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The Trail of a Sourdough Life in Alaska   By:

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[Illustration: The heart of Alaska in winter ]


Life in Alaska



Author of "A Woman Who Went to Alaska"

[Illustration: ARTI et VERITATI]


Copyright 1910 by Richard G. Badger

All Rights Reserved



While the word Sourdough (sour dough) is perfectly familiar to those in Alaska and along the Pacific Coast it may not be amiss to give a brief explanation to our Eastern readers.

A Sourdough is a miner who has spent one winter in Alaska and "has seen the ice go out." Mrs. Sullivan is a Sourdough herself. In all she has made seven trips to Alaska extending over a period of ten years.

When miners are beyond the pale of civilization, with a supply of flour but no baking powder, yeast or potatoes, they cut from each batch of bread dough a little piece, to be kept until it turns sour, and then used as leaven for the next baking.

It is through this custom that the miners themselves came to be called sourdoughs.


This little book is my second Brain child. The first, entitled "A Woman Who Went to Alaska," has been so cordially received by the reading public that I have been induced to send another in its footsteps. It is with great pleasure and perfect confidence that I do this.

To my Alaskan readers it is unnecessary to state that these little tales are deduced from every day life, as they are easily recognizable. To those not yet favored by a residence in this Northland I would say that I have written each tale with a well defined purpose. With truthfulness could each one have been more vividly, yes startlingly, told; but I have no wish to unduly disturb my readers. It has been my aim, however, to picture not only character, but also the vast and wonderful gold producing region, so plainly that even the young may better know Alaska, and learn somewhat from glimpses of the trials, privations and successes of its early pioneers.

To these last Trail blazers no " Chee chako " can ever do justice. Their courage, bravery, patience under difficulties, and stoicism under severe trial can never be properly appreciated except by their fellow sufferers.

My readers will find in the book much of the folklore and a touch of the mysticism so common to all people of the northland.

Counting myself one of the least among them I have been a witness to their struggles and triumphs, and for this reason I do most heartily dedicate this little book to the memory of each horny handed pack laden miner "musher" who has ever lifted a finger to assist, encourage, or strengthen the author of The Trail of a Sourdough.

The name of these helpers is Legion. That their cabins may be warm and roomy, winter dumps high and numerous, sluice boxes filled with nuggets, and lives long and happy is the earnest wish of




I The Miner's Reasons 11

II Under the Tundra 22

III The Hidden Ledge 44

IV A New Klondyke 81

V Estella the Eskimo 106

VI Why Midas Failed 132

VII The Old Stone House 172

VIII A Miner's Own Story 192

IX Eyllen's Water Witch 214



The Heart of Alaska in Winter frontispiece

A Huskie 21

Dressed in his fresh miner's rig 25

A welcome shelter 43

The scene on shore was a repetition of that on the neighboring beach at Skagway 51

A Messenger of cheer 80

Panning out 105

Upon his mother's back, beneath her parkie 115

The little one clinging tightly to her hand she approached the door 121

The pretty woman was a full blooded Eskimo to face page 138

Poling up the river 171

When Old Tillie was Young 181

She scanned the horizon to face page 216

"Holy Mother Mary! I believe it's gold" 223

Father Peter 229

The Lord of the Northland 258

The cover design is a picture of Cape Nome, Alaska... Continue reading book >>

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