July 15. Rainy and cold; cleared at 7 in the evening. Left the head of Kotzebue Sound this morning at seven-thirty for Cape Blossom where the natives assemble from near and far to trade, but only one poor family was left. We went ashore and found them engaged in fishing for salmon with a net which was pushed out from the shore by a long pole sixty feet in length, made of three tied together. The other Indians had gone 15 or 20 miles up the coast to a point near Cape Krusenstern. Their tents were to be seen, looking like Oakland across the bay from S.F., so numerous they seemed. A small schooner, the Fowler, was at anchor there trading. Soon half a dozen canoes came alongside of us, and offered to trade, but asked big prices. The Captain obtained only 2 wolf skins, a deer skin, and a few muskrats and bunches of sinew. July 16. A fresh breeze from the north, but the day is tolerably clear. A swell is breaking into whitecaps here and there. We spent a busy day with the Indians, Eskimos, trading for a winter supply of deerskins. We obtained over a hundred altogether at the rate of about a dollar each for summer skins, and half as much for those taken in winter. With what we have already picked up here and there, and with the parkas we have collected, this will be amply sufficient. Reindeer are killed in immense numbers inland from here. All these reindeer are wild – no domesticated herds are found on the American continent, though the natives have illustrations enough of their value on the opposite shores of Behring Sea. These Indians prefer herds that require no care, though they are not always to be found when wanted. Some of the wild herds that exist up the Inland Noatak River are said, by the Indians, to be so large as to require more than a
Original journal dimensions: 11.5 x 21 cm.
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John Muir, journals, drawings, writings, travel, journaling, naturalist