May 3, 1879
The dogs, many of them old musk-ox hunters and with an appetite sharpened by hard work, and a diminishing ration, tugged like mad at their harnesses and hurried along at a rate that threatened a broken neck many a time over the rough gorges. We soon came upon them and dispatched ten, including calves.
The Long Sledge Journey Begins
...asdog meat was low, it was decided that the morrow should be used in securing as many as possible of these longhaired monsters.
On the morning of the 29th a heavy fog threatened to spoil our sport. We managed to get away at 8:30 A.M., with the two light sleds leading and all the dogs, as the thick clouds seemed to be lifting. At 11 o'clock in the forenoon, after we had been wandering around in the drifting mist, guiding our movements as much as possible by the wind, we came on the trail of some six or seven of the animals apparently not ten minutes old. Great fears were entertained that the musk-oxen had heard our approach and were now probably doing their level best to escape. The dogs were rapidly unhitched from the sled and from one to three given to each of the eleven men and boys present. Taking their harnesses in their hands or tying them in a slip noose around their waist, they started at once on the trail, leaving the sleds and a few dogs with two Innuit women. The dogs, many of them old musk-ox hunters and with an appetite sharpened by hard work, and a diminishing ration, tugged like mad at their harnesses and hurried along at a rate that threatened a broken neck many a time over the rough gorges. We soon came upon them and dispatched ten, including calves.
The musk-ox of the Arctic is about two-thirds the size of the American bison, but in appearance is nearly as large owing to immense heavy coat of long weeping willow-like hair that covers him down to the knees, as if he was carrying a load of black brush The musk-ox calves are readily captured by dogs. However, it is impossible to furnish them with proper nourishment to sustain life and I believe there are no cases on record where these most curious animals have been exhibited at a museum.
Again we were compelled to camp without water. The elevated country was getting quite sandy and destitute of the numerous lakes we had been accustomed to travel upon. The first two days of May, prophetic of the month, kept us snugly confined to our igloos while a fierce northwest storm raged without. On May 3rd we found a small lake which promised water and we were not disappointed, although we had to dig through the thick ice to a depth of eight feet and four inches. Reindeer were also getting scarcer through this apparently waterless country and but a few scattering ones were to be seen or secured. Our musk-ox meat came in a very fortunate nick of time.