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Valdez daily prospector. (Valdez, Alaska) 1905-1918, January 15, 1909, Mining Edition, Image 9

Image and text provided by Alaska State Library Historical Collections

Persistent link: https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn98060264/1909-01-15/ed-1/seq-9/

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While Alaska's mineral resources
at present occupy the limelight in the
public eye, little is heard of the fish
in it# waters, the game of the hills or
the birds of the air; for aside from its
vast storehouse of mineral Alaska is
the haunt of myriads of birds and wa
terfowl ; the chosen home of our larg
est game animals and the source of
great profit from its fisheries and fur
To the naturalist the country teems
with rare and interesting forms, and J
hunters find here about the last stand J
of America's big game on our own
rapidly disappearing frontier. Yet
even now the march of progress is
slowly but surely crowding these or
iginal denizens of the hills to the
point where the "survival of the fit
test" will leave civilization in posses
sion and they relegated to the past.
This may not occur in our day, how
ever, but nevertheless theirs is the
same dark future that has overtaken
the buffalo and other game of the
plains who gave their lives that the
the pioneer might live.
To one not familiar with conditions
it is generally a matter of surprise to
know that in the case of birds nearly
all the species that inhabit Puget
Sound occur here also, together with
many that are peculiar to this conn
try alone. For instance among tin
game birds we have a great variety
of ducks: Mallards, Pintails,!
Gadwals, Widgeons, Bluehills,
green and blue winged Teal, i
Goldenoye, Bntterballs, Longtails,
Canvassbacks, Harlequins, Scotters,
Shelldrakes, in fact, nearly all varie-:
ties, except the eastern Wood-duck, i
Among the larger waterfowl are two
species of Brant; both Canadian and !
the Blue (loose, Trumpeter Swan and
Sandhill Crane. Waders are repre
sented by Golden Plover, lludsonian 1
and Esquimaux Curlews, Red-breast- j
ed and the Jack Snipe, and over a !
dozen varieties of Sandpipers, Turn
stones,Surf birds and Oyster-catchers;
the latter an interesting species
with jot black body and long (lame
colored bill, noticed among the rocks
at the edge of the surf seeking inns- J
sels and shell fish which are opened
with their peculiar shaped bills. Of
salt, water birds two kinds of Loons ,
are common, the Red-throated Diver
and the Northern Loon, and half a
dozen varieties of (Irehes, often called j
"Hell-divers," their white silky ,
breasts being in demand for various j
trimmings for the fair sex. In the vi
cinity of the open sea one will find
isolated islands used as a breeding
ground for many of the real sea birds
living together as a great happy fam
ily. At a distance the colony will ap
pear to be made up of sea gulls, the
air about the place is filled with their
white wheeling forms ami discordant
notes, but a nearer approach will re
veal among t he rocky walls groups of
Brandts and violet-green cormorants,
b'.ack loon-shaped birds with long!
slender necks known as "Shags." At
other points grotesque Puilinsor "Sea
Parrots" peer out at you among tin
rocks; the black and white Horned
Puffin and the black Turftod Pullln
with long flowing yellow plumes, red
eyes and feet and white and orange
varigated bill, a clown of color among
the birds. Perched upright in solemn
rows in nitclies along the cliffs are
stupid Murros that waddle off into the
sea when disturbed, each leaving ex
posed its green pear-shaped egg upon
the bare rock.
Wherever sufficient soil h found the
hillside will be honey-combed with
bird burrows running beneath the sod,
terminating in a spacious cavern in
which will be found the parent bird
and its single egg—be it the large
Rhinoceros Auk, the little Cassins
Anklet or one of the varieties of
Stormy Petrols, the "Mother Gary's
Chicken" of the story books. These
tunnel dwellers are nocturnal in their
habits, moving about only at night,
each sex taking turn about in the in
cubation of the egg. While the par- (
ent goes to sea in search of food the
other remains at home, and so accur
ately is the return timed that the in
coming and outgoing bird will pass
each other in the burrow or not far
from the entrance.
Tho Gulls, of which the Glacous
winged is our common bird, occupy
the top of the rocks, arranging a
slight nest among the dead grass
where their three brown spotted eggs
are laid, the warm sun doing the
greater part of the hatching process.
Of the several species of smaller Auks
called Murrelets peculiar to Alaska,
the handsome little Ancient Murrelot
will bo found tho most common breed
er among tho rookeries, while the
Marbled Murrelot, a lit tle Auk no larg
er than a quail, of rusty brown plum
age, is one of the most abundant spe
cies. Yet its breeding ground has
never been discovered. This bird, like
nearly all the other sea birds that re
main the year around changes to an
entirely different plumage during the
winter, and a casual observer would
hardly recognize their sombre coats
as belonging to the gay bird in its full
breeding colors.
Another common Gull almost iden
tical In color as the Glacous winged,
but much smaller, is the Short billed
Gull, going inland to breed along the
fresh water lakes and streams. Both
species require threo years before
assuming a perfect white plumage,
being brown the first year and mot
tled the second season.
The trim swallow-like Gull with
black head and long forked tali is the
Forester's Tern, and Is found nesting
■ s .4 (
during the aummot on the "sandy .Hats
buck of Valdez. ." t
While ' there are no Quail; in the
country, the family is well represent
ed by the beautiful Ptarmigan; two
varieties of which are abundant, the
Rock Ptarmigan of the mountain
tops and the Willow Ptarmigan of the
lowlands, both species turning white
in the winter; the Hock Ptarmigan
entirely so, while the Willow Ptarmi
gan sports a black tail. The moun
tain bird is the smaller of the two and
is erroneously called ' "Mountain
Quail," while the sour dough name of
"Tomieans" is applied indiscrimin
ately to both.
Other grouse -noted are Ruffed
Grouse and the Spruee Partridge, the
last named the most plentiful, being
found all through the interior and on
the islands of the Sound.
Probably one of the best known
birds'around Valdez is the Haven.
Black and very wise; familiar with
all back doors in town, and on speak
ing terms with eveiy dog and horse
in the place. Their natural hilarious
disposition is a source of constant
amusement to those who watch their
frolics, whether worrying some lum
scone as soon as the aroma of fried
bacon is in the air. The other, Stel
ler's Jay, of Ultramarine blue with
black crest is equally bold but of more
local distribution.
The summer season brings several
kinds of Sparrows, dozens of bright
colored Warblers, the Hermit Thrush,
three kinds of Swallows, two Blue
Birds, the Western and the Arctic,
the latter pure azure colored through
out but shy and exclusive, seldom
courting the haunts of man.
' Even Humming Birds are not averse
to a summer sojourn in Alaska, for
the Rufus Hummer of the Pacific
coast is a regular visitor to our gar
den of wild flowers.
A characteristic bird of the dark
canons and swift flowing streams is
'the Water Ouzel, a small bird seen
flying in and out of the spray of the
cataraet« or bobbing about along the
wet rocks, as much at home in the
water as out of it . Their nests are
marvels of bird architecture, being
composed of moss with waterproof
lining, hung behind a small waterfall,
the spray of which keeps it green and
growing, harmonizing so perfectly
with its surroundings as to lie almost
beyond detection.
To the westward of Valdez is the
home of giant Alaska Moose, the
Woodland Caribou and the Kodiak ,
Bear, each the largest of its kind. ■
The smaller Black and Brown bear
are to be found in most any likely lo- !
eality; not a few are each year taken
near the town of Valdez. In the in
terior lives the rare and little known
gry (log or eakewalking about in the
snow in one of their noisy pnw wows.
When the glad days of spring warm
the air they gather i"i the tree tops
and go through their stunts of hang
ing on twigs by their hill or suspend
ed upside down by their feet to sud
denly release all holds and fall appar
ently dead, almost to the earth there
to suddenly right themselves and with
loud eroaks go soaring into the air,
possibly there to turn'over on their
backs, glide down again at terrifle
speed, turning gracefully over
at the end of their -•'flight
—a sort of "skylarking" that
few other birds attempt. For birds,
Havens live to a ripe old ag.*. It> to "»()
years, and no doubt many of the birds
we sec here could give even an old
"'08er" a few point* about the glacier
that he never heard of.
Of the winter varieties of smaller
birds the Snow Hunting is probably
the best known. A darker bird with
chestnut collar, oftvn in flocks with
the white Snow Hird< is the Lapland
Longspur, and above th • timber line
along the winter trail one frequently
sees flocks of Siberian Hosy Finch, a
beautiful species of chocolate and old
rose color. Alaska has three kinds of
(Jlacier Ih>ur, a small cream-colored
follow who has a reputation of always
being OM thi» light.
Mountain goats arc plentiful in the |
vicinity of certain glaciers near the |
coast, while inland arc found the
White Mountain sheep of Alaska, an
animal totally different from the dark
Big Horn of the Hocky Mountains and
only until recent years has it heen I
known to science.
Speaking of new forms naturally |
brings up tlie subject of Ibex. A Ku- j
(ipean species that many old timers
declare occur in Alaska, but so fat no
specimens have ever heen * op tired to
prove their assertions, and men in a
position t<» know claim tlui' as
far as Alaska is concerned, the Ibex
is a myt h. The mis-informed persons
have no doubt mistaken cither the
white goats or sheep for Ibex, or pos
sibly the females of these animals,
not knowing that they carry <piitc
different horns than the males. Re
cently in a curio dealer's window at
Juneau were displayed a pair of long
curved horns with fluted sides boldly
labeled "Ibex horns from Mt. St. 101 i
as," that originally grew on the head
of ail old billy that was the boss of a
team of Angora goats that failed in a
Chickadees, Long-tailed, Hurisoniau
an<l Ohoatnut-Backed. Two kinds of
Ilod Polls, little brown birda with
bright ruby crowna that travel in big
flocks; al«o the odd Crossbills whose
mandibles cross at the t ip enabling
them to tear apart the pine cones on
which they food. We have here, too,
the banded-backed yellow crowned
Woodpecker whose chief claim to dis
tinction Is the fact of being the only
bird having but three toes to a foot.
He seems to get there .jnst the same
for the old tree stumps furnish a grub
stake the year around.
Owls of half a dozen species occur,
from the Great drey with a four-foot
spread to the diminutive little IMginy
Owl no larger than a sparrow.
Moth Hald Magics and the Oolden
Magic inhabit the country. Thb latter
is found In the interior mountain re
gions, the former a very common bird
all along the coast, where their huge
nests are a conspicuous feature of the
landscape. The young birds of the
Bald Kaglo first appear in a' black
| plumage and do not acquire t he white
head and tail of the adult until three
years of age. For this reason they
are often classed as a different bird—
the so-called Black Kftgle, In which
stage they bear some resemblance to
the Golden Kaglo but can readily be
distinguished by the legs; those of
the Oolden Ragle bring feathered to
the toes, while the Bald Kaglo's arr
bare from the knee down.
Magpies and two kinds of Jays are
permanant. resident#. The Alaska Jay
commonly known as "Camp Robber"
will appear almost anywhere on the
freighting scheme on (In- ('hllkoot
Babbits, or correctly speaking,
the"' Northern Hare, that change to
White with tho flrrtt snowfall, are
abundant, at Home Reasons and almost
unknown at others; dying off at times
by the thousands as though stricken
by a plague. At such times they will
bo found everywhere lying dead in
the trails or their carcasses floatIng
down the streams, requiring several
years before they are sufficiently nu
merous again to attract attention.
Among fur bearing animals the
country is famous for its Marten,
Beaver, Mink, band Otter, Lynx,
Wolverino, l<'ishcr and its many foxes,
the lied, Cross, Black, Hilvor (trey,
ami Blue fox, the latter a semi-do
mesticated species that in raised ex
tensively for Its fur on several of the
islands adjacent to Valdoz; to say
nothing of itw leased fur seal privi
leges and occasional captures of the
now very rare Hea Otter, bringing t he
aggregate of Alaska furs to a hand -
Homo figure.
Probably nowhere are Krmlne so
abundant as In Alaska. One hardly
recognize* the brown - coated lit
tle Weasel In summer as the Royal
White ICrmineof winter although thoy
are one and the same, which only Il
lustrates again as In the ease of rab
bits and ptarmigan a wise provision
of nature that gives these ground
dwollers a protective coloration that
tefids to hide them from their enemies
at ail seasons of the year.
A pale variety of the eastern Red
Hqulrrol Is found In the wooded sec
lions, ({round Squirrels are every
where abundant and in the mountains
are found the Marmot, a tlrst cousin
to the Woodehuek of "back east."
And generally associated with the
Marmots or "whistlers" among
the roek slides are found the
shy little Conies or Little Chief
Hare, whose plaintive ery is eharae
teristie of the barren hills.
Porcupines are met with every
where in the woods. Lazy, sluggish
creatures, quite harmless unless the
fur is rubbed the wrong way. They
are not bad eating when the larder is j
low—very low. lSven in this enlight
ened age there are still people who
declare these animals throw their
quills at an enemy.
Fish of both saltwater varieties and
the inland waters are everywhere in
great profusion. Splendid sea bass ]
fishing can be had along the rocky
shores near Valdcz, and the Prince
William Sound country is one contin
uous tlshing ground where Halibut
and lied Snappers are brought up |
from the dark depths below at any
season of the year. Cod, Herring and
Salmon from Alaska are world - fa
mous. Fine strings of Dolly Varden
Trout can be caught in the bake
stream near Valdcz while (he salmon
are running up its waters to spawn. I
And in the interior in many «»t" the lit- |
tie brooks arc Mountain Trout, red
spotted little chaps with orange-col
ored bellies, a delicious addition to
the prospector's rather meager I >i 11 of;
fare. The (Sreyling, another game i
little llttli, is found in many of the
streams tributary to the Copper I5iv-1
or; for instance in Trout creek at I'on
sina one can catch Itolh Trout and
(•reyling from the same pool.
A little oil the main traveled trail
near F.rnestinc hchind the foothills
lay a chain of deep landlook lakes
that are the home of a variet \ of large!
bake Trout. Anything from a red
rag to a piece of bacon seems to tempt
the hungry Msh ami man\ an enjoy
able day is spent on their shores by i
those who know the place. Ptarmi
gan are also plentiful in the neighbor
hood, and with a pot of these on the
IIre and a few lusty trout in the pan
sizzling with the hacou, one begins'
to appreciate some of the joys of liv
ing in Alaska.
It may be a relief to timid lolUslol
know that snakes are a* scarce lu re,
as in Ireland, and no [crawling things
arc about that are more poisonous
than a mosquito. I here are a few of
these, however, ol several shapes and
kinds. The less -aid of them I lu
Has Best Equipment of Any
Concern in the Sound
The (ialcna Hay Mining company is
confining its operations to its proper
ties located on Copper mountain, near
(ialena bay in I'rinee William sound.
This company has the most np-to- ,
date equipment of any in this section \
of Alaska. Col. B. F. Millard, recogn- j
i/.ed as one of the most aggressive, ;
enthusiastic miners of the north, is
the leading spirit in the enterprise, i j
and his policy has heen to reduce thei;
cost of prospecting his properties to a
minimum hy the installation of ade- 1
ipiatc ami thoroughly modern machi
nery. |"
The property was located in liKH) hy 1
('has. Simonstcud ami others, and has
long heen known as one of the most val- .
ahlc properties in this section. It com- '
prises s«>venteen claims, all showing ]
immense outcrops of ore and only
awaiting the completion of Col. Mil- i
lard's plan of development to make j
them hig factoi*s in Alaska's copper
production. The ore is a high grade
mixture of cluileopyrite and horuite, j
carrying a large excess of iron over
tiie neutral point, and enough of the
precious metals to cover all expenses
leaving the returns from the copper i
values of Ito per cent net protlt.
i lie principal <lcvelopmcnt has heen
contlncd to the main vein which crops
out for a long distance highup on the '
mountain side. On this a tunnel 1750 i
feet has heen driven, opening up two i
chutes ot line shipping ore. hut the
main ore chute, for which the tunnel <
was driven, has not yet heen eneoun- «
tered. This ore hotly, which resent- | \
Mesa huge <piarr\ on the surface, j ^
will he tapped at a depth approxima
ting sun feet, ami when reached will :
allord a tonnage that will he very
gratifying to the company.
The mine equipment includes a III- I
li. p. Ingeir.oll compressor, 100-h. p.
e'eci ie plant, generated hy a never
v ol. if. i'. milliard, I'lCMidcnl (ialniu Kay .Minitio <ii prominent ami hiic- I
ccHHfiil operator, and one <>I Hie original locators ol 11n• Moiian/.a and
Nicoli copper milieu in I In* < ■< »| »jM«rJ I i v<" i* I »i»Hi u. . .
JLjocct JH+m
To the north of (lie Kolaine and be
tween there ami ML \Vranged Hph
the CheHiicnn river diHtrlct, a highly
m In era I l/od section, Hif nat «*<l as it in
ill one of the immense limestone and
greonMtonn contacts of the country.
More considerable active work has
been done, and one group, owned by
Ht. Louis capitalists, ban already been
patented. At the bead *»f the river
Messrs, Weber, Voil Zeip *1 aul Cant
well each have ^roupM (,f promising
copper claims thai, have in the Inat
three yearn been systematically de
veloped to the stage where shipping
ore |h available.
The ores are principally ehalcopy
rltes. In one group, however, copper
glance occurs in true II Mure veins in
a white quart/ gangue, The vein (
run In the greenstone at right angles
to the wtrIke of the formation of the
counry, and have every indication of
permanence. Assay returns ahow the
rook to contain from 1 -2 t »*2!l par cent
copper with Home gold and silver
values, Their paMCVerance and faith
In the ground ha* At lad bean re
warded, thoHC claim-owner* liavlng
Hiicceeded In Interesting capital, and
will htart In February with a ♦P),n>()
outfit to do the necessary work to He
cure patents to the claims and other
wise put the property in Improved
failing wilier power. Tim cable and |
<*r111iputoi11 for an aerial tram to con- (
duel dm ore from the mine to lido |
wilier, m distance of six miles, is on |
the ground ready t«» he installed.
Col. Millard has recently returned '•
from the HlatcH with a diamond drill jj
t,o be used In further exploiting the ;
Col, Millard is one of the hardy
Imnd of pioneers who blazed the trails
and explored the copper Holds of the i
interior. "Millard'H trail" running |
from Copper Center to Mt. Han ford
is one of the landmarks of the Alaska
maps that will endure for ages. Hois
one of the locators of the famous Ho
tian/.n and Nicolai mines in the Chlt
tyna.the riehnoHs of whoso ores never
having boon surpassed in the annals of
copper mining. He has always been
a consistent and enthusiastic expo
nent of the great mineral wealth of
the north, and has expended his time
and money in the furtherance of his
belief, lie is one of the successful
np»>rators of the district, and enjoys !
the confidence of the mining and bus
iness element ill the Hold which he
has chosen for his operations.
Murine Hospital Bcrvlce
An acting assistant surgeon of the
public health and marine hospital ser
vice Is stationed In Valde/, in the per
son of Dr. M. M. Hopkins. Tho Hood
Samaritan hospital cares for the patl
1 ents under his charge.
Mining Kdit ion, 25c per copy.
Summit Road House
12.1-2 Miles From Valdez
Meals $ 1 Beds $ 1
Good Grub Clean Beds
Casey's Cache
First-Haws Accommodations for Man and Hcast
Paints, Oil, Glass, Wall Paper, Mouldings
Builders' Hardware, Doors and Window
All kindt* of Building Paper, Roofing, Picture Moulding, El
liol your Doughnuts and ltivn<l that never tivc.os tor Trail us»> at
tln» VuWlo/. Hakrrv.
Bread, Cake and Pies Made Daily
All Kinds of Cake tc Order
I will develop mint :, mi si peieenla^v l»asis providing tho rnillP
will justify r.tieh action, on expert exauiination. Kirst. Hasn rofov
enccii furnished. —■ .m.•«»
La'/up* :»n'I comp'cv ti'-d-k <>l .Mimci'm' and Prosper!i»rs'
OnllltM. Vm!<!<•/ Wharf and hole! adjacent.
Coal, Hay
and Grain

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