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A Trip to the Yukon, 1896: Part 5, Life in Circle City

Klondike Gold Rush

A Trip to the Yukon, 1896: Part 4, Down the Yukon River to Circle City

The Pittsburg Daily Headlight (Pittsburg, Kansas) - January 21, 1897

A Trip to the Yukon

Some of the Experiences of Seekers
After Wealth in the Alaska Gold Fields

by J. H. Jones, Galena, Kansas.

    This is truly the country of the midnight sun. As we beach our boat at Circle City at 12 o'clock midnight the sun is just going down. At 1:30 a. m. it rose again, and between suuset and sunrise is the most beautiful and enchanting twilight, as light as day. On the 21st day of this month there is an interval of ten minutes between sunset and sun rise. What a country it would be forthe farmers who work from "sun to sun."

    Circle City is situated on the river front, giving a fine view of the river for miles in either direction. There are flats along the river which extend about fifty miles below the town. This a model frontier town of about 100 cabins, three stores, four saloons, a tin shop and an opera house. You may wonder what use people have for an opera house in such a remote place as this, but if you think there is no "society" here disabuse yourself of the thought at once. A grand ball was given a few nights after our arrival and "long tailed" coats, standing collars and "boiled" shirts were very much in evidence. In fact the population live, act and enjoy their amusements just like people in the states.

    The nearest mining camp is on Birch creek, 100 miles distant, and if you want to go you must pack your "traps" the entire distance, and coming the trail is nothing compared to the drudgery that must be endured on this one hundred mile journey. Provisions are a little high at the mines, and you had better have a little spare cash in your pocket if you want to eat.

    Fifty pounds of flour costs $60, bacon 80 cents a pound, beans 50 cents a pound and all other eatables in proportion. Living in town is somewhat cheaper. Flour, $8 per sack; bacon, 40 cents a pound; beans, 20 cents; dried fruits from 25 to 40 cents a pound; all canned vegetables, 50 cents a can. Wages in town are $6 a day, while at the mines the average is $10 a day.

    There are two companions of the Yukoner's life that I have nearly overlooked - the dog and the mosquitos. While I was at Forty Mile I saw seven dogs hitched to a plow working like horses. The poor dogs are the most faithful friends, and at the same time the most abused ones, that the Yukoners have. After pulling our stuff over the snow and ice to the water they are given a week's rest; but after reacbing Circle City their trouble commences again and they are made to pack from 25 to 50 pounds according to the size of the dog, over the trail, 100 miles, up to the mines.

    The mosquitoes are large enough to pack or pull either - at least you would think so when there are a thousand on you at once pulling at your life blood. You are compelled to wear gloves and drape your head in netting as a shield against these pests. At meal time is when they visit you in large delegations. Everything you cook is full of them. When you open your mouth to eat you swallow a dozen of them, or at least you imagine there area dozen of them from the kicking they do as they go down your throat. Such forms a part of the every day life of the Yukoner, and if you don't like a diet of uncooked mosquitoes my advise is keep away from Circle City.

[To be continued.]

Although the above article ends with "To be continued," we have been unable to find any more chapters.