National Geographic : 1953 Oct
484 Peary's Men, Detouring Around an Open Lead, Fight Through Jumbled Pack Ice In summer such ice cakes, often 200 feet thick and several miles wide, drift across the Arctic Ocean and, colliding with a cannonlike roar, throw up huge pressure ridges (page 478). Once when wintering in Ellesmere Island's "Great Dark," Peary noted that "only he who has risen . . . and gone to bed again by lamplight, day after day, week after week, month after month, can know how beautiful is the sunlight." Carefully, quickly, the defense unit men guided the pilot down, level by level, till the ground control operators were able to spot him and bring him safely onto the airstrip with fuel almost gone. While our own plane was being prepared for the long flight south, we dined at the of ficers' club and then took off at 11:50 p. m., in broad daylight, for Newfoundland. We awoke next morning winging our way across Baffin Island and down the coast of Labrador past Hebron, Cape Mugford, Nain, and Davis Inlet to Goose Bay. Then we dog-legged slightly eastward across the Gulf of St. Lawrence to Stephenville. It was a pleasant sensation after our long hours over ice and snow to step out of the plane into a brilliant spring day, bathed in warm sunlight. From Newfoundland we cruised south along the length of Nova Scotia, passing near Bad deck, Cape Breton, the Bras d'Or Lakes, and the Grosvenor summer home, "Beinn Bhreagh." An over-water hop brought us a landfall at Cape Cod's tip, and a short jog put us on the Boston-New York airway. When we passed the steel-and-concrete for est of Manhattan, transformed by darkness and a million lights into a twinkling fairyland, we knew we were nearing home. An hour later we picked up the massive beacons of Wash ington-the red lights at the top of the Wash ington Monument, the floodlit dome of the Capitol, the Potomac glistening under its six bridges--and made our approach to Andrews Air Force Base, Maryland, near the Capital. We had been gone some 94 hours, of which we had spent about 48 in the air and we had covered more than 8,800 miles. Returning to headquarters, we were hon ored to receive our first letter of congratula tion: THE WHITE HOUSE WASHINGTON May 25, 1953. Personal Dear Dr. Grosvenor: The greetings which you and Mr. McKnew sent me from the North Pole on May 20th were received by me at noon today. I am delighted at your thoughtfulness, and with what you say about the Air Force operations. Please thank Mr. McKnew for his message. With best wishes, Sincerely, Dr. Gilbert Grosvenor, National Geographic Society, Washington 6, D. C.