Jasons Gold by Will Hobbs
They were the Klondike stampeders. From all over they descended on southwest Alaska in the summer of 1897 on their way to strike it rich in the Klondike gold fields of the Yukon.
Fifteen-year-old Jason Hawthorne was one of them, and for the first time since he'd started north from Seattle he was optimistic. He had signed on as a horse wrangler with two greenhorn stampeders, and now he was sure he would catch up with his two brothers who were days ahead of him on their way to the gold fields.
But his optimism didn't last. The trail to White Pass was choked with people and their pack horses. Rain had made it a sea of mud, and progress was agonizingly slow. As the hours turned into days, Jason lost track of time. Shouts, curses, and gunshots filled the air as more and more stampeders retreated back down the trail. The trail became littered with the bodies of dead horses.
Finally he turned around. As he struggled back down, Jason came upon a terrible sight. A huge man, red with rage, was killing his husky sled dogs after they had collapsed with exhaustion. Risking death, Jason was able to save the last one. He named it King.
Collapsing in Skagway, Jason felt ashamed and sick at heart. But for him there is no going back. Yes there is another route, the trail through Chilkoot Pass. It is steeper but shorter, and without the mud and the horses he and King might just make it. So with thousands of other desperate gold seekers, Jason makes one last attempt to cross the mountains and get down the Yukon River to the gold fields before the he's trapped by the terrible Canadian winter.
Jason Hawthorne's got Klondike Fever! He wants his gold and will try anything to get it.
Jason's Gold by Will Hobbs
By Tom Reynolds, Sno-Isle Library System
Last Updated: January 15, 2008