Winter storms have crumbled away the roofs of both so that they have fallen in, and the fragments of stones are partially covered with soil. The whole bears the impression of age, and no natives have been found who have ever heard of it. From the summit of this peak a splendid view is obtained of the surrounding country, the Arctic ocean, and herds of passing reindeer.
Gold has been found near the Pitmegea, at the head of the same creek and tributary, it being contained in sulphurets of iron, which exist in large quantities in that vicinity, there being from $3.50 to $8.00 worth of gold in a ton ; the country is all but impassable, however, and this, together with the shortness of the season, would prevent any mining with profit.
Our party returned from the Pitmegea with a few ptarmigan and ducks, and upon our arrival the ship was at once gotten under way and we stood to the northward for Point Barrow. Drift-ice was constantly passed, but fortunately so scattered as not to form any obstruction to free navigation.
On the next day we enjoyed a superb Arctic summer’s day, and began to fall in with the whaling fleet on the way north to Point Barrow. Fifteen vessels were sighted and passed, most of them vessels under sail. Rounding the dangerous Blossom shoals and the Icy cape of Captain Cook, we stood to the northeast, finding generally clear water, with scattered drift-ice. Upon the floes we found great quantities of walrus, in some cases stretched at full length, sound asleep. One huge fellow remained so undisturbed at our approach that he was supposed to be dead, but a well aimed Irish potato aroused him so rudely that he quickly slid off the floe and disappeared beneath the water.
Pushing on we passed Pt. Belcher at 9.30 in the evening, in the fog and rain, and came to heavy masses of ice over which a low fog had settled. With some delay and difficulty we worked out of both the fog and the ice and at five o’clock in the morning sighted four vessels—steamers—at anchor off the village of Ootkavie at Cape Smyth, 8 miles from Point Barrow, and the site of Captain Ray’s Signal Service meteorologic station of some years ago, the house that sheltered the party being still standing. One of the steamers proved to be our old friend the ” Bear,” which had passed to the northward when we had returned southward from the Arctic with the survivors of the ” Little Ohio.” The other vessels were made out to be steam-whalers, and.at seven o’clock we anchored near them, off the site determined upon for the house of refuge.
Finding the Bear had commenced to discharge her stores and materials, all of our facilities were at once used in tending her assistance, our steam launch Achilles (now, as of yore, the child of the Thetis) being busily at work towing boats to and fro, while our men and mechanics, with officers, were busily engaged in aiding the construction of the house of refuge.