National Geographic : 1909 Jul
MARKING THE ALASKAN BOUNDARY must get out as best they may. This is usually done on rafts. Dry logs are cut and pinned or lashed together, a sweep is put on each end, the outfit is secured in the middle, one man takes his place at the bow, another at the stern, the others distribute themselves over the cargo, and the voyage com mences. No one knows the con dition of the streams to be floated down. Rapids and shallows may exist; a log jam may close up the channel; overhanging "sweep ers" or low bending trees line : the banks and must be avoided. To change the course of a raft, it must be rowed sidewise away from the direction the current is setting it. Sometimes it runs aground, and then all must pile overboard into the icy water and work with pries until it is shoved into the deeper water of another current. While one naturallyfirst speaks of the hardships or seeming hard ships, still camp life has its pleas ures and compensations for the surveyor. When clay by clay the work in hand shows another step toward completion, another stream zig zags across the map, another Whe mountain is shown, another sta- one mi tion occupied, something ac- thesee complished; when at night he from l lounges at ease before the blaz ing camp fire, watching the sparks snakily flashing against the dark foliage; when he wanders over the mountains and breathes the fresh air and quenches his thirst in some pure and ice-cold spring; when the inhabitants of some virgin stream are lured from their hiding places by the makeshift fly of ptarmi gan feathers and string; when a juicy venison steak repays a well-directed bul let-then the small conventions and petty jealousies of civilized life fade away, and his labors are requited, and through his own exertions he is getting the best out of the life assigned to him. On the maps, the boundary is shown all along by nice little dotted lines, but A MOSQUITO VEIL Photo by T. Riggs, Jr. n mosquitoes and gnats are particularly bad, every ust wear veils, otherwise life would be unbearable. veils are made so as to fasten down tightly t the body. The wide-brimmed hat keeps the veil touching the face. the work of putting this line on the ground is still in progress, and both American and Canadian surveyors are putting forth their best efforts to estab lish a boundary which will stand the test of time; so that when a hundred years hence the engineer of the period throws in his equilibrium clutch, turns on the gravity and air current absorber and brings his huge "dirigible" to a stop above some one of our stations, he may look through his improved surveying in struments along the vista from the Arctic to Mount Saint Elias and pronounce the line laid out by the old-timers straight and good.