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From The Klondike

From The Klondike image
Parent Issue
Public Domain
OCR Text

"Will C. Cornwell, son of Clark Dornwell, of Jackson, a former Ypsilanti boy, writes his mother from Stewart City in the Klondike región ! ander date of Dec. 1, an exceedingly interesting letter from which the following extracts are taken : I arn with "Bench Claim" Bill Coekburn, of Chicago, and "Skorkum" ' Pat Connelly, of Kansas. Late in ' September there was a big strike reported on Thistle Creek, 20 miles above theStewart river, on the same side of ' theYukon. The river . was at that time impassable, with floating ice, which stopped a stampede. We conjluded to come up and left Dawson, Nov. 10, with three sleds -with 225 pounds of grub and camping outfit, blankets, stove, etc, each. We : rived here the 17th. We started out ' with the temperatnre 10 degrces above zero. We were ont three days when it turned cold. We were camped on a glacier in a narrow gnlch ; tent was being hustled down and everything . lashed on the sleds. A monnted pólice with big dog came along and told us it was 58 degrees below the night before and 62 degrees last night. We had uot realized it was so low. We secured a cabin when we reached here for a month, at $10 and dried ont om tent clothes and blankets whichjaad become wet on the rail. The routine of the trail is something likethis: At 4 in the morning one fellow piles out, lights the candle, grabs up the pile of shavings laid out the night before. lights them with the candle, throws them in the stove and hastily filis the stove with wood and jumps back into bed. In 10 minutes the thin sheet iron gtove is red hot, and the tent warm as a house. The buckets on the stove have frozen to the bottom daring the night, but are soon thawed out. Soon all hands are out before the fire, warming each garment before putting it on. Soou the cook has the rolled oats boiling and the evaporated potatoes in the frying pan, and the bacon in the other and the biscuit in the oven. The others bring up an armful of ice from the Yukon, (water is too deep) in case more water is wanted; and the five pairs of blankets and the lyux skin robe are rolled up in two rolls and tied f ast to the sleds. Breakfast over, fur caps and mittens are donned, the grub packed and placed on the sleighs, the stove hauled down and fiie dumped out, and tent packed up and away we go, tugging at the ropes at a two rnile an honr gait It is 7 o'clock and the moon shining brghtly. The moon shines 20 hours per day. At 10 the sun looks over the hills and sinks back again in nearly the same spot and the moon reappears, fnrnishiug continuous light. At noon we hastily bnild a camp fire, cook a little bacon, thaw out the biscuits and weak cofïea. This is always a cold job after a hard pull and yon are glad to get into the harness again and ptill till you are warmed through again. Occasionally we pass open places where the black water is rushing through at a terrible rate, roaring like Niágara, wifch the steam rising 50 feet in the air. In many placts the ice is jamnied, great blocks being thrown up on end and in all shapes. Throngh this the trail is pretty rough bnt the trail usually leads aronnd these placs in and out among the islands. At 3 o'clock, or when we get tiied and a good camping place is found, one grabs a shovel clearing away the snow for a tent - between trees - another the tent and a third the ax, first to cut fire-wood, and then to cut pine boughs to be laid on the gronnd t'or a bed. The tent is soon np and the stove pipe set np, the kindling is ready in the oven and soon a fire is going. There is then a place to warm up. Blankets, etc. , are carried into the tent and soon enough wood is stacked in the corner to last till we pack np ; ice is brought in and after a wash in a gold pan, we destroy a large and plentiful repast of beans, bacon, biscuit and rice or fruit. After the dishes are washed, clothes (footwear especially) is hung up to dry over the fire. Beans are over boiling. One sits up a while to keep the beaiis boiling, and the others are asleep by 8 o'clock. By 10 o'clock nothing can be seen, save the blankets, white with frost and the steam issuing from underneath. There is seldom a sound to break the stillness of the moonli forest or the frozen Yukon.