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PERCY HOPE’S TREASURE MAP

DISCOVERING THE LEGACY OF HOPE'S HIDDEN RICHES

B STREET BY ERICA MILLER

The sun hung high in the sky, casting long, warm rays across the quaint streets of Hope, Alaska. It was summertime, and the sunlight stretched into the wee hours of the next day’s morning, bathing the town in a perpetual golden glow. The vibrant community, once a bustling gold mining hub, now thrived with the energy of its close-knit residents. Yet, the echoes of its storied past lingered, murmuring through the wooden walls of its weather-beaten buildings and drifting along the sun-dappled, dusty roads.

 

One such memory was shared in the cozy corner of the local tavern. With his piercing blue eyes and unruly dark hair, Young Caleb Jensen gathered a small group of friends around a table. The tavern buzzed with the usual evening chatter, but Caleb’s voice held a secret that quieted the room.

 

“There’s something I’ve been holding onto,” he began, his voice low but filled with excitement. “A map handed down from Percy Hope himself. It says there’s a treasure buried up in the mountains.”

 

Gasps and murmurs filled the tavern. Percy Hope, the adventurous young man who ventured into the wilds of Alaska seeking fortune, had given the town its name. Caleb unrolled an old, weathered piece of parchment; the edges frayed, and the ink faded with time.

 

“This map was gifted to Percy at his wedding to Peggy at the Hope Social Hall in 1902,” Caleb explained. “He never pursued the treasure; instead, he handed it down with his estate to his son, Walter. It was lost over time, but I found it in the attic while searching for something else.”


Caleb’s friends leaned in, eyes wide with anticipation. Among them was Jake, Caleb’s closest confidant. “I bet there’s gold nuggets in that treasure,” Caleb said, his voice filled with excitement. “Can you imagine? Just sitting there, waiting for us to find it.”


Jake nodded, his eyes gleaming. “This could be our chance.”


With determined nods all around, they made up their minds to search for the hidden treasure.

 

The following day, the group set off into the Chugach Mountains, the endless daylight guiding them. The journey was grueling, the path barely discernible through the dense growth. As they ventured deeper, the excitement of the hunt mingled with the gold rush history of Hope that seemed to follow their steps.

 

Days dragged on, the sun casting an ethereal light over their expedition. They camped under the twilight sky, the silence of the wilderness both a comfort and a challenge. On one particularly warm night, as the wind rustled through the trees, Caleb dreamed of Percy Hope. In his dream, Percy stood beside a weathered Hemlock, his hand resting gently on its trunk.

 

“Caleb,” Percy’s voice rumbled, intertwining with the howl of the wind, “the treasure you seek is not what you think it to be.”

 

The next morning, Caleb woke with a sense of unease. He shared his dream with Jake and the others, his voice trembling as he recounted Percy’s words. Despite the ominous message, they decided to press on, curiosity and the promise of adventure driving them forward.

 

Finally, they reached the location marked on the map. The site was hauntingly beautiful, a testament to the passage of time. Following a specific mark on the map indicating a the old tree, they searched meticulously, their hopes high, but Caleb felt a growing sense of dread. As they dug, they unearthed an old metal box. When they opened it, they discovered something wrapped in oilcloth.

 

Caleb’s heart raced as he carefully unwrapped the cloth. Inside was a leather-bound book, pages filled with Percy Hope’s meticulous handwriting. They read through the entries and discovered that the journal was not just a record of Percy’s Alaskan adventures but a detailed account of the founding and development of Hope. It chronicled the struggles, triumphs, and deep sense of community that had defined the town from its earliest days.

 

One passage stood out:

“The real wealth of Hope is not found in the glitter of gold, but in the indomitable spirit of its people, the bonds we forge, and the legacy we leave behind. To upset this delicate balance is to beckon disaster.”

 

Caleb and his friends were struck by the profound truth in Percy’s words. They realized that their quest had led them to something far more valuable than gold—a deeper understanding of their town’s heritage and the values that had sustained it through the years.

 

With the journal in hand, they returned to Hope, their hearts full of newfound appreciation. The town welcomed them with open arms, eager to hear their tale. The journal became a cherished artifact, shared with the community and future generations. It was displayed proudly under glass in the Hope Social Hall, where Percy had received the map many years ago.

 

Occasionally, the residents of Hope gathered to listen as Caleb read aloud from the journal, his voice carrying Percy’s legacy forward. The stories of hardship and resilience resonated deeply, reinforcing the community’s bonds. The townspeople felt a renewed connection to their past and a stronger sense of unity moving forward.

 

As time passed, Hope continued to thrive. New buildings rose alongside the old, a blend of history and progress. The town’s children learned about Percy Hope, Caleb Jensen, and the rich tapestry of stories that made up their heritage.

 

Hope stood as a testament to the enduring strength of its people. It was a place where memories lingered, and the future shone brightly. The legacy of Percy Hope and the adventurous souls who followed in his footsteps will forever be etched in the heart of this remarkable town. Every time someone walked down the quaint streets, they felt the presence of those who had come before, their spirits woven into the very fabric of Hope.

 

*

Erica Miller’s paintings of Second Street and B Street reflect these connections. The abstract chaos symbolizes the town’s vibrant life and enduring spirit. Hope’s timeless beauty and resilience are captured in every brushstroke as a reminder of the past and inspiration for the future.

 

Born and raised in the rugged beauty of Alaska, Erica traveled to New York to study art, earning her BFA from SUNY Purchase in 1991. After a dynamic career in the construction trades, she recently retired, allowing her to dedicate herself fully to her passion for painting. Erica’s vibrant works are celebrated nationwide and featured in collections from the Anchorage Museum of History and Art to Ellis Island in New York. Her portraits also grace the covers of Neil Perry Gordon’s trilogy – Hope City, Cape Nome, and Denali. She now lives and paints in the inspiring landscape of Hope, Alaska.

SECOND STREET BY ERICA MILLER

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