Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 46.djvu/20

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10
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

large blocks in the moraines, and there was a complete or nearly-complete absence of glacial tables and pyramids. Here and there low mounds of gravel and stones heaped themselves up in beehive-like masses, such as have also been found on the surfaces of the glaciers of Alaska and Spitzbergen, and occasional impacts had also thrown the ice into deformed caps and rafts. There were no ice rivers worthy of the name, and such channels as still marked the courses of surface waters were of but insignificant extent.

Had our mission been different from what it really was we might have said that this glacial traveling was truly delightful. With all the beauty of the ice fields of Switzerland, and that charm of pedestrianism which an unexpected and varying change of scene carries with it, we had here the advantage of the

PSM V46 D020 Glacier debouching on plain.jpg

Glacier debouching on Plain.

many hours, the consciousness that a journey was not limited to any arbitrary separation of day from night. It was all day, albeit the sun shone for only a paltry few hours. For some time angry-looking clouds had been gathering about the blackened granite crests; the side canons poured out their fleecy hosts, and before long the wild spirits of the mountains swept demonlike across the valley of the glaciers. The few lazily falling flakes which for a half hour or so had portended evil were before long replaced by blinding sheets of snow, and for a long time, save in its elements. Nature ceased to exist. The landscape was completely blotted out from view. We were not prepared for this change, and the cold wind stung mercilessly wherever it caught an exposed surface. We muffled ourselves as best we could in our not over-generous garments, but yet it was not all solid com-