National Geographic : 1968 Jul
Paying with gold dust, a lucky miner empties his moose-skin poke at a Dawson store in 1899. Prices fluctuated wildly. One winter, flour sold for $75 a sack, a cucumber brought $5, and salt was worth its weight in gold. By 1900 cheechakos, or tenderfeet, found most creeks staked; within a decade placer mines were exhausted. Today only a trickle of gold leaves the Yukon, largely a by-product of copper mining. Eyewitness to madness, 86-year-old Emma Brown, a Tahltan Indian of Telegraph Creek, British Columbia, recalls "our men made a lot of money packing in for those crazy ones." Warmed by visions of wealth, "Black Mike" Winage arrived in Dawson in 1900 as a consta ble of the Mounties. Now, at 98, he stays on in a one-room cabin, still trying his luck in the hills.