Dawson City faces on one of the banks of the Yukon River, and now occupies about a mile of the bank. It is at the junction of the Klondyke River with the Yukon River. It is here where the most valuable mining claims are being operated on a scale of profit that the world has hitherto never known. The entire country surrounding is teeming with mineral wealth.
Copper, silver and coal can be found in large quantities, but little or no attention is now being paid to these valuable minerals, as every one is engaged in gold-hunting and working the extraordinary placer mining claims already located.
The entire section is given up to placer mining. Very few claims had been filed for quartz mining. The fields of gold will not be exhausted in the near future. No man can tell what the end will be. From January to April, 1897, about $4,000,000 were taken out of the few placer claims then being worked. This was done in a territory not exceeding forty square miles. All these claims are located on Klondyke River and the little tributaries emptying into it, and the districts are known as Big Bonanza, Gold Bottom and Honker.
I have asked old and experienced miners at Dawson City who mined through California in Bonanza days, and some who mined in Australia, what they thought of the Klondyke region, and their reply has invariably been, “The world never saw so vast and rich a find of gold as we are working now.”
Dawson City is destined to be the greatest mining camp in the history of mining operations.
There is a great popular error in reference to the climate of the gold regions. Many reports have appeared in the newspapers which are misleading. It has been even stated that the cold is excessive almost throughout the year. This is entirely a mis-statement.
I have found I have suffered more from winter cold in Northern New York than I ever did in Alaska or the Canadian Northwest.
I have chopped wood in my shirt-sleeves in front of my door at Dawson City when the thermometer was 70 degrees below zero, and I suffered no inconvenience. We account for this from the fact that the air is very dry. It is a fact that you do not feel this low temperature as much as you would 15 below zero in the East.
We usually have about three feet of snow in winter and it is as dry as sawdust.
As we have no winter thaws no crust forms on the snow, therefore we travel from the various points that may be necessary with snowshoes. These may be purchased from the Indians in the vicinity of Dawson City at from $5.00 to $10.00 per pair according to the quality.
The winter days are very short. In this region there are only two hours from sunrise to sunset. The sun rises and sets away in the south but there is no pitch darkness.
The twilight lasts all night and the Northern Lights are very common. Then in summer it is exactly the other way. The day there in July is about twenty hours long. The sun rising and setting in the north. A great deal has been said about the short seasons, but as a matter of fact a miner can work 12 months in the year when in that region.