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camp and lighten the sled load as much as possible (so there will be less
danger of breaking the sled) and Crawford and Galle will start south and make
as much time as they possibly can. It will be impossible for all of us to
stay at the main camp, for there is just enough grub there for three people
to last until the seals and birds come. [This is the first explicit statement
in the diary of the secondary motive for the Nome journey — in addition to
reporting progress by telegraph. The argument that having some of the party
go away would relieve the island commissariat must have begun to present
itself about Christmas, as we can infer from the entries of that time
indirectly.] I would like to make this trip but I really do not feel able.
This is just a rough outline of our plans; more later. A fairly fresh bear
track seen going east.”
January 20th they were "Home again, finding the three
people comfortably living in the 10x12 tent. Wonderful going. Saw the sun
today (its first appearance after the midnight twilight)."
On January 21, "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, because of illness.
It is impossible for two men to make the trip, I think, with only five dogs,
but 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
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