National Geographic : 1954 Oct
covered rocky ridges, picked my way through the muskeg, and crossed icy-cold lakes in deli cately balanced canoes. Strangely enough, one of the worst and most common hazards is slippery moss. If a man falls, he may be impaled on a small, sharp poplar stump or break a leg or a hip days away from a doctor. Winter Freeze a Major Hazard Another danger is staying out too long in the autumn and getting caught in the freeze up. Many a prospector or woodsman has been lost in the bush that way. The possibility that the freeze-up might occur any day kept me from going on to Great Bear Lake, 550 miles to the northwest. "If you go up there now," Ben Allen told me, "you might not get out for a month. The lake takes that long to freeze hard enough for a plane to land on it." Eldorado's mine at Port Radium on Great Bear Lake has an airstrip a few hours away by boat that is used from late June to late September. During the winter the plane lands on the ice at the mine. For periods in spring and fall thin ice makes it impossible to get in or out by either route. Port Radium, only a few miles from the Arctic Circle, has both sunset and sunrise within a few minutes of each other during the summer, but gets only a momentary look at the sun each day in winter. In June the bright colors of the sunset in the northwest can be seen at the same time as the first pastel hint of sunrise in the northeast. 541 Guss Hawker Sells Everything from Cosmetics to Claims The Uranium City merchant (right) started his general store in a tent; last year he brought in $100,000 worth of supplies. Here customer George W. Tay lor listens to a convincing sales talk, the click of a Geiger counter (page 534). Claim map, radioactive ore samples, and counter are part of the deal. Hawker's half-Indian children, June (center) and August, look on; other chil dren are named April and May. Last year Mr. Hawker spent some of his new wealth on a trip to England to see the Coronation.