Status: Complete


We may, therefore, summarize by saying that while the
original start for Nome would doubtless have been made at the same
season, with the same outfit and with similar chances of success if
there had heen a hundred tons of food on hand, still the food
shortage which developed in midwinter may at least be supposed to
have had its influence in preventing a reversal of the original
plan at the time of the first start - January 7th.

For the second start, January 28th, we have Crawford’s
definite statement that he considered another failure to get away
from Wrangell Island would be "disastrous." On that point there
is room for disagreement - authorities equally qualified by exper-
ience will some side with Crawford’s opinion for leaving the island,
and some with Maurer's staying for staying as the safer policy.
I would have to be among those to side with Maurer, for if I did
not then all my printed books and all my exploring career could he
quoted against me.

But I do not want to be understood to say that I am
certain that if I had heen on Wrangell Island I would have voted
for the entire party to stay there. I only mean that if the one
question had been the safety of all concerned I would have favored
staying. But if the motives being discussed had heen boredom, a
longing for news, a feeling that the party had accomplished its
purposes on the island and might as well leave, a desire to give
information to an arctic expedition presumably being outfitted in
1923 - with any or all these motives before me I should probably
have said that if they felt like undertaking the long walk and the
hard work of going to Siberia I had saw nothing against it. Or had
someone proposed that the easiest way to feed thedogs through the
winter was to take them to Siberia where feed was plentiful, I
might have agreed.* It is a part of our ordinary arctic procedure

* Crawford seems to have had in mind either the safety or the
mere feeding of the dog team as a reason for going to Siberia in
January, for in his letter of January 7, 1923, he said "When I saw
how sparse seal and bear were I decided it would he unwise to stay
here [in Wrangell Island] with the dogs all winter."

to take dogs long distances in order to carry them through the
midwinter darkness in a region where food is supposed to be abundant.
Under such conditions I do not remember that we have ever weighed
the danger of the journey. As stated elsewhere, I suppose that
any one of our experienced ice travelers (such as Storker Storkerson,
George Wilkins, Ole Andreasen, Aarnout Castel, or Karsten Andersen)
would say, after years of experience in crossing thousands of miles
of such ice as lies in January between Wrangell Island and Siberia,
that the danger of this hundred-mile sledging is about the equivalent
of a hundred-mile airplane flight across a mountain range - much
greater danger than that of railway travel hut nothing to keep you
if you want to go. So that, had I heen there, I might have voted
for the sledge journey to Siberia.

There seems little doubt that had the second attempt to
reach Siberia failed like the first in such a way that the party

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