Where is the Klondike?

That depends upon who you are. For many, including newspaper reporters, the word "Klondike" meant generally anything north of Seattle including most of Alaska and much of northwestern Canada. Thus, prospectors going to Valdez and the fabled Copper River Gold Fields were often loosely said to be going to the Klondike even though the Klondike is actually hundreds of miles away in Canada.

However, if you were a prospector, you had to know more specifically where you were going. Those coming to Valdez described themselves as headed to Alaska's Copper River area, not through it to the Klondike, although eventually some did go on to Dawson.

The Klondike also seems to have been a state of mind. A Klondiker was a person willing to leave everything behind and go north in search of gold. He or she was an adventurer, a risk-taker, a dreamer, a survivor, and a founder of a new era in Canadian, Alaskan and United States history.

(Jim and Nancy Lethcoe are the authors of Valdez Gold Rush Trails 1898-99 ).

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© Copyright 1998 Nancy Lethcoe and Virtual Valdez. This page is a Valdez Gold Rush site.