contributed by: Patrick McSherry
Editors note: This is an 1898 newspaper account of the return of a miner from the Klondike. The individual travelled by the Dyea trail, better known as the Chilkoot trail. The places named along the trail were tent cities. The images are  not part of the original article, but have been added from the arcticwebsite archieves.
From the Klondike With His Gold

Wm. Marion’s Good Luck

Dug Out Enough to Keep Him a Few Years

Wm. Marion, of McKeesport, Pa., who has spent the last 12 months in the Klondike, arrived in Cleveland, Monday, on his way home from the land of gold.

Marion claims that he brought back with him enough gold to keep him in comfort for a year or two. He left McKeesport in May, 1897, without a dollar.

“I borrowed the money to make the trip to Alaska,” said Marion to a “Press” reporter “and my friends said that I would never be able to pay it back. When I reach McKeesport I think they’ll say I’ve fooled ‘em. I’m counting on paying that $400 back with interest.”

“I followed the wagon road from Dyea to the first crossing of the Dyea river, where I was compelled to pay a ferriage fare of 50 cents for myself, and $5 per ton of freight. There were six in the party besides myself, and we had lumped our freight. We found two other crossings before reaching the head of navigation on this stream, but these were forded , the water being only 18 or 20 inches deep.”

“At Sheep camp, which is on the timber line of the west side of the mountains, and the last camp on the trail, we began to climb. From this point to the Scales, the place where packs are weighed, the trail ascends 1800 feet in three miles and a quarter. A thousand feet of this comes within a distance of half a mile.”

Area Known As The Scales (foreground), With The Chilkoot Pass (background)
“From Sheep camp to Deep lake, 12 miles, we had to carry our fuel on our backs. In making the almost perpendicular ascent, this added weight proved a terrible handicap. We had professional packers to carry our freight.”

“From the summit of the pass to Lake Lindeman, the distance is only 11 miles, which we covered by following the trail over a rough country.”

Stampeder at Lake Lindeman
“At the portage between Lake Lindeman and Lake Bennet we found a saw mill. At the time we were there this mill was several weeks behind its orders. Lumber sold at $125 to $150 per thousand feet.”

“From Lake Bennet to the mouth of the Klondike river at Dawson City, the distance is 522 miles. We made this journey in a boat.”

Front Street Dawson City
  “An account of the 11 months I spent in that country would not differ materially from that of hundreds of others, which have been published. I staked off a creek claim on a tributary of the Klondike. I was fairly successful as miner, but I suffered from the extremities of cold and hunger, last winter. I resolved that with the return of the spring I would get out of the country.”

Miner's Camp, Yukon
Marion disposed of his claim in April, starting home immediately by way of the Yukon. He found a market for his gold in San Francisco. Marion left Cleveland on the C. & P., at 1:40 p.m., Monday, going to Pittsburgh.
Source: The Cleveland Press, June 1, 1898

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