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The Price of Gold


This past week my husband and I watched the mini-series “Klondike.”  DVR recordings make it easy to view a 6 hour broadcast at our convenience.

My reservation before starting this venture was the ratings it was given. However, it wasn’t nearly as bad as I expected. The Directors and Writers researched this gold rush so it was based on actual events along with a few of the characters.

The story began in 1897 when gold was discovered in the Klondike River in the Canadian Yukon Territory. The following statistics explain the mission of those who attempted this trail blazing feat.

→Miners had to pack a year’s worth of supplies equaling or more than 1000 lbs; or $40,000.00 worth of stuff.

→Winter produced elements unbearable to survive including temperatures of 60 degrees below 0 or worse, piles of snow and ice and wind strong enough to blow you away.klondike claim

→The Klondike River stretched 2000 miles; and it wasn’t an easy ride.

→“Dead Horse Gulch” killed over 3000 horses and mules called “pack animals” who were left to rot.

→The “Golden Staircase” was a 30 mile trek straight up the Chilkoot Pass. If you were fortunate enough to avoid an avalanche it took 3 months of travel to reach the top. Rain, wind, and snow so bright it was blinding; many did not make it.

The Golden Staircase

The Golden Staircase

→Main Street in Dawson City, the hub of Klondike Gold was so muddy, those with horse drawn trailers were charged to use it.

→Gold is 19 times heavier than water so panning was popular. The ground was so frozen dynamite would not work so fires burned around the clock to soften it to dig down deep into the earth.

→Underground mining was dangerous. If you didn’t die from falling into a dug-up hole, many were plagued with frostbite, malnourishment to pneumonia to scurvy. Those who survived became rich men.

→Witnesses say they saw prospectors pulling the equivalent in today’s money of $500,000 out of the ground in a day and over $20 million in a span of weeks.

The movie made the lives of these gold seekers as real as if it happened yesterday. If you chose to take this adventure, daily life was nothing short of living in mud, illness, violence, jealousy, and death. Forget bathing; it was unnecessary.klondike claim

A Priest appeared on the scene as if he had a calling from God to try and save this replica of “Sodom and Gomorrah.” If the miners weren’t mining they were filling the saloons for whiskey, poker and women.

The Klondike Gold Rush dramatically exposed the “Survival of the Fittest.” More died than lived.

Staking a claim for a block of ground was worth fighting for even if it meant murder.  Leaving your “claim” for a short walk was an open door for the next thief.dog sled

Proverbs 16:16 “How much better to get wisdom than gold!”

Believing people really took this journey under the conditions it produced left me with some questionable conclusions.

Anyone in their right mind would never have attempted such a trip.  For those who did they had to be stupid, crazy, desperate or so greedy risking everything including their lives was worth it.

They couldn’t have possibly placed much value on life.

Making it to Dawson City would have been a 4-5 month jaunt in who knew what kind of weather. Upon arriving would be a daily fight to keep the necessities just to make it another day.

Proverbs 28:25 “A greedy man stirs up strife, but the one who trusts in the Lord will be enriched.”

Staking a claim didn’t guarantee it was yours to keep.

And if you were one of the very few who found gold the best advice was to keep your mouth shut.

And even then, somehow others found out.

Greed. An ugly, self-indulgent, gluttonous craving.

I’d rather find gold Solomon’s way.

2 thoughts on “The Price of Gold

  1. “Staking a claim didn’t guarantee it was yours to keep.” So true indeed..
    May God keep your light forever shining.

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