Page:The cruise of the Corwin.djvu/174

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plants mentioned above, with others not then in bloom. The moss rests upon a stratum of solid ice, and the ice on black vesicular lava, ridges of which rise here and there above the spongy mantle of moss, and afford ground for plants that like a dry soil. There are hollows, too, beneath the general level along which grow tall aspidiums, grasses, sedges, larkspurs, alders, and willows—the alders five or six inches in diameter and from eight to ten feet high, the largest timber I have seen since leaving California.

Visits from Indians in kayaks. At full speed they can run about seven miles an hour for a short distance. The salmon, that is, the best red-fleshed species, are about finishing their run up the river now. A very fat one, weighing about fifty pounds, was bought from an Indian for a little hardtack. After enough had been cut from it for one meal, it was lost over board by dropping from its head while suspended by it. Specimens of a hundred pounds or more are said to be caught at times. Mr. Nelson saw dried specimens six feet long.

[Steamer Corwin,
En route to the Arctic Ocean.]

July 9. Left St. Michael, having on board provisions for nine months, and about one