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

September 24th

Wednesday. We passed Dixon's Entrance when we were abed last night. Today the weather has been somewhat clearer. We steamed thro' narrow passengers and saw beautiful waterfalls and valleys on both sides. The mountains tho' not high are very bold and thickly wooded. Their forms are evidently the result of glacial action. Some of the passengers who had been in the Yosemite thought that these vallies and cliffs much resembled that famous place.

At eight o'clock tonight we passed reached Milhawk sound; the talk on Muir Glacier was therefore put off until tomorrow night. I retired gracefully to the stern and helped to swell the rising tide.

September 23rd

Tuesday. Last night it was so misty that the ship ran very slowly, and only reached Loring this morning. We stopped there until three o'clock. Adams went off with the Steward to shoot ducks. We had pretty hard rain all day. In the afternoon we reached a cannery at the head of Tongass Narrows, where more Salmon was shipped. When there the weather was so thick that the Capt. decided to remain at anchor all night; but about nine o'clock we it cleared somewhat and the ship went ahead, passing Dixon's Entrance in the middle of the night, thank heaven.

In the evening Mr. Gregla, an exiled Pole, who took part in the rising of 1863, was sent to Siberia, escaped, and came to this country, gave us an interesting description of his adventures in Siberia. He says Kennon's descriptions are far within the truth. He says that Russia has sent 50 men to this country to learn English and to deny in their writings Kennon's statements.

I have consented to tell the passengers something about Muir Glacier tomorrow night.

September 22nd

Monday. The weather continues cloudy and rainy. We reached Fort Wrangell about 10 am. We went ashore and made for Charlie Chinook's shop. He had no spoons, but we bought some very pretty bracelets. his work is much better than that of the other Indians. We also ordered him to make us some some which the [steeraid?] McKenna will get for us his next trip. I bought also a very good halibut hook. The baskets here and at Juneau were not nearly so well made as those we saw and bout at Bartlett Bay, and they were more expensive. The boys also bought various articles.

From Fort Wrangell we went to Labasha Bay, just around the point, and took on 3200 cases of Salmon, remaining there nearly all afternoon.

The canneries are shutting up for the winter and many of their employees go down on the Topeka, which does not make a very pleasant company. Some of the passengers, however, are very nice. Next to me at table sits a young Russian Priest, who has not yet learned why forks are put on the table. Almost opposite is a man who was at the naval academy, but who is not now in the navy. They probably got rid of him on account of a singular preference for gentlemen in the navy. There are two English ladies, who are of course, unobtrusive; two Frenchmen, who are very gentlemanly, and a general mixture of Americans. There is but one young girl aboard, about 17, who receives the attentions of all the young men.

September 21st

Sunday. We were up this morning at daylight, rowed over to the "Chinook", waked up the Captain, who sleeps aboard, and soon were transferring our baggage to a large flat-boat. We rowed it over to the dock and with block and tackle hoisted it up. I paid Mr. Johnston $75 for the Chinook's services in bringing us over from Bartlett's Bay. He did not charge us anything for our board there. I also gave him $15 for Tah-quo-kette, provided the letter I gave him were returned. Mr. Johnston is either to return me the letter or the money. The Captain Wallace's reason for not coming in to Bartlett Bay was that he thought we had gone down in the Elder. It seems Prof. Muir had made special inquiries at Seattle as to whether the Elder would visit Glacier Bay, and was told that she would. Then at Sitka Captain Wallace heard of that about some of our party were being on the Elder, and supposed that the whole party were on that ship. There were some 15 or 20 passengers on the Topeka and that was the reason he tried to go up Glacier Bay. There are not very cordial relations between the B. Bay Co and the S.S. Co and the ships only stop at B.B. when they are notified that 1500 cases of Salmon are ready for shipment.

We left Juneau about 8 am and steamed over to Douglass Island where we lay until about one. The weather today is much clearer tho' there is but little sunshine. We went over the works at Douglass Island, conducted by one of the [p]assengers there.

About 3 pm. we turned into [Laker?] Inlet and an hour later saw the glaciers. There are at its head. There are three. The first one, on the left, ends much like the Davidson. It is about 1/3 mile wide. The second at the head of the inlet is about as wide, it ends in the water and discharges bergs like the Muir Glacier. It is very picturesque, coming down between steep hills, about 2000 ft high, and ending in a wall of ice probably 100 ft high. During our stay one pretty large berg broke off. We approached to within about 3/4 mile of the glacier. The bay here was completely covered with small ice.

The third glacier is in a valley to the right, the inlet running some distance towards it, but not reachingit. The whole inlet is lovely and most picturesque, the snow-capped mts making a fine background to bay, the tree covered hills and glaciers in the front.

September 20th


About one o'clock this morning we sighted Douglass Island. We had then more than thirty miles to go around it, with a head wind and tide against us. (The Capt. of the Chinook is a Baltimorean and sailed formerly on one of Mr. Tom Whitridge's ship to Rio. His name is Jones.) We reached Juneau at five o'clock this morning and found no Topeka there. We cast anchor, and then three or four of us went ashore. After wandering about a little while we found the watchman who told us the Topeka had not arrived. So we were sure of catching her. We soon after returned to the tug and slept as well as we could until about seven o'clock. We Our party there launched our boat from the deck of the tug, getting it filled with water in the act, and rowed ashore after bailing it out. We went to a horrid hotel "The Franklin" where we had an equally horrid breakfast. Soon after breakfast Adams and I went up to see Mr. Willard, and had a very pleasant visit to him. (The weather continues nasty; it rains and rains, and the streets are full of mud.) Mr. Willard walked down the street with us to make some inquiries about selling our boat and canoe, and tents. He introduced me to the offices of the Custom House, who seemed much interested in the Glacier and asked many questions concerning my studies there.

We returned to the hotel where we had a dinner worthy to succeed the breakfast. All day the wind has been blowing harder and harder, right up the channel, and the waves have become pretty large. We spent the afternoon trying to get our baggage transferred to the dock, but were unable to get it done. The Engineer and the crew (fine) of the tug were more than half seas over, and were therefore useless.

Adams and I took supper with Mrs. Willard at her invitation.

About 8 pm. we heard the Topeka's W whistle. Hastily taking our leave we ran down to the hotel, paid our bill, routed Morse and McBride out of bed, and went down to the dock in the pouring rain. Mr. Johnston met joined us on the way down. Before reaching the dock we saw that the Topeka had cast anchor and would not communicate with shore that night. We found the agent, who thought we would be safe in going to bed, as the ship would not approach make a landing before daylight.

As the boys were not well pleased with the beds they had been in, fearing extermination before morning, we sought other quarters. We finally found beds with a storekeeper named Reid, where we slept very comfortably.

September 19th

The Chinook did not arrive yesterday. So we had to unpack our blankets again and pass another night in the loft above the cannery. She arrived this morning however with 2200 Salmon. They were unloaded as quickly as possible and our baggage put aboard. It is a nasty, disagreeable, rainy day. We got away at half-past one. Tah-quo-kett's squaw and his son have been after me again today for their money. But I refused to give them anything unless they returned me the letter of recommendation. As we boarded the Chinook, "Charlie," the son, came out and again asked for the money. I repeated what I had previously said, and he went ashore; as he was leaving one of the boys asked him if he was going for the letter and answered "No."

There was a great deal of ice in Icy Straights, but after rounding Strawberry point the water was clear. The wind soon blew harder, dead ahead, and towards evening the "Chinook" pitched considerably. I lay in the Captain's bunk in the Pilot house and had some rest tho I did not sleep. The boys lay in the engine room and in the Caboose. Night, rain and mist came on together; and it was very difficult to see the mountains well enough to steer the boat. Mr. Johnston went to Juneau with us.

September 18th

Thursday. This morning the men here gave up hopes of the steamer's arrival. It rained hard all night, this morning everything was in mist. At half-past nine someone saw the faint form of the steamer making up Glacier. We were all delighted and happy as possible. Mr. Johnston wanted the raft on which our baggage stored piled to pile his boxes of salmon and take them out to the steamer, so we went out and transferred our traps to a smaller raft. While doing this we saw the steamer coming back. She had probably met ice and would not venture further. Down she came, but did not seem to turn towards us. She could only be faintly discerned and we could not be sure at any moment that she was not turning. On, on she went and finally disappeared behind a projecting point of land. How our hearts sank and our tempers arose! This end of our trip seems to be made up of anxieties and disappointments. There is one more hope left. The Chinook is due back here by five o'clock this afternoon. I offered Mr. Johnston $75 if he would take us immediately to Juneau. The trip takes about 10 hours. He agreed to do so. The steamer will probably go first to Chilcat and then to Juneau, in which case she will not get to Juneau before tomorrow evening. If she does not go to Chilcat she will reach Juneau tonight, and will probably lie there all night; in that case we hope to catch her before she leaves in the morning. The men here do not think much of the Siwashes, nor do they think the missions inspire them. They say the missions make them more intelligent and teach them to read, but do not inspire their morals. Some of the white men here have Indian squaws, a state of thing which seems to me infinitely more barbarous and degraded than that of the Indians themselves!

Tah-kho-quette's squaw has been hanging about all morning to get the money, but I would not understand what she wanted. They can wait and have some anxiety about their money, after behaving as they have. We gave them, when we broke camp, what would cost them at least $10.

September 17th

Still no steamer. Hope deferred waketh the heart sick. How glad I would be [to] see the steamer. We eat with the men; the cook is chinese, who makes excellent breads, and speaks English, but the raw materials are of a very poor quality. This morning I did some trading with the Indians, I bought a number of bone and wooden spoons and traded off one of our lanterns. I went with the Siwash to his log hut. Inside was a fire on the [MS illegible] in the middle of the floor, and around on blankets were squatted four or five women, squatted making baskets or engaged in other things, and a couple of dirty children[.] The sides of the house were piled with old boxes, old Russian trunks etc, containing the wealth of the household. Several old Russian muzzle loading guns also hung on the wall. Poles were placed across the house about six feet from the floor and fish were drying on them. A hole in the middle of the roof let the smoke of the fire exit. I was invited to sit down by the fire and then the various articles they thought I would want were brought out on[e] at a time, and a price twice too high was set on them. After two hours sitting and talking, I finally got about three spent about three dollars, and obtained various bone and wooden spoons and an adze which they use to hollow out their canoes and to make boards with. I was glad to see the inside of a Siwash home, but equally glad to get out of it. Yesterday the "Chinook", the little steamer here arrived from Noonah with 1800 salmon, this morning she went back again for more. An Indian arrived here yesterday saying he had seen the steamer going from Juneau to Sitka. That accounts for her being so late; she will stop here after leaving Sitka.

It seems that Mr. Johnston did not make any special bargain with the Siwash. Tak-quokette, who brought us down from Camp Muir, besides the numbers. Yesterday he dressed up in an old blue naval officer's coat and came bringing his letters of recommendation with him, to receive his pay. I gave him $15, which was quite sufficient, considering that we did all the rowing down to this place. He was very well satisfied and asked for a recommendation, which I wrote for him. Later in the afternoon he brought back the $15 on the counter of the store where I was sitting and said it was not enough; he wanted $20. I put the money in my pocket and have said nothing more about it. His relatives had evidently put him up to it. Two of the men here, the store-keeper and the superintendent of the fishing seem quite intelligent. The founder is an Englishman, speaks correctly, has traveled a great deal, and seems to have read considerably. I have had many interesting conversations with him.

September 16th

Tuesday. Sunshine and rain today. Still the steamer does not come; I am growing very nervous on account of the possibility of her passing us by. I have been reading the Count of Monte Christo all day, to pass the time and keep my mind off the steamer. The boys have done some trading with the Indians, I also went thro' the cannery today. It did not increase my desire for canned salmon. Indian women, nasty, dirty things, put the salmon in the cans, chinamen doing the rest of the work.

September 15th

Monday. We were up by daylight this morning and started at 6:15. The sky was overcast and the rain sprinkled occasionally so that we kept our oilskins in readiness. McBride and I went in the large canoe, Adams Morse in the small canoe and Adams in the boat. The wind proved favorable tho' light, the water was smooth and we made very good progress, sailing part of the time. We went thro' the [Bearslide?] Islands, low moraine islands, many thickly wooded, and so close together that we the water ways between them looked like channels. Great numbers of cormorants, gulls and ducks flew up at our approach. We reached Bartlett Bay at one o'clock, coming upon it quite unexpectedly. It is not on the mainland as given in the chart but on an island. Mr. Johnston received us; our first question was about the Topeka and we were delighted to find that she had not arrived.

The cannery is situated a long frame building about 200 ft long; almost all the work is done on the ground floor. There are two or three several other small buildings for the store, diving [MS illegible] and kitchen, sleeping houses, blacksmith shop etc.; a larger house for the chinese who are employed here and a number of Indian log cabins. The surroundings are pretty, but it must be a dreary place to stay in.

Mr Johnston assigned us the upper story of the cannery as our sleeping apartments, and we carried our blankets and other necessities up there, leaving our boxes on a raft. We watch continually for the steamer. (The whole place smells of fish.) The steamers do not always call here, and Mr. Johnston does not think she will necessarily call this trip; but as Capt. Wallace told me he would, I think there can scarcely be a doubt of it.

September 14th

Sunday. Secondary Camp #7. Yesterday the rain continued. At ten o'clock Adams went to the door and saw a large canoe approaching. It contained an Indian, his squaw and three boys, bet. 5 and 12 years of age. He had come to take us down to Bartlett's Bay. Breaking camp in the hard rain was very disagreeable. We finally got off at 4 pm. Adams and Morse were in the one canoe, McBride and I in the boat and the Indian in his canoe an[d] family, with all our baggage that we did not put in our own crafts, and a number of things which we discarded, but which he was not too proud to take. We covered the things as well as we could to keep them dry. As a north wind was blowing we set sail, but after a mile the wind dies out and a little further we encountered a head southerly wind. The north wind was nearly a glorious one.

Finding the progress of the large canoe very slow, the Indian and the squaw using paddles and one small boy an oar, Morse and I went aboard, he taking an oar and I a paddle; one small boy went in the canoe with Adams, and McBride had the boat to himself. This accelerated things considerably, so that when we stopped to camp at 6:30, we had made about 7 miles. Our secondary camp #6 was on a shady beach, where we found good water and some well soaked twigs of dead elder. By a plentiful use of coal-oil we made a good fire and boiled our coffee. The Indian's tent was near ours; he seemed to make himself very comfortable. His large canoe resembles very much the pictures gondolas of the 15th century. Last night he anchored it instead of beaching. We did not have a very agreeable night, as we had to make camp in the rain, and everything was damp and nasty. My shoes and feet were wet; I took off my shoes and my feet dried during the night, but my shoes were still soaking in the morning. We were up this morning at 4:15, had breakfast and were off at 6:30, the weather appearing not quite so bad. I rowed the boat Morse and McBride rowed in the canoe, Adams and a young Indian paddled the canoe. At first all went easily, but soon we rounded a point and then wind and waves both opposed us, so that we found great difficulty in making even a little headway; we finally worked our way into a protected bay and beached our boats at 9 am. not having made more than three miles advance. The rain stopped and the sun came out, but wind and wave continue high so we remain here tonight. Our camp (#7) is beautifully situated, on a lovely bay with green islands and mountains all about; but we are so anxious lest we should not catch the Topeka at Bartlett's Bay, that we can scarcely enjoy anything. Our blankets, tent, and hand-grips have all been spread out today, I fear very much that some of the instruments and our other baggage may have gotten wet. We expect to start tomorrow as early as we can see, if the wind abates or shifts so as to give us a lee shore.

September 12th

Friday. Another very rainy day and no canoe appears yet. Our provisions are getting low. The potatoes have been out a week, the maple syrup about as long, and today we finished the sugar. We have done some little packing, tho' there was not much to be done. I made a padded box for the chronometer, to protect it from jars. I also collected a number of igneous rocks for Dr. Williams at the Johns Hopkins.

We have had a big fire in the hearth all day which is rather conducive to laziness. Morse took a photograph this morning of the interior of the house. During the last two days we have had fully an inch of rain, as shown by the pails left out.

September 11th

Thursday. We were up this morning soon after six, and found it raining. The rain has continued steadily all day; and we have packed as steadily. Tonight nea everything is ready but the last closing up.

For the last few days we have been mak baking bread, and we find it a great improvement on the very hard hard-tack which we had left.

We have been all day on the look-out for the canoe. It will be very disagreeable if we have to make the trip to Bartlett's Bay in the rain.

September 10th

Wednesday. Another fine day. The last three nights there has been scarcely any wind, and in the morning the flag hangs limp; but late in the day, by nine o'cl. the glacier wind makes it stream out to the south. The self-recording thermom. shows an almost straight slowly falling line for the night temperature for these three nights while the day temp. is a jagged line ranging 8 or 10 degrees within an hour. The night lines have usually been like the day lines.

I went up to the glacier today alone and made a few photos of the ice ridges. I also made some observations on temp. of water in streams on ice in front of Dirt glcier, at end of White glacier. They ran from 0 degrees to 0.1 C.

I returned in time to make my midday magnetic observations. While in the magnetic tent about 2 pm, Adams called that there was a letter for me. I came out and found that a Siwash had come in his canoe, of course with his wife, and brought me two letters, one from Mr. Cushing written at Bartlett's Bay and the second from Mr. Johnston there. It appears that Mr. Johnston cannot send the steamer "Chinook" for us, but promised to send a large canoe to take us and our traps. Mr. Cushing in his letter seems anxious about our getting away, and gave us directions about coming down the coast. There would be no difficulty in our working down to Bartlett's Bay or even further, but we could not take our baggage; and we could not leave that.

The distance to Bartlett's Bay is about 35 miles, and the Siwash was to receive $5 for bringing me the letter. This I gave him. I also sent a letter by him to Mr. Johnston telling him to send a large canoe. We immediately set to work packing. I had intended to go across the inlet this afternoon, but of course gave that up. The weather continues fine. Fairweather is very clear. The sunset tonight was beautiful, and afterwards there was quite a good amoral display.

September 9th

Tuesday. Magnetic observ. for declin. again today. After breakfast McBride Adams and I went to E to make a cairn. The weather was beautiful; we went without any packs to carry and it was delightful. We made a first-rate cairn about 8 feet across and 4 1/2 ft. high with the flag in its old the middle in its old position. I think it will last for several years. I made took a few compass bearings and then came home as fast as possible for my magnetic work. McBride and Adams left to go up to one of the White Glacier moraines after some specimens of [MS illegible].

In the afternoon I took some photographs about camp and made some satisfactory observations for Agimuth. The weather continues fine and is not cold except at night. Slight amoral display tonight. I think we should see such slight displays almost every night if we watched for them, but we usually go in doors by dark, about 8 o'c.

September 8th

Another fine day. I was up early and made observations for declination. This requires me to be in the magnetic tent at every quarter hour for about 2 minutes from seven to half past eight or nine in the morning and from twelve thirty to two thirty in the afternoon; this means thro' breakfast and lunch time, so I eat with my watch before me, and leave the table always 2 1/2 minutes before the quarter hour. We are beginning to prepare to leave. McBride has been getting the boxes ready to pack. He has taken up the floor cloth of the large tent and piled the boxes in them to keep perfectly dry. I worked a little with the plane table at camp today and made some observations today for latitude and got 58 degrees 50', which is about right. The wood we collected from across the stream makes splendid fires, which we have thoroughly enjoyed.

Morse has been sick for two or three days, with what seems a kind of [MS illegible] of the stomach. He says he has had it before. Today he is better.

Much ice has fallen from the ice front within the last week. Until then days last night, it was nearly all from the deep bay, making it deeper, but now the projecting point is breaking away. The general line of the ice front must be two or three hundred yards further back than when we arrived here. Whether this is permanent or not, I can't say.

September 7th

[Start of Journal IIII]

Sunday. This morning I was up early and began observations for Declination (magnetic); but as the day was very fine I determined to take the plane table to the top of the 3000 ft hill. (Yesterday there was a sudden change in the wind, it had been blowing from S, when suddenly a strong gust came from the N, and frome that moment the weather began to clear.) Accordingly Adams and I started with the canoe about half past ten; we paddled across the stream and then, I carrying the plane table complete, and carrying my camera and the lunch and McBride's rifle, we waked along the old flood-planes of the stream and ascended by the gulley. The weather was warm, we had been in camp for several days, and we were heavily loaded, so that we ascended slowly and were quite tired when we reached the top at 2 pm. We found some water melting from a patch of melting snow and had lunch. I then worked with the plane-table and took photographs until nearly 6 pm. The weather was glorious, and the mountains were beautiful. This is one of the best points of view I have ascended. The temp at the top at 3 pm. was 52.37. In camp at the same time it was 48.7.

The # effect of the cold glacier wind here is well marked shown. Adams wandered about shooting at groundhogs while I was at work.

[In margin]: # This is usually more marked. The wind today was not strong.

I made a photograph of the ice-front, whose appearance has much changed since we first arrived. There is now a deep bay on this side and a projecting point near the middle; this point however has no such len[g]th as is [found?] in Prof. Wright's map. The bay cuts in about 1/4 mile behind the line joining the two corners of the inlet; the point being about on this line. This distance was estimated by comparison with the distance of camp from the ice-front, which is Renown to be a little under 3/4 mile. We reached camp a[t] 7:30, and soon after supper I went to bed.

September 6th

It continues rainy today, with the clouds low. I have been calculating my magnetic observations; and determining axis of collimator mgnt [magnet]. Tonight I took in the magnet of the Dip circle.

[Additional entry taped to back cover of journal III]:

[In top margin] From Paris.
Guns located by sound from 3 stations; locations of high vel. guns and howitzer can be found within 50 yds. The exact location is then found from special photo file W56-46. (a)

Aerial defense of Paris
File 9185-C-6. Exh.1.p.2 special appa. [apparatus] invented by Prof. Perrot receives and amplifies sounds and is used for detecting aeroplanes.

Same Exh.5.p.18 Zeppelins can be heard from about 6 Kms. and the direction located by means of Segnae apparatus.

[End of Journal III]

September 5th

Friday. Today the clouds are low tho' it does not rain. We did not wake this morning until 9 o'clock. I spent the afternoon making observations for magnetic dip. This is McBride's twenty first birthday, and Adams made him a cinnamon birthday cake.

September 4th

Thursday. Today the wind has changed and comes from the north. The appearance is for good weather. We decided to make an excursion of several days to the neighborhood of Granite Canon. We started at 1:35 carrying our blankets and provisions, but taking no tent. By the time we were opposite the White Glacier, about 3:30, clouds are beginning to gather, and the advisability of going further became questionable, so we decided to camp by the side of White Glacier and tomorrow morning go further or return according to the weather. We did had supper on the moraine, and by seven o'clock the weather was so threatening that we decided to push for home. We reached camp at nine twenty, after a fatiguing and somewhat dangerous walk. The last hour and a half was in almost perfect darkness. Fortunately, this part of the glacier is not at all crevassed, but it is full of holes from a few inches to several feet deep. I put my foot into several of them and had so[me] rather uncomfortable falls. When crossing the moraine we had to feel almost every step before trusting to it. The boys did admirably. On reaching camp, we made a big fire, had a light supper and went to bed.

Our fires have been most cheerful; we dress by them in the morning, and sit by them in the evening; we also have them during the day when we remain in camp.

September 3rd

Wednesday. Weather continues rainy tho' it does not rain so hard. I spent morning calculating. In afternoon we went to D and made a cairn of stones, and collected some firewood.

September 2nd

Tuesday. A very rainy day. Today for the fi[r]st time this summer, I spent doing absolutely nothing, looking over magazines, illustrated papers, etc; in fact, it was a regular loaf.

September 1st

Monday. I awake this morning at 4 am, and heard a little rain on the tent; it was a very light rain, so I did not pay much attention to it, hoping it would soon stop. As it continued I got up at 4:20 and made a fire, and boiled the coffee, and prepared breakfast. We packed up everything, especially the blankets as soon as possible, order to have that done if it should rain harder.

We tossed [our?] packs; McBride got the canvas bag containing the blankets etc, and the tent; I had the plane table complete and the Kodak. We put on Mackintoshes, shouldered our packs, I threw the rubber blankets over mine, and left at 6:20 am. The rain grew harder, but this was not so bad as our former experience at this camp. We found our boat, Launched it and reached camp about 9:30 am.

Morse and Adams had had a good time during our absence. After getting some good photographs of the buried forest, they on Saturday, the[y] paddled down to a small bay some ten miles south of camp. There they made a beautiful camp, got some photographs and remained all day Sunday. Towards night, the clouds began to gather and they returned to Camp Muir arriving about 10 pm.

The rest of today was spent in camp, attending to little things.