Page:Alaska days with John Muir.djvu/74

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Alaska Days with John Muir

"Why does he wander alone on barren peaks or on dangerous ice-mountains? There is no gold up there and he never takes a gun with him or a pick. Icta mamook—what make? Why—why?"

The first week in October saw the culmination of plans long and eagerly discussed. Almost the whole of the Alexandrian Archipelago, that great group of eleven hundred wooded islands that forms the southeastern cup-handle of Alaska, was at that time a terra incognita. The only seaman's chart of the region in existence was that made by the great English navigator, Vancouver, in 1807. It was a wonderful chart, considering what an absurd little sailing vessel he had in which to explore those intricate waters with their treacherous winds and tides.

But Vancouver's chart was hastily made, after all, in a land of fog and