Last Labour Day long weekend I was up north visiting my folks. While rummaging around in the bunk house, I found a book that looked like an interesting read, called, “KLONDIKE: The Life and Death of the Last Great Gold Rush” by author Pierre Berton.
It follows the fantastic journeys of the brave people who made the long, hard pilgrimage from the warmth of their homes to the cold of Dawson City, on the border of Canada and Alaska, in the late 1800s.
So far (only three chapters in) reading about the harsh realities of paddling and prospecting in the Yukon in the late 1800s has given me an interesting perspective on things and led me to ask myself, “Could I, right now, if I was dropped in the middle of Dawson City, be able to survive? And not only survive, but also find gold?”
As the universe would have it, I turned a page to find the questions I needed to ask myself (and for any other would-be prospector):
Have I the capital of at least five hundred dollars? Am I subject to any organism or chronic disease, especially rheumatism? Am I physically sound in every way and able to walk thirty miles a day with rough fare, sleep anywhere and anyhow, do your own cooking and washing, mend my own clothes? Can I leave home perfectly free, leaving no one dependent on me in any manner for support? Can I do entirely without spirituous liquors? Can I work like a galley slave for months, if need be, on poor fare and sometime not enough of that, and still keep up a cheerful and brave spirit? Am I pretty handy with tools and not subject to lazy fits? Can I swim and handle boats and canoes; put up with extremes of heat and cold, and bear incessant tortures from countless swarms of mosquitos, gnats, and sand flies?
Only a fraction of tens of thousands who streamed across the passes in the months that followed could say yes to these questions.
Sometime I’ll go through these questions with you, together. Ask yourself these as well. Some of those questions could reveal things about yourself that you were previously unaware of.
Will you be the, “fraction of tens of thousands” that will say yes to those question? Let me know.
See you on the trail to Dawson city.