The Klondike Fever: The Life and Death of the Last Great Gold Rush

The Klondike Fever: The Life and Death of the Last Great Gold Rush

The Klondike Fever: The Life and Death of the Last Great Gold Rush

The Klondike Fever: The Life and Death of the Last Great Gold Rush

Excerpt

Of a fateful encounter between a prospector and a squawman on the banks of a salmon stream called Thron-diuck, and what that led to

The man in the poling-boat slipped silently down the river, moving swiftly with the stiff current of the gray Yukon, keeping close to the shoreline, where martens darted from the high clay banks and the willows arched low into the water. Beneath him the waters hissed and boiled, as if stirred by some inner fire. Above him thrush and yellow warbler fluttered and caroled. And all around him the blue hills rolled on toward the rim of the world to melt into the haze of the horizon. Between each twin line of hills was a valley, and in the bottom of each valley a little creek gurgled its way down to the river. Below the wet mosses of some of those creeks, the man in the poling-boat knew, there was gold. But in this summer of 1894 he had no more stomach for it. For twenty-three years he had been climbing the hills of the world and trudging down the valleys, picking away at quartz and panning the black sand of a thousand creekbeds. Always the gold had eluded him.

He was a lighthouse-keeper's son from Big Island off the tattered coast of Nova Scotia, and he could scarcely remember the time when he had not thought of gold. As a child he had read . . .

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