September 15, 2010

What was it like to tackle the Chilcoot Trail

Ever wonder what it must have been like for the gold stampeders of 1897-98 to hike the trails. Jeff Brady, owner of The Skagway News, and his 10-year-old son Danny find out first hand io the Chilcoot Trail in this two-part story and photographs HERE.



  1. Excellent topic Jeff.

    I am in the midst of reading Pierre Berton's Klondike Fever' and observing the amazing photo's in his 'Klondike Quest' pictorial book.

    I look forward to reading about Jeff Brady and his son's experiences when I have a moment.

    Let me just state this in advance: From what I have read by Mr.Berton so far....I am awestruck!!!!
    My only criticism is the 'names of his books'...he was far too benevolent....should have been:' Klondike Hell' and 'Klondike Insanity'. I will explain soon.
    OMG...what ever posessed these folks to do what they did.
    I know..... 'GOLD'.....but really...this life altering venture...except for very few.... was plain and simple.... pure insanity! No joke.


  2. The History Channel had a documentary, much like the "real life" shows about a group of people who reenacted the experience of the Chilcoot Pass. I have yet to see it. It is for sale but expensive.

    I agree whole-heartedly with your emphatic state of awe in what those stampeders of 1897-98 went through, many for nothing. Of course, this happened during the Panic of 1893 and a lot of people had already lost everything to the depression. Any chance for wealth, even at the risk of losing their lives, was a worthy one.

    Jeff Smith

  3. Yes Jeff...there certainly must have been great motivation to seek riches in those troubled years after the Panic of 1893.

    However,I truly believe the majority of the stampeder's were 'conned' in a 'major' way by many factions...including:outfitter's; shipping companies; travel bureaus; newpapers and magazines; and even probably many of the folks who returned earlier with gold.
    They were conned into believing it would be a relatively easy journey to the gold fields. [No mention of 58 below temps,snow fields 12 feet deepl ships stranded on frozen rivers for nine months!or making as many as forty 5 mile trips up the side of a mountain to get your required 'ton' of provisions to the other side.etc.]

    I could describe some of the many many unimaginable horror's that took place[[I am sure you know what I am talking about friend Jeff]....but I won't.Best that you read it for yourselves.

    I say to all interested.... Just get the books!You will not regret it. ['Alias Soapy Smith' by Jeff Smith [first],and follow that up with Mr.Berton's 'Klondike Fever' and 'Klondike Quest'.

    These three tomes have given me a great understanding of an important era of American History....and in a strange way...have made me appreciate my own exsistence more.[especially my warm bed :)]

    Knowing the hardships most of these folks endured [a few successfully,most not so]...makes many obstacles we modern folk may encounter...seem trivial.

    Truly shocking...but at the same time inspiring.

  4. I forgot to mention how much I enjoyed Jeff and Danny Brady's description of their hike.

    That's what I call 'real quality' father/son time!

  5. Here is a link to a wonderful array of images, and information on The Chilcoot Pass and Trail.


  6. Thanks Rich! That's a lot of great photographs!

    Guess I should also do something on the White Pass out of Skagway. Here is the LINK to those photos


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