« AnteriorContinuar »
On the best means of reaching the North Pole.
in its new position, like that on the E. coast of Greenland, a line of heavy and rugged masses, which neither sledges, nor dogs, nor reindeer could travel over.
When Captain Clavering took Lieut.-Col. Sabine along this coast for the purpose of swinging a pendulum, he proceeded in a sailing vessel as high up the coast as the latitude 75° 12', and saw a high point, which he named Cape Philip Broke, in latitude 76°; beyond which we know nothing. That it runs up much higher we know from the opposite coast in Baffin's Bay, the head of which extends to between 77o and 78° N.
So that on either coast of Greenland our knowledge is very limited, but extends so far, as the Baron observes, “ to allow us to suppose that, in proceeding along them, it is possible to approach the Pole nearer than from any other direction, or even to reach that point."
With regard to the plan of Von Wrangel, I cannot venture to give any opinion, being in utter ignorance of the nature of sledges, dogs, and drivers; I only know that they are capable of doing wonderful things. He says, that in autumn the expedition should go to Smith's Sound, and from thence further towards the N.; on arriving at the 79th degree it should seek, on the coasts of Greenland or in the valleys between the mountains, for a convenient place to deposit a part of the provisions. As to going to 790, and further in Smith's Sound, the Baron seems not to be aware that nothing whatever is known of Smith's Sound beyond the opening, which is supposed to be its mouth. That the expedition should keep along the coasts or in the valleys, and, as much as possible, not deviate from the line of the meridian, is no doubt most advisable; and we are assured that, “ to reach the Pole, and to return to the stations, the expedition must traverse in a direct line nearly 1200 miles, and including the deviations not above 1530 miles, which is very practicable with well-constructed sledges, good dogs, and proper conductors.”
I cordially agree with the Baron's concluding paragraph:
“ If the most northern limits of Greenland, or the archipelago of Greenland islands, should be found at too great a distance from the Pole, and the attainment of that point seem impossible, the expedition would at any rate draw up the description of a country hitherto absolutely unexplored, and would even by so doing render an important service to geography in general.”
After all, where an icy sea is to be encountered, give me a couple of strong, roomy, well-built sailing vessels, well stored with provisions, so that all concerned, during the most inclement weather, may have substantial houses over their heads.
IV.-Journal of an Expedition undertaken by the Messrs. Gregory,
in the months of August and September, 1846. The party consisting of A. Č., F. T., and H. C. GREGORY, four horses, and seven weeks' provisions.
[Read December 13th, 1847.] August 7th, 1846.—LEAVING Mr. Yule's farm at Boyeen Spring, we passed Capt. Scully's, at Bolgart Spring, at 10 h. 15 m. A.M. From this place, steering a course N. 70' E. (mag.), over sandy downs thinly timbered, at 50 m. P.M. crossed a small stream trending in the direction of our course, till 2 h. Om., when it turned to the S. At 3 h. 50 m, halted for the night on the bank of a small stream trending to the S.W.: lat. by observation 31° 12' 10" S., long. by account 116° 50' E.
8th. At 7 h. 5 m. A.M. resumed a course N. 70° E. At 8 h. 15 m. crossed a grassy granite ridge of hills, after which the country was scrubby till 9 h. 30 m., when we entered a grassy flat timbered with casuarina. At 10 h. 25 m. the country became open and scrubby; at 45 m, P.m. observed a small lake, bearing N. 10° E.; steering for the lake, at 2 h. 10 m. arrived at the western side and halted till 3 h. 15 m., wben we resumed our former course, N. 70° E., through a swampy country. At 4 h. 50 m. halted on the eastern side of a shallow fresh-water lake, about li mile in length and 1 mile in width.
9th.- At 7 h. 35 m. A.M. steering N. 95° E., through a scrubby country, with wooded valleys; at noon observed several shallow lakes to the N.E., about 5 to 10 miles distant; at 3 h. P.M. turned to the N.E., and at 3 h. 30 m. N.; at 4 h. arrived at an immense samphire swamp, or rather plain, studded with many shallow salt-lakes; on the edge of this plain we found some good grass, and a native well of good and apparently permanent water, where we bivouacked : lat. by observation 31° 2' 22", long. by account 117° 23' 15".
10th.-Having marked a tree (Lat. 31° 2', G.), we left our bivouac at 7h. 35 m. A.m., and, steering N. 95° E., passed several large salt lagoons, in a thick swampy country; at 9h. 15 m. entered a gum-forest with close underwood, which rendered travelling very slow and difficult. At 11 h. 20 m. the country became more open, but with thick scrub. At 1 h. O m. P.M. observed several lakes to the N.N.E, and N.E., about 6 or 7 miles distant; we then entered a succession of dense thickets and patches of gum-forest, till 4 h. 25 m., when we turned N., and at 5 h. 30 m. halted in an open grassy patch surrounded by swampy thickets : lat. by observation 30° 58' 47", long. by account 117° 45' 10". . 1lth.--Started at 7 h. 25 m. A.M., steering N.E., through a
Lake Brown-Eaglestone Hill.
gum-forest; at 8 h. 30 m. changed the course to N. 95° E.; at 10 h. 15 m. the country became more open; at 11 h. 35 m., on ascending an elevated ridge, we saw several bare granite hills to
the eastward; steering for the nearest, which bore N. 75o E., · we arrived at the summit at 1 h. 40 m., and halted for the remainder of the day, there being an abundance of grass and water.
12th.—Leaving our bivouac at 7 h. 30 m. A.M., steered N. 122° E., through alternate patches of gum-forest and underwood with grass. At 11 h. 50 m. we arrived at the summit of a bare granite hill; from this spot we could see Lake Brown, bearing from N. 93° E. to N. 103° E.; Eaglestone Hill, N. 100° E., and several other remarkable peaks and hills. Leaving this hill at Oh. 15 m. P.M. we steered N. 58° E. over an undulating wooded country, with several small watercourses trending to the southward ; and at 4 h. 30 m. bivouacked on a scrubby hill, with a small pool of water on a granite rock. Lat. by observation 30° 59' 54", long. by account 118° 17' 0".
13th.-At 7 h. 30 m. A.M. resumed our course, N. 58° E., through a level gum-forest till 9 h. 40m., then through spearwood till 10 h. 15m., when we entered an immense thicket with a few patches of gum-forest; this continued till lh. 25m. P.M., when we came to a native well among some flat granite rocks ; after this a level gum-forest continued till 3 h. 30 m., when it became scrubby, with dense thickets and patches of gum-forest. At 4h. 40 m. we halted at the foot of a granite hill, with plenty of water and grass among the rocks.
14th.—Starting at 10h. 35 m. A.M., and steering N. 41° E. through a level country, with thickets of acacia, cypress, and eucalypti, with some grassy patches, at 2 h. 20 m. P.M. made a bare granite hill, with large shallow pools of water on the top. We bivouacked at the foot of the rocks, in an open grassy patch.
15th.—Leaving our bivouac at 7h. 15 m. A.m., and steering N. 50° E., at 8h, 50m, crossed a steep rocky ridge of white sandy rock resting on granite; after this the country was grassy, with little timber, till 10 h. 30 m., when we entered a thick scrub; at 11 h. Om, observed a high granite hill bearing N. 53° E. At 2 h. 50 m., ascending a small tree, observed a very remarkable range of rugged hills about 40 miles distant, the highest summit of which bore N. 57° E.; at 3 h. 30 mn. the thicket changed to scrub, with a few trees. At 4 h. 15 m, came on a small water hole in a granite rock, and halted for the night. Lat. by observation 30° 31' 43', long. by account 118° 52' 20".
16th.-At 7 h. 15 m. A.M, resumed our march on a course N. 68° E, through a well-wooded grassy country till 9h. 35 m., when we ascended a rich grassy hill composed of fragments of trap rock. From this hill several others were seen of a similar charac
ter to the southward; to the northward numerous large dry lakes occupied the valley, along the southern declivity of which we had been travelling since we left Lake Brown. At noon, struck the southern shore of one of the lakes; the banks were composed of gypsum and red sand; in some parts they exceeded 30 feet in height; following the shore of the lake to the S., and then E. till 1 h. 15 m., we again resumed our course N. 56o E. through dense thickets of acacia, with patches of forest consisting of gum and cypress trees, the soil a red sandy loam, nearly destitute of small vegetation.
17th. At 6 h. 30 m. re-commenced our journey, steering N. 50° E. till 6 h. 55 m., when we passed a narrow samphire flat trending E. and W.; changing our course to N. 63o E., at 7 h. 35 m. crossed a deep watercourse trending to the S.W. At 8 h. 15 m, ascended a trap hill with a few granite rocks at the foot, among which we found a few small pools of rain-water; here we remained for three hours to refresh our horses, and then proceeded N. 40° E. till 2 h. 20 m., when we arrived at the foot of the highest hill on the range, for which we had been steering the previous day ; leaving our horses we ascended the hill, which was composed of trap rock, striped red and black, and did not exceed 300 feet in height above the general level of the country; from the summit several similar ranges of trap hills were visible, extending from N. to E.S.E. To the S.E. the country appeared to be a level sandy desert, without the least appearance of vegetation; numerous native fires were visible to the W. and N. The extremely level character of the country between the ranges of hills to the E. and N., and the immense columns of red sand or dust which the numerous whirlwinds raised to the height of 200 to 500 feet, gave but small hopes of obtaining water in that direction. Returning to our horses at 4 h. 20 m. we steered for a small patch of grass, which had been seen from the hill, bearing N. 350° E., about 31 miles distant; here we found a small watercourse trending to the W., with rich soil on its banks, but the grass was evidently suffering from extreme drought. Lat. by observation 30° 12' 28'', long. by account 119° 16' 10". · 18th.—After 6 h. ineffectual search for water we were compelled to return to the watering-place of the preceding day.
19th.At 7 h. 20 m. left the bivouac, and proceeding N. 275° E. through a scattered gum-forest, with much underwood, at 9 h. 55 m. came on a dry salt lagoon, crossing which at 10 h. 12 m. passed a native well among large, flat, granite rocks; ascending gradually at 11 h. 50 m. we arrived at the top of the hill, which was crowned with steep white cliffs 20 to 30 feet high; the course was then changed to N. through a dense thicket till 12 h. 20 m., when we resumed our former direction through a well-wooded Native Well-Horses bogged.
country. At 3 h. halted on a high granite hill, with some patches of grass, and abundance of water in the hollows of the rocks. Lat. by observation 30° 19' 33", long. by account 118° 54' 45".
20th.—At 7 h. 30 m. A.M. resumed a westerly course through a succession of dense and almost impassable thickets of acacia and melaleucha.
21st.—At 7 b. 45 m. A.M. left our bivouac, steering N. 320° E. over an undulating country, covered with thicket and patches of gum and cypress forest.
22nd. Started at 7 h. 35 m. A.M., steering N. 275° E. through a succession of thickets, gum-forest, and patches of scrub. At 12 h. 30 m. observed a granite hill bearing N. 315o E., and, turning in that direction, at 2 h. 15 m. made the hill, and, finding some excellent grass around a native well, halted for the remainder of the day to refresh our horses. Lat. by observation 30° 3' 36", long. by account 118° 7' 45".
23rd.—At 7 h. 40 m. A.M. started in a direction N. 320° E. over a thinly timbered and at first scrubby, but changing gradually to a grassy country. At 10 h. 5 m, altered the course to N. 336° E. Atlh. 5 m. P.m. gained the summit of a high granite hill; from this a succession of dry lakes trending to the N.E. were visible, and a very remarkable hill, N. 312 Ē., distant about 35 or 40 miles; turning towards this hill, through an almost continuous thicket, at 4 h. 20 m. halted at the foot of a high sandstone cliff, with some deep holes which still retained a small quantity of water.
24th.- Left our bivouac at 7 h.35 m. A.m., and steering N. 312° E. passed over nearly a level country, timbered with cypress and gum, with dense thickets of brushwood. At 2 h. 40 m. P.M. bivouacked at a deep water-hole in a flat granite rock : lat. by observation 29° 42' 31", long. by account 117° 41' 30".
25th. -At7 h. 20 m. A.M, resumed our journey, keeping in the same direction as on the previous day. At 9 h. 15 m. came on an extensive samphire flat extending as far as the eye could reach to the N.E. and S.W. We determined to attempt crossing it, as it did not appear to be more than 3 miles wide where we struck it; afier traversing the samphire flat for an hour, we arrived at the dry bed of the lake which occupied the N.W. side of the valley; the ground at first appeared very firm, but having proceeded about half a mile, the hard crust of gypsum and salt which formed the surface gave way, and three of the horses were bogged almost at the same moment. The horses being quite exhausted by ineffectual struggles to extricate themselves, we proceeded to the opposite shore of the lake (about half a mile distant) and constructed a pair of hurdles of small trees, with the assistance of the tether ropes and canvas saddle-bags; placing these alternately in front of the horses, after six hours' continued exertion we had the satis.