While on a recent vacation, I was given a book to read that was set in the area through which we were traveling, at the same time of the year. Wow, I can see it as I read it! I had fun trying to find the different places mentioned and photographing them.
The book was a Sue Henry mystery: Termination Dust. Sue Henry is a well-known writer of mysteries set in Alaska and the Yukon. This one, written in 1995, has two concurrent story lines. The main one, set in contemporary Yukon, follows a young man who gets involved in a murder while he is on a solo canoe trip on the Yukon River. Much of the story is set in Dawson City, Yukon. The other story line is in journal format. It is the writings of a man who joins other stampeders in 1897 seeking their fortunes in the Klondike gold fields. This account is also filled with mystery and murder.
Dawson City has preserved many of the buildings from the early twentieth century. They kept the board sidewalks and the unpaved streets. The wilderness is not far off. It is easy to see Dawson as it was 20 years ago, even, in parts, 120 years ago.
It was great fun to recreate the story.
Termination dust is the first snow of the season. It signaled the end of the mining season for the gold miners.
In 1897, 100,000 people started on the long journey north, 30,000 made it carrying a ton of supplies a piece. The actual trail can still be seen today.
The stampeders built makeshift boats at Lake Bennett and made their way over rivers and through treacherous rapids north to Dawson City.
The gold fields were located on creeks off the Klondike River. The stampeders made their hazardous journey only to find that the claims were staked before they left home.
Check out Termination Dust from the Central Library.