I ran along at the upstanders of Mr. Peary's sledge, he being all alone; but the ice being rather slippery and the dogs traveling along at a run, I soon found it difficult to keep on my feet, and so jumped on the sledge with Mr. Peary, and rode the greater part of the time. The two dogs pulled us easily, the sledge and load weighing about five hundred pounds. The dogs are fastened to the sledge by single traces, and are guided without reins by the driver with a long whip and much shouting. The mikkie* not understanding our language, and Mr. Peary not knowing the Eskimo terms, and not understanding the language of the whip, we had no means of guiding our team; besides, in many places the ice had to be tested by a member of the party going ahead with an alpenstock and “feeling” it. Often detours had to be made, and several times we had to rush over places where the ice buckled under us, and it seemed as though it must let us through; for these reasons we allowed the other sledge to take the lead. This we could do only by stopping and letting the boys get one fourth or one half of a mile ahead; then, giving our dogs the word, they would scud along at the top of their speed, not making any attempt to stop until they had caught up to the other sledge, which they did in a few minutes. In this way we finally reached the head of the bay shortly after six. We immediately set about putting up the tent and arranging our sleeping gear, and Mr. Peary got the stove ready and put on ice for tea, and also a can of beans to heat. I was disabled by a sick-headache.
* The Inuit man Ikwa’s word for dog.
McCormick Bay, Greenland, 1891
Source: Josephine Diebitsch-Peary, My Arctic Journal: A Year Among Ice-Fields and Eskimos, London: Longmans, Green, and Co., 1894
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