Friday, March 28, 2008

Back to the Klondike

When I was in the Klondike with the Chapman kids--

And I had to stay home.

--I was amazed at the way people lived just to look for gold. They pitched tents and built shacks, but the winters were brutal. Deep snows and temperatures that dropped to 50 below zero or worse. A lot of people making the journey didn't get further than Lake Bennett, about five hundred miles from Dawson City, the town that sprang up when gold was discovered. The last five hundred miles was the hardest, most of it by water. If miners didn't hurry, they would be caught by bad weather. The Yukon River froze, making it impassible by boat. People stuck at Lake Bennett had to wait until spring to travel the rest of the way. Many gave up and went back home.

But those who made it through lived a rough life. The "rushers" in this photo are fixing pancakes in their gold pans. Food was always a problem. People didn't eat fresh fruits and vegetables and became ill with scurvy, caused by lack of vitamin C. They also got snow blindness. All this for a few grains of gold!

I'd go, if there was a big kibble strike. Imagine panning for kibble . . .

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