WEALTH COUNTED BY THOUSANDS.
To be sure, some of them are in a measure Christianized, but the odors arising from the homes of the best of them are such as a civilized nose never scented before. Rancid grease, dried fish, pelts, decaying animals, and human filth made the strongest perfume known to the commercial or social world.
The squaws, if they were in mourning or in love, would have their faces painted black with oil and tar. Then again, a great many wear a wooden or ivory pin thrust through the lip just below the fleshy part. It is worn for ornament, the same as ear-rings or nose-rings, and is called a labret. The missionary work done among them is a commendable one, but it seems a hopeless task. Their houses are always built with one object in view, to be able to tie the canoe to the front door. A long row of huts just above high-tide line can always be safely called a rancherie in that country. Their food is brought by the tide to their very doors, and the timbered mountains abound in wild game, and offer ample fuel for the cutting.
Chilcot, or Pyramid Harbor, is about twelve hours run from Juneau, and it is here the famous Chilcot blanket is made from the goat's wool, woven by hand, and dyed by native dyes, and worked from grotesque patterns. Here, also, are two of the largest salmon canneries in Alaska, and here, indeed, were we in the
LAND OF THE MIDNIGHT SUN.
The hours passed quickly by as the supposed night wore away. At midnight the twilight was so bright that one could read a newspaper easily. Then the moon shone in the clear sky with all regal splendor until 3.30 in the morning, when old Sol again put in his claims for admission. He lifted his golden head above the snowy peaks, and spirited away the uncertain light of unfolding dawn by drawing the curtains of the purpling east, and sending floods of radiance upon the entire world. It was a sight never to be forgotten, if seen but once in a lifetime.
Onward once again when the tide was in, and our next awakening was on the grand glacier fields. The greatest sight of the entire trip, or of any other in America, now opened out before many eager eyes. For several days, icebergs had been seen sailing along on the smooth surface from the great glaciers, and speeding to the southern seas like phantom ships. As the ship neared the bay, these huge bergs increased in size and number, with such grotesque and weird shapes, that the mind is absorbed in shaping turrets, ghosts, goblins, and the like, each moment developing more and more of things unearthly, until the heart and eyes seem bursting with the strain, when suddenly a great roar, like the shock of an explosion of giant powder, turns the eyes to the parent glacier to see the birth of these unnatural forms. They break from the icy wall with a stupendous crash, and fall into the water with such force as to send our great ship careening on her side when the swell from the disturbed waters strikes her.
The Muir glacier is the one that occupies the most attention, as it is the most accessible to tourists. It rises to a perpendicular height of 350 feet, and stretches across the entire head of the Glacier Bay, which is estimated from three to five miles in width. The Muir and Davidson glaciers are two arms of that great Ice field extending more than 400 miles in length, covering more area
THAN ALL SWITZERLAND,
and any one of the fifteen subdivisions of the glacial stream is as large as the Great Rhone glacier.
Underlying this great ice field is that glacial river which bears these mountains of ice on its bosom to the ocean. With a roar like distant artillery, or an approaching thunder-storm, the advancing walls of this great monster split and fall into the watery deep, which has been sounded to a depth of some 800 feet without finding anchor.
The glacial wall is a rugged, uneven mass, with clefts and crevices, towering pinnacles and domes, higher than Bunker Hill monument, cutting the air at all angles, and with a stupendous crash sections break off from any portion without warning and sink far out of sight. Scarcely two minutes elapse without a portion falling from some quarter. The marble whiteness of the face is relieved by lines of intense blue, a characteristic peculiar to the small portions as well as the great.
Going ashore in little rowboats, the vast area along the sandy beach was first explored, and it was, indeed, like a fairy land. There were acres of grottoes, whose honey-combed walls were most delicately carved by the soft winds and the sunlight reflections around and in the arches of ice, such as are never seen except in water, ice, and sky.
MOUNTAINS OF ICE,
remnants of glaciers, along the beach, stood poised on one point, or perchance on two points, and arched between. These icebergs were dotted with stones imbedded; great bowls were melted out and filled with water, and little cups made of ice would afford you a drink of fresh water on the shore of this salt sea.
At five o'clock in the morning, with the sun kissing the cold majestic glacier into a glad awakening from its icy sleep, the ascent was begun. Too eager to be among the first to see the top, many started without breakfast, while others chose the wiser part, and waited to be physically fortified.
The ascent is not so difficult as it is dangerous. There is no trail and no guide, and many a step had to be retraced to get across or around some bottomless fissure. For some distance the ground seemed quite solid. Soon it was discovered that there was but a thin covering of dirt on the solid ice below; but anon in striking the ground with the end of an alpine stick it would prove to be but an inch of ice and dirt mixed, and a dark abyss below which we could not fathom. It is to be hoped, for the good of future tourists, that there are not many such places, or that they may soon be exposed so they can be avoided. Reaching the top after a tedious and slippery climb, there was a long view of icy billows, as if the sea had suddenly congealed amid a wild tempestuous storm. Deep chasms obstructed the way on all sides, and a misstep or slip would send one down the blue steps where no friendly rope could rescue, and only the rushing water could be heard. To view the solid phalanxes of icy floes, as they fill the mountain fastnesses and imperceptibly march through the ravines and force their way to the sea, fills one with awe indescribable. The knowledge that the ice is moving from beneath one's feet thrills one with a curious sensation hard to portray.
Below, it seems like the constant wooing of the sea that wins the offering from this wealth of purity, instead of the voluntary act of this giant of the Arctic zone.
For twenty-four hours the awful grandeur of these scenes was gloried in, when Captain Hunter gave the order to draw the anchor and steam away. The whistles call the passengers back to the steamer, where they were soon comparing specimens, viewing instantaneous photographs, hiding bedraggled clothing, casting away tattered mufflers, and telling of hair-breadth escapes from peril and death. Many a tired head sought an early pillow, and floated away in dreams of ghoulish icebergs, until the call for breakfast disclosed to opening eyes that the boat was anchored in the
BEAUTIFUL HARBOR OF SITKA.
The steamer's whistle is the signal for a holiday in all Alaska ports, and Sitka is no exception to the rule. Six o'clock in the morning, but the sleepy town had awakened to the fact of our arrival, and the inhabitants were out in force to greet friends or sell their canoes. There are some 1,500 people living in Sitka, including all races. The harbor is the most beautiful a fertile brain can imagine. Exquisitely moulded islands are scattered about in the most enchanting way, all shapes and sizes, with now and then a little garden patch, and ever verdant with native woods and grasses and charming rockeries. As far out as the eye can reach the beautiful isles break the cold sea into bewitching inlets and lure the mariner to shelter from evil outside waves.
The village nestles between giant mountains on a lowland curve surrounded by verdure too dense to be penetrated with the eye, and too far to try to walk—which is a good excuse for tired feet. The first prominent feature to meet the eye on land is a large square house, two stories high, located on a rocky eminence near the shore, and overlooking the entire town and harbor. Once it was a model dwelling of much pretension, with its spacious apartments, hard-wood six-inch plank floors, elaborately-carved decorations, stained-glass windows, and its amusement and refreshment halls. All betoken the former elegance of the Russian governor's home, which was supported with such pride and magnificence as will never be seen there again. The walls are crumbling, the windows broken, and the old oaken stairways will soon be sinking to earth again, and its only life will be on the page of history.
The mission-school hospital, chapel, and architectural buildings occupied much of the tourists' time, and some were deeply interested. There are eighteen missionaries in Sitka, under the Presbyterian jurisdiction, trying to educate and Christianize the Indians. They are doing a noble work, but it does seem a hopeless task when one goes among the Indian homes, sees the filth, smells the vile odors, and studies the native habits.
These Indians, like the other tribes, are not poor, but all have more or less money.
MANY ARE RICH,
having more than $20,000 in good hard cash, yet the squalor in which they live would indicate the direst poverty.
The stroll to Indian river, from which the town gets its water supply, is bewitching. The walk is made about six feet through an evergreen forest, the trees arching overhead, for a distance of two miles, and is close to the bay, and following the curve in a most picturesque circle. The water is carried in buckets loaded on carts and wheeled by hand, for horses are almost unknown in Alaska. There are probably not more than half a dozen horses and mules in all Alaska—not so much because of the expense of transportation and board, as lack of roads and the long, dark days and months of winter, when people do not go out but very little. All the packing is done in all sections of Alaska by natives carrying the packs and supplies on their backs.
Sitka's most interesting object is the old Greek church, located in the middle of the town, and also in the middle of the street. Its form is that of a Greek cross, with a copper-covered dome, surmounted by a chime-bell tower. The inside glitters with gold and rare paintings, gold embroidered altar cloths and robes; quaint candelabra of solid silver are suspended in many nooks, and an air of sacred quiet pervades the whole building. There were no seats, for the Russians remain standing during the worship. Service is held every Sabbath by a Russian priest in his native language, and the church is still supported by the Russian Government. Indeed, Russia does more for the advancement of religion than does our own Government for Alaska.
The walk through the Indian ranch was but a repetition of the other towns, only that they were wealthier and uglier, if possible, than the other tribes. The Hydahs are very powerfully built, tall, large boned, and stout.
Two days were spent in visiting and trafficking with these people. Then the anchor came up, and soon a silver trail like a huge sea serpent moved among the green isles, and followed us once more—now on the homeward sail.
But one new place of importance was made on the home trip, and that was at
When the steamer arrived, the evening after leaving Sitka, the city policeman met us at the wharf and invited us to visit his hut. Of course, he was a native, who expected to sell some curios. Over his door was the following:
"By the Governor's commission, And the company's permission, I am made the grand tyhee Of this entire illahee.
"Prominent in song and story, I've attained the top of glory. As Saginaw I am known to fame, Jake is but my common name."
The time when he attained his fame and glory must have been when he and his wife were both drunk one night, and he put the handcuffs on his wife and could not get them off, and she had to go to Sitka to be released. He appears in at least a dozen different suits while the steamer is in port, and stands ready to be photographed every time.
Killisnoo used to be a point where 100,000 barrels of herring oil were put up annually. The industry is now increasing again.
And this reminds me that I am almost neglecting a reference to Alaska's vast resources in forests, metals, furs, and fish. There are 300,000,000 of acres densely wooded with spruce, red and yellow cedar, Oregon pine, hemlock, fir, and other useful varieties of timber. Canoes are made from single trees, sixty feet long, with eight-feet beams.
Gold, silver, lead, iron, coal, and copper are encountered in various localities. Though but little prospected or developed, Alaska is now yielding gold at the rate of about $2,000,000 per year. There is a respectable area of island and mainland country well adapted to stock-raising, and the production of many cereals and vegetables. The climate of much of the coast country is milder than that of Colorado, and stock can feed on the pastures the year round.
But, if Alaska had no mines, forests, or agriculture, its seal and salmon fisheries would remain alone an immense commercial property. The salmon are found in almost any part of these northern waters where fresh water comes in, as they always seek those streams in the spawning season. There are different varieties that come at stated periods and are caught in fabulous numbers, sometimes running solid ten feet deep, and often retarding steamers when a school of them is overtaken. At Idaho Inlet Mr. Van Gasken brought up a seine for the Ancon tourists containing 350 salmon for packing. At nearly every port the steamer landed there was either one or more canning or salt-packing establishments for salmon. Of these, 11,500,000 pounds were marketed last year.
Besides the salmon there is the halibut, black and white cod, rock cod, herring, sturgeon, and many other fish, while the waters are whipped by porpoises and whales in large numbers all along the way. Governor Swineford estimates the products of the Alaska fisheries last year at $3,000,000.
THE SEAL FISHERIES
are still 1,800 miles west of Sitka. St. Paul and St. George Islands are the best breeding places of the seals, sea lions, sea otter, and walrus. These islands are in a continuous fog in summer, and are swept by icy blasts in winter. There are many interesting facts connected with these islands and the habits of these phocine kindred, but space is limited. Suffice that 100,000 seals are killed each year for commercial purposes. Over 1,000,000 seal pups are born every year, and when they leave for winter quarters they go in families and not altogether. An average seal is about six feet long, but some are found eight feet long and weigh from 400 to 800 pounds. The work of catching is all done between the middle of June and the first of August. The fur company are supposed to pay our Government $2 for each pelt. These hides are at once shipped to London to be dyed and made ready to be put on the market in the United States.
In fact, Alaska seems full to overflowing with offerings to seekers of fortune or pleasure. Its coast climate is mild, with no extreme heat, because of the snow-clad peaks which temper the humid air, and never extreme cold, because of the Japan current that bathes its mossy slopes and destroys the frigid wave before it does its work.
Three thousand miles along this inland sea has revealed scenes of matchless grandeur—majestic mountains (think of snow-crowned St. Elias, rising 19,500 feet from the ocean's edge), the mightiest glaciers, world's of inimitable, indescribable splendor. It is a trip of a lifetime. There is none other like it, and our party unanimously resolves that the tourist who fails to take it misses very much.
* * * * *
Fifth Tour.—From Portland to San Francisco by steamer is one of the most enjoyable trips offered the tourist in point of safety and comfort, and the service is exceptionally fine.
The steamers "Oregon," "Columbia," and "State of California" are powerful iron steamers, built expressly for tourist travel between Portland and San Francisco. The traveler will find this fifty-hour ocean voyage thoroughly enjoyable; the sea is uniformly smooth, no greater motion than the long swell of the Pacific, and the boats are models of neatness and comfort. It affords a grand opportunity to run down the California coast, always in sight of land, and derive the invigorating exhilaration of an ocean trip without any of its discomforts. Among the many points of interest to be seen are the picturesque Columbia River Bar, the beautiful Ocean Beach at Clatsop, the towering heights of Cape Hancock, the lonely Mid-Ocean Lighthouse at Tillamook Rock, the historical Rogue River Reef, Cape Mendocino, Humboldt Bay, Point Arena, and last, but not least, the world-renowned Golden Gate of San Francisco.
The steamships of this company are all new, modern-designed iron vessels, supplied with steam steering apparatus, electric light and bells, and all improved nautical appliances. The state-rooms, cabins, salons, etc., are elaborately furnished throughout, the whole presenting an unrivaled scene of luxurious ocean life.
The advantages of this charming ocean trip to the tourist are most obvious; there is the healthful air of the grand old Pacific Ocean, complete freedom from dust, heat, cinders, and all the discomforts which one meets in midsummer railway travel.
* * * * *
STANDARD PUBLICATIONS BY THE PASSENGER DEPARTMENT OF THE UNION PACIFIC RAILWAY.
The Passenger Department of the Union Pacific Railway will take pleasure in forwarding to any address, free, of charge, any of the following publications, provided that with the application is enclosed the amount of postage specified below for each publication. All of these books and pamphlets are fresh from the press, many of them handsomely illustrated, and accurate as regards the region of country described. They will be found entertaining and instructive, and invaluable as guides to and authority on the fertile tracts and landscape wonders of the great empire of the West. There is information for the tourist, pleasure and health seeker, the investor, the settler, the sportsman, the artist, and the invalid.
The Western Resort Book. Send 6 cents for postage.
This is a finely illustrated book describing the vast Union Pacific system. Every health resort, mountain retreat, watering place, hunter's paradise, etc., etc., is depicted. This book gives a full and complete detail of all tours over the line, starting from Sioux City, Council Bluffs, Omaha, St. Joseph, Leavenworth, or Kansas City, and contains a complete itinerary of the journey from either of these points to the Pacific Coast.
Sights and Scenes. Send 2 cents postage for each pamphlet.
There are five pamphlets in this set, pocket folder size, illustrated, and are descriptive of tours to particular points. The set comprises "Sights and Scenes in Colorado;" Utah; Idaho and Montana; California; Oregon, Washington, and Alaska. Each pamphlet, deals minutely with every resort of pleasure or health within its assigned limit, and will be found bright and interesting reading for tourists.
Facts and Figures. Send 2 cents postage for each pamphlet.
This is a set of three pamphlets, containing facts and figures relative to Kansas, Nebraska, and Colorado respectively. They are more particularly meant for intending settlers in these fertile States and will be found accurate in every particular; there is a description of all important towns.
Vest Pocket Memorandum Book. Send 2 cents for postage.
A handy, neatly gotten-up little memorandum book, very useful for the farmer, business man, traveler, and tourist.
Calendar, 1890. Send 6 cents for postage.
An elegant Calendar for the year 1890, suitable for the office and counting room.
Comprehensive Pamphlets. Send 6 cents postage for each pamphlet.
A set of pamphlets on Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, Utah, Idaho, Oregon, and Washington. These books treat, of the resources, climate, acreage, minerals, grasses, soil, and products of these various empires on an extended scale, entering very fully upon an exhaustive treatise of the capabilities and promise of the places described. They have been very carefully compiled, and the information collated from Official Reports, actual settlers, and residents of the different States and Territories.
Theatrical Diary. Send 10 cents for postage.
This is a Theatrical Diary for 1890-91, bound in Turkey Morocco, gilt tops, and contains a, list of 255 theatres and opera houses reached by the Union Pacific system, seating capacity, size of stage, terms, newspapers in each town, etc., etc. This Diary is intended only for the theatrical profession.
Commercial Salesman's Expense Book. Send 2 cents for postage.
A neat vest pocket memorandum book for 1890—dates, cash accounts, etc., etc.
Outdoor Sports and Pastimes. Send 2 cents for postage.
A carefully compiled pamphlet of some thirty pages, giving the complete rules of this year, for Lawn Tennis, Base Ball, Croquet, Racquet, Cricket, Quoits, La Crosse, Polo, Curling, Foot Ball, etc., etc. There are also diagrams of a Lawn Tennis Court and Base Ball diamond. This pamphlet will be found especially valuable to lovers of these games.
Map of the United States. Send 25 cents for postage.
A large wall map of the United States, complete in every particular, and compiled from the latest surveys; just published; size, 46 x 66 inches; railways, counties, roads, etc., etc.
Stream, Sound and Sea. Send 2 cents for postage.
A neat, illustrated pamphlet descriptive of a trip from The Dalles of the Columbia to Portland, Ore., Astoria, Clatsop Beach; through the strait of Juan de Fuca and the waters of the Puget Sound, and up the coast to Alaska. A handsome pamphlet containing valuable information for the tourist.
Wonderful Story. Send 2 cents for postage.
The romance of railway building. The wonderful story of the early surveys and the building of the Union Pacific. A paper by General G.M. Dodge, read before the Society of the Army of the Tennessee, September, 1888. General Sherman pronounces this document fascinatingly interesting and, of great historical value, and vouches for its accuracy.
Gun Club Rules and Revised Game Laws. Send 2 cents for postage.
This valuable publication is a digest of the laws relating to game in all the Western States and Territories. It also contains the various gun club rules, together with a guide to all Western localities where game of whatsoever description may be found. Every sportsman should have one.
"The Oldest Inhabitant." Send 10 cents for postage.
This is a buffalo head in Sepia, a very artistic study from life. It is characterized by strong drawing and wonderful fidelity. A very handsome acquisition for parlor or library.
Crofutt's Overland Guide, No. 1. Send $1.00.
This book has just been issued. It graphically describes every point, giving its history, population, business resources, etc., etc., on the line of the Union Pacific Hallway, between the Missouri River and the Pacific Coast, and the tourist should not start West without a copy in his possession. It furnishes in one volume a complete guide to the country traversed by the Union Pacific system, and can not fail to be of great assistance to the tourist in selecting his route, and obtaining complete information about the points to be visited.
A Glimpse of Great Salt Lake. Send 4 cents for postage.
This is a charming description of a yachting cruise on the mysterious Inland sea, beautifully illustrated with original sketches by the well-known artist, Mr. Alfred Lambourne, of Salt Lake City. This startling phenomena of sea and cloud and light and color are finely portrayed. This book touches a new region, a voyage on Great Salt Lake never before having been described and pictured.
General Folder. No postage required.
A carefully revised General Folder is issued regularly every month. This publication gives condensed through time tables; through car service; a first-class map of the United States, west of Chicago and St. Louis; important baggage and ticket regulations of the Union Pacific Railway, thus making a valuable compendium for the traveler and for ticket agent in selling through tickets over the Union Pacific Railway.
The Pathfinder. No postage required.
A book of some fifty pages devoted to local time cards; containing a complete list of stations with the altitude of each; also connections with western stage lines and ocean steamships; through car service; baggage and Pullman Sleeping Car rates and the principal ticket regulations, which will prove of great value as a ready reference for ticket agents to give passengers information about the local branches of the Union Pacific Railway.
Alaska Folder. No postage required.
This Folder contains a brief outline of the trip to Alaska, and also a correct map of the Northwest Pacific Coast, from Portland to Sitka, Alaska, showing the route of vessels to and from this new and almost unknown country.