Now There Is Ice As Far As Eye Can See, That Is "An Ice-Field."
Masses Are Forced Up Like Colossal Tombstones On All Sides; Our
Sailors Call Them "Hummocks;" Here And There The Broken Ice Displays
Large "Holes Of Water." Shall We Go On?
Upon this field, in 1827,
Parry adventured with his men to reach the North Pole, if that
should be possible.
With sledges and portable boats they laboured
on through snow and over hummocks, launching their boats over the
larger holes of water. With stout hearts, undaunted by toil or
danger, they went boldly on, though by degrees it became clear to
the leaders of the expedition that they were almost like mice upon a
treadmill cage, making a great expenditure of leg for little gain.
The ice was floating to the south with them, as they were walking to
the north; still they went on. Sleeping by day to avoid the glare,
and to get greater warmth during the time of rest, and travelling by
night - watch-makers' days and nights, for it was all one polar day -
the men soon were unable to distinguish noon from midnight. The
great event of one day on this dreary waste was the discovery of two
flies upon an ice hummock; these, says Parry, became at once a topic
of ridiculous importance. Presently, after twenty-three miles'
walking, they had only gone one mile forward, the ice having
industriously floated twenty-two miles in the opposite direction;
and then, after walking forward eleven miles, they found themselves
to be three miles behind the place from which they started.
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