The Klondike Gold Rush Essay

1646 words - 7 pages

How would feel to be a multimillionaire in just a couple years, but you have to get the Klondike in Alaska. Many people took this challenge either making their fortune or coming up more broke than they already were. The Klondike Gold Rush played a major role in shaping peoples lives and a time in American history. My paper consists of 3 main topics: first, what people had to go through to get there; second, the harsh conditions they had to endure when they got there; and lastly, the striking at rich part or if at all they did get rich.
This mass rush of people all started in the summer of 1897; George Carmack was back from the Klondike with the gold he discovered in the summer of 1896 (SV; SV) (“The Klondike Gold Rush”). There was another ship, named Excelsior, which docked in San Francisco it also brought another miner and their riches from the Klondike (Stefoff). After the ships docked in Seattle and San Francisco, the word was out. “Even in those pre-Twitter days, word spreads fast.” (Martel). Thanks to the telegraph and many newspapers the gold rush drew many people looking for instant wealth (Stefoff). Once the people heard these telegraphs or saw the newspapers the prospectors were off to the Klondike (Glasner). The newspapers wrote an article on the boats coming to town saying “ A Ton of Gold from the Fabulous Klondike” Actually it was closer to two tons (Wharton).
Although most of the rush to the Klondike was to go prospect for gold other people got attracted there for the adventure, wilderness, or because they had nothing left where they lived now (Stefoff). This made the trip worthwhile for some people. The easiest way to get to the Klondike was by boat up to Dawson City the whole way, but it was also the most expensive; the other route was by overland travel through Canada (SV, Conjunction SV; SV) (“Klondike Gold Rush Yukon Territory 1897”). Most people chose to do the overland or boat halfway because it was cheaper and most of the time people couldn’t pay for the full ride. This trip would be very difficult and test many peoples endurance. The terrain was very tough they had to go from “Steep icy mountains and after that they had to walk a thousand-kilometers through mosquito-infested wilderness” (Glasner). Most people made the right decision and got on a boat on the west coast and got dropped off in Skagway Alaska.
Once they got off the boat in Skagway they had to walk over the Chilkoot or White Passes; either way it was dangerous. The Chilkoot Pass trail was a steep and hazardous mountain, rising 1,000 feet in the last half-mile. It was called the Golden Staircase because 1,500 steps were carved into the snow to the top of the mountain. If people gave up it was usually here leaving their belongings and turned right around and went back home. The other pass was the White Pass Trail, which could have been worse than the Chilkoot trail, it was steep and narrow, and over 3,000 pack horses died there; consequently, the pass became...

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