National Geographic : 1922 May
550 THE NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGAZINE customed to the great crowds that gath ered to meet us that we took it as a matter of course. The very evident amazement of the old "sour-dough" settlers of Fair banks, however, persuaded us that avia tion would have some backers in the fu ture, once they had fully grasped its meaning. E They could not believe that we had cov ered the distance from New York in 50 A' hours, when they had spent 18 or 20 months reaching there by way of the SYukon, in the gold-rush days. Letters S we bore to them from New York and the East they declared they would keep al ways as souvenirs of our visit. surprising to us by reason of the green verdure, the abundant crops, and beauti ful flower gardens that bloomed luxu riantly in contrast with the bleak and for bidding country over which we had so recently flown. Here enterprising farmers took every advantage of the few weeks of Sunlight in the spring and their crops o grew with great rapidity. Every house boasted a well-kept garden. § Unlimited resources remain undisturbed here in interior Alaska. Not gold alone, but copper, silver, lead, coal, and tin are found in seeming abundance. Cinnabar, too, has recently been discovered in this t region. Z As we flew up the Tanana toward the Yukon, two days later, we saw much of < this interesting country from a low alti tude. Though few landing places were available, we felt a nonchalant disregard for the precautions that had worried us so much in the Canadian Rockies. Sand bars in the river appeared now and then. Our maps, which were Geological Sur vey maps of the Tanana and Yukon val leys, proved to be accurate. We flew through light rains until Har pers Bend was reached, south of Fort Gibbon, on the Tanana River, and then we entered the valley of the Yukon. We overtook a river-boat on the Yu kon and were tempted to fly down close enough to get a view of the passengers. The contrast between this method of Transportation and our own was striking, Sfor the boat was pushing three barges against the current and was not making ! -'more than three or four miles an hour.