Saturday, August 6, 2016

Dawson City, YT - Gary on Trial

Today we visited the Dawson City Museum where we learned lots about the history of Dawson City, learned how to pan for gold and Gary was put on trial for arsenic poisoning. There were two young guides that gave demonstrations and talked about the artifacts and life during the Klondike gold rush.
One took us through the train shed where there were three large engines and like Goldilocks: one was too large, one too small but one was just right for the job. There were only 31 miles of track connecting the mine fields with the town.

Then they took us through how to sluice and pan for gold. Here’s Andy dumping a shovelful of ‘paydirt’ into the sluice. Melissa stands by the handle to do the manual shaking. Gold is heavier than dirt and any rocks so it will settle to the bottom as water is poured over the paydirt and Melissa shakes it down.

She then takes what is left in the trays and shakes it by hand in a pan, running water over it to get the lighter materials out. Yes, they had salted the load of paydirt with gold and, sure enough, they found this one piece but also a few other smaller flakes.

We then joined the two young guides to experience justice in a rowdy town before the Royal Canadian Mounted Police took charge. Back then the justice was meted out by other miners in the area and all of us tourists played these miners. Andy was the moderator and chose - Gary as the man against whom the charges were brought. Melissa, dressed as a miner then told her story about how Gary tried to poison her and her partner. Boy, it sounded hopeless. Melissa already has the rope to hang him with.
Then Gary jumped up.

         ‘I’m innocent. Those scalawags have a claim next to mine and are jealous about how much gold I’ve gotten. They just want my claim.’

I stood up.

        ‘Yes, he’s innocent. I was with him all night. He wasn’t near them. They’re both rotten scoundrels. Too lazy to mine themselves.’

Whoo - eee. The other miners voted and - whew - Gary was set free. Whew. That was close.

The museum had lots of dioramas with the faces of actual people from town in old costumes and settings to show some of the history of the town.

But, what fun. Then we wandered through town some more. Dirt streets, beautiful homes and hotels.

And, lots of costumed citizens. Lots of homes had these neat decorated boxes out side their homes. Hmmm. Too big for a mail box - aha - they put their trash and recycle bins in them.
We also saw some older buildings that had not been restored.
Note how this building is sagging - probably because the permafrost has melted.
We then headed up to Midnight Dome above town. We had driven up to this high peak overlooking the city several days ago but it was so foggy that we saw nothing.

Today it is sunny and we hope to see the town. It sits on the Yukon River just where the Klondike River joins it.
Very nice day. We're enjoying Dawson City.

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