The Langlow Family
in Alaska and the Yukon

A Terrible Trip

It was in the spring, but in Alaska, it is colder then than in mid-winter; the air is rawer. The two Langlos could each drive his own team of dogs. The loads were not light, as they were to move everything they had. They had counted on stopping overnight at two, preferably three places before they would come to Eldorado, and it wasn't a pleasant thing to think about. The first night they slept in a tent out on the ice, and that was passably fair. The next night it was much colder and it would be suicide to try the same thing. They arrived at a blockhouse and stopped there. But the accommodations were fully occupied. Besides, a couple of dozen men, there were more than a half hundred dogs that they had taken in under shelter, when they found that it would be impossible for them to stand the cold of the night outside. When the men saw that there were white women in the group, they became much more humane. For such a costly piece of goods they would do everything they could to care for them. In a dignified manner, they established the fact that the best rooms in the splendid hotel must be reserved for family people. They took a large rubber sheet and stretched it from wall to wall in a corner, and behind that should the family man Langlo have his home. That spot should be reserved, for they held to the good old saying, "My home, it is my castle".

It was, however, a terrible night for the weak women. The noise was perhaps the least factor. The worst was the smel1 from all these human beings and animals, mostly the last. The cold was the same the next day, and not any of the many thought of going out in such weather, but Mrs. Langlo did not see it in this way. Rather freeze to death out on the ice, both she and the child, rather than to suffocate during another night. For Langlo there was no other choice. They started out, and they reached Dawson before nightfall. They stopped at the mission station. The missionary had an unusual experience that night. Both the people and animals were frostbitten and needed help.


How casual the reference to two men, a woman and child and two dog teams, camping out in tents on the ice and frozen snow in subzero weather. And, how realistic the details of a night in a primitive roadhouse crowded to capacity with miners and sled dogs.

Reference to a mission station at Dawson in the spring of 1897 is misleading. , At that time, Dawson was only four wooden houses, the beginnings of a sawmill and scattered tents occupied by earlier arrivals. No doubt the Langlow party, upon their arrival , obtained some shelter and care for their frostbite. Father William Judge, the famous missionary had not moved to Dawson until late April and his log cabin hospital was not ready until August 1897. (Ref: Judge)

It was another twenty-some miles to the claim on the Eldorado.

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