Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Gold in Them Thar Hills


Little known fact: The Writer has always loved stories about the Klondike Gold Rush because she read about it when she was a kid in an Uncle Scrooge comic.

Whoa! You mean Miss-Two-Masters-Degrees read comic books?

The "duck" comics, as Uncle Scrooge and Donald Duck comics were known, were actually based on fact. Uncle Scrooge supposedly obtained his fortune in the Klondike. But when The Writer began researching Gold in the Hills, she found tons of interesting facts. People couldn't just take a bus or even a horse to the Klondike. Travel was difficult and dangerous.

One of the most interesting routes was over the Chilkoot Pass. The last half-mile of this 1000-foot high mountain had 1500 steps carved in the ice snow. "Rushers," as people stampeding to the gold fields were known, had to climb this mountain with enough supplies to last at least six months. They couldn't carry it all at once, so they climbed up and down the mountain again and again until all their supplies were on the other side.

What's that dark line in the picture?

That's people climbing single file up the mountain. Down below you can see piles of supplies and more people waiting their turn on the "golden stairs," as those icy steps were called.

Winchester, you'll appreciate this little story. One man carried a crate of cats over the Chilkoot Pass. People thought he was crazy. But he knew miners in the lonely gold camps would pay good money--gold!--for a house cat.

Makes perfect sense to me. If somebody paid for my weight in gold--

--The Writer would be very, very rich.

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