In Aurore's Footsteps - Summer Adventure 2014

On June 17, Yukon author Keith Halliday, his wife Stacy, and their children, Kieran, Aline, Pascale and Ewan, embarked on the family adventure of a lifetime. They are retracing the steps of Aurore of the Yukon, the main character in the historical adventure novel for young readers of the same name penned by Halliday and published in partnership with MacBride in 2006.

In the novel, Aurore travels as a young girl to Dawson City, Yukon via Skagway and Dyea, Alaska, at the height of the Klondike Gold Rush in 1898. Along the way, she meets Jack London, Soapy Smith and other historical figures on her way to the story's climax in the Yukon. Aurore's adventures along the Chilkoot Trail and Yukon River have been a hit with participants in MacBride's summer kids camps, and the family has decided to add a bit of adventure to their own lives by following her fictional footsteps.

Over two weeks the family will cover 919 kilometres – 53 hiking and 866 by kayak – from Dyea to Dawson City. They will begin by hiking the Chilkoot Trail to Bennett, B.C., and then they will paddle down the Yukon’s lake and river system in their attempt to make it all the way to Dawson.

Why attempt such a journey? The Hallidays seek to celebrate the Yukon's rich history and the spirit of Aurore. In fact, the story Aurore of the Yukon is based on the real life story of Halliday’s grandmother, Aline (née Cyr) Taylor.

“I grew up listening to river stories. You seem to hear the old names less often around Whitehorse these days; magical names like Hootalinqua, Fort Selkirk, Five Finger Rapids or the Thirty Mile. I'm looking forward to seeing them again,” says Halliday. “We'll also pass the remains of the Cyr Dredge, an unsuccessful mining venture by my great-uncle. My son dumped his kayak in a careless moment last time we passed, keeping the family tradition of bad luck on that stretch of river going.”

Will they make it all the way to Dawson City? The MacBride will be tracking them daily, and you can too:

  • On our website or Facebook page, hashtag: #AuroreFootsteps
  • Through Tweets on MacBride Museum’s Twitter page, hashtag: #AuroreFootsteps

Aurore's Footsteps Map

Keep checking back for new posts daily!

June 28, 2014

Woo hoo! Keith Halliday and his family have completed the journey from Dyea to Dawson City in the footsteps of Aurore of the Yukon! They are sore,blistered and exhausted but they're still smiling! Now is the time for a big meal and a soft bed. Congratulations Keith, Stacy, Kieran, Aline,Pascale and Ewan!


June 26, 2014
They are getting close, folks! Keith Halliday and his family are enjoying some hot oatmeal and coffee at Ft Selkirk, w. Taylor & Drury post & family stories. (They are sharing their location here: Here's a historical photo of the Yukon Field Force at Fort Selkirk in 1899, from MacBride Museum's collection. You can read more about Fort Selkirk at this great Virtual Museum Canada site

Fort Selkirk

June 25, 2014
Keith Halliday and family have made it safely through Five Finger Rapids! Here's a historic picture of the S.S. Casca squeezing through the narrow stretch of river from MacBride Museum's collection. #AuroreFootsteps

MacBride Museum - Five Finger Rapids

June 24, 2014
Keith Halliday and his family have paddled their way through Laberge! Here is the update: Woohoo! Finished flat lake paddling with Laberge now Thirty Mile current under our boats. Here's a photo of the Steamer Whitehorse coming down the Thirty Mile on the Yukon River from the MacBride Museum collection! #aurorefootsteps

Thirty Mile River


June 23, 2014
Keith Halliday and his family have arrived at Lake Laberge, soggy, but in good spirits. Here's a picture of the Klondike Gold Rush stampeders of 1898 on Lake Laberge, showing many square-rigged boats and scows. This photo is from the MacBride Museum collection! #AuroreFootsteps
Follow along the full journey from the beginning at

Lake Laberge

June 21, 2014
Keith Halliday and his family have arrived very soggy at Tagish, passing old NWMP post where stampeders checked in. #aurorefootseps Here's a picture of Tagish Post in 1898 from MacBride Museum's collection.

Tagish Post, 1898

June 20, 2014
Keith Halliday and family have arrived safely in Carcross where they'll stop for a nice coffee at Caribou Coffee in Carcross Commons. When in Carcross, also be sure to check out MacBride Museum's exhibit on the history of Innovation and Entrepreneurship in Carcross in the Skookum Jim house. Keith had a chance to stop by!

Keith Halliday in Carcross, Yukon

And, here's a picture of Carcross from 1900, when it was called Caribou Crossing from MacBride Museum's collection.


June 19, 2014
Keith Halliday and family have made it to Bennett. Now they will pick up their kayaks and begin their paddle to Dawson City Yukon Here's a picture of the White Pass and Yukon Route train at Bennett, circa 1900.#Chilkoot #AuroreFootsteps Parks Canada


June 18, 2014

Chilkoot Summit

The adventure continues in the footsteps of Aurore of the Yukon! Keith Halliday and his family made their way up the Chilkoot summit where they had a lovely cup of hot chocolate (see the attached photo of gold rush stampeders packing supplies up the golden staircase). The Halliday family only needed to carry enough supplies to make it though their trip, so they packed a bit lighter than the stampeders did.

Sheep Camp c.MacBrideMuseum

The family spent last night at Sheep Camp on the Chilkoot Trail. Here'a a photo from MacBride Museum's collection of Sheep Camp during the Klondike Gold Rush in 1898.

June 17, 2014

Dyea c.MacBrideMuseum

The adventure has begun! Keith Halliday and family got an early start and left Dyea last night for their family adventure retracing the footsteps of Aurore of the Yukon. Here's a picture from MacBride Museum's collection of Dyea in 1898 - during the height of the Klondike Gold Rush. Looks a bit different these days.



MacBride Museum of Yukon History
1124 Front St. Whitehorse,
Yukon Canada Y1A 1A4
Phone: (867) 667-2709
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May 15 - August 31
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Daily 9:30am-5:30pm
Wednesdays & Thursdays in July and August we will be open until 7:30pm (except July 21)