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Smart, John W. (ed.) / The Wisconsin engineer
Vol. 27, No. 3 (December 1922)

Markwardt, L. J.
Some sidelights on an Alaskan trip,   pp. 41-42


Page 42


The WISCONSIN ENGINEER
Volume 27, No. 3
One hundd-cd twenty-three islands are now leased for
fox farmiinlg purposes. The foxes are liberated on the
islands, where they are fed by an attendant, guarded
against poachers, and cap-
tured at pelting time.   As
the foxes multiply rapidly
and grow to salable age in
one year, the industry bids
fair to be a thriving one if
pelts maintain a fair market
value.  A  market price of
about $125 per pelt is now
obtained.  The industry has
nearly all developed within
the last two or three years,
and the applicants for is-
lands far outnumber the sup-
l)lY.
  One can not pass along the
coast during   the  summer
without mnjury reminders of
                           the iml)ortance of the fishing
 1 \ N .IN  Nm ES I N illc  industry.  The salmon, in
   Rxx.   1 Being obl7igerd  their effort to reach fresh
   to dlo field -worvk ditr-  water spawning grounds after
   Ing the ral,11,v ScOSO 5 0,  four years of seafaring life,
   llaorkzaordt inade hii-  afford an ever interesting and
   self a, l)ox zeith cefllo-  fascinating sight to the cur-
   loid sides to protect  iotns traveler. At Ketchikan
   his 0iott' 1)ook.      they may be seen in count-
 ltss numbers attempting to climb, or rather jump the
 falls which are several feet in height, and not with-
 out success. No foo0( is taken after leaving salt water,
 so we are told, ande the fact that they find their way
 hundre(ls of miles up the Yukon River is ample evi-
 dence of their vitality and persistence in following nat-
 ur-al instinct.  Along the Yukon River salmon     are
 caught by meanis of large wheels, operated by the cur-
 rniit, and in this way some of the winter's supply of
 foo00, including that for the dogs, is obtained.
   Proceeding along the coast one arrives at Wrangell,
 which is of partictular interest because of its numerous
 and varied totem poles. The Wrangell Narrows, just
 beyond, with its crooked and tortuous, but well marked
 channel, and with a well-pronounced and exceedingly
 rapid tidal current, together with the confinement of
 travel principally to high tide periods, affords a scene
 of intense interest and excitement.
   Here and there, a whale lazily drifts on the sur-
face; again, we mnay catch a glimpse of his huge tail as
it flashes above the water when "sounding" out of
sight.  Next, a school of porpoises playfully adapt
themselves to the speed of the boat, and cross back
and forth, just before the bow, displaying, as it were,
a few lessons in seamanship and maneuvering.    This
performance may continue indefinitely, or until we lose
interest and our attention is directed to a deer swim-
minig the channel, or possibly a bear scampering away
lip the hillside. Nature thus stages a continuous show,
which makes the hours seem like minutes, and the days
pass all too soon.
  One hears much of the fascination of the North, its
spell, and its lure. Each ship usually has its quota of
"sourdoughs" returning to the land of their dreams,
disillusioned regarding the States they once knew. Nor,
is it only in story that this is true. The truth came
          A GOLD DREDGE ON TIHE KLONDIKE
forcefully when I learned that my state room com-
panion was one such. Years of experience in Alaska,
antedating the gold rush days, had won his heart, and
after two years of pining on his fruitful ranch in Ore-
gon, he was proceeding to make his home again in the
Northland. Service caught the spirit of such pioneers
when he said:
    "It's the great, big, broad land 'way up yonder,
    It's the forests where silence has lease;
    It's the beauty that fills me with wonder,
    It's the stillness that fills me with peace.
                     *    *    *
    I'm trapped like a fox and I fear for my pelt,
    I cower in the crash and the glare,
    Oh, I want to be back in the avalanche belt,
    For I know that it's safe up there!
  Glaciers in abundance may be found in Washington.
or Montana, yet we sometimes consider them as sole
attributes of the Arctic regions and Alaska. In f ew
                 A VIEW OF DAWSON
places, however, are glaciers as accessible for general
inspection as in Alaska, and the accommodating captain,
during the tourist season, digresses a little from his
course and brings one face to face with his glacial titanic
                (Concluded on page 55)
42
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