We reached our permanent camp on our return from King William Land on September 19th. It was about six miles south-east of Gladman Point, and at the foot of a high hill, which Toolooah remarked would make a good look-out tower for deer-hunting. All along this part of the coast, where Simpson Strait is narrowest, would soon swarm with reindeer waiting for the salt water to freeze, so they could continue their navigation southward. It is for this reason that we selected it as our permanent camp while we also awaited the freezing of the strait, so that we could cross with our heavy sleds. When Henry and Frank went down the coast they found reindeer everywhere else but at Gladman Point and that neighborhood, and were there for three days without food. In the meantime Toolooah crossed the strait in a kyack and found the natives. On his return he killed a reindeer on the main-land and relieved their distress. Long before we reached the spot the meadows and ponds were frozen, so that we could cross them with perfect impunity. In many places the ice was so clear that it required considerable moral courage to step upon it, it looked so exactly like still water.

Henry came up to see us the next day, his camp being about seven miles below. The Inuits crossed to the King William Land side on the 17th. It was a picturesque sight to see the whole of Joe's and Ishnark's families, with Henry and a number of dogs, upon a raft made by lashing together four kyacks. They had to choose a still day for the crossing, and keep very quiet while upon the raft. Lieutenant Schwatka paid a visit to the other camp on the 22d, and the day following Toolooah and I moved our camp about two miles farther east, to a large lake, where we at once set to work, the ice being already eight inches thick, to build an ice igloo of large slabs three feet by six, which standing on end and so placed as to support each other, formed the walls, which afterward were covered with the tent, and made a much warmer house than the tent alone, as it is a complete shelter against the wind.

Reindeer were now seen daily in immense herds. The day we moved camp we ran upon a herd of about fifty, and Toolooah killed seven before they could get away, following them up, running and dropping on his knee to fire. So rapid and effective was his delivery with his Winchester repeating carbine, that this unequalled achievement was accomplished in less than ten minutes; and, well knowing that it was to his splendid weapon that the credit largely belonged, this undemonstrative savage held up his rifle and kissed it while he was talking to me about the affair. On the 30th Toolooah killed twelve reindeer, Joe eight, and Equeesik and I each three, making a grand total of twenty-six by our party alone in one day.

We ate quantities of reindeer tallow with our meat, probably about half our daily food. Breakfast is eaten raw and frozen, but we generally have a warm meal in the evening. Fuel is hard to obtain, and consists entirely of a vine-like moss called ik-shoot-ik. Reindeer tallow is also used for a light. A small flat stone serves for a candlestick, on which a lump of tallow is placed, close to a piece of fibrous moss called mun-ne, which is used for a wick. The tallow melting runs down upon the stone and is immediately absorbed by the moss. This makes a very cheerful and pleasant light, but is most exasperating to a hungry man, as it smells exactly like frying meat. Eating such quantities of tallow is a great benefit in this climate, and we can easily see the effect of it in the comfort with which we meet the cold. The mean temperature for the month of September was 22.1 degrees Fahr., and the lowest 5 degrees, and yet though we wore only our woollen clothes, except a fur koo-li-tar, or overcoat, when away from home, the cold is not annoying. During October the mean temperature was - 0 degree, and the lowest - 38 degrees.

On the afternoon of the 27th of September a heavy snow-storm set in, and the next morning the snow was knee-deep on the level ice. The storm continued until during the night of the 29th. The snow was very deep, but the winter winds soon blew it around and packed it down so as to be almost solid. By the 14th of October the sledging was sufficiently good for Toolooah to go to Cape Herschel and Terror Bay for the sled and other articles that were left there during the summer for the want of transportation. As his little boy would suffer with the cold, Toolooah exchanged wives with Joe for the trip, a very usual and convenient custom among the Esquimaux.

The ice was sufficiently strong for the reindeer to commence crossing to the main-land about the 1st of October, and in a few days their numbers had very perceptibly diminished. After the 14th we saw none at all; they seemed to have entirely disappeared. The Inuits had been very busy making up fur clothing for the winter trip, and we had fixed upon the 1st of November as the day for starting, by which time everything would be ready. Toolooah got back on the 23d. He killed three bears the day he reached Terror Bay. All of them got into the water, and he had to go to the edge of the new ice, using a pole to stand upon while fishing them out. He killed one reindeer at Cape Herschel, which was all he saw while away.

Joe came up and built an igloo adjoining ours on the 3d of October. He wanted to get away from the vicinity of Ogzeuckjeuwock, the Netchillik Arn-ket-ko, or medicine-man, of whom he was apparently very much afraid. He alleged that the medicine-man was constantly advising his people to kill some of our party. Joe said that he had sak-ki-yon to that effect - that is, during one of his inspirations exhorted them to that end. There is no doubt but they would be very glad to kill us all, and get our guns and knives, but they were thoroughly afraid to undertake it. After Toolooah's return he and Joe gathered in the meat we had cached in the vicinity, preparatory to starting on the 1st of the next month.

Lieutenant Schwatka decided that he and I would take Toolooah's sled, with Joe to assist, and go by the way of Smith and Grant Points, and through the big inlet spoken of by the natives as putting in from Wilmot Bay, and meet the other sleds which, in charge of Henry, would go by the way of Richardson Point and Back's River, meeting at the bend of the river above the Dangerous Rapids, where we would find the Ooqueesiksillik natives and take on board a supply of fish to last us until we reached the reindeer country once more. As the other sleds had the shorter route, they would start a day or two later and wait for us at the appointed rendezvous, unless they were getting short of food, in which case they would push on into the reindeer country. Narleyow, the Ooqueesiksillik guide, would accompany them. We started on the 1st, as proposed, but did not succeed in getting farther than the shore of the strait, about three miles from camp, owing to the heavy sleds and the dogs being so fat that they were lazy. We took Ishnark's sled to help us for the first day, as we had such a quantity of meat - one sled loaded entirely with it and the other with about half a load. We had to keep the extra sled the following day also, as we wanted to get well over the salt-water ice.

We had fondly hoped to be at the Dangerous Rapids by the 10th or 15th of November, but we only reached the native camp near the mouth of Kigmuktoo (Sherman Inlet) on the 12th, owing to our heavily loaded sled and the much bad weather, fogs, and wind that would blow the snow around so that we could not see our course. There was quite a large camp of Netchillik and Ookwolik Esquimaux on a big lake near the mouth of Sherman Inlet, the largest camp we had yet seen. The sled was pulling heavily and slowly across the lake, and I went ahead toward the igloos. All the men were standing outside awaiting our arrival, and among them were some Netchilliks we had met during the spring. As soon as they recognized me they set up a great shout of "Many-tu-me!" which is their salutation of welcome, and means smooth. They seemed very glad that we were coming among them again, and hurried me into a big, warm igloo, while most of the men ran out and helped the sled in. They built our igloo in short order, and during the time we were with them did everything in their power to contribute to our comfort. It seemed as if some one was on the roof of our igloo all the time patching up holes, and they changed the direction of the doorway every time the wind changed, and that kept them busy nearly all the time.

We found but few interesting relics among them. Only a piece of the boat found in Wilmot Bay after the big ship sunk, and part of the block branded either "10" or "O R," with part of the R obliterated. If the ship's blocks were branded with the name of the vessel to which they were attached, this would be important as establishing the identity of the ship that drifted down as the 'Terror'. As an instance of the perversity of fate, I mention that we found among them a piece of wax candle that they had preserved all these years, while every scrap of paper had perished. We saw here a Netchillik, named Issebluet, who with his family had nearly starved to death during the summer. He was separated from the rest of his tribe, as it is customary for them to scatter during the summer, and though not lacking in skill or energy, had simply been unfortunate and unable to procure food. He was still very thin and weak when we saw him, and when he went abroad had to take a couple of dogs, whose traces, tied around his waist, helped him along. Joe was very much frightened all the time we were here, for Netchillik Toolooah was here also - the man who it was said wanted to kill some of our party - and Joe said they intended to kill all our party except the women, and obtain possession of the baggage and the two women. He said their apparent kindness was only a blind, and the day we left them he made me prance around with my pistol in my belt while the sled was being loaded. Toolooah, though not so nervous as Joe, had his rifle handy and kept his eye upon it closely. I noticed that the men all stood around, but never offered to assist in loading the sled. Toolooah said they could not very well without exposing a fact that he had noticed - that they all had their knives in their sleeves. But if they had, they took good care not to use them. Two of them accompanied us a part of the way to show us the easiest route over the heavy hill we had to cross before reaching the salt-water ice, and kindly put their shoulders to the load whenever the sled pulled hard. I saw nothing in the conduct of any of them to complain of, but everything to praise. I noticed that most of the men in this camp had their hair cut close to their heads, the style that at home is profanely called "a Reilly cut." This I ascertained was not for personal adornment, but for convenience in hunting, where fine-tooth combs are unknown, but could be put to good use.

We met a sled with a few natives coming from Kigmuktoo to join the rest of the tribe on the lake, and with them was an aged crone named Toolooah, who had seen white men in Boothia Isthmus, when a young woman, and had also been with the party who found the boat and skeletons in Starvation Cove, near Richardson Point. She confirmed the testimony previously obtained in every essential particular. We gave her a few needles and a spoon, for which she was very grateful, especially to her namesake, our Toolooah, to whom she gave her walking-stick and two locks of her hair, which he severed with a snow-knife as she knelt beside the sled. This was a charm to protect him from evil until he got home. Besides this old woman there were three other women on the sled. One I noticed particularly, because she looked so much like the Goddess of Liberty. Her hood was over her head and hung with the same jaunty air as a liberty cap, and her artiger, cut loose in the throat, looked not unlike the classic toga. Though not quite so large as the statue on the dome of the Capitol at Washington, she was immense, and had arms like a gymnast. Modesty, either natural or assumed, and fear of the strange white men made her keep on the opposite side of the sled from us, though, as Lieutenant Schwatka remarked, she could have handled both of us if she wanted to.

We marched in a south-east direction in the inlet five days, during which we travelled upon it about forty-five miles, and when we left it could still see it running in a southerly direction for about ten or fifteen miles farther. It is bottle-shaped, not more than a mile wide at its mouth, and for a considerable distance, when it gradually widens out to five or six miles, and is about twenty miles wide at its head. Nearly every night we were able to find water in some lake on the land, but had to carry it from two to four miles into camp. This duty Lieutenant Schwatka and I took upon ourselves, while the Inuits were building and preparing the igloo.

The sun was so low now that we had either sunrise or sunset during the whole time it was above the horizon. At noon it was not more than four degrees high. We were gradually moving southward, or we would have been left with nothing but this light during the daytime. In fact, several days before we left Back's River, the sun only showed his diameter above the hills along the shore, where it lazily rolled for a few minutes and left us the long twilight in which to build our igloos, which were scarely ever finished before the utter darkness came upon us. Short days, together with our heavy sleds, and dogs not more than half fed, kept us back most provokingly. The snow on the land was soft, not having got thoroughly packed as yet, while the intense cold covered its surface with minute particles of ice that impeded the sled like so much sand. In many places the river and lakes were entirely denuded of snow, and the bare ice would take the ice from our runners as if we were moving over rocks. As long as the river ice was bare this made no difference; the sled would slip along merrily, the dogs on a run, but this seldom lasted for more than half a mile, when we would again run upon snow and have all the more laborious drag as a consequence. Our usual marches at this time were from five to ten miles, instead of from ten to twenty, as on our way north.

The most unpleasant feature of winter travelling is the waiting for an igloo to be built. To those at work even this time can be made to pass pleasantly, and there is plenty that even the white men of a party can do that would keep them busy, and consequently comfortable. When travelling overland the halt is made, if possible, on some lake where a water hole may be dug. This, through average ice - that is, about six or seven feet - will take about an hour and a half, though an expert native will do it in perhaps half that time. It is a blessing to get water at this time, and a great shout goes up from the well-digger, as the delicious fluid comes bubbling up through the narrow well, that is echoed by the igloo builders and spreads throughout the camp. Then the women repair with tin dippers and cups cut from musk-ox horn, and after refreshing themselves carry a drink to their husbands. One can drink enormously at this time, especially after working; but it will be well to keep up pretty violent exercise for some time afterward, as filling the stomach with such a quantity of ice-cold water will soon produce a shiver.

Another task that the white men can interest themselves in is the unloading of the sled and beating the snow and ice out of the fur bed-clothing. The Esquimaux do not use sleeping bags for themselves, but instead have a blanket which they spread over them, while under them are several skins, not only to keep the body away from the snow, but also to prevent the body from thawing the snow couch and thus making a hole that would soon wet the skins. While on the march the skins for the bed are usually spread over the top of the loaded sledge, and then the whole is securely lashed down with seal-skin thongs. It is the invariable custom to turn the fur-side of the skins up, because it is easy enough to beat the snow from the hair, while it might thaw and make the skin-side wet. You often, therefore, find that water has fallen upon the skin that makes your bed, and formed a great patch of ice, which has to be beaten off with a wooden club.

Until experience has taught you it makes you shudder to think that soon your naked body is to rest upon the place where now you see that patch of ice. But continued pounding will remove every vestige of it without disturbing the fur, if the weather is sufficiently cold. Therefore exposure is the best treatment for bedding, though it certainly gives the skins a degree of cold that can scarcely be appreciated until experienced. It is astonishing, however, how soon the bed becomes warm from the heat of the body. For, perhaps, from five to ten minutes you may lie there and shiver, when gradually a genial warmth begins to pervade the whole body, the shiver subsides, and you are as comfortable, as far as cold is concerned, in bed in an igloo in the Arctic, as you would be in a civilized mansion in the temperate zone.

The Esquimaux are not acquainted with the qualities of the magnetic needle, and, it is needless to say, do not travel by the compass. Like all savage tribes they have, however, methods for keeping their direction while making long voyages. These are usually made on the salt-water ice, and they follow the land; but when travelling over land, either in summer or winter, they can generally distinguish north from south, at least approximately. In summer the running vines point to the salt water, they say, which, in going around Hudson's Bay, would indicate the south. And then there are certain species of moss that are only found in the vicinity of salt water. In winter they notice the ridges of snow along the ice, or the land spots on the highlands, and can keep their course by them with surprising accuracy.

The Esquimaux, however, are not a people given to exploration. They are not curious concerning unknown territory. What they are chiefly interested in is, "what they shall eat and drink, and wherewithal they shall be clothed." Certain districts within their knowledge furnish the different kinds of game, and these they visit at the accustomed seasons. Occasionally they will visit neighboring tribes, and sometimes settle down in the new country, depending upon their skill in the chase for the support of their families. But this country, new to them, is well known to those whom they visit, and they have the benefit of competent guides until such time as they are sufficiently acquainted with the country themselves. Though they are constantly moving in summer and winter, their journeys are seldom extended. They will sometimes go from the mouth of Chesterfield Inlet to the Wager River or Repulse Bay, and occasionally to the tribes at the north part of Melville Peninsula, but generally spend one year at least at some intermediate point. The tribes they pass through on these journeys are so connected by marriage as to be almost like one large tribe, so that they are all the time in the land of their friends.

Twice since leaving the Inuit camp in Wilmot Bay the dogs had an interval of eight days between meals, and were in no condition for hard work. That they could live and do any work at all seemed marvellous. I am constrained to believe that the Esquimau dog will do more work, and with less food, than any other draught animal existing. On the night of the 20th Lieutenant Schwatka observed a meridian culmination of the moon, which showed in latitude 67 deg. 32 min. 42 sec. north, only three miles from our reckoning. It is a difficult task to make astronomical observations with a sextant in a temperature thirty-eight degrees below zero, or seventy below the freezing-point, as it was this night. It is not pleasant to sit still for any length of time in such weather. A thin skim of ice over the surface of the kerosene oil used for an artificial horizon has to be constantly removed by the warm breath of an assistant. The sextant glasses become obscure from the freezing upon them of the breath of the observer, and can only be cleaned with the warm fingers, which they blister in return for such kindness. These are some of the obstacles to determining one's position astronomically in an Arctic winter; while in summer, there being no night, one is dependent upon the sun alone. The mean temperature for November was - 23.3 degrees and the lowest noted - 49 degrees.

We ran upon a narrow strip of salt water, apparently an inlet from Cockburn Bay, on the 28th. We had to halt the next day for Toolooah to rest, as he was completely prostrated with the hard work of the last four days. We moved, however, on the 30th, Joe driving and Toolooah strolling along at his ease. We emerged upon Cockburn Bay soon after starting, and crossed to the southern shore by noontime, a distance of about nine miles, our rapid moving being entirely owing to the superiority of the sledging on salt-water ice.

We crossed the narrow neck of land between Cockburn Bay and the fresh-water portion of the river between the two great bends in three days' travel, and emerged about eight miles above the Dangerous Rapids on the 5th of December, where we had hoped to be by the 15th of November. Our igloos were made on the southern bank, and we were greatly surprised that we saw no sled tracks in crossing the river. We had supposed that they, with the shorter route and smooth salt-water ice nearly all the way, would have been ahead of us, and either waiting or forced to move into the reindeer country for food. Our first object, therefore, was to find the natives, who live here all the year round, as Narleyow, one of the tribe, who was with Henry, constantly assured us was the case. From these people we expected to get information concerning the other sleds, and also to get a large quantity of fish for food for man and beast. We found some fish caches near our camp, and some sled tracks and footprints about one mile and a half farther down the river, which Joe said led a long distance. The day after our arrival we appropriated one large cache to feed our starving dogs, and then started the next day for their camp to pay for the fish and buy more. But shortly after all the men started, one of the women ran out and called us back, saying that Inuits were coming to the igloo. We hastened back and found three young men of the Ooqueesiksillik tribe, who had found their cache robbed and traced the tracks to our igloo. Joe explained the case to them, and said we had knives to pay for the fish and to buy more, which they said would be gladly accepted, and they would tell their people to bring us more fish that night. We were astonished when they said they had neither seen nor heard of any others of our party.

That night, after the igloo was closed and we were eating our evening meal, we heard a sled drive up to the door and supposed our fish had arrived; but what was our joy when we recognized Koumania's voice driving the dogs, and then heard Henry at the door of our igloo. We then learned that they had reached the Dangerous Rapids only that afternoon, and while building the igloos the three young men we had seen in the morning returned and reported having seen us up the river. As soon as Henry heard this he had the load dumped from one of the sleds, and took Koumania to drive and an Ooqueesiksillik native as guide, and came at once to report. He said it had been very difficult to get his party of natives away from the camps that they met daily, and that they had moved by portages, which doubled the distance. He had bought dog food of the natives all along the route, and his dogs were, consequently, in good order. They would remain in camp where they were a day or two to feed up the dogs and get what fish they wanted for his two sleds, and then join us on the 10th.

About five miles inland from Starvation Cove the natives had found during the summer the skeleton of a white man which no one had ever seen before. On the way down, Henry visited the place and erected a monument over the remains. The pieces of clothing found indicated that deceased was a sailor, not an officer. The finding of this grave is worthy of notice, as showing that the natives were thoroughly aroused by our visit and its object. We had promised them liberal rewards for everything of importance found, and for valuable information - that is, anything new - and were always particular to keep our promises. The consequence was that they had greatly aided us by searching everywhere within reach of their camps or hunting grounds. In approaching the Dangerous Rapids from Cockburn Bay, Henry had found an island where on the Admiralty chart is marked a point of the mainland. In fact, there is a delta at the mouth of the river. Narleyow led them to a place in the branch of the river flowing to the westward of this island, where he said a rocky ridge froze to the bottom, making a pocket which held fish. They dug four holes within an area of ten feet, and in one day caught fifty-seven of the immense salmon for which this river is famous. He cooked one for us, which was the largest I ever saw. Joe measured the cross-section of one he saw in the native igloos below our camp that measured over one foot. I asked him how much over, but he couldn't tell, he said, as his pocket measure was "only a foot long".

The largest number of fish caught here are what the natives call "cow-e-sil-lik," and are peculiar to these waters. They are something like very large herring, and the flesh much coarser than salmon or trout. All the fish here are quite fat, the salmon especially. We bought several bags of salmon oil from the natives, which we used, so long as it lasted, as a substitute for reindeer tallow, which is all gone now. The weather is intensely cold - 62 degrees Fahrenheit on the 10th, the day the remainder of our party rejoined us at this camp. There was scarcely any wind, and it did not seem so cold as at - 10 degrees or - 20 degrees, with the wind blowing in one's face, as it was the last few days of our travelling, with the thermometer at - 46 degrees and - 48 degrees. Yet we were so well fortified against the cold by the quantities of fat we had eaten that we did not mind it. The prospect was that now we were out of fat we would suffer a great deal with the intense cold that we might expect in going across land from Back's River to Hudson's Bay.

The rapids on Back's River are all marked by open water, and are recognizable at a long distance by the column of black smoke arising from them like steam from a boiling caldron. The ice in the vicinity is dangerous to travel upon, there often being thin places, where the moving water has nearly, but not quite, cut through, and not distinguishable from the surrounding ice, which may be four or five feet thick. The natives test it, before going upon it, with a knife or stick, and know from the sound whether or not it is safe to travel upon. In some of the many open water places that we found in our journey up the river we could walk boldly up to the very edge and lie down and quench our thirst from the rushing torrent, while in other places it was not safe to go within several hundred yards of the open water. On the 20th we passed open rapids about half a mile long, where we had to take the land. From the top of the hill it was a grand spectacle to look down upon the seething torrent and see the great cakes of ice broken off above and crushed to atoms as they passed through and under the ice below.

We had hoped to have Narleyow go with us to Depot Island, as he had previously been up Back's River and knew a route overland by which in three days we could reach a river where some Kinnepatoos were encamped all the year round. Here we could refit with meat and clothing and follow the river, which flows into Chesterfield Inlet, and then keep upon the salt-water ice to Depot Island. But with true Inuit perverseness he decided at the last minute not to go. He, however, gave Toolooah minute directions for finding the place where to leave Back's River, which is nearly as far west as Lake McDougal, and the route overland, where we would find sledge tracks and footprints to guide us to the camp.

We found the travelling on Back's River much more tedious than we had anticipated, owing to the bare ice in the vicinity of the open-water rapids and the intense cold which kept the air filled with minute particles of ice from the freezing of the steam of the open water. These little particles of ice would fall upon the hard snow, which otherwise would have been good sledging, and remain separated from each other so that you could brush them up like sand, and were, in fact, nearly as hard as sand, so that it was almost impossible to drag the sledges along. The thermometer would frequently register - 50 degrees and - 60 degrees when we were moving with a strong wind blowing directly in our faces. Such travelling as this is simply terrible, and it is astonishing that we were able to do it without encountering any severe frost-bites. Indeed, we travelled one day with the thermometer - 69 degrees, and, a gale blowing at this time, both white men and Inuits were more or less frost-bitten, but merely the little nippings of nose, cheeks, and wrists that one soon gets accustomed to in this country. As Lieutenant Schwatka says, it is like almost all other dangers that you hear and read about, they seem to dwindle when you meet them boldly face to face. A battle always seems more terrible to those in the rear than to those in the front lines.

It was a noticeable fact that our course up the river was considerably east of south, instead of west, as mapped upon the Admiralty chart. There could be no mistake in regard to this when we could daily see the sun rise and set on the right of our general line of travel. It was near the end of December before we reached the vicinity of Mount Meadowbank, though we had hoped to be far beyond it by that time. Storms had kept us in camp several days during the journey up the river, and our provisions were nearly all exhausted, so that we had to lie over to hunt for game. The hunters could find nothing near the river, and were obliged to go with a sled one day's march to the east, build an igloo, and hunt from there. It was terribly cold for them, sleeping in an igloo, without fire or blankets, merely a shelter from the wind, and forced, as they were, to sleep in their clothes. I have had such experience and know what it is. In such cases one suffers more from cold feet than anything else. They would be intensely cold with dry stockings, but one's stockings are always wet from perspiration after walking, and when compelled to wear them at night cause great suffering.

Equeesik killed four reindeer, and we had to wait for them to be brought in. At this time this was all the food we had, and before more was obtained we were upon short rations. The dogs were beginning to feel the effect of hard work, cold weather, and low diet, and already we had lost two fine young dogs that died in consequence of privation. Before we had reached Depot Island we lost twenty-seven dogs, all but four of which died from the hardships incident to the journey. All hands were in harness whenever we marched, and the work was too hard to admit of feeling the cold as the greatest discomfort we had to encounter.