National Geographic : 1955 Apr
F Eskimo Mother and Child Huddle Beside a Flying Boxcar at Mould Bay Operating from short, rough airstrips in temperatures down to 50 ° below zero, airplanes nourish islands of civilization in regions shunned even by Eskimos. With out aircraft, human activity in the high Arctic would be limited by the range of icebreakers and sled-and tractor convoys. No ship has ever reached the Mould Bay weather outpost on Prince Patrick Island. This station and its twin at Isachsen (below) have been installed, sup plied, and manned entirely by air. Rugged Fairchild C-119's (shown here) and North Stars unlock these important but inaccessible spots. This C-119's boxlike fuselage hauls six tons on runs to the outposts. Sturdy aluminum loading ramps are carried aboard. Clamshell doors disgorge a canoe. The boat, an apparent anomaly in Mould Bay's frozen deso lation, came along with a geologist to cross open water leads in the sea ice during July and August. When Eskimo Amagoalik (page 560) agreed to fly to Mould Bay to help the geologist, he insisted on tak ing his wife and two children. For them, as for their 14 sled dogs, the 500-mile trip from Resolute was flight number one. ©National GeographicSociety Kodachromes by National Geographic Photographer John E. Fletcher 565 Tractors Distribute " Aerial Cargo These boxes have just been unloaded at Isachsen airstrip, an installation scraped out of sea ice on Hole-in-Fog Bay, Ellef Ringnes Island. Another trac tor-drawn sled delivers lumber. Since the temperature may fall to 25 ° below zero even in April, perishables must be hus tled into heated buildings. Isachsen's meager 3.10 inches of precipitation a year is typical of the Far North's white desert; it compares with the Sahara's. More snow falls here in summer than in winter. Bare earth ap pears briefly in July and August. + An Observer Reads His Instruments Page 564: Standing before Resolute's instrument shelter, Wellington P. Gavin jots down the hourly weather readings.