The Prospectors

As the gold rushers hauled their ton or more of supplies over Valdez Glacier, they had plenty of time to evaluate each other.

Luther Guiteau wrote: "Its a great place to study faces and human nature. . . two Virginians were very fine fellows, but too green to make a go of it on the trail. They knew absolutely nothing about taking care of themselves out of doors, or of camp cookery . . . they even carried with them several heavy canvas grain-sacks . . .to hold the nuggets they had been told they could get for the picking on the Copper River bars!"

Treloar, a prospector from Carpentina, California, commented in surprise that a neighbor he had known for years turned out not to be a good trail companion writing: "Here is a place to test men. A man's temper is tried. One soon knows the disposition of his partners. One may live neighbor to a person for years and never get acquainted with him, but work one week with him drawing a sled and packing until he's near exhaustion then go to camp together and eat there and tidy up camp and at the end of the week you will know him . . ."

As they learned who worked without complaint, who was a slacker, who had a quick temper, who was a good companion, who you might trust your life in the wilds with, many companies broke up and new partnerships formed.

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