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three volunteers to go with him. The others were A. G. Gumaer and Martin Kilian.

The plan was carried out. * The party went north from Cross Island, Alaska, to a point about two hundred miles from the seacoast and about a hundred miles farther north than any traveler had penetrated in that region. They made their camp on a floe about eight miles wide and fifteen or more miles long, and drifted with it some four-hundred and fifty miles during six months, living, as they had planned by hunting seals and bears. Toward the end of this period Storkerson became ill of a disease (asthma) which had no relation to the hardships or other experiences of the journey, and because of this the illness the party started south in the worst traveling month of the year, October, when they were nearly five hundred miles north of the arctic circle, more than two hundred miles away from land and when the daylight had become very short.

March and April, with intense cold and perpetual light, are the best months on the mobile sea ice. In summer there is real water between the broken floes which can be easily negotiated in our sled-boats, and there is still continuous light. But in October daylight grows scarce rapidly and there are nearly continuous snowstorms and fogs. The thin ice lies treacherous under a blanket of snow that gives the same appearance to stretches that would support an elephant and to others that would engulf a child at play. The only safety lies in jabbing your ice spear through the snow ahead continually to discover if the ice is firm or mushy. Storkerson's official report of this journey adventure which would have been (but for the skill and judgment of the men who made it) the most difficult and dangerous ever attempted in the Arctic, contains a sentence that deserves to become a classic. In it he sums up thus a journey over shifting and treacherous ice in darkness, fog and storm: "We started from a point a little over 200 miles from shore on October 9th and reached land November 8th without accident or hardship." It is a little hard to realize that, apart from Storkerson's mental attitude toward them and his skill in meeting them, this journey possessed had every terror of darkness and ----------------------------------------------------------------------------- * See Appendix A for Storkerson's own account of this remarkable journey.

Last edit 25 days ago by Samara Cary
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ice and gale storm that has taxed alike the strength, courage and descriptive powers of the explorers of the past. There was no affectation in Storkerson's simple summary of the journey. He annotated the statement later by saying: "We took every ordinary precaution and no extraordinary circumstance came up." He might have said the same thing less modestly by quoting Napoleon: ”I make circumstances".

The preceding long digressions are intended to show the manner in which had been formed Knight's ideas of a proper outfit for living one or several years on an uninhabited arctic island. were, therefore, They were based in general upon three years of polar service and in particular upon the two sledge journeys in which he had shared. The first of these journeys was the longest I ever made and in some respects the most difficult and dangerous. It had led us over unexplored seas covered with shifting ice and over lands practically unknown lands, although they had been discovered either by ourselves or others on previous journeys, or by others. The second of Knight's journeys, that with Storkerson just described, can be fairly considered one of the most remarkable in the entire history of polar exploration, for it was then for the first time that men voluntarily camped on a drifting floating ice floe with supplies intended only to them see take them through the early stages of an their adventure where tragedy was inevitable if the hunting failed. From the point of view of the difficulty of the undertaking, a man of such experience was bound to look forward to a winter or two on Wrangell Island with more or less contempt. After what Maurer had told him about Wrangell, Knight must have considered it an arctic a paradise compared with other arctic lands. Many Some of his previous experiences journeys had been in islands two to five hundred miles farther north than Wrangell and, if northerliness be a handicap, then he had certainly seen a good deal worse. These Canadian islands of his past experience had been devoid of driftwood for fuel. On some we had used twigs and resinous grasses and on one (Lougheed Island) we had failed to find anything with which to make a fire. But the beaches of Wrangell, by Maurer's account, were piled with driftwood and with

Last edit 25 days ago by Samara Cary
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long, straight logs suitable for the building of cabins to be heated with open fires or stoves.

Moreover, Knight had already traveled through a region where for two successive years we had never seen the track of a polar bear, but Maurer told of the bears on Wrangell going by tows twos and threes and half dozens, the beach trampled down with their tracks. Against the scarcity of birds and nests where Knight had been in Meighen and the Ringnes Islands, there were seabird rookeries at Wrangell and tens of thousands of geese and other birds flying in clouds. He had been ill more than five hundred miles from the nearest human beings with less than half rations for a week on hand, and it seemed to him in looking back that he had not worried even then. Now when he looked forward to probable good health on Wrangell Island, less than a hundred miles away from the hospitable American and Russian traders and the wealthy and equally hospitable natives of northern Siberia, it seemed to him that a shipload of goods would be almost a superfluity and that he could land with a sledge and a team of dogs on Wrangell an outfit that would keep him safer and more comfortable than he had been used to being on his former expedition. Indeed, it had been his plan and Storkerson's on their trip in 1918 to land on Wrangell if they had drifted that far west. Their outfit then would have been two sledges empty except for cooking gear, ammunition, old clothes and a few scientific instruments. With such an outfit they had planned to land on Wrangell in May, spend the summer there and proceed to Siberia the following January. To men of the experience of Storkerson and Knight, this would seem easier and safer than several journeys in which they had already taken part.

With Maurer's experience of Wrangell Island and the theories he and Knight held in common, it was logical for Crawford to do what we had agreed he should do and to buy an outfit both in Seattle and

Last edit 25 days ago by Samara Cary
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Nome based on the idea that there were a few necessities in the way of hunting equipment and beyond that everything was in a sense a luxury. Whether they bought chewing gum, a phonotgraph or a bag of sugar, they were in their own minds deciding only for one luxury as against another. Each luxury they took depended on their taste, their slender finances, and upon the transportation problem, for they were going to engage a schooner rated only as carrying ten tons.* -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- *They originally planned to charter the schooner Orion, but they eventually took the much larger Silver Wave. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The outfit taken by the Wrangell party seemed adequate to them but grotesquely inadequate to the "sourdoughs" and tradesmen of Nome. Before determining the final form of the party, and indeed while as yet I expected the Canadian

Last edit about 1 month ago by Samara Cary
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Government to finance the undertaking, I had taken up with my old friend, Jafet Lindeberg of Nome the question of getting Alaskan trappers and prospectors to establish a colony on Wrangell Island. Lindeberg made out some rough specifications as to what the outfit must necessarily be. It began with several thousand feet of lumber and included sheet iron, tar paper, and the like. There would have to be canned fruits and vegetables of all sorts, and beans and syrup, etc. When I showed the list to Knight and Maurer they laughed over it and said that the only way they could understand purchasing such an outfit in Nome and freighting it to Wrangell Island would be if they were spending other people's money and wanted to do a little grafting either for themselves or for their friends who were merchants and the owners of the freighting ships. Knight said that if he embarked on such an undertaking his idea would be to buy the goods with my money in Nome and stop in Siberia to sell them again so as not to have the bother of carrying them to Wrangell.

When Lindeberg was making out the specifications for the possible Wrangell Island colony he was not thinking of what he himself would have liked to take with him [expect], for he had tried the simple life in the early Alaska days and preferred it to the more expensive and tedious outfitting of later years. But he was setting down what he knew the present-day Alaskans would consider necessary for safety and comfort. Accordingly, when the Silver Wave was being loaded by our men at Nome it was lumber and tar paper, canned fruit and bacon that the Alaskans expected to see going aboard. And When they saw that the outfit was wholly different and the quantity very small, there was at once a beginning of the criticism as to supplies and method which kept growing constantly after the ship sailed.

Alaska is only just beginning to develop soberly out of her original state as a gold country where one man in a hundred made his fortune by some spectacular accident and the other ninety-nine spent year after year in dreaming that their turn was about to come. One who does not know the typical

Last edit about 1 month ago by Samara Cary
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