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have to face.”

It was, after all, not so trying a decision to make, for the re-
sults of our explorations so far had been satisfactory.


So after 184 days' drift we started on the return journey, with 55
days' full rations left of the original supply which had been good for
101 days. The trip to shore from latitude 75.9° N., in October was a
unique experience in itself and showed the previously unknown possibil-
ities of Arctic travel early in the winter.* We had to cross some of

* This has always been considered, and rightly, the most difficult and
dangerous season of the whole year to travel. March and April, with
intense cold and perpetual light are of course the best months. 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 beneath is firm or mushy. Storkerson's official
report of this journey 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 200 miles of moving 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 Nov-
ember 8th without accident or hardship." It is a little hard to realise
that, apart from Storkerson's mental attitude toward them and his skill
in meeting them, this journey had every terror of darkness and ice and
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 circum-
stance came up." But was it not Napoleon who said: "I make circumstanc
es"? (Note by V. Stefansson.)

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