Gold RushYukon River Revisited
‘To whom it may concern. I do, this day, locate and claim, by right of discovery, five hundred feet, running up stream from this notice. Located this 17th day of August, 1896.’
This announcement, nailed to a post on the banks of a stream in the wilds of north-west Canada in 1896, heralded the start a mass migration. Pioneers and profiteers descend the River Yukon heading for the gold. Within two years a town with 40,000 inhabitants had emerged: Dawson City.
In 1972, while trekking through Canada, I hear about the Yukon, travel up north, rent a canoe and paddle downstream. Dawson City, now home to a population of 1,500, is 750 km away.
Forty decades later, I fly with my son, two other fathers and their fifteen-year-old sons to the Yukon. Three fathers, three sons, three canoes, three weeks, 750 kilometres.
To the children: a dream come true and an initiation. To me as a father: a voyage paddling through my own history. Nature is as wild as ever. You only laugh on the inside.
Gold Rush – Yukon River Revisited is a quest to the bottom and across the surface of the lake of remembrance. Personal and general, experience and history all rolled into one.