, the headwaters of the Yukon River. The trail was used for thousands of years by native peoples, serving as an important trade route from the coast into the interior. In the late nineteenth century, it became famous for being one of the quickest ways to get 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 and usually 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. Over this time, I hiked the trail, carrying and installing handmade signs in seemingly remote areas to promote the project. In these places, I met many interesting people and recorded their individual stories, asking them what brought them to this place. A short film was then based on these collective experiences with the intention of creating contemporary Chilkoot legends.
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.