stefansson-wrangel-09-25-006-021

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Samara Cary at May 15, 2024 06:36 PM

stefansson-wrangel-09-25-006-021

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and they could save some groceries by letting the team stay in the warm house,
for a dog that is idle and comfortable needs only half as much food as one
that is working out in the cold.

During January trapping seems to have been discontinued
but a number of foxes were secured, chiefly by shooting although the dogs
killed one or two that came into camp. There seem to be no ptarmigan on
Wrangell Island but the diary mentions other birds in every month of winter.
Usually they were seagulls or ravens but on January 9th when the party were
sealing two "old squaw" ducks lit on the water near them, stayed fifteen
minutes and then flew on towards the west. That day "just after arriving at
camp Crawford shot a fox a few feet from the house. Between the dogs and the
shotguns it looks as if the traps would come in second." They had seen seals
out in the water but none near enough to secure.

In general the luck in sealing was bad throughout the
winter. Part of the equipment carried was canvas for making the sort of sledge
boat which we have used on allo our expeditions. It is further evidence of
how certain they were that fortune would turn some time and how indifferent
they were just when the turn should come that they saw seals in open water day
after day and either refrained from shooting or else shot them and failed to
secure them without ever considering wrapping canvas around the boat and
paddling out to secure them. If this had been men inexperienced in the Arctic
one might call it incompetence, as some critics have done, to let food animals
swim around before your eyes day after day and not take the trouble to make
a boat to secure them. There are many people living in cities with a rainy
climate who never wear waterproofs and never carry umbrellas although they
get wet to the frequent damage of their clothes and the occasional injury of
their health. Such people are not necessarily less intelligent than the rest
of us or less successful in life; it is merely they don't think it worth the
bother to carry an umbrella. That seems to have been about the way the Wrangell

stefansson-wrangel-09-25-006-021

- 21 -

and they could save some groceries by letting the team stay in the warm house,
for a dog that is idle and comfortable needs only half as much food as one
that is working out in the cold.

During January trapping seems to have been discontinued
but a number of foxes were secured, chiefly by shooting although the dogs
killed one or two that came into camp. There seem to be no ptarmigan on
Wrangell Island but the diary mentions other birds in every month of winter.
Usually they were seagulls or ravens but on when the party were
sealing two "old squaw" ducks lit on the water near them, stayed fifteen
minutes and then flew on towards the west. That day "just after arriving at
camp Crawford shot a fox a few feet from the house. Between the dogs and the
shotguns it looks as if the traps would come in second." They had seen seals
out in the water but none near enough to secure.

In general the luck in sealing was bad throughout the
winter. Part of the equipment carried was canvas for making the sort of sledge
boat which we have used on allo our expeditions. It is further evidence of
how certain they were that fortune would turn some time and how indifferent
they were just when the turn should come that they saw seals in open water day
after day and either refrained from shooting or else shot them and failed to
secure them without ever considering wrapping canvas around the boat and
paddling out to secure them. If this had been men inexperienced in the Arctic
one might call it incompetence, as some critics have done, to let food animals
swim around before your eyes day after day and not take the trouble to make
a boat to secure them. There are many people living in cities with a rainy
climate who never wear waterproofs and never carry umbrellas although they
get wet to the frequent damage of their clothes and the occasional injury of
their health. Such people are not necessarily less intelligent than the rest
of us or less successful in life; it is merely they don't think it worth the
bother to carry an umbrella. That seems to have been about the way the Wrangell