NOTE: Sitting in Mitch Lynas’s dental chair while he excavated and filled four teeth was nor he most
pleasant experience in my life.  Thankfully I was able to escape.  Livingston Wernecke’s description 
of that last cage being lifted out of the Treadwell Mine in 1917 is riveting.  I was with Livingston
on that final day in my mind while Dr. Lynas did a different kind of excavating an backfilling.


alan skeoch
Nov 28,2022



alan skeoch
Nov. 23, 2022


Take a good look at this strange building.  Notice anything?  Look again.  What is a little odd about
the building?  

The Treadwell Historic Preservation and Restoration Society restored the shell of the Treadwell pumphouse. Mt. Roberts serves as backdrop. (Katie Bausler)

Hope you noticed. The stone building is built on top of a tower.  Why?   Because the structure is built 
in the Gastineau Channel.   A fjord open to the sea.  In other words open to tidal fluctuations.  At high tide
the building stands alone seemingly on top of the water.  The tidal change in the Channel is immense.

And on April 22, 1917 there was a remarkably tidal flow heavier than normal.  Unusual.  So What?
Water is heavy.  Water in a five gallon a tank is almost too heavy to lift.  Now just imagine the incredible 
weight of the water that flows backend forth through the Channel every day.   Zillians of pounds more than a puny five gallon tank.



FIVE HUNDRED  feet below the Channell, on April 22, 1917 there were 350 miners taking out gold bearing
ore.  Doing so in a rather odd way to my way of thinking.   They were cutting
chunks of ore out of the ceiling of the stopes.  Mining above their heads.  Loading the horse drawn
mine carts with the good stuff and piling the waste rock on he mine floor.  So the stopes of the 
Mine became high vaulted ‘cathedrals’ in which the miners worked upwards and upwards…standing with
their tools on the increasing pile of rubble waste.  So what?   So the roof of the cathedral like stopes
had less and less support.  

 Pillars were left to hold up the ceiling.  These pilars however were often gold bearing…therefore
valuable as ore, so they were very thin   

Along with the men there were 13 horses and 1 mule.  These animals had been lowered into
the mine in slings. Getting them out would be tricky so the horses lived and worked in the  dark most of their lives.
 Most miners loved the horses and the feeling was mutual.  In the darkness
the horses would whinny with affection as various miners stroked their necks.

The team, men and horses were sending 5 tons of ore up the shaft
every day.   

Architectural  drawing of the workings of a stamp mill.   .  Raw ore dumped  in
stamp mill then pulverized into tiny pieces by power driven  hammer.  The noise
from the Treadwell stamp mills was terrible.

 The stamping mills allowed mine managers to recover 50% of the gold.
Arsenic was used to get the remaining gold.  

The ceiling in mine got higher and higher…and weaker and weaker.

April 22, 1917   The sudden 
disappearance of the company swimming pool into this hole was
the first hint that the whole mine was about to cave in.  An alarm was 
sounded….men scrambled to get out.  Horses were left behind.


1.15 A.M.  ARIL 22, 1917  

“ground around the natatorium (workers swimming pool) and fire hall slipped sideways, then with ‘cracks, groans, and noises of shattering boards’ dropped straight down into the innards of the mine.”

2.15 a.m.  april 22, 1917

“another eruption at the cave-in site, a two-hundred-foot geyser of saltwater shot out of the top of the central shaft. The spouting display went on for a full five minutes before it stopped, like fireworks announcing a finale. “ *


6.45 a,m.  April 22, 1917  By the time the sun lit the Treadwell Mine buildings the

vast workings of the Mine were filled with water from the deepest spot 500 feet
below the Channell to ground level.  Three million tons of seawater ended
the mines life.  Ten million tons of gold bearing ore had been removed.  In doing so
45 miles of mine shafts and drift were hollowed out.

Seventy million dollars worth of gold was produced but it took over 8 tones
of ore to produced 1 once of gold. (*Is this correct? Seems odd)


No one really knows why this happened.  There had been several ground tremors
in the months prior to the total collapse.  strong hints that something was wrong..
But little note was taken. 

 And when the cave in happened there were several explanations.

1)  An extraordinary tidal surge had swept up the Gilford Channell that increased the
weight of rock, oberburden and water on the stopes.
2) The  managers of the mine had allowed the internal pillars to be thin and therefore
incapable of supporting the ceiling.
3) The mining system of working upwards created huge cathedral like stopes…open
spaces in these stopes got larger and larger with each working day.  
4) There was a major fault in the geology of the mine…a weakness.


Water had been pouring into the mine at an accelerating rate but the mine had so many miles of tunnels
and stopes that there was enough time….barely…to get the miners up the shafts and out.  Luckily the
collapse happened between shifts and there were not as many men deep down as there would
have been normally.  350 men got out.  Only one man was not accounted for and
his disappearance was a mystery.  Mine officials believed he had escaped and just
took the opportunity to pretend he was lost so his wife could collect insurance
money which she did after a court case.

Sadly only 1 horse was brought to the surface.  The other 12 or 13 horses were about to drown
as the miners emerged from the shaft cage.  The men were distraught as they loved the horses and some of them
volunteered to go back down the shaft to rescue the horses.  By then, however, it was  too
late.  They drowned.


Post Script    Escaping the Yukon    1) Who was Livingston Wernicke?   2) Who are the Tlingits?



alan skeoch
Nov. 24, 2022

Mice!  Lots of them squeeze through the old frame doorway of our farm house.  This is a bad year for them.
Marjorie has caught 28 so far.   All dead except one she caught by the tail and let it go down by the pond.
Where  did it go?   I bet it hightailed it back to this loose brick in the old farm house.  If so, it is doomed.
Snap traps get them. 

But that freeway for mice may not be as bad in future years.  We ordered a new fancy doorway with sidelights and
transom…just like the old doorway but made of metal shielded lumber  It took all summer to construct.
Old farm houses are not constructed using  tape measures.  Ours has an inch or so difference one side to the 
other.  Takes a skilled carpenter to overcome rule of thumb measurements.Thanks to Fossil Landscapes
we were able to find carpenters who are artists as well as tradesmen.

I think the cost of this doorway will be far more than the cost of a dozen mousetraps.

On cold winter nights when icicles hung from the window frames and frost deadened all the farm house
rooms but one.  That room was the old kitchen where a big wood stove was kept as hot as a poker
Louisa and Ed Freeman spent the winters in that little kitchen while the rest of the 
farm house was given over to frost and icicles.   The big front doorway was full of holes for winter wind 
to creep through.  Nothing could be done.  The old doorway was built in the 1870-s and we thought it could
not be replicated until now.

Mice?  No problem.  In the past The house was so damn cold even the mice looked for better homes
in the barn.   The mice haven was our fault when we gutted the house and modernized it.

How smart are mice?  Will they find holes in the field stone foundation … places where ancient cement
can be pushed side?   I think Marjorie better hold onto the traps she purchased.  If she catches a 
mouse with a dent in its tail I will know that the mice are smarter than we are.  They can find a way!

alan skeoch



alan skeoch
Nov. 20, 2-22

The Treadwell Historic Preservation and Restoration Society restored the shell of the Treadwell pumphouse. Mt. Roberts serves as backdrop. (Katie Bausler)

My water taxi was getting ready to dock in Juneau…the land- locked capital of Alaska was a city 
stacked like cordwood.  Ascending in tiers up a mountain on the east side of the Gatineau Channel.   
Juneau was obvious to the naked eye. If so, then The Treadwell Mine must be equally obvious.
I turned and looked westward across the Channel.  Douglas Island was there even though it had
moved and reshaped itself back in 1917.  But there was no sign that this Island had once housed
the largest gold mine in the world.  Here were the ruins of the Treadwell Mine?

Nothing there except one measly little nondescript tiny tower poking out of raw slurry of sand and bits of rubble
I was disappointed.  The reason for my ‘ Escaping the Yukon’ plan was to see the fabled ruins of the Treadwell Mine.
There was….there is….nothing to see.

Just getting here had been exciting.  Travelling down on the Yukon and White Pass Railway.  Imagining the
3,000 bodies of inhumanely  treated horses at Dead Horse Gulch,  recreating the wild days in Skagway when
bunco artist Soapy Smith ruled the roost, taking a tiny 10 person water taxi down the Gatineau Channel.
All very exciting.  But the culminating event, the Treadwell Mine…was not worth the  effort.   Or so it seemed
at first glance.
“Somewhere under this channel, over 2,000 feet below us are the skeletons of 12 horses and 1 mule and maybe 1 man”
“How do you know that?’
“The largest gold mine in the world in 1917 was here…the Treadwell Mine”
“Tunelled under the Gatineau Channel…5,000 tons of ore a day taken from under the  ocean?”
“Miners excavated 65 miles of tunnels.”
“Then it all came to a crashing end in just two hours, April, 1917….”
“And all that remains is this peculiar building.  Looks like a tiny Greek Parthenon”
“When Treadwell was in full flower there were buildings stretching for miles.”
“And Douglas Island was a fulll fledged town”
“Now there is just this one building”
“Built on a massive pile of mine tailings that has made the Douglas Island beach where no beach was before.”

The main event….THE TREADWELL MINE DISASTER…Is coming in the next episode.

alan skeoch
Nov. 21,2022

Post script:  The Treadwell Mine was really four mines all carved out
of a fault in the skin of our mother earth.  A crack that allowed gold
bearing magma to ooze up.  

Take a close look at the small cross section map of the Treadwell Mine…top right hand side, small…NOTICE ANYTHING?

www.juneauempire.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/image2099306_web1_Treadwell_workers_outside_mine_building_ca_1918-300×185.jpg 300w, www.juneauempire.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/image2099306_web1_Treadwell_workers_outside_mine_building_ca_1918-640×396.jpg 640w” sizes=”(max-width: 1199px) 98vw, 720px” apple-inline=”yes” id=”68288B38-9943-49CE-99F7-E38E1D99DD54″ style=”box-sizing: inherit; border: 1px solid rgba(0, 0, 0, 0.15); display: inline-block; vertical-align: middle; max-width: 640px; margin: 0px 0px 0.25rem;” src=”http://alanskeoch.ca/wp-content/uploads/2022/11/image2099306_web1_Treadwell_workers_outside_mine_building_ca_1918.jpg”>

Treadwell workers outside mine building, circa 1918. (Alaska State Library)



alan skeoch
November 18, 2022

Soapy Smith in Skagway bari2.wp.com/www.geriwalton.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/03/Soapy_Smith_1898c-wiki.jpg?resize=208%2C300&ssl=1 208w” sizes=”(max-width: 626px) 100vw, 626px” data-recalc-dims=”1″ style=”caret-color: rgb(83, 82, 51); color: rgb(165, 163, 108); font-family: Helvetica, Verdana, Arial, sans-serif; text-align: center; box-sizing: border-box; height: auto; max-width: 100%; border: 0px none; vertical-align: middle; margin: 0px; padding: 0px; width: auto;”>

“Pay attention….you could be the lucky man.”
“Who is that speaking.”
“Oh, that’s Sloapy Smith…watch what happens.”
“I am wrapping a $100 dollar bill in one of these  bars of shaving soap.
You ould be the lucky man who gets that $100 … Now I will shuffle
the bars of soap.  Mix Them up.  Try and keep your eyes on the
$100 bar…it could be yours in a moment.”
“For $5…just a fiver.  This is your chance right now.  Who has a five dollar bill
and will get the hundred dollar bill?  Just five dollars.”

“And there is a winner. Your name , sir?  Show everyone the hundred dollar bill.
No tricks….no slieght of hand.   A winner for five dollars,

Now here is how Soapy Smith got the nickname Soapy.  He never let on
that the winner of the soap shuffle was a good friend of his.  The hundred
dollar bill went back into Soapy/s pocket along with all the five dollar
bills he fleeced from the crowd.   Soapy loved to work boom towns…mining
towns for instance…where he was not known.  But he did not worry if he
was known because he always had a gang of ruthless hoodlums on his side.

He was a bunko man.  Had all sorts of ways to get money from innocent but
greedy newcomers.

Soapy needed towns where law and order were absent.  Mining boom towns
always presented good pickings.  Skagway was the perfect place for a bunko
man.  There was no law and order in the gold rush yeas.  Scams were many.
Soapy took slamming seriously.  He gathered a gang of like minded criminals.
Tough guys who welcomed the steamships full of gold seekers each of whom
had a grubstake to get him to the gold fields of the Klondike,

Soapy Smith had no intention of  climbing the Chilkoot Trail.  He had no
intention of beating a horse to death trying to get a ton of food and tools up
the slippery slopes of the mountains behind Skagway.  Why do that
when the gold would eventually be brought back through Skagway where 
he could get it with little effort.


Stories of Soapy Smith vary somwhat but the kernel of truth is present.  For instance
I rely on the excellent article by Gen Walton, published February 28, 1011.

Soapy’s most famous scam was the hidden money in the shaving soap caper.  Some sources
say he hid a hundred dollar bill in the soap wrapper,  Gen Walton says he hid five, ten
and fifty dollar bills.  No matter  All the bars of soap were won by his associates….
his gang members.

He had a whole suitcase full of scams.

1) Sleight of hand scams were favourites because they were easy to set up and paid off immediately. i.e. the soap scam
2) Gambling in all its forms, except no winners. None.
3) fake stock market scams…sold stock of companies that did no exist
4) real estates scams…gold mines with no gold
5) fake watch and diamond auctions
6) rigged poker games
7) Three card monte  (Must find out how to play….see post script)

There is a tendency to regard bunko artists and con men just as non violent thieves stealing money
from greedy customers.  Soapy was violent.  He gathered gangs of violent men around him.  Dealing
with Soapy was no joke.  Before he went north to Skagway he ran a gangland empire in Denver,
Colorago.   The newspaper editor ran an article exposing Soapy’s criminal activities.  How did
Soapy react?  With vicious violence.  For instance:

“Smith did not want his criminal activities highlighted and he hated the News’allegations against him. He decided to get revenge on Arkins (*editor) and took a friend, “Banjo” Parker, with him. The men hid in the shadows and when Arkins emerged from the newspaper building, Smith struck him over the left temple with a loaded cane fracturing his skull and knocking him to the pavement senseless. Smith then pummeled, kicked, and beat Arkins as Parker stood guard and when Smith was finished with “his brutal work,” both men casually walked away.

Soapy Smith History Part 3

Soapy presided over a criminal gang empire before he ever went to Skagway but,once there, he took control of the town.  His gang members greeted newcomers prtetendimg to be journalists  or Christian ministers or
other sal of the earth  people.   Many of the thousands of men arriving in Skagway had money.  At least enough to finance the two thousand pound survival package needed to prove to Canadian officials they could survive in the Canadian wildernes  Soapy and his men fleeced many gold seekers many of whom would never get beyond Skagway.  Violently if necessary.   What did Skagway politicians and police do to stop Soapy?
Not much since Soapy’s men were often the various town officials expected to keep the peace.   For a while Skagway was Soapy’s town.

i1.wp.com/www.geriwalton.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/03/Skagway-js-parlor-1898-wiki.jpg?resize=300%2C210&ssl=1 300w” sizes=”(max-width: 568px) 100vw, 568px” data-recalc-dims=”1″ style=”caret-color: rgb(83, 82, 51); color: rgb(83, 82, 51); font-family: Helvetica, Verdana, Arial, sans-serif; text-align: center; background-color: rgb(247, 247, 247); box-sizing: border-box; height: auto; max-width: 100%; border: 0px none; vertical-align: middle; margin: 0px; padding: 0px; width: auto;”>

Then one day Soapy’s criminal empire collapsed when he confronted a group of indignant citizens calling themselves
the Committee of 101

                 “… on 7 July 1898 John Douglas Stewart, a Klondike miner, returned to Skagway carrying a sack of gold dust valued at $2,700. Three of Smith’s gang members learned of his treasure and convinced him to play three-card monte. Unfortunately, Stewart did, and he lost. When he refused to pay the three men grabbed his sack of gold dust and fled.

Stewart reported the theft and as news broke about the robbery broke in Skagway, city-wide indignation grew. Most citizens believed it was Smith’s gang that had committed the crime. Hubbub over the robbery reached fever pitch the following day and that is when the Committee of 101 demanded that Smith return the gold. He refused and claimed that Stewart had lost fairly. The Salt Lake Herald provided a summary of what happened next:

“Soapy got drunk and went out to fight them all. Arriving at the place where an indignation meeting was being held, Soapy found five men guarding the entrance. He rapped Frank Reid, the city engineer, over the head with a rifle. Reid snapped his pistol at Soapy and Soapy shot him in the groin. Standing on one foot Reid put three bullets into Soapy, killing him instantly.”[5]

Funeral of Frank Ried [sic] on the street of Skagway 1898. - Alaska State  Library-Historical Collections - Alaska's Digital Archives
ABOVE  The funeral for Frank Reid , the man who shot Soapy Smith who was, in turn killed
by Soapy Smith before he died.


Skagway, Alaska - Wikipedia

Skagway Attractions, Shops, & Local Businesses

DATELIE SEPT 15, 1961  When I got off the largely empty train in Skagway …coming from the north…a large cruise ship 
was docking at the south end of town and a great number tourists flooded Skagway.    I had never paid much attention to
the criminal career of Soapy Smith but noticed Skagway’s main street seemed to feature his exploits.   Sort of like Chicago’s 
misplaced glorification of Al Capne.   The drunkenness, and gang centred lawlessness.  All really imaginary 1961…tourist lore.Skagway was
a living movie set for the tourists to enjoy.   Without the toursits the town was quiet…almost empty.  I was lucky.  Skagway had
come alive..   Seemed there were a lot of girls dressed in flouncy 
dresses reminiscent of the dance hall girls of the 1890’s.  There might even have been summer students imitating Soapy Smith
…the bunko side of him.  Nice to be a part of the crowd.  Met quite a few people who thought I was a local resident..   Must have been my
full beard

Red Onion Saloon

“Do you live here in Skagway?”
“Nope, just arrived like you..came down through White Pass on the  train.”
“Where are you heading?”
“To Juneau…..have flight booked to Seattle.”
“How will you get to Juneau?”
“Bus, I guess.”
“No roads out of Skagway except ferry and road north to Anchorage.”
“You must be kidding.”
“Why don’t we smuggle you aboard the cruise ship…good food
and nice cruise.   We could do it….or try.”
“Sorry….got to get to Juneau.  There must be a way.”
“Only the water taxi.”
“Water taxi?”
“Small passenger boat….holds about 10  people tops. Need to reserve.”

Alaska Water Taxis | Quick Access to the Wilderness | ALASKA.ORG

Lucky.  Got a seat on the water taxi.  Quite a thrilling ride south past places where a large glacier was calving 
huge chunks of ancient ice into the channel.   The water taxi got a lot closer to the
glacier than the cruise ship.  Every one on board seemed to take the
trip for granted.  Except for me. So excited but tried to hide it.

Margaret glacier - Picture of Juneau, Alaska - Tripadvisor

I’ve often thought would my life be different if I got smuggled aboard that tourist ship.
If I had done that I would miss all the connections….would arrive in Toronto who
knows when.    I am not sure if I even spent the night in Skagway.  I do remember a feeling
of relief when I paid for the water taxi.  I had to leave Skagway as fast as possible.



Three-card Monte – also known as Find the Lady and Three-card Trick – is a confidence game in which the victims, or “marks”, are tricked into betting a sum of money, on the assumption that they can find the “money card” among three face-down playing cards.

Definition:  BUNCO ARTIST   What does bunco mean in police terms?
“); display: inline-block; height: 24px; width: 24px; margin-top: -1px; transform: rotateZ(-180deg);”>
The word bunco comes from the Spanish word “banco,” which means bank, and the term is used by law enforcement to describe several criminal swindles. According to the National Association of Bunco Investigators (NABI), these schemes are also called confidence, or con, games.



alan skeoch
Nov. 16, 2022

The White Pass Railway passed over Dead Horse Gulch.  A chilling place where an estimated 3,000 hoses are remembered.
Mot all died in tis hellhole .   There were other gruesome deaths.  Some gold seekers never even fed their horses .  Couldn’t afford 
to pay imported cost  of hay.  And there was nothing for the horse to eat even if it managed to reach White Pass.

History of the White Pass Trail - Klondike Gold Rush National Historical  Park (U.S. National Park Service)

These horses appear to be carrying imported hay.  Sold at high prices to the few
men who tried to take their horses on to Dawson City.

The bridge across Dead Horse Gulch. - University of Alaska Anchorage -  Alaska's Digital ArchivesEPISODE 341 YUKON DIARY: DOING THE YUKON IN REVERSE ORDER: DEAD HORSE GULCH  – Alan Skeoch

The terrible deaths of 3,000 horses by men who should have cared for these helpless

animals is one of the big stains on the whole Gold Rush adventure.  The horses were overloaded

and some simply fell over backwards as they scaled the White Pass..  At night the loads were left
on the horses making their lives even more miserable.  No food for the horses.  No care at all.  Those that
survived the climb to White Pass were often abandoned to starve to death.  

The treatment of these poor animals is documented below.  Many of their bleaching bones  remain in
DEAD HORSE GULCH as a reminder of neglect and gold fever.

History of the White Pass Trail - Klondike Gold Rush National Historical  Park (U.S. National Park Service)

skeletons of dead horses in a river bed
3,000 animals die along the White Pass Trail giving it the nickname “the Dead Horse Trail.” 

Alaska State Library, Case & Draper Photo Collection, P125-018.

The Trail Turns Deadly

“When the trail was opened by Captain William Moore it was designed for lightly loaded horses and experienced horsemen. It was not designed for the hordes of gold seekers who were bombarding the trail. Within one year of the discovery of gold in the Klondike thousands of people had attempted to cross the trail. Animals were brought up to Skagway on the same steamships that carried people and freight. Ship conditions were very harsh for everyone. Some animals were forced to stand for two weeks straight and did not get the luxury of food and water. If they did not die on their way to the Skagway they were killed in accidents, shipwrecks, or on the trails. Horses, mules, oxen, sheep, and dogs were loaded down, forced to wait in long lines, and exhausted by the trail leading over the pass. It was not uncommon for the trail to be blocked by a fallen horse.There were often long periods of waiting in lines on the trail. Stampeders refused to unload their horses that were weighed down with hundreds of goods as to not waste time reloading them.”

“I must admit that I was as brutal as the rest but we were all mad-mad for gold, and we did things that we live to regret.” -Jack Newman, packer on the White Pass Trail, ca.1897

“At times the trail became impassable due to harsh weather conditions, rain, and mud. Many stampeders retreated leaving their outfits strewn along 40 miles of trail. Horses were not equipped with the constant physical demands, boggy mud holes, and slippery rocks. No one knows the exact amount of animals that took the two trails but it is estimated that 3,000 horses died in a one year period on the White Pass Trail, earning it the nickname “Dead Horse Trail.” It was a brutal journey for man and beast alike. “

What the heck is Liarsville? - Skagway Tours

“The horses died like mosquitoes in the first frost and from Skagway to Bennett they rotted in heaps. They died at the rocks, they were poisoned at the summit, and they were starved at the lakes; they fell off the trail, what there was of it, and they went through it; in the river they drowned under their loads or were smashed to peices against the boulders; they snapped their legs in the crevices and broke their backs falling backwards with their packs; in the sloughs they sank from fright or smothered in the slime; and they were disemboweled in the bogs where the corduroy logs turned end up in the mud; men shot them, worked them to death and when they were gone, went back to the beach and bought more. Some did not bother to shoot them, stripping the saddles off and the shoes and leaving them where they fell. Their hearts turned to stone- those which did not break- and they became the beasts, the men on the Dead Horse Trail.” -Jack London, Journalist. The God of His Fathers, Doubleday Page & Co., New York, 1914, p. 70-80

Jack London … horrific description of inhumane horse treatment



alan skeoch
Nov. 11, 2022

My planned exit from the Yukon was not as easy as planned.  
First crisis was the bus.  Big time crisis for me.   Given the same situation what
would you have done?   Dumb is as dumb does.

Another One Rides the Bus: Systems of Mass Transit as Vehicles of ProtestAesthetics - ITAP of my bus ride : r/itookapictureNostalgic and melancholy. I want to be able to portray the feeling you get  on long school bus rides. | Eleanor and park, Trip, Night aesthetic

1,728 School Bus In The Fall Stock Photos, Pictures & Royalty-Free Images -  iStock

I am not sure what the bus looked like.  Perhaps like this one but not coloured
like a school  bus.   The trip began sometime around 1 a.m.  In the dark so no
pictures are available.

Silver Trail Yukon Travel Guide - Backcountry Canada Travel

Mayo Landing was not as glorious as this sign indicates. At least not so in 1961

YUKON Travel Guide

Stewart Crossing was a postage stamp sized place.  Empty.  A wilderness bust stop.

I AM SITTING in front of my coputer trying to decide whether this actually happened. Maybe I invented
the story…or exaggerated the story.  It has been more than 70 years since I stole that public bus
on that cold Yukon night.   Did it really happen?  Have I been telling a lie for decades.  A big lie,
like ex President Donald Trump I have told the lie so many times to so many 
people that I may have come to believe the lie myself.

“On my last nigh in  Mayo Landing in the tiny hours of  September 13, 1962, I stole a public bus
and drove it …along with passengers ….from Mayo to Stewart Crossing.”

Yes,, it happened  and is recorded in my Diary.   Just one short sentence.  “I took the May bus with 
passengers and drove to Stewart Crossing.  Had do it.”

So my memory has served me well and this is my chance to unload the events of that evening.
My last evening in Mayo Landing was spent drinking beer with my mining friends.   Miners are nomadic.
They meet for a short time…get to know each other…have a  few beers together.  Then, if they are lucky
they have job for a few months or years until the ore runs out and they have to look for another
pace to hand their hats.   Nomads.  

And this is more true for geophysical prospectors.  Jobs last a few weeks or occasionally
for a whole summer like our Yukon job.  When the work is over the men take off for parts unknown…
a kind of diaspora.   

We celebrated our friendship that bitter Yukon night.  Sept. 12, 1961.  Not a crybaby kind of evening.  Just last 
meeting of people we would never see again.  Bill was there and Peter the Biblical scholar and Gilroy
the staker….and Moses Lord representing the native population.  Most of them would get very drunk.
I faked it a bit.  Only drank a few.,,  felt safe doing so for I could sleep on the bus ride
to Stewart Crossing.

The bus was supposed to leave at 1 a.m. or  thereabouts.   So at 12.30 I shook hands wirh
the boys whose ages ranged from 21 to 61 or older.  We had shared a lot of adventures some
of which were  recounted in an earlier episode. We had lived and worked rough.   We would
never see each other again.   And we know it.

“Where the hell is the bus?”
“Looks to be  a bit late.”

There were five or six of us waiting in the darkness for the bus.  But the bus never 

“Happens all the time, the driver is sleeping it off at home.  May not show up”
“But I have to be in Stewart Crossing by 6 a.m.”
“You can try to wake him.  His cabin is not far.  You’ll see the bus.”
“Got to wake him up  Will he be drunk?”
“Hard to say.”
“I’ll go get him.”
“Careful of his dogs mind you.”
“He has a few huskies … dog team kind.  Might not take
kindly to a stranger like you”

If I  missed the bus coming down from Dawson City to Whitehorse then
my elaborate plant would collapse.  And I did not know what I would
do.  pay for a fight from May to Toronto?….with a whole bunch of flight
connections.  Would cost a fortune.  Worse would be the crashing of my big
plan.   I really wanted to find Dead Horse Gulch, the Childoot Pass, Lake
Bennet , Skagway , the ghostly Treadwell Mine, and the
landlocked mysterious city of Juneau where the Tlingit people once lived.  

“If the driver does not wake up and the dogs scare the shit out of you, there is
another  way.”
“Take the bus.”
“I can’t drive a bus….and certainly don’t want to steal one anyway.”
“Happens all the time…”
“What happens?”
“A passenger takes the bus.  Keys are in the ignition.”

Crisis.  What to do?  Seemed a bit off the wall to try and take the bus.  But if I did not do that
then all my plans would fall flat.    I remember tentatively entering the bus.  Door was open
as if I was expected.  Long metal arm did the opening and closing.  I pulled the arm and 
the door closed.  Key was in ignition and when turned the motor rumbled into life.   But no
sign the rumble awakened the driver.

I cannot remember whether it was stick shift or automatic.  Seems to me there was a floor
shift which I slipped into first gear and the bus was on the move.  At the Mayo Hotel I stopped.
May as well take the passengers with me  Five or six of them.  Local indigenous relatives of
Moses Loord no doubt.  They did not bat an eye.  Flopped into seats as if this was a normal

The thought of insurance risk popped into my head.  Was i risking the lives of these people.
The thought popped out just as fast.  I had other things to consider.  Like lights.  Road gear.
Pitch black highway.  I took it slow.  Only 33 miles to Stewart Crossing .  Lots of time as the Dawson
southbound bus was not expected until dawn.  

What can go wrong? Gas!  Was the bus gassed cup.  Seemed so.  I got more confident as the 
miles rolled by.  Traffic in the early hours of Sept. 13 was nil.  All I had  to do was keep the moving
and scan he road for moose.    Did I have high or low beams?  No idea and not much chance
to check.   Confidence increased.

Was the road gravel or tarmac?  Try to keep to centre.  Test brakes gingerly but keep moving.
What if I stopped and could not start again?  Keep cool.

YUKON Travel Guide

Population of Stewart Crossing is ten.  Ten people with most of those ten living
in lonely cabins hidden away in the wilderness.

We reached Stewart Crossing and rolled to stop on the gravel.  I had expected  A small village.
instead I found about the loneliest place on earth.  One tiny white wood clad place with a sign 
reminding  drivers this was the last place to get gas before Dawson City one way and Whiteouse
the other.

Not open.  So we sat in the bus until the Dawson us rolled to stop at 6 a..M
And that was the end of Mayo Landing adventure  and the beginning of another.

When I write these episodes I try to be self-deprecating.  No one wants to read a puffed up ego.  I doubt there would be many
readers of that kind of episode. The bus episode is different.  Seems a little too self centred… Seems to have a load self-glorification.  Sorry about that.
For that I apologize .  It was a big event in my life.  Fondly remembered.

alan skeoch
Nov. 109, 2022


Note:  This episode may offend.  I am trying to draw an accurate picture of our Yukon job in 1961which
stood out in sharp contrast to the summer of 1960 in Ireland.  My Irish readers will be amused I imagine.
This is a long read…next will be shorter.  Of course some of you only look at the 
pictures anyway.

Episode 675     The Great Escape  — Part 2  Leaving the Yukon

alan skeoch
nov. 4, 2022

Page from my diary and picture of Bill D in front of one of our cabin campsites.

Another campsite…less lusxurious..messy…
Best Camping in and Near Kluane National Park
There was a thin skim of ice cross the Yukon swampland around Wernecke, a tiny mountain top mine town near Keno City.  Hardly a City
Keno may have had a population of 50, likely less, today 20l.  In its glory days it accommodated a clutch of hookers 
who had arrived to exploit the sexual fantasies of the Wernecke Miners. Their presence only offended Mr Wernecke himself.
The arrival of the girls confirmed the comment I had first
heard at Elliot Lake.  

“You can always tell if a mine is going to be successful.”
“If the hookers arrive.”
“No hookers now…Keno is almost a ghost town.”
“They came here when Dawson City lost its stone pockets full of gold dust.
“Yukon Lill and her clutch of similar minded girls”
“One of those girls returns every summer…rents a house in Mayo Landing. 
Real nice lady who will lend a few bucks for beer or an O.P. if she likes you.”

Lots of local colour in the Yukon. We were working around Wermekle, now long abandoned. The nearby Elsa mine
was booming. Silver Ore by the ton was being blasted and sacked.   The year was
1961 and Dr. Paterson had sent me to the Yukon for s summer of geophysical
exploration.  Simply put,  Listening to beeps on his rand new Ronka invention….a machine that could
detect conductors beneath the ground….deep down.  The 1950’s and 1960’s were heady
years for mining exploration.

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This is Mayo Landing in boom times…a thousand or more sacks of silver ore waiting for the arrival of a steamboat to take the raw ore from Elsa halfway across North America to be refined.  You probably did not
see the sacks of ore at first.  Mayo Landing was not much of a  town even in boom times.  That’s Luigis greasy spoon restaurant on raw the left…attached to the Mayo Landing hotel neither of which buildings
are stunning.   We spent a lot of time in that hotel as did most of the village .

The grey buidling is the Mayo Landing Hotel…..centre of town…only place to get beer
or a double OP.  Or bacon and eggs at Luigi’s tiny restaurant.   Spartan living.


This was our Dodge Power Wagon…looks good but that good appearance did not last when one of the boys rolled the truck off a mountain road.  Rolled
like a bowling ball ending up vertical and able to claw its way back up to the road which was really a track.   Hard to kill a Power Wagon.

I was just a kid really.  Twenty one years old.   Fresh grad from University of Toronto,  History grad
although I kept that fact quiet .  “Pretend you are a geologist..or a geophysicist…no one will know”
For almost a decade I spent my summers in the Canadian wilderness.  Punching my way through
the immense boreal forest called  Canada.   Black flies, sow belly, oatmeal raw, gmn rubbers with holes
wet socks and feet boiled and pock marked from the water turned to tepid slop by my  own bloodstream.
This was tough work.  Doubt many of my friends would want to be Instrument Men. Most quit. The pay was 
four hundred dollars a month which included room and board.  Room and board!  That’s a laugh.  Rooms
were tents. Nondescript tents ripped and rotten from being backpacked across the wilderness.  Beds were wire
strung pics of canvas that soon collapsed and were no longer.  The alternative was pine boughs.  Not soft, lumpy 
and prickly.  Food was bad most of the time.  On one job we had to slice off a half inch from
a slab of the sowbelly every morning.   Burned it in the fire.   Why?   Bsude the blow flies lay their eggs in it.  Given a short
time and the sowbelly began to move on its own.  Wormy.  Maggots.  Sowbelly?  Yes, complete with the sow’s tits.
Smoked sowbelly did not spoil fast as long as kept in a slab.  Just the end attracted the blow flies.  At least
I liked to think that was true.  I suppose a worm or two would not hurt me.

Now That paints a worse possible scenario.  The other extreme also occurred.  Motels, hotels. prepared meals,
warm beds,  Sometimes even luxurious living conditions as on the Irish job in 1960.

That’s the setting for anyone reading this recollection.  Why write it? This is November, 2022.  My Yukon adventure was
hte summer of 1961.  A long time ago.  But the memory of my escape from the Yukon is as fresh as the rain water in
a moose track in spongy moss.  Swamp?  Canada has miles and miles of swamps. Matched by
miles and miles of exposed rock.  A lot of land that nobody wants…swamp and rock.  Both have their terrors.  One summer day
I was parched…saliva as dry as popcorn from slogging across rounded rock intrusions and was overjoyed to find a swamp.  Flopped down on
hands and knees and sunk my lips into a patch of that water where a moose had passed by.  Closed my eyes.  Our bodies are 90% water. 
We cannot get along without it.  Delicious cool water slaked my thirst.  How did I know a moose had passed by before me?  I opened my eyes to discover
a moose had taken a shit in the same small pool.  Pile of turds the size of shotgun shells.,,beige and grassy in a neat pile of 20 or so.
How did I know that?  Because moose left these little piles as evidence of their presence.

God, the Yukon stories are as numerous as the stars in the sky.  Take the assayer Gerald Preist who lived in a company
cabin with his wife and two little girls.  Lovely family.  True.  Were it not for the  fact Gerald was’ high grading’ (stealing)
tons of galena and hiding it in an abandoned part of the mine.  Later he was caught.  He hired trucks to haul the stollen 
galena … planned to claim he had his own secret mine.  He got caught when one of his truckers stopped in Elsa for
a coffee and a nosy mine executive sliced open a sack.  All happening while we were there.  Unknown to us.   (Now a
book written by his daughter titled A ROCK FELL ON THE MOON.  Should be a movie.

Gerald Priest on the right…squatting on the doorstep of a typical abandoned Yukon cabin.

Just a sample …The Yukon was more than an adventure.  It was an education.


I loved the job.  Even when conditions were terrible there was the exultation … the sense of victory over nature.
Victory over the worst human nature could pitch.  Survival;  Hard to describe this feeling unless personally experienced.

Sadly there was not much for people to do in the Yukon…normal social life absent.  What to do on those long winter 
nights in the land of the summer midnight sun and winter darkness?   Drink booze…alcohol was available not matter what the season.
Acceptance of rampant alcoholism in the Land of the Midnight sun.  Acceptance that there was nothing much I could do to mend the broken
lives of those with whom I worked.  Joy shared by men who found small joy in a case of beer or larger joy in a glass  of over proofed rum.
Overproof rum?  The is rum the contains more that 50% alcohol.  Some over 60%  Common in Yukon in 1960’s and in gold rush days.

Dr. Aho, one of our contractors Dr. Aho’s loved treating newcomers to ‘double OP’s’ in the Mayo Landing bar.  A good joke…falling down
drunk on one drink.  Just enough to make the world topsy turvy fast.  Little wonder that so many half ton trucks were bashed up.
We bought a GMC power wagon that had been rolled more than an eight pin bowling ball.   We lost a man one day and had to backtrack down a stream bed 
since there was no tracks to our camp other than the rock strewn river.  We found him and the GMC Power Wagon stranded mid stream
where he had run out of gas.   He was falling down drunk…sleeping it off in the sure knowledge we would find him and there would be
no consequences other than a good story shared by miners in the bar at Mayo Landing.  I cannot mention his name because his kin
still live in Mayo.  Dr. Aho baptized me with a double OP and I was glad there was a wall to hand on to.  One was enough.  Well, maybe
two just to prove I was one of the gang.  Best to fit in.

No body died on the job.  Being drunk was a kind of twisted badge of courage.  Like Taking a leak wherever convenient, alcohol was de rigour.
We only had one death on that job.  Our pilot’s wife, Yvonne, committed suicide.  She had two delightful
little girls who took a shine to me whenever I arrived in Mayo.  Her death saddened me when I heard about it.  Yvonne did not drink.
She was a wonderful mother…gregarious and warm hearted…French Canadian.  I suppose it happened this way.  She was
  Surrounded in the darkness of the Yukon winter by men and a few
women who were quite content to spend the star studded blackness of the winter months boozing it up using the Northern Lights
as street lamps to their cars and trucks.  Or, more likely, living in the Spartan rooms in the Mayo Landing Hotel.  Upstairs from the bar.

Tragic.  Yvonne’s death puts too much of a shadow on my Yukon days.  there were so many good times that summer. 
 Good times as defined by a 21 year old quasi adolescent male making his way in an 
world filled with unusual adults.   Like Pete who had memorized the Holy Bible just so he could argue with religious people
who likely had never opened the holy book.  Funny guy.  Must have been over 60 years old…really too old for bush
work but he had no other choice.


The job ended early that September.  Cold and rain…even ice and snow began to blanket the Yukon.  No more work to do other
than crate up the equipment and ship it to Toronto by truck in the sure and certain belief it would arrive. Not so sure, really.  My company, Hunting
Technical and Exploration Services, expected me to fly home about the same time.  I had no plan to do so.  I had a planned escape of
my own.  So I cashed in my flight ticket then plotted my escape from the Yukon.

Mammoth tooth…this kind was  found in Dublin Gulch

Caribou Antleers, wind scoured logs of Yukon Spruce…better than any sculptor could do…done by fire and wind.,

Three Mayo kids playing in an ancient truck.  Beside them is the Stewart River.  Moses Lord eating his lunch from
a can of peaches gave me the idea of a diet of cold pork and beans.   

The things I shipped home by cartage company were a joke in camp.   Three wind scoured trees hollowed out after
a forest fire swept through years ago.  Pretty to me.  And a large set of caribou antlers that a local aboriginal said I could have
if I wanted them.   And a large tooth of an ancient hairy mammoth washed outl by an hydraulic hose   in Dublin Gulch.
Could have bought some gold nuggets at $35 an ounce but didn’t want to waste my escape money.  Gold?  I had already sent
Marjorie sprinklings of gold dust stuck on black electrical tape.  Gold dust gleaned from abandoned barrels of concentrate panned
in evenings with Bill D. (best to not give his full name, he may be alive … may be a priest or Sunday school teacher and would not
like to be reminded of his past)

Bill D.  Let me tell you a bit about him.  He was about my age and became a good friend in spite of his misdemeanours.  We each had women
in our lives.  Marjorie sent me big boxes of home made cookies…
crumbs by the  time they reached Mayo Landing post office.  And lots of love letters.  Bill did not get letters or cookies.  For good reason.  No love letters.

“She does not even know where I am….and I bet she does not give a sweet goddamn anyway.  Can’t say as I blame her.”

This is his story which could be true even though it sounds fabricated.  He came from Peterborough, Ontario, arriving in the Yukon in early June, 1961.
About the same time I arrived. Similar?  Not at all. 

“The night before my wedding, my friends got me really drunk and drove me to Toronto … booked me
on a flight to Edmonton on my wedding day”
“What about your wedding?”
“Don’t know…never checked.”
“Left her at the altar?”
“She’s better off without me.”

The story is a little hard to believe.  Perhaps Bill just left the poor girl at the altar…bad enough.

Bill D. and Alan Skeoch doing a little rafting

Was this true?  Sounds fictional.  Who booked and paid for the flight to Edmonton…then on
to Whitehorse?  An expensive and insensitive practical joke.  Perhaps exaggerated with 
a kernel of truth.   Over the summer Bill got into a lot of trouble.  He took the drinking culture
seriously and sometimes did not show up for work.  That was hard to take but Bill was not
alone;   If men were sent to town, i.e Mayo, I was never sure they would get back. But Bill aways came
back.  He was a joy to have around.  Lots of stories.  Outlandish.  For instance he got in serious difficulty
with a local Mayo girl.

“It was dark in their house but we still managed to roll around on the floor. Mind you the term
Roll around on the floor is just a figure of speech.”
“I get it.”
“When I woke up the whole family were sleeping in the room…scared the bejabbers out of me.
They must have been there all night while we were rolling around “
“Serious affair, Bill?”
“Not by me but she thought so.  Took a knife to me in the truck one night.”
“Hard to believe.”
“True.  We had been drinking and for some goddamn reason she hauled out a knife 
and tried to cut me up.  Too drunk to do any serious damage.”
“What happened after that?”
“I got the hell away … not going back.”

So many Yukon stories,   they have bounced around my brain for more than 60 years.  
Never will be able to get  them out of my head.  Never want to.   

But this is a story about my escape from the Yukon.  Not the Yukon job which is the subject of
other episodes l I made detailed plans of my escape all that summer.
I would not leave the Yukon by air as Huntech and Dr. Paterson expected.  When the job was
over I would make my exit slowly.  There were places I wanted  to see.I had a bit of cash stashed
but most of my escape money would come from cashing in my return air fair.  No one would
get upset.  The job was over and the money was mine.  I figured no one really cared whether 
I got back to the Huntech office on a Monday or a Thursday,  Job was over.


I would be alone.  Travelling alone is not pleasant.  Goddamn lonely…and sometimes frightening
when the sun goes down.  I do not recommend lonely travel.  Sometimes though it is the best
way to meet people.  And the fastest way to get to places.


“Alan, you might need some extra cash.  Your escape will cost more than that air  ticket.”. said Bob Gilroy, one night in the hotel bar.
“I know that.  Figure to save money by not eating much…few cans of cold pork and beans.”
“How will you cook them up?”
“I won’t .  Cold cans of pork snd beans have already been cooked.  So all I need is a can opener
and a fork.  No dishes.  No costs.”

‘How would you like to spend a couple of days tagging climate…give you some extra cash.”
“Never staked claims before.”
“No staking involved…just put fresh tags on the old claims….easy.”
“Count me in.”

Tsgging claims was not as easy as it sounds.  First it was necessary to find the old claim posts 
by blazes barely visible… made years ago..  Not easy to do.  And if the blazes were not found then the
claims posts would not be found and I would  spend my last two days circling and circling. Lost getting in…worse, lost 
getting out. And I was alone.  

Our earth is so heavily populated today that most people have never
got lost in a boreal forest.  Never had that sinking feeling of being absolutely alone.

A thin layer of ice covered the swampy land.  Not enough to hold my weight so that each step the ice shattered like
window glass and the shards marked  my pathway in and might help me get back out.

.  After three months of trekking back and forth in our surveys my gum
rubbers were worn thin.  No longer waterproof so the cold water got sucked into my boots whereupon my bl00d 
and friction heated my wet socks ‘… a dirty soup.   My feet were boiled every day with the result that they looked
like London after a Hitlerian bomber raid.  Pock marked, blanched and pealing.   I should never have taken this
extra job.  Needed a man with good boots and dry socks.  A better man than me.

Then there is the creeping fear when alone in the bush. Hard to tell  where you are unless the blazes line up correctly.
The sure and certain presence of bears had to be considered.  Hopefully the pebbles in the tin can around my
waiste would alert wild creatures of my my presence.  Peter, the Bible reader, shot a grizzly bear near this  very  swamp… a pointless
act of violence.  

Let me conclude this long but of memory with three pictures

1) All our gang of six for seven men took a two day week end holiday and drove in a
half ton ruck to Dawson City….a long haul from Mayo.  “Bunch of the boys were hooping
it jus” as RpovertService said . Remember sleeping in a bathtub in a two bit hotel.
We had fun….juvenile fun with new found friends.  There of us had to like in
raw back of the truck.

2) Panning for gold dust in the evenings when we discovered several 45 gallon drums
of concentrates abandoned in the bush.   Gold pans had to be burned to incinerate any grease.

3) And then there were the flies.  Billions of them.  Summer along the Stewart River is not 
pleasant unless a strong wind blows.  I gave lots of blood that summer.  Enough for a Red 
Cross blood bank.

Enough!   See pis below.



alan skeoch
biv, 6m 2022

The Yukon seemed  good place to grow a beard.  Made me look older.

Mom, DAd and Marjorie at Pearson Airport in 1961.   Mom and Marjorie would later pin me to the ground
at the farm and snip off my beard.  Same thing happened to Samson when Delila snipped his beard according to the Bible.

My next story was triggered by  a dream last night….bit of  a nightmare really.

Took me back to my last two days in the Yukon in 1961.  All that summer I made
plans to escape the Yukon by back tracking  the route taken by gold seekers of 1898.  To
follow their route into the  Yukon but do it in reverse.  from the ghost town of
Wernicke south to Keno City (Population almost nil) to Mayo Landing in our battered GMC Power Wagon.  A few beers
with the boys in the Mayo Landing hotel then a night bus ride to Stewart Crossing
where the morning bus from Dawson City would take me to Whitehorse and
from there the White Pass Railroad through Dead Horse Gulch where the glistening
bones of dead hoses horses marked the insanity of the Yukon gold rush.
Then a stopover at  Skagway  before looking a ride on a water taxi though the Inland
passage to landlocked Juneau,  And from there I would catch a flight to Seattle with a short 
hop to Vancouver and a final flight home to Toronto.  All this fuelled by cans of cold
pork and beans and raw oat meal and occasional other staple food like salami and rye.

All that summer of 1961 I lathered  myself with the words of Robert Service.

On every exploration job done each summer I selected 3 or 4 books to pack with extra socks.
In 1961 it was the collected works of Robert Service. His words became the beacon
of my escape from the Yukon. 

Getting to the Yukon in June 1961was easy but also an adventure.
 e threaded our way north  in an
overloaded DC 3.  Lots of freight and a few passengers.  My seat was close to the 
cursing pilot. 

 “Bastards oveerloaded us sgain…can’t get altitude so we will have to
thread our way through the mountains to Mayo.” 
“What’s Mayo Landing like?”
“Asshole of he world.  Tiny outpost on the Stewart River.  Aboriginals mostly with one hotel
for people like you… Luigi’s greasy spoon attached.   Take 60 seconds to see the sights
of Mayo.”
“Is that the Stewart River down there?”
Nope , that’s the Yukon River….backbone of the Territory.  See that other river…the Stewart
joins the Yukon at Stewart Crossing…big rivers.”

This was going to be a big adventure.  Little did I know that Stewart Crossing would be
visited in the darkness of a Yukon night in mid September in a ramshackle bus that I had
to drive because the driver was asleep or drunk or both and his dogs would not let me close enough to wake him.
Maybe sleeping off a binge.

 I made my escape driving his bus and passengers west to Stewart Crossing.  µet the Dawson – Whitehorse bus
 then an
empty White Pass Railway to the lawless town of  Skagway…and from there I had no idea.  But I sure enough
was not going to fly directly home to Toronto when there was a slower route.  I had
Robert Service and Pierre Berton as guides. Years later My boss, Dr. Norman Paterson of Huntech would 
describe me to an audience as ‘precocious’ whatever that means.

This story is long.  It will be broken into several Episodes.  You will either hate it or love it.
I do not give a sweet goddamn which you choose.  Some may even think the Episodes are
fiction.  No so.  These stories are part  of my life.  Why write the stories?  Do not really know.

alan skeoch
Nov. 5, 2022

P>S>  The previous summer of 1960 I had been sent to Ireland.  Living there was easy.
Our landlady in the tiny village of Bunmahon, Mrs. Lill Kennedy, commented to me
“We had another Canadian mining crew in the village a few years ago.  They were
drinkers and caroused a lot.  You are different”
.  If Mrs. Kennedy had been in the Yukon she might have reconsidered her comment.
Must write a story about her…a great woman.  She is long gone now.


“There’s a race of men that don’t fit in, 
A race that can’t sit still;
So they break the hearts of kith and kin, And they roam the world at will.
They range the field and rove the flood, 
And they climb the mountain’s crest; Their’s is the curse of the gypsy blood, 
And they don’t know how to rest.” 
― Robert Service“Let us probe the silent place

“Let us probe the silent places, let us seek what luck betide us;
Let us journey to a lonely land I know.
There’s a whisper on the night-wind, there’s a star agleam to guide us,
And the Wild is calling, calling…let us go” 
― Robert W. Service, The Spell of the Yukon and Other Verses

“There’s gold, and it’s haunting and haunting; 
It’s luring me on as of old; 
Yet it isn’t the gold that I’m wanting 
So much as just finding the gold. 
It’s the great, big, broad land ’way up yonder, 
It’s the forests where silence has lease; 
It’s the beauty that thrills me with wonder, 
It’s the stillness that fills me with peace.” 
― Robert W. Service, The Spell of the Yukon and Other Verses

Yet it isn’t the gold that I’m wanting
So much as just finding the gold.
It’s the great, big, broad land ‘way up yonder,
It’s the forests where silence has lease;
It’s the beauty that thrills me with wonder,
It’s the stillness that fills me with peace.” 
― Robert W. Service


This sluice box miner gave me the 10,000 year old tooth of a Hairy Mammoth.  The tooth was a great
prop when I begin teaching history at Parkdale C.I. until some student to teacher stole it. 

An aboriginal family another dogs rafting to their hunting grounds down the Stewart River at Mayo Landing in 1961

Dodge Power Wagon could go anywhere…even up or down fast flowing creeks where there were no roads