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Gold Miners Dragged Thousands Of Pounds Up The Trail

Gold pans, frying pans, picks and planes.
Poster geared toward prospective miners, headed to Alaska and the Canadian Yukon. 

There Were No Real Roads In Alaska

This large poster informed miners, headed to Alaska, "We carry a very heavy stock..." They were right. The axes, augers, chisels, frying pans, gold pans and scales, hammers, hatchets, pitch, picks, planes, rockers, rowlocks, saws, shovels, sleighs, steel and stoves -- along with everything else -- was, indeed, really very heavy.

And since there were no roads in Alaska, all that stuff posed quite a problem. Miners who left for Alaska in the late 1890's were not true 'miners' since very few of them knew anything about geology, gold mining, or much else, including how to live in the arctic. They were most often city or small town people who had enough money to buy all this gear, and then were gullible enough to drag it all, by hand, up over glaciers and down deadly rivers in boats they built themselves (using the "hatchets, planes, axes, augers and chisels, etc. etc. etc."). They watched their oakum and pitch-sealed raw spruce-plank boats crash on the rocks, and their shovels and eye protectors sink into the raging torrents, never to be found again.

Many miners died in their quest for riches in the northland.

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