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January 13th: "Did not move to-day. Crawford took a walk out to the lead but no chance for sealing."

January 14th: "Stayed in camp. Blowing a fresh breeze from the west.”

January 15th: "Broke camp at 9 A.M. and started ashore bound for the main camp. About half a mile offshore a gale with drifting snow from the north hit us in the face and was extremely unpleasant. We got the beach and started west, but the wind shifted to northwest nearly in our faces. Traveled until about 12:30 through very soft snow, making poor time, and the wind became so bad that we decided to go ashore and camp. We are camped a mile or so east of Rodger’s Harbor. Crawford and I each froze our faces badly and, as I am rather unwell, I think I felt the cold more than I ordinarily would. We hope to make home to-morrow. This is the first blow we have had all year from the west and, naturally, it had to come as we were going home in a hurry. Oh, Well!

January 16th and 17th there was no traveling because of a stiff head wind. Their camp had been improperly built and, accordingly, on January 18th, "we decided to erect a snow ring and cover it with the tent and tarpaulin. Now we are nice and warm and swilling tea like a couple of Englishmen. Feeding the dogs a sealskin and blubber."

Knight does not say how much sealskin he fed but, as to quality, the ration was no worse than if it had been meat and fat. Most Eskimos consider the skin as rather a luxury when compared to meat and seldom eat it simply because it has a greater value for clothing. From the dietetic point of view the skin is largely protein and, therefore, with fat makes a complete or balanced ration. The ordinary European prejudice against eating skin has nothing to do with the chemistry of the food and, consequently, nothing to do with its nutritive effect on dogs, for they have no prejudices. It is interesting that in his whole diary Knight comments only twice upon food as being

Last edit 22 days ago by Samara Cary
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exceptionally good - in one case owls and in the other boiled skin. Both these comments were written when abundant supplies of other things were as yet on hand.

January 19th: "Broke camp at 9:45 A.M. . . . . and camped about two miles east of last winter's trapping camp. Crawford froze the big toe on his right foot rather badly to-day and is suffering considerable pain. Wet socks, I think. Careless. All d y we faced a light breeze and very cold. Various frost bites. My scurvy pains were very pronounced to-day and part of the time it was painful walking. The only thing fresh that we have that I can use as an antiscorbutic is sour seal oil, and I have eaten all that I could hold every day for some time but no signs of relief yet. Both of my heels have deep cracks in them, which makes walking painful. Of all the trips I have ever participated in, long or short, this one is the worst for hard luck, or is it incompetence?"

We can now answer Knight's last question in the negative. Apart from such criticism easy after the event as questioning why they started out at all when they were afraid of facing the rough ice because the sled was too fragile - apart from such criticism, easy only after the event, it is difficult to see how anyone would have been likely beforehand to do more than perhaps disagree as people always do on matters of policy. Incompetence is far too harsh a word, and in any case not the one needed to describe the serious mistake Knight was making in thinking that sour seal oil was an antiscorbutic. I am unable to guess where he got that idea, for in my treatment of Knight himself when he had scurvy and when the cure was almost magical in its rapidity, we used only fresh meat. In our many discussions afterwards, I do not remember it ever having been suggested that seal oil fermented in the Eskimo method and palatable to us who are used to it, is of antiscorbutic value.

January 20th: "Home again. Broke camp at 8 A.M. and

Last edit 22 days ago by Samara Cary
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arrived at 12:45 finding the three people comfortably living in the large 10 x 12 tent. They have only caught one fox since we left and Maurer did that. Saw several old tracks of foxes to-day and one or two new ones. No bear tracks. Very cold and clear. Wonderful going all day. Saw the sun to-day (its first appearance after the mid-winter twilight)."

January 21st: “The woman is busy making clothing. It has been decided that Crawford, Maurer and Galle will attempt in a few days to go to Nome via Siberia. I will remain here as camp keeper for the reason that I think I would be unwise to attempt the said trip. See my entry for January 12th. The only objection to this plan as far as I am concerned is that I will be left alone with thenative woman. But one of the things about this country is that circumstances sometimes demand actions that would be reprehensible 'on the outside'. I am sure that anyone looking at this case clearly will see that there is nothing else to be done. It is impossible for two men to make the trap, I think,with only five dogs, and as grub is short here it is essential for the party to split. It is very likely that Stefansson will be expecting news from us this spring, for when we left him in Seattle in August, 1921, he suggested the trip. The woman and I will have about six hard bread each per day until the seals and birds arrive. This is not counting what foxes I hope to catch on the two trap lines that I intend to take over , or perhaps a bear. We will also have about five hundred pounds of seal fat and five or six gallons of bear oil. Although we realized that it was very cold on our short trip, I was surprised last night to learn it dropped to -51°. The sun came all the way above the horizon to-day.”

The entries from January 22nd to January 27th are routine, the making of clothing, tending of fox traps, etc.

On January 28th: "They’re off. At 9:10 A.M., a nice clear day, warmer than usual and all in their favor. They were going due

Last edit 22 days ago by Samara Cary
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south when last seen, and were soon out of sight."

January 29th: "Blowing a howling gale from the east. This camp is very comfortable and a little wood goes a very long way. Yesterday and to-day I have been busy fixing the place up, making it convenient for two people. Now we are well fixed until the snow starts to melt in the spring. All of the boxes outside will then have to be cleaned out (the snow removed from them), the roof and walls of the house dug away, and numerous other things will keep us busy. If only a bear would wander into camp, we would be fixed in great shape for a long while, for with only two of us and no dogs a bear would go a long way. In a couple of months the females will be coming out of their holes with their cubs and then we should have plenty of meat. My left leg just above the knee is considerably swollen and is giving me some pain. Whether it is from scurvy or not I am not sure and, although it does not lay me up, it makes moving rather painful. Fresh meat will fix me up, I am sure.

I wonder what people will say about my staying here alone with the woman. Crawford and I talked the matter over thoroughly and, although I disliked staying and he disliked my staying, we came to the conclusion that it was the best thing to do. Stefansson, I am sure, will agree to that. And with some discretion, I am sure the three who have just left can soften things down a lot when they get to Nome. The woman does not seem to mind it and, to be perfectly frank, I think she is rather glad of the circumstance, for she is most anxious to get a white man for a husband. No chance as far as I am concerned.

This, the day after the party left, is not only on the whole a cheerful entry but one which gives an answer to many of the questions that have been asked since the tragic outcome became known. Few of the theories that have pleased the journalists best can be held except by ignoring

Last edit 22 days ago by Samara Cary
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this and several other entries of the same sort. But on the basis of this account and other entries the reader can form his own conclusions without editorial help.

But in this cheerful entry the first sentence is ominous. "Blowing a howling gale" means little to the experienced northern traveler overland or on firm ice. But the entry the previous day shows that the weather was fine and that the party disappeared rapidly from sight, going straight south. Like many other pieces of wisdom after the event, it is now elementary to point out that the original start of Knight and Crawford should have been delayed until the sun came back and till the moon was in its first quarter. On the original start they had carried provisions for thirty days which made the sled very heavy, and since it was a weak sled they had not dared to attack the rough ice. Now the load had been lightened and the three struck direct for Siberia.

An experienced arctic traveler on the island would have felt about them somewhat as we feel when a party of our friends takes the air to fly from London to Switzerland. We know by statistics that the danger of such flights is many hundred times greater than that of steamer and railway travel, and still we say truly, on the other hand, that the danger is so slight that one is not justified in worrying or in refraining from the journey if there is any good motive for hastening beyond the speed of steamers and railways. We might discuss the various dangers of such a flight due to breakage of machinery, fogs or to human errors. Similarly, discussing the prospects of the trip towards Nome from Wrangell Island we should probably have put the case about as follows:

There should have been seven dogs instead of five, but the five could pull the sledge along in level going. In rough ice the three men would help it along so rapidly that from all we know of such travel we would

Last edit 22 days ago by Samara Cary
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