November 24, 2009 |
Underwater archaeologists said Monday that they have found a virtual time capsule of life during Canada's Klondike Gold Rush: a sunken Yukon River stern-wheeler so well-preserved that researchers can document the last minutes of the five-man crew as well as their life aboard the primitive cargo-hauler. The door of the steam boiler on the A.J. Goddard was open, and slightly charred wood found inside suggested the crew was trying to build up a head of steam, perhaps to break loose from an ice jam. An ax remained on the deck after one crew member hefted it to chop the rope used to tow a barge, a sign of their frantic attempts to escape the ice floe.
August 12, 1985 |
The birth of a salmon is a triumph of spirit, a celebration of life. For fishermen working a salmon run, there is a sense of participation in one of nature's timeless dramas. Hatching out of tiny eggs in shallow-water gravels of tributaries to a river, little salmon survive at first by absorbing energy from their attached yolk sacs, then by eating plankton and other tiny foods. After about a year, they move downstream. When only four to six inches long, they swim into the open ocean.
March 29, 1987 |
In the chill and darkness of Alaska winter, Indians along the Yukon River gather to keep alive a fiddling tradition that owes as much to mail order catalogues as to fur traders. Hudson Bay fur trappers introduced violin music to the Athapascans of interior Alaska in the 1820s. With the music came dancing: light-hearted reels, jigs, square dances and waltzes with roots in Scotland, French Canada and the Orkney Islands. But it was Sears, Roebuck & Co.
June 15, 2008 |
With a sickening thud, another hefty and handsome salmon lands in the waste barrel, headed for the dogs. "See, it's all of the biggest, best-looking fish," said Pat Moore, waving a stogie at the pile of discards. "It breaks my heart. My dogs cannot eat all that. The maggots will get them first." More Alaskan salmon caught here end up in the dog pot these days, their orange-pink flesh fouled by disease that scientists have correlated with warmer water in the Yukon River. The sorting of winners and losers at Moore's riverbank fish camp illustrates what scientists have been predicting will accompany global warming: Cold-temperature barriers are giving way, allowing parasites, bacteria and other disease-spreading organisms to move toward higher latitudes.
July 27, 1997 |
The roar of fast water pounding over rock sent a chill through my rain-soaked body as my six friends and I lined up our kayaks single file and prepared to enter the Yukon River's famed Five Finger Rapids. We had come to the mighty river, fourth largest in North America, to retrace the rush to the Klondike gold fields discovered in Canada's Yukon Territory 100 years before.
June 15, 2003 |
Dad made a break for it. He rigged the Chrysler Caravan with oxygen cylinders, pocketed his heart and diabetes medicines and set out in mid-March, alone, age 77, on a 3,251-mile journey from his home in Anchorage to visit his mother in Minnesota, which is why my brother and I watched the NCAA basketball championship at a bar on the Yukon River. My mother had urged him to fly to Minnesota, not drive. The highway to the continental United States is grueling.