Journal I : Expedition to Glacier Bay, Alaska, Summer 1890

July 30th

The rain continues all day, and so does work on the chimney, which is now about four feet high. I [took?] two pictures (photos) of "the rain gauge at work". The rainy weather seems to increase the discharge from the glacier; many large bergs have fallen in the last few days, and the inlet is very full of ice.

York leaves us as soon as the Elder arrives. He evidently came up with the expectation of prospecting and being disappointed in that, he wants to leave us. It is likely the Prof. Muir will hire him to take him about the Bay in a canoe.

July 29th

The rain continues. In the afternoon Mr. Cushing and I put on our oil-skins and started up to see the White Glacier. We followed its end up to its valley, a distance of about seven miles. The rain prevented us from seeing [far?] into its valley, but we saw its beautifully curved moraines, and two or three of its tributaries. It must be moving very slowly; at one place debris from the mountain had been washed clear across the white glacier to within a few ft. of its [opposite?] lateral moraine; this moraine being a medial moraine at this point a medial moraine of the great glaciers. The White glacier keeps white to its terminus in front of Dirt Glacier, where its lateral moraine wheels around and approaches the shore just in front of station E. This external lateral moraine is well divided into two b by its material into two bands; a red one, on the east and a grey one on the west side. The line between them is the apex of the moraine ridge, which rises 30 to 50 ft above the ice on its sides. There is a difference of level of 20 or 30 feet between the ice on opposite sides of this moraine.

Opposite the valley of White glacier the main glacier is very low, and rises all around. The ice is very blue. We saw a stream disappear in a crevasse and return to the surface like a Beehive Geyser, the ice having apparently frozen up around the opening.

July 28th

Monday. Rain off and on all day. We were obliged to keep in camp, tho' the rain was not hard enough to keep us in the tent. Some of the boys helped Prof. Muir with his fireplace; Morse and Casement arranged the sounding lines; an Mr. Cushing and I put up the two tents for the magnetic instruments. In the afternoon I gave the plane table a good cleaning up.

I had a very interesting talk with Prof. Muir about the mountains around us and the tributaries of the Main Muir Glacier. His sketches were very good. He has named a mountain after me and another after Mr. Cushing. These mountains are around to the S.E. and are not visible from camp, or from any near points on the east side of the glacier. Prof Muir told me a good deal about his experiences when expoloring this coaset. We were much amused [by the] statements in Badlam's Book "The Wonders of Alaska", which are remarkable some for their utter disregard of truth, others for their utter disregard lack of meaning.

We found from our measurements that Pyramid Peak is about seven miles from us and just under 4000 ft high. The mountain just east of E is three miles distant and about 5400 ft high. b4 is about 15.5 miles off and 5458 ft high. C2 is 19 miles away and 6454 ft high. This makes these mountains a little more distant and somewhat lies high[er] than I supposed. But they have all the effects of high mountains; in their outline and sculpture; in the way the snow and ice clings to their sides and in their couloirs, in the glaciers on their slopes; and the great glacier at the feet.

July 27th

Sunday. Rain all day. We have calculated some more triangles, darned stockings etc today. Mr. Cushing and I put on our oil-skins, and walked up to the ice-front for exercise. Morse and Casement took the cause and went down the inlet, not withstanding the rain.

July 26th

Still rain, tho' not very hard. Shingling continues. York has been helping in this work and it seems to have make him dissatisfied with cooking; we may lose him when the steamer arrives. Further calculation on the motion of the ice yields a result surprisingly at variance with Prof. Wright's. We only find our middle stakes moving about 6 ft a day. Prof. Muir had concluded that the motion could not be more than 10 ft a day. Prof. Wright's error must be due to the means at his disposal and to his mistaking one pinnacle for another.

This afternoon Adams and I took the boat and sailed over to station I, as the rain has stopped. We took the Plane table and made a map of the ice-front at water line. The second was M. As we sailed back I kept watching the glacier front so as to notice the changed appearance of the points sighted on as seen from the direction of M. I was thus able to recognize nearly all the points. Those that I missed some about the middle of the glacier on account [of] a rain which came on while I was working at M, and made them invisible. The drawing shows that the general shape of the ice front is slightly concave, with various sinuosities and projecting points, but with nothing resembling the great middle point of Prof. Wright.

I unfortunately left the lens of my camera at home, but Morse has rigged up one of his lenses, (just like mine) to fit my camera; he has also fited [fitted?] up a box as a dark room, so I think we shall be able to get some good photographs and develop them here.

Morse has proved very handy, and is the most energetic and useful man in the party; and the most reliable. The ridge pole of our tent has bent somewhat, so we have put a truss under it to strengthen it.

July 25th

Rain today. Yesterday Prof. Muir, Mr. Loomis and York worked on the wooden house and got it well forward. Today more work was done on it, by Prof. Muir and Mr. Loomis. The rest of us spent the day solving triangles, thus fixing the position of our various points. We have also fixed the position of the flags on the ice and find that the two inner last flags from the opposite sides are over 400 meters apart. Although this does not affect the continuity of our line of flags, it is hopeless to expect to cross this quarter mile. We were three hours, making about 100 yds meters bet. the 5th and 6th flags from W; and the portion bet. 6th and 7th flags is worse. The shingles are going on the wooden house, and place is being left for an open fire.

July 24th

Another fine day. Casement and Morse went over to K to get the motion of the flags on the ice. Adams, McBride and I went to E for the purpose. I took the plane table and after Adams had observed the flags, I started the general map of the region. The scale is to be 1/120,000, about 1/3" to the mile. I had to sketch the whole semicir circle of mountains and make corresponding numbers on the sketches and the map, which took us until 6 pm. Mr Adams left about 1:30 to make the 2 pm observations at camp.

Mr. Cushing explored the Dirt Glacier. He found the traveling very laborious, some distance up the glacier becomes clear. Four hanging glaciers and two neve fields contribute to form this glacier. Three of these are on the ridge just behind our camp. The glacier runs from its mouth back towards E and then sweeps around towards S. The debris seems to come principally from the hanging glaciers.

July 23rd

The Queen got in early this morning. Casement found some friends on board. The Capt. brought the board house which, however, goes to Prof. Muir, tho' we shall get much benefit from it, I think. We took lunch aboard. I was surprised to see Dr. Hayden among the passengers. Mr. Cushing accompanied him and some of his friends to station E to get a view over the Glacier. In the afternoon Mr. Chas. S. Fee, Gen. Pass. Agent N.P.R.R. was on the Queen. In afternoon Morse, Casement and I paddled the canoe across the inlet to sketch map the front of the Glacier with the plane-table, but found after getting there that we had forgotten the top. We therefore could do no work. The wind and waves were pretty high, but the canoe behaved well, and we enjoyed it very much. After dinner we had a most glorious sunset. The sky was somewhat clouded and the sun shining under the clouds lit up parts of the mountain and made them glow with a strong warm yellow light. Other parts were in deep shadow; the contrasts this produced were very striking.

We walked up to the glacier front and found the corner near this side gone. The holes we drilled a few days ago in the ice-wing were obliterated.

July 22nd

Today we remained in camp solving triangles, and doing camp work; we expected the Queen but she did not arrive.

July 21st

To-day I kept camp. Adams and McBride went to station E. to sight the flags on the ice and had no difficulty in finding them all. They recognized a small displacement of the flags within an hour. Morse and Casement took the canoe and went over to K for the same purpose; they also were perfectly successful. Cushing and I went up to the ice front and drilled a few holes in the [MS. illegible] face of the wing to see how it was sliding over the underlying guard.

Prof. Muir has been out on the glacier for about a week (10 days). Morse and Casement saw him above the creek on the W side, but were unable to get to him with the canoe thro' the ice. After supper Loomis, York and I went over to get him. After some search I found him preparing to spend the night on the moraine, and b[r]ought him and his sled back with us. He has had a very interesting trip, and has seen a great deal. He reports mountain sheep and wolves.

July 20th

Sunday. Weather continues fair. After our Bible reading Morse, Adams, McBride and I, started to put out flags from W side. We went today in order to take advantage of the good weather and to be able to measure motion before the other flags should fall. We started nearer the front of the glacier and nearly succeeded in crossing; we put out six flags (6' x 4.5') the furthest being quite near the last from the other side. The last part of the passage was very difficult, and for three hours nearly every step had to be cut; [the?] crevasse was immense, the wedges of ice high and steep, requiring careful climbing to pass in safety. We turned at 7 pm. The large pinnacles showed the stratification and at the same time the new striae cutting each other at an angle of ab. 65 degrees exceedingly well. We returned to camp about 10 pm. Well pleased with our success. The flags now practically extend across the glacier, within about 1/4 mile from the port.

July 19th

Adams, McBride and I made another attempt to cross the Glacier from E side. We started a little before 10 am from camp and tried to cross pretty near the front (within 1/4 mile); the ice at first was much broken, due to the faster motion (prob) on coming opposite the edge of the inlet. We placed 4 flags, and returned early. The crevasses here are very deep and show that they are increasing in depth, due and breadth, due to the near approach to the end front when the motion must increase. Where we turned the wedges were pretty well separated and on at their ends. Morse and Casement went across the inlet with the plane-table to make a map of the ice front, but could not succeed on this side in recognizing the points the[y] sighted from the other.

July 18th

Today Morse, McBride and York started for the Siwash camp to see if they could buy a canoe. They returned about 5 pm with a small dug-out for which they paid $10 and $1 more for a paddle. It is a very nice new canoe, but rather small. It was the only one they could get. The rest of us remained in camp, calculated, and cleaned the two small transits. We also made latitude and time observations. Our latitude observations (4 sets) [were?] within 3/4 0.75, the average being av. 58 degrees 50'. Weather still fine.

July 17th

This morning, McBride, Adams and I went over to station K to observe the flags on the ice. We found [but?] one, apparently the last black flag from W side. the others have probably fallen. The wind presses the pipe against the side of the ice and the upper part of the pipe being warmed by the sun melts the side of the whole; the flag pipe droops over more and more and finally falls out. The new flags to be put up must be four times as large as the old ones to be more easily found. The flag we saw seemed to be well out in the worst part of the ice. The glacier must be tried nearer to its end the next time. We then went to the top of the ridge just south of the K ridge. From there we had a beautiful view of Pyramid peak. I went alone to the western end of this ridge. From here a small glacier was visible below which seemed to have no [feeders?], and to fall away both toward Muir Inlet and towards a second inlet, which comes in from the west from Glacier Bay. The view was very beautiful. I made two or three sketches. Pyramid Peak was very enticing. We must climb it soon. When we returned to the beach we took a bath in a small moraine lake near station AB.

From AB and from camp we sighted on several points of the glacier front to fix its position. We shall use the plane table to make frequent maps of the glacier front and thus determine what changes take place during our stay here. Morse kept camp again; Cushing and Casement ascended the hill behind camp.

July 16th

Morse helped me this morning to observe for time by equal altitudes of sun with Gurley transit. Morse made the afternoon observations.

At 10 o'cl. Casement and I went up to station E and [sighted?] on flags on ice to fit their positions. The flags were only found with great difficulty with large telescope and then afterwards found with small transit. They looked like small specks with this instrument. All were found except 1st and last of W side. This was all day's work. (These flags were planted a few days ago, within 3/4 mile from ice front.) They all had iron pipes for posts.) Adams, Cushing and McBride went over to station K to do the same work. They did not find a single flag. At noon Adams and I both observed for latitude. Morse remained in camp and made a dark box for developing photographs. York well again. Our boat has not turned out well, she is old and rotten; we shall have to try and buy a canoe from the Siwashes.

July 15th

McBride and I made observations this morning for time and [MS illegible]. While at work, which we began at 6:30, the Topeka appeared coming [up] the inlet. The Capt. and officers were very polite, asked us to lunch and gave us provisions. I made a comparison of my chromometer with the Captain's. All, with exception of me, lunched on board; I made observations for latitudes with Gurley transit and came out 58 degrees x 53' [Written in margin:] (This observation was bad). In the afternoon the morning observations were repeated. Weather beautiful.

July 13th

Sunday. After breakfast today we all assembled in the tent and each read aloud a chapter from the Bible; after that the morning was consumed [by] writing etc. In the afternoon, Morse Adams, McBride Casement and I took the boat [and] rowed around the creek stream and had a scramble on the mountain behind our camp. Morse develops a talent for climbing.

July 12th

Today Morse Adams and I solved triangles all day. Cushing, Casement and McBride went to the 2nd island. York has been sick for the last two or three days and has been unable to do any work, thus throwing the cooking etc on us. Stomach trouble.

July 11th

Morse, Adams and I took 8 iron pipes with flags and sailed across inlet. Casement went with us and brought back the boat; we left a (wood staff) flag at corner of glacier at water's edge, and then went across. We succeeded in getting about half way across, but in that position were unable to know just how much further we had to go, and as it was nearly half-past six we returned. It took us 1 3/4 hours to return where we had taken 5 1/2 to advance. We planted 5 flags; the [auger?] went in very easily when it was turned rapidly without pressure.

Cushing saw us coming back and rowed the boat near for us. The flags were alternately black and red. We found much ice in inlet and rowed back as there was no wind. In the evening as we were walking along the beach, we noticed a phosphorus [sent sparks?] in the sand. we soon found that this was confined to near the high water line. In kicking up the sand, it sparks seem to fly about. We brought some of the sand up and found some small larvae in it. I shall take some home in alcohol for identification [added text: (this was not done)]. Some Siwashes brought us some fine fresh salmon today, which however is not as good by camp cooking as it is ordinarily considered.

July 10th

Cushing, Casement, McBride and I took the boat and rowed down to a large ice-berg that had broken off yesterday. McBride and I cut steps up to its top which we found 70 ft high by barometer. We then went to the island which lies near the headland to Glacier Bay. This island is beautifully marked with glacial scratches in two directions, due apparently to the influence of a smaller glacier which formerly came down a valley from N.W. The E. side of its island is more precipitous than its W side. We placed two flags on top of island, and I made ten sketches from [these?] stations. Morse and Adams were at with the two transits at camp and station D, and sight on us, but could not follow find us with telescopes. The Aneroid A-1-R fell out of its case and was broken. Returning we stopped at a point of land between island and camp, and saw many much [MS illegible] coming up from edge of water. We could not make out what it was due to, but intend taking some home in bottles. We had a very hard pull back against a strong wind and high waves.

July 9th

It rained all day, but not very hard, so we remained in camp.

July 8th

Morse, Adams, and McBride crossed the inlet today and took angles with [the?] too small transits from stations, A, B and AB. Cushing and Casement went up to remove the extra flags from nei[g]hborhood of station E. I remained in camp to make meteorological observations. I put the Gurley transit in adjustment and measured angles from the camp. The cold wind from the Glacier seems to make the camp colder than higher up on the mountains. Cushing and Casement found a nice little warm lake and had a swim 1200 ft up.

July 7th

Morse and Adams went out this morning to set flags on st stations H and I (white) on islands 2 and 3. I took charge of meteorological observations and Cushing did some washing. The Queen arrived in the afternoon bringing McBride and Casement. The box containing the magnetometer legs, etc. which was left in Tacoma was brought by the Queen, but the photographic plates are still in the hands of the express Co. There were some 280 passengers on the Queen and half of them were more interested in our tents than in the Glacier. Capt. Carroll invited us to dine on board and gave us some fresh meat for camp. Extra Magnetometer needle was sent by Mr. McBride. Prof. Muir got some hoop-iron to make a sled for a trip around the Glacier, in which some of us shall probably join him.

One of McBride's friends from Princeton pleased me very much.

July 6th

This being Sunday, after Breakfast we assembled in the tent and read aloud two chapters from the Bible, and then attended to various small duties about camp until afternoon. After lunch we four (Cushing, Adams, Morse and I [)] took a walk out on the glacier, and went about a third of the way across thro' the crevasses. This was the first experience of my companions in the use of the rope on the glacier. We got along very well. Towards the middle of the glacier the ice rises in sharp blades, making it very difficult to get across along. We were about 1/4 mile from front of the ice. Probably a half mile further back we could cross more easily. We returned to tea at seven; then went along the beach to the ice front, where Morse took two 6 1/2 x 8 1/2 photos of the pinnacles.

July 5th

Morse, Adams and I sailed across the inlet and laid off a [fuse?] line nearly 1000 meters long on the W side of nilet [inlet] on an old moraine. Flags were placed at stations A and B, both white; also a white flag (to be changed to a red one) at stat. ab. Station A is invisible from camp. The moraine on the W side as on E side of inlet is spread out on stratified material, and except in places is fairly level.

In the evening Prof. Muir, Mr. Cushing and I walked along the beach to the glacier front. The ice in places was a deep Cu80[subscript:]4 blue; and showed all shades of blue between that and white. The pinnacles near the shore were massive and grand. The overlapping of the ice over the stratified gravel was clearly shown. Much ice was on the beach, left then by the tide.

The weather is has been rather cloudy today, but the barometer remains high and it does not rain.

July 4th

We intended to lay off a [fuse?] line today, but took all the morning getting out our instruments and getting them in adjustment. After lunch, Morse Adams and I sailed down the inlet, put flags at stations D (wh) and C (red). We also took angles with transit 3123 at these point[s]. Mr. Cushing went off for a climb with Prof. Muir.

July 3rd

Weather a little cloudy; spent day in camp, making [MS illegible] and getting things generally in order. We were all pretty tired. We accomplished a great deal in the way of making things convenient and in order. There has been much thundering from the falling off of ice from the glacier and now there is much ice in the inlet. The barometer keeps at about 30".

July 2nd

Another fine day. Prof. Muir, Mr. Loomis, Morse and I, Adams and I sailed across the inlet, and planted two flags on points F. (Black) and G. (Black). Fine news of mountains. The tributaries of the Glacier from N.W. are very long and large. Much wood found on 1st island. It was very late when we got home. Morse and Cushing planted a red flag at E.

July 1st

When I arose this morning at six we were anchored a half mile below the port of Muir Glacier, and within 200 yds of the shore. The avalanches of ice from the end of the glacier fall continually and the layer ones make great waves which rock the steamer like a ground swell.

I soon went ashore and found Prof. Muir and Mr. Henry B. Loomis encamped (?). They are studying the submerged forests (in sand). Prof. Muir received us very kindly and invited [us] to camp near him, which we did. We spent the day hard at work unpacking and making camp. Edith and Miss Andrews went back on the Elder. The day was perfect, not a cloud in the sky. In the afternoon we saw the mirage in the lower part of the bay. It made the floating ice look like another front of Muir Glacier.

Our camp is on E side of Muir Inlet on the moraine which runs up flush with surface of glacier. Our tents are as follows:

                                                          [Sketch absent from document]

About half past-seven we took a long walk about 5 m. up the glacier to 2nd island. We followed the smooth ice and got home about 12 well played out. It never gets dark here.