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[woodcut of John Muir] John Muir Writings

Travels in Alaska

by John Muir (1915)

Part III

The Trip of 1890

Chapter XVII

In Camp at Glacier Bay

I left San Francisco for Glacier Bay on the steamer City of Pueblo, June 14, 1890, at 10 A.M., this being my third trip to southeastern Alaska and fourth to Alaska, including northern and western Alaska as far as Unalaska and Pt. Barrow and the northeastern coast of Siberia. The bar at the Golden Gate was smooth, the weather cool and pleasant. The redwoods in sheltered coves approach the shore closely, their dwarfed and shorn tops appearing here and there in ravines along the coast up to Oregon. The wind-swept hills, beaten with scud, are of course bare of trees. Along the Oregon and Washington coast the trees get nearer the sea, for spruce and contorted pine endure the briny winds better than the redwoods. We took the inside passage between the shore and Race Rocks, a long range of islets on which many a good ship has been wrecked. The breakers from the deep Pacific, driven by the gale, made a glorious display of foam on the bald islet rocks, sending spray over the tops of some of them a hundred feet high or more in sublime, curving, jagged-edged and flame-shaped sheets. The gestures of these upspringing, purple-tinged waves as they dashed and broke were sublime and serene, combining displays of graceful beauty of motion and form with tremendous power-a truly glorious show. I noticed several small villages on the green slopes between the timbered mountains and the shore. Long Beach made quite a display of new houses along the beach, north of the mouth of the Columbia.

I had pleasant company on the Pueblo and sat at the chief engineer’s table, who was a good and merry talker. An old San Francisco lawyer, rather stiff and dignified, knew my father-in-law, Dr. Strentzel. Three ladies, opposed to the pitching of the ship, were absent from table the greater part of the way. My best talker was an old Scandinavian sea-captain, who was having a new bark built at Port Blakely,—an interesting old salt, every sentence of his conversation flavored with sea-brine, bluff and hearty as a sea-wave, keen-eyed, courageous, self-reliant, and so stubbornly skeptical he refused to believe even in glaciers.

“After you see your bark,” I said, “and find everything being done to your mind, you had better go on to Alaska and see the glaciers.”

“Oh, I haf seen many glaciers already.”

“But are you sure that you know what a glacier is?” I asked.

“Vell, a glacier is a big mountain all covered up vith ice.”

“Then a river,” said I, “must be a big mountain all covered with water.”

I explained what a glacier was and succeeded in exciting his interest. I told him he must reform, for a man who neither believed in God nor glaciers must be very bad, indeed the worst of all unbelievers.

At Port Townsend I met Mr. Loomis, who had agreed to go with me as far as the Muir Glacier. We sailed from here on the steamer Queen. We touched again at Victoria, and I took a short walk into the adjacent woods and gardens and found the flowery vegetation in its glory, especially the large wild rose for which the region is famous, and the spiraea and English honeysuckle of the gardens.

June 18. We sailed from Victoria on the Queen at 10.30 A.M. The weather all the way to Fort Wrangell was cloudy and rainy, but the scenery is delightful even in the dullest weather. The marvelous wealth of forests, islands, and waterfalls, the cloud wreathed heights, the many avalanche slopes and slips, the pearl-gray tones of the sky, the browns of the woods, their purple flower edges and mist fringes, the endless combinations of water and land and ever shifting clouds-none of these greatly interest the tourists. I noticed one of the small whales that frequent these channels and mentioned the fact, then called attention to a charming group of islands, but they turned their eyes from the islands, saying, “Yes, yes, they are very fine, but where did you see the whale?”

The timber is larger and apparently better every way as you go north from Victoria, that is on the islands, perhaps on account of fires from less rain to the southward. All the islands have been overswept by the ice-sheet and are but little changed as yet, save a few of the highest summits which have been sculptured by local residual glaciers. All have approximately the form of greatest strength with reference to the overflow of an ice-sheet, excepting those mentioned above, which have been more or less eroded by local residual glaciers. Every channel also has the form of greatest strength with reference to ice-action. Islands, as we have seen, are still being born in Glacier Bay and elsewhere to the northward.

I found many pleasant people aboard, but strangely ignorant on the subject of earth-sculpture and landscape-making. Professor Niles, of the Boston Institute of Technology, is aboard; also Mr. Russell and Mr. Kerr of the Geological Survey, who are now on their way to Mt. St. Elias, hoping to reach the summit; and a granddaughter of Peter Burnett, the first governor of California.

We arrived at Wrangell in the rain at 10.30 P.M. There was a grand rush on shore to buy curiosities and see totem poles. The shops were jammed and mobbed, high prices paid for shabby stuff manufactured expressly for tourist trade. Silver bracelets hammered out of dollars and half dollars by Indian smiths are the most popular articles, then baskets, yellow cedar toy canoes, paddles, etc. Most people who travel look only at what they are directed to look at. Great is the power of the guidebook-maker, however ignorant. I inquired for my old friends Tyeen and Shakes, who were both absent.

June 20. We left Wrangell early this morning and passed through the Wrangell Narrows at high tide. I noticed a few bergs near Cape Fanshawe from Wrangell Glacier. The water ten miles from Wrangell is colored with particles derived mostly from the Stickeen River glaciers and Le Conte Glacier. All the waters of the channels north of Wrangell are green or yellowish from glacier erosion. We had a good view of the glaciers all the way to Juneau, but not of their high, cloud-veiled fountains. The stranded bergs on the moraine bar at the mouth of Sum Dum Bay looked just as they did when I first saw them ten years ago.

Before reaching Juneau, the Queen proceeded up the Taku Inlet that the passengers might see the fine glacier at its head, and ventured to within half a mile of the berg-discharging front, which is about three quarters of a mile wide. Bergs fell but seldom, perhaps one in half an hour. The glacier makes a rapid descent near the front. The inlet, therefore, will not be much extended beyond its present limit by the recession of the glacier. The grand rocks on either side of its channel show ice-action in telling style. The Norris Glacier, about two miles below the Taku is a good example of a glacier in the first stage of decadence. The Taku River enters the head of the inlet a little to the east of the glaciers, coming from beyond the main coast range. All the tourists are delighted at seeing a grand glacier in the flesh. The scenery is very fine here and in the channel at Juneau. On Douglas Island there is a large mill of 240 stamps, all run by one small water-wheel, which, however, is acted on by water at enormous pressure. The forests around the mill are being rapidly nibbled away. Wind is here said to be very violent at times, blowing away people and houses and sweeping scud far up the mountain-side. Winter snow is seldom more than a foot or two deep.

June 21. We arrived at Douglas Island at five in the afternoon and went sight-seeing through the mill. Six hundred tons of low-grade quartz are crushed per day. Juneau, on the mainland opposite the Douglas Island mills, is quite a village, well supplied with stores, churches, etc. A dance-house in which Indians are supposed to show native dances of all sorts is perhaps the best-patronized of all the places of amusement. A Mr. Brooks, who prints a paper here, gave us some information on Mt. St. Elias, Mt. Wrangell, and the Cook Inlet and Prince William Sound region. He told Russell that he would never reach the summit of St. Elias, that it was inaccessible. He saw no glaciers that discharged bergs into the sea at Cook Inlet, but many in Prince William Sound.

June 22. Leaving Juneau at noon, we had a good view of the Auk Glacier at the mouth of the channel between Douglas Island and the mainland, and of Eagle Glacier a few miles north of the Auk on the east side of Lynn Canal. Then the Davidson Glacier came in sight, finely curved, striped with medial moraines, and girdled in front by its magnificent tree-fringed terminal moraine; and besides these many others of every size and pattern on the mountains bounding Lynn Canal, most of them comparatively small, completing their sculpture. The mountains on either hand and at the head of the canal are strikingly beautiful at any time of the year. The sky to-day is mostly clear, with just clouds enough hovering about the mountains to show them to best advantage as they stretch onward in sustained grandeur like two separate and distinct ranges, each mountain with its glaciers and clouds and fine sculpture glowing bright in smooth, graded light. Only a few of them exceed five thousand feet in height; but as one naturally associates great height with ice-and-snow-laden mountains and with glacial sculpture so pronounced, they seem much higher. There are now two canneries at the head of Lynn Canal. The Indians furnish some of the salmon at ten cents each. Everybody sits up to see the midnight sky. At this time of the year there is no night here, though the sun drops a degree or two below the horizon. One may read at twelve o’clock San Francisco time.

June 23. Early this morning we arrived in Glacier Bay. We passed through crowds of bergs at the mouth of the bay, though, owing to wind and tide, there were but few at the front of Muir Glacier. A fine, bright day, the last of a group of a week or two, as shown by the dryness of the sand along the shore and on the moraine-rare weather hereabouts. Most of the passengers went ashore and climbed the morame on the east side to get a view of the glacier from a point a little higher than the top of the front wall. A few ventured on a mile or two farther. The day was delightful, and our one hundred and eighty passengers were happy, gazing at the beautiful blue of the bergs and the shattered pinnacled crystal wall, awed by the thunder and commotion of the falling and rising ice bergs, which ever and anon sent spray flying several hundred feet into the air and raised swells that set all the fleet of bergs in motion and roared up the beach, telling the story of the birth of every iceberg far and near. The number discharged varies much, influenced in part no doubt by the tides and weather and seasons, sometimes one every five minutes for half a day at a time on the average, though intervals of twenty or thirty minutes may occur without any considerable fall, then three or four immense discharges will take place in as many minutes. The sound they make is like heavy thunder, with a prolonged roar after deep thudding sounds-a perpetual thunderstorm easily heard three or four miles away. The roar in our tent and the shaking of the ground one or two miles distant from points of discharge seems startlingly near.

I had to look after camp-supplies and left the ship late this morning, going with a crowd to the glacier; then, taking advantage of the fine weather, I pushed off alone into the silent icy prairie to the east, to Nunatak Island, about five hundred feet above the ice. I discovered a small lake on the larger of the two islands, and many battered and ground fragments of fossil wood, large and small. They seem to have come from trees that grew on the island perhaps centuries ago. I mean to use this island as a station in setting out stakes to measure the glacial flow. The top of Mt. Fairweather is in sight at a distance of perhaps thirty miles, the ice all smooth on the eastern border, wildly broken in the central portion. I reached the ship at 2.30 P.M. I had intended getting back at noon and sending letters and bidding friends good-bye, but could not resist this glacier saunter. The ship moved off as soon as I was seen on the moraine bluff, and Loomis and I waved our hats in farewell to the many wavings of handkerchiefs of acquaintances we had made on the trip.

Our goods—blankets, provisions, tent, etc.—lay in a rocky moraine hollow within a mile of the great terminal wall of the glacier, and the discharge of the rising and falling icebergs kept up an almost continuous thundering and echoing, while a few gulls flew about on easy wing or stood like specks of foam on the shore. These were our neighbors.

After my twelve-mile walk, I ate a cracker and planned the camp. I found that one of my boxes had been left on the steamer, but still we have more than enough of everything. We obtained two cords of dry wood at Juneau which Captain Carroll kindly had his men carry up the moraine to our camp-ground. We piled the wood as a wind-break, then laid a floor of lumber brought from Seattle for a square tent, nine feet by nine. We set the tent, stored our provisions in it, and made our beds. This work was done by 11.30 P.M., good daylight lasting to this time. We slept well in our roomy cotton house, dreaming of California home nests in the wilderness of ice.

June 25. A rainy day. For a few hours I kept count of the number of bergs discharged, then sauntered along the beach to the end of the crystal wall. A portion of the way is dangerous, the moraine bluff being capped by an overlying lobe of the glacier, which as it melts sends down boulders and fragments of ice, while the strip of sandy shore at high tide is only a few rods wide, leaving but little room to escape from the falling moraine material and the berg-waves. The view of the ice-cliffs, pinnacles, spires and ridges was very telling, a magnificent picture of nature’s power and industry and love of beauty. About a hundred or a hundred and fifty feet from the shore a large stream issues from an arched, tunnel-like channel in the wall of the glacier, the blue of the ice hall being of an exquisite tone, contrasting with the strange, sooty, smoky, brown-colored stream. The front wall of the Muir Glacier is about two and a half or three miles wide. Only the central portion about two miles wide discharges icebergs. The two wings advanced over the washed and stratified moraine deposits have little or no motion, melting and receding as fast, or perhaps faster, than it advances. They have been advanced at least a mile over the old re-formed moraines, as is shown by the overlying, angular, recent moraine deposits, now being laid down, which are continuous with the medial moraines of the glacier.

In the old stratified moraine banks, trunks and branches of trees showing but little sign of decay occur at a height of about a hundred feet above tide-water. I have not yet compared this fossil wood with that of the opposite shore deposits. That the glacier was once withdrawn considerably back of its present limit seems plain. Immense torrents of water had filled in the inlet with stratified moraine-material, and for centuries favorable climatic conditions allowed forests to grow upon it. At length the glacier advanced, probably three or four miles, uprooting and burying the trees which had grown undisturbed for centuries. Then came a great thaw, which produced the flood that deposited the uprooted trees. Also the trees which grew around the shores above reach of floods were shed off, perhaps by the thawing of the soil that was resting on the buried margin of the glacier, left on its retreat and protected by a covering of moraine-material from melting as fast as the exposed surface of the glacier. What appear to be remnants of the margin of the glacier when it stood at a much higher level still exist on the left side and probably all along its banks on both sides just below its present terminus.

June 26. We fixed a mark on the left wing to measure the motion if any. It rained all day, but I had a grand tramp over mud, ice, and rock to the east wall of the inlet. Brown metamorphic slate, close-grained in places, dips away from the inlet, presenting edges to ice-action, which has given rise to a singularly beautiful and striking surface, polished and grooved and fluted.

All the next day it rained. The mountains were smothered in dull-colored mist and fog, the great glacier looming through the gloomy gray fog fringes with wonderful effect. The thunder of bergs booms and rumbles through the foggy atmosphere. It is bad weather for exploring but delightful nevertheless, making all the strange, mysterious region yet stranger and more mysterious.

June 28. A light rain. We were visited by two parties of Indians. A man from each canoe came ashore, leaving the women in the canoe to guard against the berg-waves. I tried my Chinook and made out to say that I wanted to hire two of them in a few days to go a little way back on the glacier and around the bay. They are seal-hunters and promised to come again with “Charley,” who “hi yu kumtux wawa Boston"—knew well how to speak English.

I saw three huge bergs born. Spray rose about two hundred feet. Lovely reflections showed of the pale-blue tones of the ice-wall and mountains in the calm water. Mirages are common, making the stranded bergs along the shore look like the sheer frontal wall of the glacier from which they were discharged.

I am watching the ice-wall, berg life and behavior, etc. Yesterday and to-day a solitary small flycatcher was feeding about camp. A sandpiper on the shore, loons, ducks, gulls, and crows, a few of each, and a bald eagle are all the birds I have noticed thus far. The glacier is thundering gloriously.

June 30. Clearing clouds and sunshine. In less than a minute I saw three large bergs born. First there is usually a preliminary thundering of comparatively small masses as the large mass begins to fall, then the grand crash and boom and reverberating roaring. Oftentimes three or four heavy main throbbing thuds and booming explosions are heard as the main mass falls in several pieces, and also secondary thuds and thunderings as the mass or masses plunge and rise again and again ere they come to rest. Seldom, if ever, do the towers, battlements, and pinnacles into which the front of the glacier is broken fall forward headlong from their bases like falling trees at the water-level or above or below it. They mostly sink vertically or nearly so, as if undermined by the melting action of the water of the inlet, occasionally maintaining their upright position after sinking far below the level of the water, and rising again a hundred feet or more into the air with water streaming like hair down their sides from their crowns, then launch forward and fall flat with yet another thundering report, raising spray in magnificent, flamelike, radiating jets and sheets, occasionally to the very top of the front wall. Illumined by the sun, the spray and angular crystal masses are indescribably beautiful. Some of the discharges pour in fragments from clefts in the wall like waterfalls, white and mealy-looking, even dusty with minute swirling ice-particles, followed by a rushing succession of thunder-tones combining into a huge, blunt, solemn roar. Most of these crumbling discharges are from the excessively shattered central part of the ice-wall; the solid deep-blue masses from the ends of the wall forming the large bergs rise from the bottom of the glacier.

Many lesser reports are heard at a distance of a mile or more from the fall of pinnacles into crevasses or from the opening of new crevasses. The berg discharges are very irregular, from three to twenty-two an hour. On one rising tide, six hours, there were sixty bergs discharged, large enough to thunder and be heard at distances of from three quarters to one and a half miles; and on one succeeding falling tide, six hours, sixty-nine were discharged.

July 1. We were awakened at four o’clock this morning by the whistle of the steamer George W. Elder. I went out on the moraine and waved my hand in salute and was answered by a toot from the whistle. Soon a party came ashore and asked if I was Professor Muir. The leader, Professor Harry Fielding Reid of Cleveland, Ohio, introduced himself and his companion, Mr. Cushing, also of Cleveland, and six or eight young students who had come well provided with instruments to study the glacier. They landed seven or eight tons of freight and pitched camp beside ours. I am delighted to have companions so congenial—we have now a village.

As I set out to climb the second mountain, three thousand feet high, on the east side of the glacier, I met many tourists returning from a walk on the smooth east margin of the glacier’ and had to answer many questions. I had a hard climb, but wonderful views were developed and I sketched the glacier from this high point and most of its upper fountains.

Many fine alpine plants grew here, an anemone on the summit, two species of cassiope in shaggy mats, three or four dwarf willows, large blue hairy lupines eighteen inches high, parnassia, phlox, solidago, dandelion, white-flowered bryanthus, daisy, pedicularis, epilobium, etc., with grasses, sedges, mosses, and lichens, forming a delightful deep spongy sod. Woodchucks stood erect and piped dolefully for an hour “Chee-chee!” with jaws absurdly stretched to emit so thin a note-rusty-looking, seedy fellows, also a smaller striped species which stood erect and cheeped and whistled like a Douglas squirrel. I saw three or four species of birds. A finch flew from her nest at my feet; and I almost stepped on a family of young ptarmigan ere they scattered, little bunches of downy brown silk, small but able to run well. They scattered along a snow-bank, over boulders, through willows, grass, and flowers, while the mother, very lame, tumbled and sprawled at my feet. I stood still until the little ones began to peep; the mother answered “Too-too-too” and showed admirable judgment and devotion. She was in brown plumage with white on the wing primaries. She had fine grounds on which to lead and feed her young.

Not a cloud in the sky to-day; a faint film to the north vanished by noon, leaving all the sky full of soft, hazy light. The magnificent mountains around the widespread tributaries of the glacier; the great, gently undulating, prairie-like expanse of the main trunk, bluish on the east, pure white on the west and north; its trains of moraines in magnificent curving lines and many colors—black, gray, red, and brown; the stormy, cataract-like, crevassed sections; the hundred fountains; the lofty, pure white Fairweather Range; the thunder of the plunging bergs; the fleet of bergs sailing tranquilly in the inlet—formed a glowing picture of nature’s beauty and power.

July 2. I crossed the inlet with Mr. Reid and Mr. Adams to-day. The stratified drift on the west side all the way from top to base contains fossil wood. On the east side, as far as I have seen it, the wood occurs only in one stratum at a height of about a hundred and twenty feet in sand and clay. Some in a bank of the west side are rooted in clay soil. I noticed a large grove of stumps in a washed-out channel near the glacier-front but had no time to examine closely Evidently a flood carrying great quantities of sand and gravel had overwhelmed and broken off these trees, leaving high stumps. The deposit, about a hundred feet or more above them, had been recently washed out by one of the draining streams of the glacier, exposing a part of the old forest floor certainly two or three centuries old.

I climbed along the right bank of the lowest of the tributaries and set a signal flag on a ridge fourteen hundred feet high. This tributary is about one and a fourth or one and a half miles wide and has four secondary tributaries. It reaches tide-water but gives off no bergs. Later I climbed the large Nunatak Island, seven thousand feet high, near the west margin of the glacier. It is composed of crumbling granite draggled with washed boulders, but has some enduring bosses which on sides and top are polished and scored rigidly, showing that it had been heavily overswept by the glacier when it was thousands of feet deeper than now, like a submerged boulder in a river-channel. This island is very irregular in form, owing to the variations in the structure joints of the granite. It has several small lakelets and has been loaded with glacial drift, but by the melting of the ice about its flanks is shedding it off, together with some of its own crumbling surface. I descended a deep rock gully on the north side, the rawest, dirtiest, dustiest, most dangerous that I have seen hereabouts. There is also a large quantity of fossil wood scattered on this island, especially on the north side, that on the south side having been cleared off and carried away by the first tributary glacier, which, being lower and melting earlier, has allowed the soil of the moraine material to fall, together with its forest, and be carried off. That on the north side is now being carried off or buried. lithe last of the main ice foundation is melting and the moraine material re-formed over and over again, and the fallen tree-trunks, decayed or half decayed or in a fair state of preservation, are also unburied and buried again or carried off to the terminal or lateral moraine.

I found three small seedling Sitka spruces, feeble beginnings of a new forest. The circumference of the island is about seven miles. I arrived at camp about midnight, tired and cold. Sailing across the inlet in a cranky rotten boat through the midst of icebergs was dangerous, and I was glad to get ashore.

July 4. I climbed the east wall to the summit, about thirty-one hundred feet or so, by the northernmost ravine next to the yellow ridge, finding about a mile of snow in the upper portion of the ravine and patches on the summit. A few of the patches probably lie all the year, the ground beneath them is so plantless. On the edge of some of the snow-banks I noticed cassiope. The thin, green, mosslike patches seen from camp are composed of a rich, shaggy growth of cassiope, white-flowered bryanthus, dwarf vaccinium with bright pink flowers, saxifrages, anemones, bluebells, gentians, small erigeron, pedicularis, dwarf-willow and a few species of grasses. Of these, Cassiope tetragona is far the most influential and beautiful. Here it forms mats a foot thick and an acre or more in area, the sections being measured by the size and drainage of the soil-patches. I saw a few plants anchored in the less crumbling parts of the steep-faced bosses and steps—parnassia, potentilla, hedysarum, lutkea, etc. The lower, rough-looking patches half way up the mountain are mostly alder bushes ten or fifteen feet high. I had a fine view of the top of the mountain-mass which forms the boundary wall of the upper portion of the inlet on the west side, and of several glaciers, tributary to the first of the eastern tributaries of the main Muir Glacier. Five or six of these tributaries were seen, most of them now melted off from the trunk and independent. The highest peak to the eastward has an elevation of about five thousand feet or a little less. I also had glorious views of the Fairweather Range, La Pérouse, Crillon, Lituya, and Fairweather. Mt. Fairweather is the most beautiful of all the giants that stand guard about Glacier Bay. When the sun is shining on it from the east or south its magnificent glaciers and colors are brought out in most telling display. In the late afternoon its features become less distinct. The atmosphere seems pale and hazy, though around to the north and northeastward of Fairweather innumerable white peaks are displayed, the highest fountain-heads of the Muir Glacier crowded together in bewildering array, most exciting and inviting to the mountaineer. Altogether I have had a delightful day, a truly glorious celebration of the fourth.

July 6. I sailed three or four miles down the east coast of the inlet with the Reid party’s cook, who is supposed to be an experienced camper and prospector, and landed at a stratified moraine-bank. It was here that I camped in 1880, a point at that time less than half a mile from the front of the glacier, now one and a half miles. I found my Indian’s old camp made just ten years ago, and Professor Wright’s of five years ago. Their alder-bough beds and fireplace were still marked and but little decayed. I found thirty-three species of plants in flower, not counting willows-a showy garden on the shore only a few feet above high tide, watered by a fine stream. Lutkea, hedysarum, parnassia, epilobium, bluebell, solidago, habenaria, strawberry with fruit half grown, arctostaphylos, mertensia, erigeron, willows, tall grasses and alder are the principal species. There are many butterflies in this garden. Gulls are breeding near here. I saw young in the water to-day.

On my way back to camp I discovered a group of monumental stumps in a washed-out valley of the moraine and went ashore to observe them. They are in the dry course of a flood-channel about eighty feet above mean tide and four or five hundred yards back from the shore, where they have been pounded and battered by boulders rolling against them and over them, making them look like gigantic shaving-brushes. The largest is about three feet in diameter and probably three hundred years old. I mean to return and examine them at leisure. A smaller stump, still firmly rooted, is standing astride of an old crumbling trunk, showing that at least two generations of trees flourished here undisturbed by the advance or retreat of the glacier or by its draining stream-floods. They are Sitka spruces and the wood is mostly in a good state of preservation. How these trees were broken off without being uprooted is dark to me at present. Perhaps most of their companions were up rooted and carried away.

Ruins of Buried Forest, East Side of Muir Glacier
Ruins of Buried Forest,
East Side of Muir Glacier

July 7. Another fine day; scarce a cloud in the sky. The icebergs in the bay are miraged in the distance to look like the frontal wall of a great glacier. I am writing letters in anticipation of the next steamer, the Queen.

She arrived about 2.30 P.M. with two hundred and thirty tourists. What a show they made with their ribbons and kodaks! All seemed happy and enthusiastic, though it was curious to see how promptly all of them ceased gazing when the dinner-bell rang, and how many turned from the great thundering crystal world of ice to look curiously at the Indians that came alongside to sell trinkets, and how our little camp and kitchen arrangements excited so many to loiter and waste their precious time prying into our poor hut.

July 8. A fine clear day. I went up the glacier to observe stakes and found that a marked point near the middle of the current had flowed about a hundred feet in eight days. On the medial moraine one mile from the front there was no measureable displacement. I found a raven devouring a tom-cod that was alive on a shallow at the mouth of the creek. It had probably been wounded by a seal or eagle.

July 10. I have been getting acquainted with the retain features of the glacier and its fountain mountains with reference to an exploration of its main tributaries and the upper part of its prairie-like trunk, a trip I have long had in mind. I have been building a sled and must now get fully ready to start without reference to the weather. Yesterday evening I saw a large blue berg just as it was detached sliding down from the front. Two of Professor Reid’s party rowed out to it as it sailed past the camp, estimating it to be two hundred and forty feet in length and one hundred feet high.

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