Edgar Hernandez

Edgar Hernandez

Tuesday, 02 July 2019 19:27

Go Big or Go Home

What is going on everyone! Let’s give a shout out to the weather. The weather changes within minutes here in Alaska. You wake up with the sun shining bright in the sky, and you decide to go out in shorts and a t-shirt. However, you return drenched in water because it’s raining. But back to business. Our model here in the KLGO (Klondike Goldrush) is “go big or go home,” and this was the week to show up. After two weeks of “prep” time it was time to implement our interpretation programs to the public. I was super nervous and to make things even more nerve wrecking I had a full house. Thankfully, I have an extremely dedicated, committed, and supportive team that told me it was my time to show up. So, I went out there and did what I had to do to ensure that our visitors left our park satisfied and knowledgeable of our history.  

The second highlight of the week was my weekend outings. Born and raised in Los Angeles I really did not go out much. One of my goals is to get comfortable with nature and bears. So, a co-worker and I went to hike International Falls in Canada. The scenery was beautiful. You are hiking on open valleys and all you hear are the echoes of birds singing. It was a beautiful experience I will never forget. To get to the trail we had to cross a river that was about knee deep. This river was glacial runoff. So, let me tell you the water was sooooooooooo cold!! My legs were literally shaking and in pain after spending two minutes in the river. Eventually we hiked to an altitude of who knows what that we started crossing frozen rivers and slipping on snow. Overall, it was a great experience, but the worst part about coming back was crossing the river again. That is all for today folks tune in next week for more Edgar Shenanigans. Enjoy the beauty in the pictures below. Bye.

(Taking a moment to snap the beauty of the river that made my feet shake) 

(Hiking the valley)


 (Check out the mountains in the backdrop) 

Friday, 28 June 2019 19:31

They Say it's "WILD"!

What’s going on everyone! My name is Edgar Hernandez. This summer I will be the Interpretive and Outreach Intern representing the Latino Heritage Internship Program (LHIP) at the Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park in Skagway, Alaska.

I am from the Pico-Union neighborhood in the outskirts of Downtown, Los Angeles. Interesting facts about me: (1) I had a guinea pig for 8 years named squishy who I loved, (2) I played collegiate rugby, (3) I don’t know how to swim, (4) and I played the saxophone in a marching band. To be honest, growing up I did not know much about National Park Service (NPS) nor did I care. How could I care for something that I didn’t even know existed? I was more worried about not getting jumped on my way home and chasing the elotero (corn man). 

(Chasing dreams on small planes! Yikes) 

This was my third time applying to this program. Every rejection hurt and pushed me to do more (e.g., graduate degree and work experience), but here I am now in Alaska. My friends and I joke that it's "wild" that I am in Alaska. It seems unreal to me still. It seems unreal to see how beautiful the world is beyond the limits of the city I grew up in. So, I am here to learn and inspire the community that we from the “hood” can make it too. I am excited to be mentored by NPS staff and use my research background to develop programs that are accessible to those who do not have the resources to experience the beauty of the world. Until then like my mom and dad say “echale ganas si puedes” (keep going, you can do it) will be model. Tune in next week everyone so I can tell you all about my first week of training and more awesome pictures!! 

(Kitchen views at its finest) 

Friday, 28 June 2019 18:56

The Future Is Bear

What’s going on everyone! A lot of great things happened this week. First, let’s pay our respects to the bears. This week in the KLGO we had our first bear advisory go into effect. We were advised not to hike on our own as there were reports of bears being too friendly with humans. I have yet to see a bear. I’m still on the fence on whether I want to see one though.

Back to the good stuff. It was my first week working the line. I staffed the Visitor Center and Junior Ranger Activity Center. In the KLGO we are the nation’s only park to have a JRAC housed in a historical saloon! The center allows children and those young at heart to complete hands on activities to learn the history of the town, and earn their Junior Ranger badge. For example, children learn words such as, perseverance, bravery, entrepreneur, luck, and heritage. They are asked questions like “what does bravery mean to you? And “tell me a time when you were brave?” Then we provide interpretation on how gold prospectors embodied the chosen theme. I love working with children so it is heartwarming to see children play dress up, and see their eyes light up as they take the oath to become Junior Rangers.

Also, it was a week of a lot of what we call “prep time.” Basically reading, researching, and putting together interpretation programs to teach visitors about the Klondike Gold Rush. Do you all want to learn something interesting? Well you have no choice. One thing we don’t talk about in regards to the Gold Rush is how the media played a role in creating a mass migration to the Yukon. So, let me tell you. The Quaker Company (oatmeal) started selling cereal boxes that contained a 1-square inch certificate of land in the gold fields. However, it was all scam because the certificates were never validated by the company. To date, this is one of the most successful business strategies in North America. Now, Seattle invested millions of dollars to create an 8-page special “Klondike Editorial” that was sent to all public libraries in the United States to attract gold prospectors to the Yukon. These are just a few examples of the many that exist. But, I want you to think about the push and pull factors that influence migrations in our current time.

(Me enjoying the sun on a hammock)

Personally, it was my three-day weekend. I spent a lot of time at the gym. I sat on a hammock and enjoyed the sun. The KLGO family hosted a Saturday pot luck. Let me tell you. I was so full that day. I loved it. The food was delicious, beautiful and homemade. (Picture below). The people were great. I also found out about hamburger nights. Every Wednesday a church feeds the whole town burgers and hot dogs. If there is food I am there. Alright for now, that is all, but stay tune next week for more Edgar shenanigans.

Wednesday, 12 June 2019 19:28

Week of Many Firsts.

Hello everyone! I just completed my second week in the KLGO. It was a week of many firsts. We completed our first week of training and we learned all about audience center techniques to allow visitors to connect with history on a personal level. We visited the trailhead for the infamous Chilkoot trail. This was a trail that was used by the goldseekers to reach the Gold fields in Dawson City (i.e., Canada). The trail is 33 miles long, however, because goldseekers were freezing to death, dying of starvation, and disease. The Canadian Government implemented the Ton of Goods law. This required goldseekers to carry 3 pounds of food per day for one year plus equipment. If you are reading this. Can you carry 2,000 pounds up a mountain on one trip? Most likely no, but if you do, write your info in the comments. I would like to meet you!. Back to history, goldseekers on average hiked over 2,000 miles just to transport their goods through the Chilkoot Trail. 

(Other KLGO Interns and I posing in the start of the Chilkoot Trail)

Also, we visited the Gold Rush Cemetery for the first time. We learned the history of famous con man and mysterious unsolved murders that occurred in Skagway. We visited a place called Reid falls and the remains of the only documented pirate boat in Skagway. We also visited the ghost town of Dyea. However, what stood out to me the most was visiting the grocery store for the first time. I’m from Los Angeles where grocery stores are food heaven. I was shocked when I went to the grocery store and the shelves were empty. There was one beautiful green bell pepper that cost 5 dollars. My mind was blown away. But being me I asked the butcher: “where is the chicken?” He was like “there is no more chicken. You have to wait until the barge comes in on Tuesday.” So, for y’all reading Skagway, Alaska is a remote area that gets its food shipment deliver every Tuesday. When I go back home it’s going to be pretty cool to say “yeah, I lived in an area were the food came in on Tuesday’s and if you got sick you had to get medevac out.”

(Remains of the once booming Dyea town) 

Other than that, everything is going swell. I am making friends. I entered my first egg roulade competition to win 50 bucks, but ended up losing in the first round and had a bunch of egg juices on my cloth. I went on my first hike with a fellow co-worker. I accomplished all 7 miles uphill. To be honest, I was scared, but I pushed myself to complete it. I also attended a “hood nights of horror” and watched Pet Sematary and ate a bunch of cookies. So, all is good. Stay tune for more tales from the hood of Skagway, Alaska. Bye.

(view of Upper Dewey Lake after an intense 2 hour uphill hike. Worth it!) 

Wednesday, 15 May 2019 14:25

Edgar Hernandez

I was born and raised in the Pico-Union Neighborhood in Los Angeles, California. I am the son of two undocumented immigrants who came to the United States for a better life. As a child, I witnessed the lives of youth and of my community go to waste due to violence, addiction, and poverty. Growing up, I was a hopeless child, until the day I witnessed the murder of a 16-year-old. That pushed me to break societal norms. I now hold a Master’s of Arts in Applied Anthropology from California State University, Long Beach. I am an Applied Anthropologist who has been part of multiple longitudinal studies ranging from childcare providers to gang members. I am a tireless advocate for students in the Pico-Union Neighborhood and the chair of the Youth Committee for the Pico-Union Neighborhood Council. Currently, I am working as a substance abuse counselor with the homeless and incarcerated population of Los Angeles County.