An introspective collection of journal entries from a traveler in the Alaskan Gold Rush.
George Cheever Hazelet was born in Senecaville, Ohio, in 1861, and when it was time for him to attend college, he, like many others at that time, migrated west, receiving his college degree in Iowa. He began a career as a schoolteacher, but eventually, he became the principal of his local school district. He was well on his way to becoming a town leader in Atkinson, Neb., but before the age of 40, he dedicated his life to a different venture: securing a fortune in the Klondike Gold Rush. Along with his partner, Andrew Jackson “Jack” Meals, a Nebraska farmer with no formal education, Hazelet traveled to Alaska in 1898 to attempt gold prospecting. This intriguing collection of journal entries includes small details that allow readers to get to know Hazelet more intimately: the type of dessert he’s eating on a particular night or how he’s noticed his face is puffier and older when he looks in the mirror. Editor/publisher Clark, Hazelet’s great-grandson, has successfully encapsulated his ancestor’s expedition in literary form. The entries engagingly reflect on the hardships of a life digging for gold: “The weather has been extremely cold the past few days / Am quite sure it must be down to forty degrees below zero / The water drove us out of the shaft and we are in hopes that these cold days will freeze it down.” Readers may find Hazelet’s journal to be captivating reading, as it promises more excitement at every turn. At one point, Hazelet provides a lucid description of encountering a glacier, and a sight of nature’s beauty and bounty that he’s never seen before. At another, he describes racing down the rapids in his boat at “breakneck” speed, waves crashing into his vessel.
An engaging piece of nonfiction about one man’s prospecting adventures.