By Alysha Page
The New Year brought with it a great deal of change, one of them being a big move from Washington, D.C. to Skagway, Alaska with the Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park. This journey was full of excitement and a bit of apprehension. Excitement to finally be meeting the wonderful Resource team I have spent the last seven months working with on the Buffalo Soldiers Company L, 24th Infantry project. The apprehension came from moving to a new location far away from home and the lack of resource access to complete my Ph.D. course work during the second longest government shutdown in American History (the first being in December of 1995 during the Clinton Administration). This next chapter of my life will definitely be a balancing act. I am excited to watch my skills develop, and I have no doubt in the support of the KLGO team and CRDIP/ACE.
Bright and early I set on my flight from Indiana, my hometown, to Seattle, Washington. Landing in Seattle Airport was that first moment that I realized, “Oh wow! I am really going to be living in Alaska for a year. Here we go!”
The trip to Skagway is not a simple journey, especially in the dead of winter. During my entire journey all I could think of is how difficult and time consuming it must have been for over a hundred African American men with all their gear to travel from Seattle to Skagway in 1899. It took fourteen hours and a great deal of stamina to just arrive in Juneau with all the modern conveniences. I can’t even fathom doing that prior to the turn of the century.
Once I finally landed in Juneau I had one more night before I could complete my final leg of my journey Juneau to Skagway, Alaska small seaplane ride that only can hold four passengers at a time. As long as the weather held and the skies were clear I’d make that trip bright and early at 9 AM AKST.
I think my family back home were more nervous about my flight than I was.
The thought of experiencing an intimate aerial view of Alaska was way more alluring than the fear of being in such a small plane. The views were resplendent and awe striking. This was an opportunity that not many experience and I felt incredibly lucky to have the opportunity. Thanks to the mentorship of Dr. Clark-Lewis and the strong relationship that HBCU has with the NPS, I was able to make such a beautiful journey.
Until next time, Farewell!