stefansson-wrangel-09-25-006-017

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Samara Cary at May 15, 2024 05:51 PM

stefansson-wrangel-09-25-006-017

- 17 -

The climate of November and the first half of December
in Wrangell Island seems to have been much like that of December and January
in Boston or Chicago, varying in November from freezing to ten or fifteen
degrees below zero and becoming on the average colder in December until the
coldest days would have been considered extremely cold and disagreeable in
Chicago. But dressed in furs, confortably housed and used to an arctic climate,
Knight seems to have found the weather surprisingly mild although on the aver-
age stormier than he had expected. Even after an abundance of snow had fallen
there remained large bare patches on the ground where it was swept clean by
the wind, and sledging remained bad until towards the middle of the year. The
diary relates that from day to day they made their camp more comfortable and
convenient for themselves but that the dogs were still without shelter. Well-
furred Eskimo dogs as they were it was no great hardship for them to sleep
out with shelter. But December 12th it was storming and there was nothing else
to do, so the boys built a house for the dogs with a separate alcove for
each of the seven, and connected it by a covered passageway with the house so
that a certain amount of warmth might pass through. Knight does not explain
it but, according to our customary way of doing things, they doubtless arranged
that the dog house was on a higher level than the living quarters of the people,
the result being that as a part of the ventilation system the warm air that was
going out from the house passed through the alleyway and through the dog house
on its way to the outdoors. Knight was always very thoughtful about the com-
fort of animals and his diary shows that he took a keen interest in this
provision for the increased welfare of the team. He was feeding them warm
cooked food every day. That was not a kindness, for the dogs would doubtless
have preferred frozen meat and the boys knew that very well but they were out
of meat just now and were feeding the dogs on the same groceries on which they
were living themselves.

stefansson-wrangel-09-25-006-017

- 17 -

The climate of November and the first half of December
in Wrangell Island seems to have been much like that of December and January
in Boston or Chicago, varying in November from freezing to ten or fifteen
degrees below zero and becoming on the average colder in December until the
coldest days would have been considered extremely cold and disagreeable in
Chicago. But dressed in furs, confortably housed and used to an arctic climate,
Knight seems to have found the weather surprisingly mild although on the aver-
age stormier than he had expected. Even after an abundance of snow had fallen
there remained large bare patches on the ground where it was swept clean by
the wind, and sledging remained bad until towards the middle of the year. The
diary relates that from day to day they made their camp more comfortable and
convenient for themselves but that the dogs were still without shelter. Well-
furred Eskimo dogs as they were it was no great hardship for them to sleep
out with shelter. But December 12th it was storming and there was nothing else
to do, so the boys built a house for the dogs with a separate alcove for
each of the seven, and connected it by a covered passageway with the house so
that a certain amount of warmth might pass through. Knight does not explain
it but, according to our customary way of doing things, they doubtless arranged
that the dog house was on a higher level than the living quarters of the people, the result being that as a part of the ventilation system the warm air that was
going out from the house passed through the alleyway and through the dog house
on its way to the outdoors. Knight was always very thoughtful about the com-
fort of animals and his diary shows that he took a keen interest in this
provision for the increased welfare of the team. He was feeding them warm
cooked food every day. That was not a kindness, for the dogs would doubtless
have preferred frozen meat and the boys knew that very well but they were out
of meat just now and were feeding the dogs on the same groceries on which they
were living themselves.