stefansson-wrangel-09-25-006-045

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Samara Cary at May 21, 2024 03:00 PM

stefansson-wrangel-09-25-006-045

- 45 -

by frequent entries of "cloudy", "cloudy and warn," etc. At 72° North
Latitude, it is only on a cloudless day that there is daylight enough at
this time of year for reading or shooting for four or five hours around noon.
On a cloudy day a white thing like a polar bear is very difficult to see.

In the entry for Christmas Eve we have the first sugges-
tion that the party felt the danger of provisions running short, and that an
indirect one. "We are celebrating by having an extra hard bread or so apiece.
The snow roof was completed to-day excepting the door, and it is nice and
comfortable in here to-night." Other entries explain that this long delay in
completing the outer house was due to the absence of suitable snow in the
vicinity of the camp. They could have hauled snow blocks from a considerable
distance on a sledge but apparently the discomfort of an uncovered tent did
not seem to them to justify the bother.

We have incorporated into the story in full every mention
contained in the diary that relates in any way to the proposed trip to Nome.
On December 25th the subject comes up again. "I finished the complete set of
dog harness for the trip and Crawford is busy making ridge-pole and upright
for the tent" - doubtless the tent which they intended to carry with them to
use if they had to camp where there was insufficient snow for building a snow-
house. The next day, "Crawford working on the tent and I brought the sled
indoors and made several repairs on it. Hope to finish it to-morrow. Snowing
hard, so the trappers stayed in camp to-day." Before that time the diary tells
us almost every day that two or three of the boys were out tending traps.
Sometimes they came in with foxes and sometimes only with the reports of
bear tracks and fox tracks seen.

On December 27th, "The sled and tent in good shape and all
that is left for us to do is to get our outfit together. We would like to get
started soon but the ground is covered with about six inches of floury snow and

stefansson-wrangel-09-25-006-045

- 45 -

by frequent entries of "cloudy", "cloudy and warn," etc. At 72° North
Latitude, it is only on a cloudless day that there is daylight enough at
this time of year for reading or shooting for four or five hours around noon.
On a cloudy day a white thing like a polar bear is very difficult to see.

In the entry for Christmas Eve we have the first sugges-
tion that the party felt the danger of provisions running short, and that an
indirect one. "We are celebrating by having an extra hard bread or so apiece.
The snow roof was completed to-day excepting the door, and it is nice and
comfortable in here to-night." Other entries explain that this long delay in
completing the outer house was due to the absence of suitable snow in the
vicinity of the camp. They could have hauled snow blocks from a considerable
distance on a sledge but apparently the discomfort of an uncovered tent did
not seem to them to justify the bother.

We have incorporated into the story in full every mention
contained in the diary that relates in any way to the proposed trip to Nome.
On December 25th the subject comes up again. "I finished the complete set of
dog harness for the trip and Crawford is busy making ridge-pole and upright
for the tent" - doubtless the tent which they intended to carry with them to
use if they had to camp where there was insufficient snow for building a snow-
house. The next day, "Crawford working on the tent and I brought the sled
indoors and made several repairs on it. Hope to finish it to-morrow. Snowing
hard, so the trappers stayed in camp to-day." Before that time the diary tells
us almost every day that two or three of the boys were out tending traps.
Sometimes they came in with foxes and sometimes only with the reports of
bear tracks and fox tracks seen.

On December 27th, "The sled and tent in good shape and all
that is left for us to do is to get our outfit together. We would like to get
started soon but the ground is covered with about six inches of floury snow and