That Amazing Klondike Gold Fleet

2nd August 2012, 18:19
Guns, gold and opium marked the highlights of the wooden-hulled Portland's checkered career. Seen above ice-bound in Northern Alaska where she earned her greatest fame, she is today remembered as the ship which brought word of the discovery of gold in the Klondike to the "lower 48" in 1897. After plying Alaskan waters for 13-years carrying miners and supplies to and from the gold fields, Portland struck a rock and had to be beached near the Katala River 50-mi southeast of Cordova.

Yes'er re-bob....anything that would float was used when that four letter word "GOLD" finally filtered down to the lower 48. If you were an were looking for some means to get to those fabled gold fields....but to get from point "A" to point "B" one had to travel those treacherous inland rivers and streams....and from what I read gold or no gold I don't think I would be the first one on any of them vessels.

Anyway it you'd care to give it a going over and see what one had to do ....just to "think about" becoming a 'rich man'....I'm sure your going to be enlightened.

Just click on the link below and you'll have 9 or so pages of reading


Hope you enjoy the article

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charles henry
7th August 2012, 15:03
If you can find it there is a book called , "One man's old rush" about a photographer who followed the prospectors with a camera. He covers the miners, the gamblers and the prostitutes who followed the miners. Dawson city was the largest town of the area. (About 60 miles NW of Whitehorse)
Typical of the scams to get the gold from the miners, in Dawson there was a telegraph office. Operators sending morse and receiving replies. In actual fact the wires didnt go anywhere, it was just take your money and make a show.
Great stuff chas

7th August 2012, 16:28
Ok Charles...thanks for the tip on the book. I'll see if I can find it. I do know there was a lot of scams going on up in that neck of the woods and the prostitutes made a fortune

John Rogers
7th August 2012, 17:46
Alaska gold, reminds me when I was stationed there back in 1961 one of the top tunes was North to Alaska plus the movie. One of the big dredgers they used was approx 50 miles north of Fairbanks, it was abandoned and was just sitting there rotting away, now it’s been fixed up and is now a big tourist attraction. The area was noted for Moose and Black Bear so me and a friend would hunt there on week-ends, we used the dredgers sleeping quarters to spread our sleeping bag. Some of the men from my unit bought SCUBA gear and was diving in the small creek and picking up a small amount of gold, (they were putting it in Jam jars, (never seen anyone with a full jar). At times I would take a week’s leave and go hunting up to a small town called Circle, about 10 people lived there, now it’s over one hundred or more since the oil pipes came through. At one time while walking through the woods I came across a stream that was running up-hill, I looked at my hunting buddy and said this is weird, we later found out that it was part of the man-made water feeder system they had built many years ago, they had built ditches 10-12 feet wide 4-5 feet deep and fed water through huge pipes that were 5 foot in diameter, water would run through the pipes at such force that it also ran down one hill and up the other hill.
Over time the wood structures they used for the sides of the man-made streams had rotted away and became part of the landscape and looked like a stream bed, even had trout in them.

I have forgotten the name of the River they used to siphon the water out of through the huge pipes. Will have to do some searching on the net to fill in my memory gap.

John Rogers
7th August 2012, 17:53
Found this article so far.

John Rogers
7th August 2012, 18:17
Ok Charles...thanks for the tip on the book. I'll see if I can find it. I do know there was a lot of scams going on up in that neck of the woods and the prostitutes made a fortune

We have all heard the term Sourdough used.

Sourdough: The name originally came from the Gold Rush of 1898 era when prospectors and other wanderers carried a lump of fermented starter dough for making bread in pouch around their neck. The fermented dough was kept close the body, to stay warm. A sourdough pouch hanging around a miner's neck was a clear sign of experience in survival. So, the term came to be associated with an old timer or someone who has been in the north country a long time.

While I was stationed in Alaska they told the new-comers the following joke.

To become a true Sourdough a new man to the area must. One. Pee in the Yukon River, Two. Kill a Grizzly
Bear, Three. Make love with a Cloche. (Eskimo Prostitute)

This new kid on the block takes the advice from the old guys and off he goes into the wilds to become a Sourdough. After a day he returns and says ‘Well I took a pee in the Yukon river now Im off to kill me a Bear, after three days he returns to camp all bloody and torn up, he tells his mates “now Im off to shoot that Cloche.[=P]

7th August 2012, 18:41
Well Charles....I'm an ex- Navy diver....then went professional after my retirement and I spent a tad of time up in that area...and doing the same thing those other "gold diggers" was doing. Oh I made a few hundred dollars...but I blew it all on beer and Cloche's......had one hell of a good time.

The word "Sourdough" has a lot of meaning to me...reason is one of my hobbies is baking...mainly all types of 'Breads' and anything 'Sweet' Can't eat any of it so I give it all way to needy families that has kids, but one thing I bake a lot of is 'Sourdough'....and I use it in many of my recipes of 'Sticky Buns, cookies, cakes and so on and so forth.' Learned to mess with it when up in the cold country....and on submarines...

Sounds as if you have a great well as I did....


John Rogers
7th August 2012, 18:54
Some photos of the "Ditch"

7th August 2012, 19:13
Wow!!!......that is some ditch

John Rogers
7th August 2012, 19:21
Wow!!!......that is some ditch

I found some more articles on the Ditch,but I think I have said all there is to say for now. Well maybe one more as it has many old dirty poems sailors used to tell.