Most prospectors landed in either the port of Dyea (Alaska) or Skagway (Alaska). They could then take either the Chilkoot or the White Pass trails to the Yukon River. Then they would sail down-stream to the Klondike *We'll discuss water travel next time. If the men landed in winter, then the freezing rivers meant they didn't get to the gold fields until summer. Out of nearly 100,000 gold seekers, only between 30,000 and 40,000 of the stampeders made it to the Klondike.
|Waiting for spring thaw at Bennett Lake, 1898|
Those whose ship made port at Dyea traveled the Chilkoot Trail. They had to cross the Chilkoot Pass to reach Lake Lindemann, which fed Lake Bennett located at the head of the Yukon River. Chilkoot Pass was higher than the White Pass, but for whatever reason, more people used it.The trail passed up through camps until it reached a flat ledge. This was just before the main climb; beyond this point the route was too steep for animals. (Makes me wonder what they did with their horses if they had them?) Anyway, this point was known as the Scales, where supplies were weighed before stampeders could enter Canada. (Customs, anyone? Do you have anything to claim?) It could take as much as a whole day to climb the 1,000 feet of the pass, back and forth, carrying small bundles or pulling your sled. Packers were men you could pay to carry or help carry your supplies. . But....they could charge up to $1 * $27 now* PER POUND !!
Avalanches were common up in the mountains. On April 3, 1898, an avalanche claimed the lives of more than 80 people travelling over Chilkoot Pass.
Next time we'll talk about the various other land routes and the sometimes deadly water routes to the GOLD!!!
Visit Jennifer Jakes at her WEBSITE or her BLOG