- 6 -
tried to come or not. They discussed what they would do if no ship came and
decided as early as the spring of 1922 (as we know from Crawford's letter to
me) that in such case two of them would remain on the island while two crossed
over to Siberia and Alaska to telegraph me their report from Nome and to ask
for instructions as to the further maintenance of the colony on Wrangell Island.
After the sporadic thaws of April and the steadier warmth
of May, summer came slowly. In 1921 Knight had been surprised at the monotony
of sunshine and warmth; now he was equally impressed with the continued fogs
and the snow flurries that were more frequent during the summer than they had
been in 1917 when he had spent June to September four hundred miles farther
north than Wrangell.
Compared with 1921 bears were scarce in 1922. Still,
there was seldom a week without one or more being seen, and several were
secured. The sealing, on the whole, was good. As noted above, Maurer who
applied himself steadily to the hunt, got twenty-six. That the others were
not equally productive was apparently because they were more occupied with
exploration and reconnaissance work. They no longer refrained from trying
to secure any big animals that came around, but there is no sign in Knight's
diary that they were worried about food for the winter and putting special
stress on the hunting for that reason.
When planning the expedition in 1921, we had agreed that
during its second winter (1922-23) the party on Wrangell were to decide
whether they would all remain there in the expectation of a ship the summer
1923 or whether two would remain while the other two crossed by sledge to
Siberia and Nome to telegraph their report to me and ask for instructions - we
had been confident that by then the Canadian Government would have taken the
enterprise off our hands.
On September 18, 1922, Knight writes: "All hands have
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