National Geographic : 1898 Apr
A YUKON PIONEER, MIKE LEBARGE -40° and -66°. Snow fell but one day in February and 25 days were perfectly clear. With the middle of May summer comes at once, the Yukon breaks up, the snow vanishes as if by magic, and vegetation develops with astonishing rapidity until opening September brings sharp frosts almost daily. By methods familiar to meteorologists the temperature means for the three coldest months-December, January, and February -have been calculated for all the points hereafter named, except for St Michael, which is definitely known. St Michael, mouth of Yukon, 3.3°; Anvik, 62° 37' N., 1600 W., -1.2°; Circle City, -10.2°, and Dawson, 64° 05' N.' 1380 W., -2 4°. Any single winter may be considerably warmer or colder than is here cal culated, but the means are practically correct and afford a good idea of all intervening points in the valley of the Yukon, and therefore have a definite value for all who seek to wrest from rugged and inhospitable Nature the golden hoards of Alaska. A YUKON PIONEER, MIKE LEBARGE The first white men to explore the Yukon between the Russian settlements and the Hudson Bay post called Fort Yukon were Frank Ketchum, of St Johns, New Brunswick, and Michel Le barge, of Chateauguay, Quebec. After the death of the lamented Kennicott, at Nulato, in May, 1866, the expedition which he had planned and which was only waiting for the ice to pass out of the river to make a start, was loyally and successfully carried out by his chosen and faithful companions. They ascended the river from Nulato to Fort Yukon, and then returned, crossing the portage to St Michael to make their report to the commander-in chief of the Telegraph expedition, Col. Chas. S. Bulkeley, at that port. The following year the party was augmented by Wm. H. Dall and Frederick Whymper, who wintered at Nulato. Ketchum and Lebarge undertook a remarkable journey over the frozen river to Fort Yukon in March, accompanied by two Indians. They arrived safely at their destination just as the ice was break ing up, and after the freshet was over took birch canoes at Fort Yukon and continued their explorations to the junction of the Lewes and the Pelly at the site of old Fort Selkirk. Returning, they joined Dall and Whymper at Fort Yukon, the second half of the party having made the journey to that point in canoes.