April is the anniversary of two “explosive” events—one deadly, one designed to save lives – described in my recent books.
In 10 Routes That Crossed the World….
120 years ago….dreams of Klondike gold sent 40,000 stampeders to Dyea, Alaska. Their attempts to climb the snow-covered Chilkoot Trail to reach gold fields proved deadly on April 3, 1898 when “the roar of three avalanches thundering down the slope….caught, tumbled and buried dozens”, some of their bodies not recovered until summer.
In Kaboom, Explosions of All Kinds.….
60 years ago….the Canadian government decided to remove a shipping hazard in a narrow passage between mainland British Columbia and Vancouver Island that had snagged and sunk about 120 ships, and claimed at least 110 lives. Known as Ripple Rock, the pair of sharp, rock peaks lurked beneath only 3 metres of water. But it took several attempts between 1942 and 1958 before explosives planted inside the rocks finally blew off their tops. It was not until April 5, 1958 that “one of the largest planned non-nuclear explosions ever” left the peaks with 14 metres of water hiding them at low tide. Ships are now safe as they navigate this National Historic Site…but unpredictable currents still pose a challenge.