National Geographic : 1897 Nov
328 A WINTER WEATHER RECORD FROM KLONDIKE ice first started on the river and ran for an hour and then stopped. From this it will be noted that the river was covered with a prac tically unbroken sheet of ice for a little over six months. On May 17, at 4 a. m., the ice began running again, and was still plentiful on the 19th, but was nearly gone on the 20th. The final entry of this interesting record, made on May 23, is as fol lows: " Start for St Michael tomorrow." During my residence at St Michael, from June, 1877, to June, 1881, I learned from the Yukon traders that the ice breaks first in the upper river, and the general breaking up proceeds thence down to the delta, several days intervening between the opening of navigation above and the clearing of the great river below. The fur traders of the upper Yukon usually started as soon as the river became pretty well freed from floating ice, and were joined on their way by the traders stationed lower down. The little flotilla of barges usually reached the river mouth at about the same time. By this time the river delta would be free, and if the sea ice had opened out from shore the boats would pro ceed northward along the coast to St Michael, 60 miles away. The date for the ice to break away from the coast between the Yukon mouth and St Michael varies greatly and may occur at any time between May 31 and July 1. It usually takes place before June 10. The river boats frequently arrived at St Michael before it was possible for vessels to pass the barrier of pack-ice offshore. In Mr McQuesten's record the first wild geese were noted on March 31. This is a month before they used to appear along the coast and is a good indication of the more rapid advance of spring on the upper river. The following summary of these observations brings out some interesting points, but it is probably not ordinarily the case that January should be warmer than either December or February, as it was that season. Commencing with the long nights that come on in October, the temperature sank steadily, and in De cember was noted the greatest cold of the winter (-67° on the 20th). In January occurred a strange and prolonged upward oscillation of the temperature that probably does not generally occur. Following this during February there was another period of intense cold, which lasted until March 1. In this latter month the effect of the returning sun became strikingly evident. The widest range of temperature in any month (880) was during March. The thermometer used was a Fahrenheit.