George Carmack, Skookum Jim and Dawson Charlie found gold nuggets in Rabbit Creek. This started the Klondike gold rush in the Yukon, Canada. This led to the gold prospecting of nearby rivers and streams.
The mother load was found in a small creek in the Klondike named Eldorado Creek. It flows into the Bonanza creek and here is where the gold pans filled up. The pans pulled up some of the largest nuggets found in the last hundred and fifty years. Gold nuggets the size of your hand. It was not all that easy for some, though. Some prospectors had to go through 100 feet of perm-a-frost just to get to the bedrock where the gold pay stash was sitting.
Prospector, Big Alex MacDonald, known as the Klondike King, pulled 29 mules each loaded with one hundred pounds of gold into town in those days. Not bad for a summer’s work.
In today’s hot gold market, take 16 oz in a pound x 100 pound of gold x 29 mule x $1100 oz at today’s spot price would = $1,760,000 per mule. Another way of saying this would be, he had 46,400 oz of pure raw gold packed on those poor mules totalling $51,040,000 million dollars at today’s spot prices. Again, not a bad return on gold prospecting. This is just funny. At the time, he bought his claim for a bag of flour and a side of bacon, but when he was died he was broke again. Easy come, easy go.
You know, there is still lots of gold nuggets to be found prospecting in the Yukon, but not just in the Yukon. Wherever there was gold found before in the world, there is still gold there waiting to be found. A good friend of mine, Bruce, did some gold mining in the Yukon a few years ago. While there wasn’t nuggets the size of your hand or anything, they did pulled out about 150 ounces of gold dust in one summer.
The pay dirt pile was only about the size of a small house. They just had a small tractor and some simple gold recovery equipment. At the end of the day, gold is still gold…. if that be gold nuggets, coins or gold dust. When I asked Bruce if he had any pictures for this website, he just laughs and wishes he had a picture or two himself of those old quart sealer canning jars of gold dust sitting on the table. With a short summer in the north, you don’t think to much about taking pictures when you are fighting to get all the jobs done before winter sets in.
Here’s a few things to think about just before you pack some gold prospecting tools and head north to the Yukon. Your trip should be well planned out, if that be in the deserts of Nevada to the cold of Alaska. Like in the Yukon it can be a bit cool even in the summer for most of us. You will want to look out for the hungry grizzly or back bears, they are common to the area, looking for some wild eyed, gold fevered prospector, (a gun is not a bad idea). The tree brush is thicker than the hair on a dog’s hind leg. Now the mosquitoes are the size of small birds and hungry as vultures. When those buggers land on you, they make your skin look like you’re wearing a wool sweater, and the itch is worse than if you had a wool sweater on.
With that in the back of your mind, go and get some of them big gold nuggets in your pan. Until next time.