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Canada?s Yukon is one the world?s last great wildernesses, where bears, moose and caribou roam. It?s a place where hikers, paddlers, skiers and mushers can travel for days without seeing another human soul, where the northern lights dance green and red across starry skies, where glaciers tumble, mountain peaks soar, and tundra shrubs scream scarlet as summer turns to fall. It?s a land of heart-rending human stories, too, for the Yukon is home to the Klondike, to which an estimated hundred thousand dreamers and ...
Canada’s Yukon is one the world’s last great wildernesses, where bears, moose and caribou roam. It’s a place where hikers, paddlers, skiers and mushers can travel for days without seeing another human soul, where the northern lights dance green and red across starry skies, where glaciers tumble, mountain peaks soar, and tundra shrubs scream scarlet as summer turns to fall. It’s a land of heart-rending human stories, too, for the Yukon is home to the Klondike, to which an estimated hundred thousand dreamers and desperadoes including a young Jack London once swarmed in search of gold.
Bradt’s Yukon is the only guidebook dedicated to this natural and historical wonderland. Offering practical advice on everything from where to pan for gold to how to avoid being eaten by a bear, alongside quirky anecdotes (such as the story behind the ‘sourtoe cocktail’ a shot of whisky garnished with a severed human toe), it’s the perfect companion for highway drivers, cruise-ship passengers, and outdoors enthusiasts alike.
Then, in mid-May 1897, the ice on the Yukon River broke. A few grizzled miners packed their nuggets and gold flakes into battered bags and boxes, headed downriver to St Michael, and from there by steamer to Seattle and San Francisco. Among them were Clarence and Ethel Berry. Clarence had been working as a bartender in Bill McPhee’s Fortymile saloon that momentous evening when Carmack had sauntered in with his gold; the Berrys had rushed to the Klondike and staked a highly lucrative claim; it’s said that when Ethel wanted housekeeping money, she just walked out to the yard, bashed the frozen pile of paydirt with a stick, and helped herself to a couple of nuggets. As she and her husband sailed for civilization they were dressed in rags, but carried gold worth $130,000.
The Excelsior docked in San Francisco on 14 July 1897. America was at the time in the grips of depression and when a weary public saw the cargo that her passengers had hauled from the Klondike, its imagination was set ablaze. By the time the Portland, also from St Michael, arrived in Seattle three days later, 5,000 people crowded the docks to gaze and Klondike fever swept the city.
‘GOLD! GOLD! GOLD! GOLD!’ shrieked the headline of the Seattle Post Intelligencer on 17 July 1897. ‘Sixty-Eight Rich Men on the Steamer Portland. Stacks of yellow metal.’
‘All that anyone hears at present is “Klondyke,”’ the Seattle Daily Times reported six days later. ‘It is impossible to escape it. It is talked in the morning; it is discussed at lunch; it demands attention at the dinner table; it is all one hears during the interval of his after-dinner smoke; and at night one dreams about mountains of yellow metal with nuggets as big as fire plugs.’
Storekeepers closed up shop, clerks resigned their posts, policemen left their beats and teachers abandoned their classrooms. Within weeks, thousands including a young Jack London had left home to find their fortunes in the Klondike.
1. Background Information
2. Practical Information
4. Alaska Highway
5. Kluane National Park and Reserve
6. Skagway and the South Klondike Highway (including Haines and Atlin)
7. Campbell Country
8. The North Klondike Highway and the Silver Trail
9. Dawson City
10. The North
PART THREE: HIKING AND PADDLING
11. Introduction to Hiking and Paddling
12. Yukon River
13. Big Salmon River
14. Liard River
15. Chilkoot Trail
16. Donjek Route