APRIL 21, 1997
Trail to the Klondike is the re-creation of work done by Don McCune, better known as "Captain Puget."
Photo by Gary Christenson.
Barnes and Noble bookstore in University Village will host a book release party on Thursday, April 24, 7 p.m., for Trail to the Klondike, a re-creation of the late Don McCune's account of life on the Yukon Trail. The book's publisher, editor, and the McCune family will be at the event.
When the ship Portland steamed into Seattle in the summer of 1897 with more than a ton of gold, it set off an around-the-world fever, launched Seattle as the Queen City of the Northwest, and initiated one of the most extraordinary treks in American history. In the brutally cold winter of 1897-98, 100,000 people, drawn by the glitter of chance and fortune, stampeded north to the gold fields of the Yukon.
Seven decades later, Don McCune, for twenty-one years the writer and narrator of KOMO-TV's Emmy Award-winning program Exploration Northwest, retraced the Klondikers' trail with his camera crew, producing five episodes on the Gold Rush and writing a book. Those episodes have recently been combined in a 2-hour, double cassette video package titled Trail to the Klondike.
The experience also inspired McCune to write a manuscript which included contemporary accounts by stampeders, combined with observations of the Exploration Northwest crew. They found vivid evidence of the stampeders' travail, left behind, as McCune wrote, "to make music through the ribs of rope and rotten wood and dreams long dead." It was never published and McCune passed away in1993.
McCune's wife, Linda, created a business in 1993 called The Don McCune Library as a way to release her late husband's audio, video, and written works to the public. Trail to the Klondike features more than 120 photographs, including the evocative images of E.A. Hegg taken in 1897-8. Hegg's photos are paired with those of the McCune crew to provide a "then and now" 128-page portrait of this historic event.
This year begins the centennial celebration of this historical event. The book and video are available for sale at the Woodinville Weekly office (483-0606), from The Don McCune Library (726-2650), and at most bookstores.