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Greely Expedition: Day 68

Day 68: Monday, September 12th, 1881

Lt. Lockwood being of the opinion that we could finish the exploration of the valley without the aid of the dog team. We experimented with our sleeping bag and supplies to see in what shape they could be got into for packs to sling on our backs. The conclusion reached however, was that we could not gain much, if anything; the sleeping bag making an unwieldy bundle. So we packed everything on the sledge again and started over the mixture of stone and snow which formed our road, it being the intention of the Lt. to go as far as possible and then turn back. At this time it looked as though our trip would not be successful in any great degree, as there was very little snow, and the runner of our sledge was commenced to wear out. One of the irons being entirely worn through, the piece sticking out from the side and catching in the ground. About 5pm we camped having arrived at the place where the English ceased their explorations, thinking that they saw the end of the valley.

Lt. Lockwood and myself started immediately after a light lunch to examine more closely what appeared to terminus of the valley. We went in light marching order, taking only a few hard-tacks in our pockets by way of luncheon. It was very cold at this time and a sharp breeze blowing. After tramping about 3 or 5 miles we found that what appeared to be a solid wall at the end of a valley was only a change of direction of the valley, which was concealed by the sharp turn, from an observer at a distance. We pushed on through this extension, and after several miles, again thought we had reached the end, when the same thing was repeated, the valley making another sharp turn to the North West; the sun shining on the hillside showing this new opening to us. We still pushed on, passing an opening on the left, which was somewhat similar to the entrance to the Black Vale, which we had passed near the entrance to the valley. Lt. Lockwood declined looking into this valley or opening being desirous of reaching the end of the present valley. This we soon did, near the end of the valley several musk oxen that were disturbed by our approach, stopped grazing on the scanty herbage and looking on us, usurpers of their peace and quietness as though they would resent the intrusion and charge down upon us. Which would have been unfortunate for us since we had nothing to protect ourselves with. We thought it best to make the first demonstrations so taking a long breath we charge the cattle at full speed, hallowing in the meanwhile. This soon had the desired effect for after a few quick curious and frightened glances, the animals wheeled about quickly and sped away up the hill, being soon lost to sight and relieving us of great anxiety.

Several miles further and the valley apparently ended so Lt. Lockwood decided to return to the camp. Before turning back Lt. Lockwood took a sketch of the U.I. Mountains which could be seen plainly over the ridge at the upper end of valley. Which the Lt. was making his sketch I took fore and back sights with the compass for bearings of the general direction of the valley. It runs in a direction a little west of North with reference to the true Meridia. The length of the valley from the bay to the north end I should judge to be about 25 miles; surely not less. We arrives back at our camp very much tired having been walking at a good pace all the day.

Next day we made an early start and arrived at the mouth of the valley about 5 or 6pm where we made a search for the musk ox meat left somewhere among the hills by Lt. Greely and his party several days ago. Not finding it we started for the station and having good travelling across the bay arrived at the station about 9pm. During the afternoon the weather turned very cold and a gale of wind was blowing down the Bellows, fortunately it was at our backs and did not inconvenience us much. When coming across the bay it blew in our faces and we had to constantly rub our faces to keep the blood there in circulation for fear of frost bites.

Note: No separate entry for Sept 13th, 1881.

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