ALASKA: Gold Rush

An airborne missionary brought the feverish tale to Fairbanks: a trapper named Clifton Carrol had found gold nuggets "as big as peas" sticking to a fish wheel he was running in the Yukon River, 20 miles below Fort Yukon. The news licked through the town's old log cabins like fire, blazed in its neon-trimmed bars, spread to the big Army hangars at Ladd Field. It was carried across the Territory by radio. The Fishwheel Stampede was on.

Single-engined bush planes began heading north across the Brooks Range to the Yukon Flats the next morning. Peering out, passengers saw a frozen...

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