HO, FOR THE KLONDIKE!
By HAMLIN GARLAND,
Author of “Main-Traveled Roads,” “Prairie Folks,” etc.
THE VARIOUS WAYS IN.WHERE THE GOLD IS FOUND AND HOW IT IS GOT.WHAT NEW SETTLERS MAY HOPE FOR.
[Originally published in the March, 1898 issue of McCLURE'S MAGAZINE]
EDITOR’S NOTE.—This article embodies the latest and most authentic general information regarding the Klondike region and the roads leading into it. Mr. Garland went directly to the Hon. Clifford Sifton, Canadian Minister of the Interior, through whose courtesy interviews were held with the specially detailed engineers just returned from surveying the various routes. These official surveyors went carefully over the whole subject with Mr. Garland, putting him in possession of just the facts which his purpose required. Much of the matter of the article is given, indeed, in their own words. It embodies also matter from valuable official reports, some of which are not yet published. We are not permitted to name all the men who thus served Mr. Garland, but among them were Mr. William Ogilvie and Mr. J. J. McArthur, civil engineers in the service of the Dominion Government and Dr. George M. Dawson, head of the Dominion Geological Department. Through the kindness of Captain Deville, Dominion Surveyor General, we are enabled also to reproduce hitherto unpublished photographs of scenes along the several routes taken by the Dominion topographical surveyors, W. Ogilvie and Mr. Jennings.
The word “Klondike” is now universally taken to mean the gold country of the whole mighty region of the British Northwest Territory which lies between the Continental Divide on the east and the Coast Range on the west. Broadly speaking, this region is 300 miles wide and 6oo miles long. It reaches from Teslin Lake to Circle City, which lies within the Arctic Zone. The scale of measurements is enormous. The Yukon itself, in midsummer, is actually navigable for boats more than 2,300 miles. In general the region may be described as a wide, hilly valley, meshed with converging streams, deep sunk in the rocks.
It is a grim country, a country of extremes; it has a long and sunless winter, and a short, hot, moist summer. In winter the sun hardly makes itself felt, rising pale and white only for a few hours above the horizon. In summer it shines all day and part of the night. In July, when rain is not falling, the air is close and hot, the thermometer often registering 100 in the shade. Moss covers the high ground like a wet thick sponge throughout vast areas, and the soil is, in effect, perpetually frozen. There is little vegetable mold, and plant life is sparse. Steam arises under the hot sun from the cold, rain-soaked moss,
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