National Geographic : 1965 Feb
Forty-one days and 300 miles of polar ice the rifle was in my hands. Even as I sighted, I knew it was hopeless. At that season, with little winter fat left on him, he would have sunk the instant I killed him. The last days of April came-we had spent a month in the ice. Now we rationed our pro visions severely. Pemmican for the dogs was in shortest supply, and were it not for injuries to the animals themselves, it might have dis appeared. Crippling wounds on the trail from accidents and dogfights-are unavoid able. One cannot abandon a disabled dog-it is heartless to leave him to starvation or the polar bears. One can only shoot him mercifully and, when food is so scarce, feed the meat to the hungry survivors. I sometimes think of the Arctic as a great, formless creature, waiting grimly and patient ly for man to make a mistake that will betray him. One day I made such a mistake, though luckily it cost me only severe frostbite instead of my life. I had moved out ahead of the toboggan teams to reconnoiter the trail on skis. After an hour or so I suddenly realized that I had gone too far-I could hear not even the faint est sound of men or dogs. The wind, which blew so often out of the southwest behind us, should have carried the sounds more than a mile. I turned into the wind and began to Wind-frayed Stars and Stripes and wel come handshakes greet the author beside the radio mast at Arlis II. But the expedition arrives too late. Threat of spring storms and breakup of polar pack forces the turnback 200 miles short of the Pole. United States Air Force supply planes flew the assault team back to Greenland.