Hiking with Ghosts

Hiking with GhostsSorry, Hiking With Ghosts is out of print. Check back for news about the planned e-book version.

A little over a century ago, the lure of Klondike gold led thousands of fortune-seekers to travel the Chilkoot Trail from dockside in Dyea, Alaska, to Lake Bennett on the Canadian side of the international border.

In Hiking With Ghosts, Frances Backhouse takes readers on a journey back in time along this world-famous northern footpath, now a 53-kilometre backpacking route jointly maintained by the U.S. National Parks Service and Parks Canada.

Combining first-hand experience and practical advice with engaging accounts of the Chilkoot’s human and natural history, this book is a useful starting point for anyone planning to hike the trail and an equally enjoyable read for the armchair traveller. Published by Raincoast Books, 1999.

Read an excerpt


BC2000 Book Award


Victoria Times Colonist: “Martha Black tackled the Chilkoot Trail in 1898 in a corduroy velvet outing costume. … A century later, Victoria author Frances Backhouse retraced Martha’s steps, but Backhouse’s outfit was the finest Mountain Equipment Co-op could offer. The result is a delightful mix of history, nature, photography and travel, all packaged in a paperback book that will satisfy the eco-tourist or the more sedentary reader.”

Focus on Women: “Richly textured, with luscious photographs, this book is a treat to read. … I recommend it.”

Quill and Quire: “Another enjoyable trekking volume based on a historic anniversary is Frances Backhouse’s Hiking With Ghosts. Part travelogue, part guidebook … [it] combines human and natural history with personal anecdotes that are as faithful a recreation of a week-long hike as you’re likely to read.” Read the full review.

The Martlet: “It made me want to get my tent and sleeping bag and head up to northern BC. … Backhouse writes descriptions to tempt any hiker or nature-lover and her obvious enjoyment of her second trip over the Chilkoot, despite some bad weather, shines through.”