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time that men voluntarily camped on a drifting ice floe
with supplies intended only to take them through the
early stages of an 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 Wrangel
Island with more or less contempt. After what Maurer
had told him about Wrangel, Knight must have con-
sidered it a paradise compared with other arctic lands.
Some of his previous journeys had been in islands two to
five hundred miles farther north 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 Wrangel, by
Maurer’s account, were piled with firewood and with
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 Wrangel going by twos and threes and half-dozens,
the beach trampled down with their tracks. Against
the scarcity of birds and nests where Knight had been
on Meighen and the Ringnes Islands, there were seabird
rookeries at Wrangel 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

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