to follow. Came to anchor at half-past ten this evening, a little to the S. of Icy Cape. July 23. Clear and calm. Weighed anchor at eight in the morning, and ran close inshore, anchored, and landed with instruments to make exact measurements for Lat. and Long., and to observe the dip. I also went ashore to see the vegetation, and Nelson to seek birds and look for Eskimo specimens. Found only 4 plants in bloom, saxifrage, willow, artemesia, and draba. This is bleakest and barest spot of all. Well named Icy Cape. A low bar of sand and shingle shoved up by the ice that is crowded against the shore every year. Inside this bar, which is only a hundred yards wide, there is a stretch of water several miles wide; then low gravelly coast. Sedges and grasses, dwarfed and frost-bitten, constitute the bulk of the flora. We noticed traces of Eskimos encampments. There was blubber in abundance from a dead whale that had been cast up on the shore. They had plenty of food when they left. But before this they must have been hungry, for we found remains of dogs that they had been eating; also, white foxes’ bones, picked clean. Found a dead walrus on the beach beyond the wreck of the whale. At 1 in the afternoon we weighed anchor and turned north, crossing inside of Blossom Shoals, which are successive ridges pushed up by the ice, and extending 10 to 12 miles off shore. In a few hours we reached the limit of open water. The ice extended out from the shore, leaving no way. Turned again to the S. Sighted the whaling bark Northern Light and made up to her. She showed grandly with her white canvas on the dark water, now nearly calm.
Original journal dimensions: 11.5 x 21 cm.
Holt-Atherton Special Collections, University of the Pacific Library
John Muir, journals, drawings, writings, travel, journaling, naturalist