stefansson-wrangel-09-27-040

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gold miner might think that gold and its probable discovery would be the one subject
for reliable judgment; but the reverse is the case. The prospector who is hard-
headed and practical on every other subject will swallow the fishiest yarn where
gold is concerned. There is only one way in which you can make it difficult for
yourself to spread a rumor about the discovery of gold and that is by talking
loudly and freely. Assume secrecy or even the slightest reticence as to where you
have been or where you are about to go and rumors of gold "strikes" will grow day
by day and spread until some night half a dozen parties set out, each trying to
do so without the knowledge of the others and each following some clue to which no any
rational person would pay any no attention. to.

The Wrangell Island party had been markedly reticent on the
passenger steamer from Seattle, and in consequence the rumor of some sort of gold
discovery had already germinated among their fellow passengers before they got
to Nome. The outfit they were buying seemed curious and, from the Alaska point
of view, certainly inadequate for a party going to any uninhabited region. This
gave the theorisers two "facts" to work on. Gold had been discovered, and it must
be in the vicinity of some trading post where the party could buy the supplies
which they were not taking with them. Few gold miners have been on the north
coast of Alaska, but there is current the general knowledge that the arctic coast
has a string of fur trading posts. Obviously these were being relied upon by
Crawford's party. Possibly some of these remote fur traders might even be in in
secret league with us. Accordingly, it became pretty definitely known that their
destination was "somewhere east of Point Barrow."

The owner of the schooner Silver Wave was Captain Jack Hamar. When
Crawford went to him with a proposal to charter his boat for a voyage to an
unnamed destination the skipper quite properly refused to negotiate unless he
were let into the secret. Had our party understood better the gold miner's
psychology they might perhaps have said that they were going "somewhere east of

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