1. Traveling to the Klondike


There were two basic routes north from Seattle to the Klondike: one by water, another by land and water.

    1. “The traditional way into the interior of Alaska and the Yukon Territory was the All Water Passage by way of the Pacific, the Bering, and the Yukon. It involved a round-about trip of 4,200 miles or more: from Seattle to the mouth of the Yukon, it was agreed, was about 2,800 miles, but every riverboat captain had his own guess about how far up the river Dawson lay. Some said 1,250 miles, others 2,250 miles, and 1,600 miles was the favorite estimate. Under favorable circumstances the voyage took about forty days––but it might require eight months. The Yukon usually becomes navigable in May, but the Bering doesn’t open as far as St. Michael [near the mouth of the Yukon] until late June and freezes in late September. The danger of being caught aboard a river boat between St. Michael and the Klondike was considerable.” [3, pp. 20–21]

  1. To my knowledge, E. A. Hegg never traveled the all-water route to Dawson. Instead he used shorter, but more difficult, routes by which stampeders went: by salt water along the Inside Passage to Dyea or Skagway at the end of the Lynn Canal (this album); by various overland routes to Lake Bennett (albums 2–4); and by fresh water down the Yukon River to Dawson (album 5).

References and Notes

    [1] E. A. Hegg (Illustrator), Souvenir of Alaska and Yukon Territory. Skaguay, Alaska, 1900. 104 pp. (Y MS1 645.2, YCMA)

    [2] Ethel Anderson Becker, Klondike ’98: Hegg’s Album of the 1898 Alaska Gold Rush. Binfords & Mort, Portland, Oregon, 1958. 126 pp.

    [3] Murray Morgan, One Man’s Gold Rush: A Klondike Album. Photographs by E. A. Hegg. Univ. Washington Press, Seattle, Washington, 1967. 216 pp.

    [4] Pierre Burton, Klondike: The Last Great Gold Rush, 1896–1899. Anchor Canada, 1972. xxiv+472 pp. See chapter 4 (pp. 90–132).

    [5] Pierre Burton, The Klondike Quest: A Photographic Essay, 1897–1899. McClelland and Stewart, Toronto, 1983. 240 pp.

    [6] I thank Jamie Serran, Archivist at the Yarmouth County Museum and Archives, for providing access to photographs and archival material.

William Day (25 November 2012)