National Geographic : 1912 Jul
Photo by O. M. Leland WORKING ON THE COAST BOUNDARY: PREPARING TO CROSS THE DE BLONDEAU GLACIER veyor, or whether his adventures in life should be limited to the selling of pink and blue ribbons. Not uneventfully has the boundary be tween Alaska and Canada been run. Fire, shipwreck, accident, disease, and death have trailed the footsteps of the surveyor. During my first season on the 141st meridian, while in camp on the Yukon River, I was suddenly called from my instrument by the cook shouting that a body was floating in the river. Sure enough, bobbing serenely along with the current was an unmistakable black ob ject, Hurrying into a canoe, we tied a rope to the body and towed it to shore. It proved to be the body of an ex-dog driver of the Northwest mounted police, who had been drowned at Dawson some four weeks previous. For the sake of the astronomic work, the wire had been tapped at the boundary and we were in communication with Dawson, the nearest Canadian town, and with Eagle, which is on the Alaskan side. With character istic promptness an officer of the police appeared on the scene. Captain Tucker, of the police, insti tuted a coroner's court on a stump and took evidence. "Where was the body landed ?" "Just below the boundary." "Sorry I can do nothing in the matter, as the body was found on the Alasi- .n side." Captain Tucker packed up his papers and went home. I went to Eagle and interviewed the United States commissioner. Yes, he was very sorry, but in the Alaskan code there is no provision for burying the dead. In effect both governments said: "He's all yours; we don't want him." We knocked together a rude coffin, made from packing boxes, wrapped the poor, discolored body in canvas, and lowered it into a shallow grave back of the old Boundary Creek road-house. There was less profanity than usual at supper that night. Pope and I traveled down the Big Black River on a raft last year to a tri angulation station. While walking back a sudden storm overtook us near one of the little trap cabins frequently found in the most unexpected places. We broke in and waited until the fury of the storm was past. On the cabin door were writ ten the names of two men, with the in formation that they had left in June and would be back in September. This year a broken raft on a log-jam, a torn tent, and a rusted rifle were found far below the little lonely cabin, but the men themselves have never been seen.