July 31. We left Herald Island at 3 o’clock in the morning. Have been steaming along the edge of the pack all day. Find that is edging us farther and farther away from Wrangel Land. The ice has a jagged saw-tooth edge, the teeth from two to 10 miles or more in length and trending E. and W. nearly. All that we have seen, however, is light and composed of loose blocks, ready to be drifted away by any wind sufficiently long continued. The clear water seen by me from the top of the island is called “the Hole,” by whalers. I am told that is remarkably constant in its appearance and position from year to year. What combination of currents, coast-lines, winds, etc. is the cause of it is not yet known. Neither is the post-office point of ice understood. At present the ice is drifting north. The chances now seem favorable for reaching Wrangel Land sometime next month. The ice is melting fast and is much broken. Most of it is dirty shore ice that we have seen lately. The Arctic shores are
Original journal dimensions: 11.5 x 21 cm.
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John Muir, journals, drawings, writings, travel, journaling, naturalist