National Geographic : 1926 Sep
THE NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGAZINE made another larger circle to take in the Pole. Time and direction became topsy-turvy at the Pole. When crossing it on the same straight line we were going north one instant and south the next! All di rections became south from the Pole itself. PEARY'S FINDINGS ARE COMPLETELY VERIFIED As we flew there, we saluted the gal lant, indomitable spirit of Peary and veri fied his report in every detail. Below us were ice fields or cakes of various sizes and shapes, the boundaries of which were the ridges formed by the great pressure of one cake upon another. This showed a constant ice movement and indicated the nonproximity of land. Here and there, instead of a pressing to gether of the ice fields, there was a sepa ration, leaving a water-lead which had been recently frozen over and showing green and greenish-blue against white. On some of the cakes were ice hummocks and rough masses of jumbled snow and ice. At 9:15 a. m. we headed for Spits bergen, having abandoned the plan to re turn via Cape Morris Jesup on account of the oil leak. But, to our astonishment, that motor never stopped because (as we afterward found out) the leak was caused by a rivet jarring out of its hole, and when the oil got down to the level of the hole it stopped leaking. Flight Engineer Noville had put an extra amount of oil in the tank. The reaction of having accomplished our mission, together with the narcotic effect of the motors, made us drowsy when we were steering. I dozed off once at the wheel and had to relieve Bennett several times because of his sleepiness. But that return trip was a momentous experience. May I quote from my impressions cabled to the United States several days after our return to Kings Bay: "The wind began to freshen and change direction soon after we left the Pole, and in an hour we were making over Ioo miles an hour. "The elements were surely smiling that day on us, two insignificant specks of mortality flying there over that great, vast, white area in a small plane with only one companion, speechless and deaf from the motors, just a dot in the center of o0,oo0 square miles of visible desolation. "We felt no larger than a pinpoint and as lonely as the tomb; as remote and de tached as a star. "Here, in another world, far from the herds of people, the smallnesses of life fell from our shoulders. What wonder that we felt no great emotion of achieve ment or fear of death that lay stretched beneath us, but instead, impersonal, dis embodied. On, on we went. It seemed forever onward. "Our great speed had the effect of quickening our processes, so that a minute appeared as many minutes, and I realized fully then that time is only a relative thing. An instant can be an age, an age an instant." SPITSBERGEN'S BLEAK CLIFFS ARE A WELCOME SIGHT We were aiming for Grey Point, Spits bergen, and finally, when we saw it dead ahead, we knew that we had been able to keep on our course! It was a wonderful relief not to have to navigate any more. We came into Kings Bay flying at about 4,000 feet. That tiny village was a welcome sight. but not so much so as the good old Chan tier that looked so small beneath. I could see the steam from her welcom ing and, I knew, joyous, whistle. It seemed but a few moments until we were in the arms of our comrades, who carried us with wild joy down the snow runway they had worked so hard to make. 376 lp'®?