puffin home

Harriman Expedition Retraced



The 1899 Expedition
The 1899


Original Participants

Brief Chronology

Science Aboard the Elder
Aboard the

History of Exploration
Exploration &

Development Along Alaska's Coast
Growth Along Alaska's Coast

Alaska Native Communities


The 1899 Journal and Letters of
Charles Palache
to His Fiancé Helen Markham

With the addition of a few letters to his family in Berkeley, California
Transcribed by Judith Gregory
(Return to Charles Palache: 1869 - 1954)

New York to Seattle
Canada and Southeast Alaska
Glacier Bay
Prince William Sound
Chicagof Bay Camp
Homeward Bound
Letters to the Palache Family

Notes on the Typescript
Charles Palache’s punctuation and spelling are inconsistent in these letters. He tends to divide words when writing, for example, “good night” or “drift wood,” and it's difficult to tell whether he means to write one word or two. Many of the names, especially Indian names, are hard to read and are not all on my map, so they may be misspelled. Palache used the older spelling “Kadiak;” for this document I’ve changed it to “Kodiak.” I have occasionally added periods and commas, but only when it was essential to the sense of the document. The parentheses ( ) are Charles Palache’s, the [ ] brackets are mine.

For a brief explanation of the origin of the expedition, see Palache’s first letter to his family in Berkeley. I have added a few of these to the letters he wrote my grandmother, Helen Markham. Others to his family are much like the letters to her, and they are not many in any case.

Judith Gregory
October 1997
Berkeley California

New York to Seattle
New York
May 22nd 1899

My dear Helen -

I left myself just exactly enough time last night to do the necessary things before starting. Mr. Daly appeared and went to the car with me but he was so tired and sleepy that I refused to let him go in town with me. So we parted in Cambridge and I sleepily went my lonely way, trying to convince myself that I was not coming back by the next car. I found my berth h all right and was abed before we started. I slept but little and looked out several times, once as we came into New London, to see the lights along the waters of the sound and this morning to find a glorious clear off.

So now having had breakfast and a little smoke I am scribbling you this line to say that I have nothing to say except that I love you and want to go back to you at Cambridge rather than forward to far-away Alaska.
I am going up to Mr. Bishop's very soon and this evening will I hope have something of interest to tell and to send you.

Till then, good morning,

Lovingly Charlie

P.S. If you object to either paper or envelopes please protest immediately for unless you do these will continue to be used!!!

My dear Helen -

Just a line this afternoon to tell you that all goes fairly with me. I had a long confab with Dr. Lilley this morning and he seemed well pleased with my work. The discussion is to continue this evening over dinner with Mr. Kunz. By bed time I will be so sick of jade that I shall never want to hear of it again and yet I must keep up the interest apparently at least for the lucre there is in it.

Mr. Lilley paid me $150.00 on account!! this morning. I am going to take $75.00 of this sum with me and tomorrow, when I can get it arranged, will send you the check for the other half. Meanwhile I send you my personal check for $75.00 not to be cashed before the 2nd of June as explained to you before I left. Thus you will have the sum of $150.00 to draw on as you may need it this summer.

I must be off and will write you again tomorrow before we start.

Lovingly Charlie

[Hotel Stationery]
Hotel Manhattan

Tuesday Morning, May 23

Dear Helen:The morning has slipped away without my having accomplished any of the many things I had planned in the line of letter writing. And instead of having time for a long chat with you this morning I must be content with a hurried scrawl.

I wanted to tell you of the lovely walk I had in the Park yesterday on my way to Mr. Bishop's - I had never seen Central Park in its full spring dress before and it was lovely beyond all expectation. Then I wanted to tell of the wonderful display of rare and costly gems which I saw at Tiffany's in the afternoon while waiting for Mr. Kunz. He poured a handful of glorious sapphires out for me to dabble in a new sensation - and I saw the closing up of the huge establishment sharp at 6. The dinner at the St. Denis was delicious and well sauced by Mr. Kunz's account of his recent trip to Europe including Russia.

Then we spent the evening at Kunz's house where we went over the everlasting jade article again and I was glad to get away at 11:30. Mr. Kunz is more than pleased with my performance as are Lilley and bishop and there is certainly another hundred coming from it, which you may count on as yours.

I have to go down town again before 11 and then the time will be short till we start on our westward journey. I will continue and close this then. For now a loving adieu.
I have written Daly to take to you any personal letters which may come during my journey. Open them and if there is anything worth while send it with some one of your letters.

12 N.

You see I have completed my arrangements and enclose your sewing machine!

I have been in a rush and must go get my lunch and seek our train. At last I really feel sure I am going away and am not to see you soon again. Do you think me cold and thoughtless that I write you so short and hurried notes? Forgive me but the only way to forget the separation and make it possible for me to go at all is to do things - Expect fully letters when I have more to tell and less to do. I kiss you again good morning and adieu. Yes! I love you.


I might have had a letter here from you if I had only thought!!

Dear Helen -
We are off in 10 minutes and I only write to say that our train consists of 5 cars all of which are said to be filled. I am berthed with Prof. Emerson in a luxurious compartment.

There are ladies aboard but whether they are all going along I do not yet know. It makes me mad to think that is the case and that still you are not here. Once more adieu and may you be as happy as may be.

Yours lovingly

We stop in Chicago nearly 12 hours. From there by Union Pacific and Oregon Short Line which I dare say is greek to you but I will send maps of the route.

Tuesday Evening

My dear -

The evening is well along - dinner is over - I have smoked one of Mr. Harriman's cigars and then your pipe and now have retreated from the comfortable smoking room to have a chat with you. We are tearing along at a great rate - proved as you see by the irregularity of these characters.

Let me tell you what I have learned so far of our party. First the train. Smoking car - dining car, two vestibule compartment sleepers and Mr. H's private car make it up. Mr. H. has his whole family along - wife and 6 (?) children of whom 3 are nearly grown up. They may however not all be his family - I have met none of them as yet. He himself is a quiet charming gentleman, very social in manner and a model host. There are no ladies outside his family! Several friends are with him who are going for the hunting. Dr. Morris a young physician who promises to be very pleasant - Mr. Devereaux a mining engineer with whom I have already struck up acuaintance and others as yet unknown in person or in number.

22 scientists are aboard most of whom I have met already. Emerson is charming. We sat together all the way up the lovely Hudson river and he kept up a string of pleasant stories and experiences. Our table at dinner was in a constant roar. Mr. Dahl is quiet but very comeatable and I have already had some intersting talk with him. I cannot give the whole list of names as yet. There is an artist Swain Gifford - a parson Mr. Nelson - a stenographer whom I would like to have typewrite this letter for me - only that I know you would not read it if I did!! etc.

Dinner was fine but no wines or liquors were served though one can get and pay for them one's self which is I think a wise and favorable provision. Altogether there is a spirit of friendliness and good-fellowship which promises well for the expedition. There is all the feeling of a house party - every guest at liberty to speak to every other is he wishes or to remain silent if he choose. We are coming into a station and as it is already late and as writing under the present conditions is something trying I will close and mail this now and tell you more another time.
Love to Jeanette and much more of a different kind and with many kisses for yourself from your devoted


We are in Syracuse and I go for a two minute walk while we stop. Good night

Ohio, just past Toledo
May 24

My dear -

Good morning! I hope you are as well and contented with life as I am this morning. Such perfection of traveling I have never enjoyed before. Weather just right - clear but not hot - no dust - a train that rolls along with perfect (?) smoothness - and good company if one wants it.

We are running this morning thro' the level green fields interspersed with forests of northern Ohio having just left Lake Erie behind. There are almost no flowers in the fields only oceans of green. Yesterday the scenery was far more interesting. I never saw the Hudson to such good advantage. The hills and bluffs covered with a hundred tones of green, amid which here and there a dogwood in full blossom stood out like a huge bouquet. Then the purple Catskill Mts. rising high across the river - lastly as we sat at dinner the gentle rolling hills and fertile meadows of the Mohawk Valley to rest and delight the eye at every new turn.

You have no idea of the babel of noise behind me as I write in the smoking room. Above the roar of the train comes the click of a typewriter and the confused voices of twenty men shouting at one another - not exactly the best conditions you will agree with me for writing a letter of any sort especially one where love should be the theme.

I started out with a piece of absentmindedness which will I hope turn out all right in the end. Mr. Lilley gave me the little bag of gold of which he wrote and I put it in the safe of the hotel over night. When we were well up the Hudson I was talking to Emerson about jade and Bishop and then with a shock I remembered that I had left the money behind me! I have written back to have it telegraphed to me at Seattle and see no reason why it should not come to me all right but I cannot forgive my self for the carelessness of the act. You see I need someone to look after my money affairs for me.

Our steamer is the G.W. Elder, a boat that has been on the Alaska line since it was first established. She has been refitted and is said to be very comfortable

We reach Chicago about 2:30 P.M. today and remain there till midnight so we shall have time to run around there quite a bit. I hope to go out to the Chicago University during the afternoon.

Noon, Elkhart, Indiana

The states roll away behind us as we speed along. I have just turned my watch back an hour noting at the moment with regret that lunch time which I had thought at hand was still that much off. Doing nothing is frightfully hard work and develops an enormous appetite.

I have found a copy of Vancouver's Voyages on board and have spent most of the morning delving in it. It is fascinating to me to read of the early explorers of any region and he tells there of the discovery of Puget Sound where he scattered with a liberal hand the names of all his officers and friends on bays channels and mountains. Mts Ranier, Baker, St Helens, Puget Sound, St George's Channel etc. are names thus given and still familiar, besides a host of others.

Emerson sits opposite me writing like myself and has just remarked how fortunate it was that there seemed to be not a single "cad" in the party - in so large a crowd not less more less remarkable (it is less I mean after all) than pleasant. There are some young "digs" of the Greenman type who are far from interesting but they are unobtrusive and most of the men are pleasant companionable fellows.

Emerson has just regaled me with a cheerful account of how he was smashed up in a railway train of this line at a point we passed this morning. It was in 93 [?]. Leg, arm and ribs broken, head cut etc. etc. For all that he is alive and cheerful now. He is only 55 years old instead of the 70 he looks and I thought him.

For breakfast I had most appetizing narratives from Prof. Brewer of various methods of execution of which he had been witness, hanging guillotine etc. and of how the chief actors in them obtained the quietus. Still I did justice to my strawberries and mackerel and am now as hungry as "seven lions" as Emerson says.
Lunch is over - Chicago at hand and I must close this and send it off before we start off for the afternoon. We most of us go out to the Field Columbian Museum and at 7 dine with Mr. Harriman at the Auditorium. I sat at lunch with Mrs. Harriman who had heard about me and our affairs thusly. A friend of Miss Ruck's [Rock's?] who was going to the wedding told Mrs. H. that her party was interfering sadly with the ceremony having carried off the best man who in turn had postponed his wedding in order to go!! So, she said, we ladies consider it our duty to be specially kind to you in your bereavement!

Do not however be afraid - the ladies except the married ones are much too young to be dangerous!
Good-day and many greetings from your devoted


Chicago, Car Utopia
May 24th 12 Midnight

Dear Helen -
Just a line before I turn in to tell how the afternoon and evening passed. Our whole crowd wandered down to the Field Museum, the only building from the Fair which still remains. Emerson and I went off together there and saw the minerals, spending about two hours looking over the collections. Then we walked over to the Chicago University, admiring the large buildings all of gray stone in the same style. After a brief call on Prof. Iddings [?], Mrs. Parker's friend (?) we came back to dinner at the Auditorium Annex where nearly the whole party assembled. I sat next the older Harriman daughter who proved quite pleasant company despite her youth she not yet being old enough to come out. Then I joined some of the younger fellows to see the Runaway Girl which proved rather a stupid farce tho' the March Hear the Band was amusing and lively. We have taken some more swells aboard, particularly Mr. Burt the President of the Union Pacific and our party is now complete except for the three Californians who join at Seattle.

I found out more about mail probilities [sic] today. We shall probably receive no mail after leaving Seattle until our return there as there is no certainty that we will call at Sitka returning and so might miss mail sent there. So address any letters you may write to Seattle, General Delivery, care Harriman Alaska Expedition and please tell Daly to do the same. I find we shall be back there before August 1st - perhaps by July 26th so send nothing after July 20th. That means I will be with you again by Aug. 1st almost to a certainty which delights my heart as every day counts much at that time. We can send mail more often than we receive it and should be able to let you hear four or five times I hope.

My money was forwarded all right as I heard today much to my relief.
Tomorrow sometime we reach Omaha and Seattle Saturday or Sunday I believe. I must send a line home before we leave Chicago and as it is already late will stop this here.

Love and many kisses to my love from your devoted


Omaha, May 25th

My dear -
We have been and are traveling much too fast to make letter writing a pleasure. 55 to 65 miles an hour is high speed even on the best of tracks and the cars swing around at a great rate. I have just been aroused from a nap with the announcement that ---
A few moments remain before we start on again and I must at least send my greetings. We have been here 2 hours during which we took an electric car ride out to the old Fair Grounds.

We are [illegible word] off Goodby - good night love and many kisses from your devoted

6 P.M.

Friday Morn. May 25
near Cheyenne

My dear -
I am very much ashamed that yesterday passed without my getting off a letter to you. The trouble was that I did not start early and therefore did not get to it at all.

Now I am up early - six o'clock with us - 9 with you - for a chat before the smoking room fills up with the crowd. We are climbing the Rockies - still going fast however as witness this writing which is better than it would be in ink. So please forgive the pencil on that score. Yesterday was not particularly eventful being chiefly marked by my visits to the private car which is decidedly nice. The car is last on the train and the last third of it is an observation room with big plate windows from floor to roof on end and sides. Comfortable chairs - electric fans - maps conveniently hung - flowers, books - candy, and all the other "comforts of home" including the company of the four girls who are jolly and simple and not in the least spoiled by the luxury of their surroundings. We talked and read there nearly all the morning. After lunch I was very sleepy and lay down for a nap to be awakened as told in my abbreviated note of Omaha. We all finally got out to the Fair Buildings which are now empty but produce an effect well worth seeing. Returned to the train we were soon off again at a terrific rate across the Nebraska plains and up the North Platte Valley. There was a grand sunset with high piled masses of silver lined dark clouds and fleecy gold veils and after that was over the girls took some of us back to the observation car for some "singing" (God save the mark!). I also sang as you will be distressed to learn but they all stood it nobly and indeed there were some no better than myself. We all enjoyed it anyway and I was thinking of you all the time and so I know was Miss Mary Harriman for the girls are of an age to take a romantic interest in anything like our separation. Altogether both the young ladies and Mrs. H. are very nice and show their millions absolutely not at all which is delightful.

I had a grand sleep last night and wake up ready for an interesting day in the mountains. We are in the great grazing country of Wyoming - endless rolling fields of yellowish-green short grass - no bush or tree to break its carpet and rarely a flower. I had always before seen the plains brown, dusty and forlorn and this spring dress gives me an entirely different notion of the country.

We have been organized into a regular scientific body with all sorts of officers committees etc. I hope they will succeed withal in making it possible to accomplish much good work. We have all registered in a big "log book" and appointed John Burroughs as Historian so we shall have the trip well written up anyhow.

We have just brought the first mts. into view - the Laramie Hills and here is Cheyenne where this letter must be mailed. I wish it were a better messenger to carry to you my loving thoughts. Believe me you are ever in my thoughts and shall be till we meet again.

Farewell with much love from your devoted


Ogden - Cheyenne - Omaha
514 miles - 516 miles

This is what I read as I look out the window at the station.

9 P.M.
May 26

Dear Helen -
This has been a fine day in many respects and for me at least contained one novel experience. We crossed the summit of the line in the early morning and all day long every new turn brought into view some new vista of distant snow clad mountain or rocky cliff. Each stop we all scramble off to pick some tiny flower or some rock from the road side.

Then it's all aboard again and on we go to the next stop. We have been in the Rocky Mts all day but it is mostly a high plateau country, the lofty ranges all lying 50 or 60 miles to the north or south. The highest point on the line is almost 8000 ft. at Sherman. It was high enough to give the air a fine bracing quality anyway and as it was cool as well it was a joy to be outdoors. Most of the morning for the time I was smoking I was on the back platform amusing the ladies and enjoying the view. After the midday meal I was for a long time with Mr. Burroughs trying to explain to him some of the geology of the remarkable scenery thro' which we were passing which was so wholly new to him. He seemed very interested in what I told him and I enjoyed the conversation. About six P.M. we reached and crossed the Green River quite a good sized stream in fine scenery and a little later came to Granger the point where we left the regular overland Union Pacific line for the Portland line which goes to the north through Idaho.

Here came the experience - a fellow named Trudeaux and I took a twenty five mile ride on the cowcatcher of our engine. It was fine and as the pace was slow absolutely free from danger. It was up the valley of quite a stream which was over its banks. The meadows were green and hemmed on both sides by brown rocky hills. Numbers of birds rose on each side and two were killed by the engine. There was considerable excitement in the rushing along thus on the very front of the train but the wind was fierce and at first we were well chilled but that passed soon. I do not think I care to repeat the ride but am bound to get into the cab for a trip before we come to the end of our journey. This is one of the privileges of being with railway magnates on a special train. It has grown by the way to seven cars.

We are off for a great trip tomorrow - a thirty mile ride to the great Shoshone Falls of the Snake river and back. I am wondering what will be left of me after 30 miles on an Indian pony - we only need to ride one way as coaches go along and we change off. We start at 6 A.M. and expect to get back by dark. So tomorrow you need not expect to hear from me. Good night - "Yes I do!" very much - your devoted


Boise City Idaho
Sunday, May 28th

My dear -
It is about 6 o'clock - 9, your time - and I am up for a talk with you before breakfast. It is quite incredible that only one week has passed since I was with you last - It seems ages ago - yesterday alone was so full a day that it made Cambridge seem more than ever far away. I wonder what you are doing today - on what excursion bent? Or are you writing letters and going to church? I trust none of my poor letters have gone astray, they have been few enough at best. How I did long for you time and again yesterday to enjoy with me the full life and grand scenery of the day. It was one of the days of my life that will not soon be forgotten. Let me tell you of it as well as I can.

We came into the station of Shoshone during the night and at five A.M. all hands were waked and after a hurried breakfast at 5:30 were ready for the start. Trunks had been overhauled the night before and all sorts of riding and hunting costume made its appearance. If you wish to know mine think of me in my golf clothes as on our last Sunday walk. For the twenty-seven mile trip to the Falls mixed conveyances were provided and it taxed the resources of the little place to get our 35 people over the road. First there was the big Concord coach holding about 12-15 people with six horses - a 2 seated, 2 horse wagon for 6 passengers, Mr. Harriman's 2 horse buggy and ten saddle horses. We got off at 6:30 in good style the freshness of the morning and the prospects of a very fine day putting all in the best of spirits.

I began writing before we had quite reached Boise. Now we are here and I have left the train and taken my seat on a pile of lumber near the station where I can breathe the fresh morning air hear the joyous songs of the robins and rest my aching bones.

To go on with my story. --

The saddle horses were a rather good lot of Indian ponies or "cayuses" as the day's work proved tho' many of them were sorry looking brutes. One of the Harriman girls was mounted and rode like a bird - and I too was among the cavalry, having little fancy for a dusty stage ride where horses were available. And I never remember any ride at all comparable to the one we had. We were in a region of gently rolling plains stretching away to the far-off bases of snow clad mountains which cloud the horizon. To the East was the Saw Tooth Range and its beauty as the newly risen sun flooded its snowy slopes with light was indescribable. The plain on which we rode was an ancient lava field still but thinly clad with soil and very dry, hence supporting little vegetation but the sage brush whose miniature trees were thickly scattered over its whole surface and lent the whole an olive green tint very restful to the eye. But in among the sage were many lovely dainty blossoms of strange flowers and for the first five miles I was constantly off my horse picking some new flower. Lupine, forget-me-not, gillias, lovely white evening primrose and bright sunflowers were some of many I noted. A fine fresh wind came in our faces as we rode south and the ride was simply exhilarating - no other word suggests the sensation so well.

On and on we rode, finally crossing a low divide and bringing into view the long descent of our plain to the Snake river twenty miles away. The river was however invisible and the same gray green sloped up again beyond to the foot of the further purple mountains.

After three hours riding I turned over my horse to another, not because I was tired but wished to give some one else the pleasure and in another half hour we were at the river. With a suddenness that almost takes away the breath you find yourself on the brink of a vast chasm 1000 ft. deep; the walls are vertical, of black basaltic lava and in the flat bottom about 1/4 mile wide flows the muddy river. At our very feet as we stand on the brink of the chasm is the fall where the river makes a plunge of over 200 feet, first breaking over several terraces into fine cascades. From the pool below where the dashing water is churned into foam rises a great cloud of spray which waves and shifts about in the gusty wind currents of the place.

If you have seen Niagara you know what it is like. But here the surroundings are so much more picturesque: the lava crags tower above like frowning fortifications. Islands with green shrubbery divide the current at the brink of the fall and on the summit on one of these crags a fish hawk has piled its huge nest in safety.

The wagon road descends to the river but we get out and walk down, are ferried to the further side above the falls and hasten down for a nearer view of their beauties. Points of vantage are numerous and we seek the outermost ones above and near the dashing waters. We are drenched with the spray and the sun behind us casts a great rainbow arch across the gulf at our feet. This bank, kept wet by the perpetual rain from the spray, is a garden of wild flowers of varied beauty, many of them familiar California friends.

There is a little Hotel above the fall and we eat our lunch there and then hurry away to clamber by a steep path down to the base of the falls. Here we get quite another aspect of the fall and see the heights above it, framing it as it were, at their best. Up again and again out on the cliffs to study the magic beauty of the foamy seething waters as they lean toward the depths - to feast the eye on the majesty of proportion of the whole gigantic scene and with the geologist's eye to study the splendid section of the lava fields thus offered and to collect specimens of the rocks. With regret we turn back, climb out of the canon, take a farewell look from the upper vantage point and so at 2 P.M. start on the return. All the saddle horses were taken for the first stretch but I started off on foot ahead of the stage and covered 3 or 4 miles before overtaken and picked up.

But before we are half way back someone gets tired riding and I take his place with pleasure, which is increased by finding the horse even easier and better than the one I had before. By 6:30 P.M. we are back to the train, have washed the dust out of our throats with a magnificent glass of cask beer from the saloon (By the way I discovered the merits of this beer - so superior to the bottled article on the train - and made it known to certain favored ones on board) and the dust from our bodies with a towel bath, and at 7:30 sit down to a game and fish dinner with the appetites of wolves and satisfaction beaming from every face. A cigar is soon smoked and I turn in by 9:30 to dream of you and waterfalls and aching limbs and to wake at day light this morning with a chorus of birds singing outside as we stand still at a station.

Thus we visited the Shoshone Falls of the Snake River. If I have not made you feel as you read my account that it was a rare experience - a perfect day - my pen has sadly failed to do its duty and my interest.

Noon, May 28th
Boise City.

Since last writing I have had a pleasant morning's wandering and now before we start there are still a few minutes left to tell you what was to do. This town is a charming spot - at the base of the mountains with abundant water so that its gardens and orchards flourish luxuriantly, it offers the pleasantest contrast to the weary miles of sage brush desert through which we have fared. After breakfast we all took an electric car out about a mile to a huge swimming tank and natatorium where they utilize the waters of powerful hot mineral springs to make a delightful warm bath. I had a tub bath which quite took away the soreness resulting from yesterday's ride and then after a lounge on the grass, a bit of free lunch and some drinks and a smoke I went out to the neighboring hill to collect the local rock and see the hot springs. On returning to the natatorium I found most of the party gone to church where our chaplain was to hold service. One of the hospitable inhabitants of the town picked up two or three of us in his buggy and brought us back to the station after conducting us to the U.S. Assay Office where we saw a respectable number of real gold bricks. Now while waiting for lunch and departure I write in the train.

Our trip becomes each day more and more promising and pleasant. We are a huge happy family on a delightful tour in the course of which each can follow unhindered his own bent. This breaking up of the trip across the continent with so many halts has given me a chance of getting an idea of this western country such as twenty rides thro' on the train would not furnish. And in addition it removes the tedium of constant travel making the journey a pleasure instead of a trial. We shall stop again (tomorrow?) at Portland Oregon and will probably get to Seattle about the 30th so as to sail on June 1st. I grow anxious to get to the end to get letters from you which (I hope) are awaiting me there. We are about to be off so I must close for now. Love to Jeanette and to your self all the massages of affection that a letter can carry from your lover


The Dalles, Oregon
Tuesday May 30

My dear:
We have been lying here the most of the night, waiting to go down the great gorge of the Columbia River by daylight. It is not yet seven o'clock and I am hastening to write a little before we start as I expect to ride down in the cab of the engine and wish to be prepared. Yesterday was another of our full days - a day full of unexpected pleasures of varied sorts. Instead of going straight on to Portland we made a great detour to the north, east and south which brought us to Lewiston on the Snake river from which point we descended 150 miles in a steamer to its junction with the Columbia. But I must tell the doings in detail. Sunday after leaving Boise City we rolled along through the valley first of the Boise then of the Snake with here and there great fields of blue and gold - lupines and sunflowers. At Huntingdon we entered Oregon, left the Snake and climbed out onto the upland through a tortuous canyon. As the sun set we ran swiftly downward through a glorious broad valley bounded on both sides by lofty mountains whose tops, newly whitened by snow, were partly involved in dark cloud masses. The level floored Potter valley was 5 or 6 miles broad - a field of green. The mountains called the Blue Range rose 5000 feet above us and were dark and mysterious. As I sat at ease after dinner smoking a good cigar, reclining in a big easy chair and gazing out at the splendid panorama I said to Prof. Emerson I was fulfilling one of my wildest youthful dreams. It was the counterpart in many ways of the valley of the Inn which traverses the Tyrol Alps as I have seen it several times.

When it grew dark and my cigar was finished I joined the ladies and a number of men in the observation car and the twenty of us sang hymns for at least an hour. They are all Episcopalians and the "sky pilot" as Dr. Morris calls him was there to help. The singing was very bad but recalled pleasant memories of elsewhere. In any case it was the first time I ever took part in even an approximation to a service in a railway car. Meanwhile it began to rain and did so all night as we climbed mountain after mountain through the night. We passed through Walla Walla going northward, woke up at Colfax, eat breakfast as we passed Pullman and at Moscow we were again in Idaho. Here we changed from our luxurious train to a short one of another company for the run down to Lewiston. It is a fine country for wheat growing on the upper plateau but the rivers run in great wild gorges and so travel is apt to be picturesque. We went down the Potlatch river a clear rushing stream, through the reservation of the Nez Perce Indians many of whom we saw in their bright colored blankets. By good fortune we found an obstruction in our way in this canyon - a freight car off the track - and the hour's delay allowed us to scramble up the banks and gather armfuls of gorgeous wild flowers which were in their perfect spring beauty and refreshed by the still falling rain. Others watched the wrecking train do its work and soon we were on again down to the Clearwater River which in turn we followed till at 1:30 P.M. we reached its junction with the Snake at Lewiston and took our steamer. The Spokane was a new and rapid stern wheeler, and with the help of the five mile current we went down stream at a rate of nearly 25 miles an hour. The clouds broke away as we went aboard and a fresh wind blew upstream. It is a grand rushing river winding in long sweeping curves through its gigantic gorge. The cliffs of basalt, black, brownish or grey are beautifully sculptured into innumerable fantastic forms. But chiefly they rise in a series of great steps or benches receding as they rise and clothed with verdant grass so that despite the steepness many cattle and horses graze on them. Up to 2000 feet the walls rise and the little tributary streams carve out great arcades or recesses with a tiny brook in the bottom. Here and there is a strip of good land on the shore of the Snake and orchards luxuriate on such producing famous fruit. It was a feast and field day for the geologists -

We had lunch and again rushed out to enjoy the ever changing picture till the fierce afternoon wind drove us in again. At 6 P.M. we reached a landing place - Riparia - whither the train had returned and part of the party returned to it. One or two of us scaled the cliffs while the steamer took coal, botanizing and enjoying the vast view. Or I might as well say that I was the only one to get to the top although modesty ought to forbid. On again - supper - another long promenade on the upper deck watching the sunset, and examining the railroad building on the left bank in which Mr. Harriman is interested and which he came especially to see. Night fell and as I retreated to the cabin and got out my paper to write to you I was greeted by a call for a game of cards which I could not refuse and we had a jolly game of "Rounce" at which I was conspicuously unsuccessful and which I shall some day teach you.

At ten our boat ran up to the bank of the river at Wallula, just before it empties into the Columbia and we landed, climbing up to the tracks on the bridge above where we were soon joined by the train and started on again on our way. An ideal day's excursion perfectly carried. That's what comes of travellling with railroad presidents who with the greatest ease imaginable arrange things seemingly most impossible.

I have a different address to give you at Seattle.
Care E.S. Curtis
709 2nd Avenue

This instead of the General Delivery. It will still be well to mention the Expedition on the address. But it is certain that we will receive no mail till our return from Alaska. We reach Seattle tomorrow - the 31st and sail the same day.

We have had a lovely run down the Columbia - I rode 20 miles thro' the finest gorge in the engine cab with much pleasure and we made frequent short stops at the fish wheels and lovely cascades that lie along the road. The flowers were in perfection and the botanists made the most of every moment and secured a rich haul.

We are drawing into Portland and as we are to have a busy day or rather afternoon there I will close and send this off. I have just remembered that it is Decoration Day - are you having your promised picnic? I trust so and that you are well and happy. Give my regards to any friends you may see and love to Jeannette and for yourself affectionate greetings from your lover


[Hotel stationery]
The Portland

Portland, Oregon
May 30th 1899

Just a scribbled line to explain the enclosures. The letters were brought to me here today by Mr. Keeler of Berkeley who is of our party. I send them as they contain certain items of interest to you. The clipping from the Portland paper gives an accurate and full account of our membership and if you keep it to consult later my references to various ones may be more intelligible. I am looking forward to tomorrow as almost certainly bringing me a letter from you - the last I shall receive for 2 months. It will be a weary waiting and I trust I shall not be compelled to keep you uninformed of my doings so long. We have had dinner here at the Hotel and start in a few moments for the steamer that takes us to our train again some way down the Columbia River. I will write again from Seattle - for now farewell with much love from your devoted


Seattle Wn May 31-99
Miss Helen H. Markham 2 Buckingham Place, Cambridge
Sail today well thanks for letters love good bye.

On board G. W. Elder
May 31st 1899 - 3 P.M.

My dear -
Your two letters were welcome indeed this morning, overflowing as they were with love and affection. This is the hardest part of going off so far - that I am to hear from you so rarely or not at all. Your message about Eben Barker came just in time. Half an hour after receiving your letter I read in the paper that the 'Perry' was to sail this morning and as soon as I could I went down to see if she was still in the harbor. I found she was to sail north at 11:30 so went out - found the young man who gave me a very pleasant reception and spent ten minutes talking with him and his brother officers. They were all in the confusion of departure so we soon took ours, hoping to meet them again northward as they are bound our way. Tell Mrs. Barker that her son looks splendidly and that I was sorry not to have a longer visit with him.

I hope you have had my letters and that they have told you the truth that tho' I have indeed had much to occupy and interest me I have not for a moment forgotten or ceased to miss you. You are in my thoughts always and when I think how much you, too, would enjoy this trip could you have been here, I wish again almost that I were not going rather than go thus alone. And yet it is a wonderful opportunity which it offers not only to travel in comfort and see the country but to meet on equal terms a most interesting body of men of science and affairs such as are not often thrown thus together.

Our quarters on the steamer are only less comfortable than were those on the train which we have left. Each man has a stateroom to himself which I am very glad of as it gives me a privacy and independence I had hardly hoped for. The steamer is newly refitted, quite large enough to hold our party in entire comfort and well equipped in every way. Two launches will enable us to make frequent and easy landings. The table as shown by our lunch today will be well served - and I see no reason why we should not be exceedingly comfortable in every way imaginable. I know no more of the details of our plans than I did when I left N.Y.; indeed I doubt if they are fully formed but will develop as we proceed. This does not worry me - I am simply prepared to do all I can in every sort of way that opportunity affords and to be satisfied with that without worrying about the future nor repining about the unaccomplished. Certainly our experience thus far gives assurance that all will be done that can be for our comfort and convenience as well as our interest and pleasure.

I got my money all right though my carelessness cost me five dollars - and I completed my outfit this morning. I purchased a suit of what is called Makinaw - a sickly yellow sort of woolen garment said to be dry and warm and much used by lumbermen and such. I hope it will do. Otherwise I had nothing to get but odds and ends - a supply of tobacco and a hair-cut all of which are now accomplished. We arrived here in the night and woke to find a dreary rainy morning overhead - so much gloomy weather on the coast forebodes a wet trip which in its turn will disappoint our photographic hopes. But all may yet go well and at least I will hope for good luck in this regard as in others.

The boat is filled with lovely roses sent to the Harrimans. If there is anything they have not which they can want or think of I do not know what it is. A big gramophone - a piano and one of these machines which play upon the piano, two violins and several pianists and vocalists promise much music for better or worse.

I am feeling very well indeed. The lame back that resulted from my long ride of Saturday has quite vanished and I feel like a fighting cock - so much for the promise of the voyage.

I am more in hopes that I may receive at least one mail while we are away so do please continue to send me letters at intervals, imagining if need be that they are all coming straight to me without delay in Seattle. If a mail should reach the steamer and nothing in it from you I should be sad indeed. The last address given is all right. Curtis will forward if there is any opportunity. On my part I promise you I will write every day and send whenever I possibly can which will I hope be at least three or four times.

I am sorry you are not certain of having a good visit with Alice but feel sure she will come after all. Give her my love when you write her again. Do not work too hard over the "Room" and leave some of the money for me to help spend!! I must send this so for now good-bye. A thousand kisses such as letters can bear - would they were real ones! - a thousand times "I love you" and believe and know that I miss you always and think of you constantly. Love to Jeanette and to yourself.


Victoria B.C. June 1st '99

My dear -
I have had a charming morning stroll and a good breakfast and now while smoking will tell you what I saw. We came in here in the middle of the night after a quiet and uneventful run from Seattle. The clouds hung low and refused to reveal the mountain scenery for which Puget Sound is famous but we did get a poor glimpse of Mt. Baker before darkness fell. The evening passed with cards and tramping the deck, chiefly with Keeler who is good company. I woke this morning to find the boat tied up to the dock in a tidy little harbor surrounded by forest covered hills. The town lies out of sight over one of them and we are soon going to visit it.

I found no one else out at 6:30 when I got on deck and strolled off alone. It was softly raining and the trees and meadows were heavy with raindrops but none the less beautiful. Strange to say I was armed with rubbers and mackintosh so I did not care. The forests were of Douglass spruce - the great tree of this region and there were but few flowers - sweet-scented wild roses and English daisies studding the meadow grass were the chief ones. But the woods were full of a chorus of birds among them a thrush whose song is close kin to our Hermit of fond memory so I had double reason to think of you as I listened to the trill and tinkle of their voices.

When I reached the boat after my stroll I found breakfast already served - 7 to 8:30 and reveled in the delicious strawberries and fresh smelts.

Now I am smoking a very sweet corn cob pipe I got yesterday. Your pipe is nice and I have smoked it most of the time. It begins to color but I have scratched the bowl and I fear it will never be very fine. It is too delicate for traveling. The bunch of flowers I brought in pleased the girls and furnished topics of conversation for the meal.

We are going to town to see the Museum and I to do some final shopping for this is the last town we shall see for two months in which we can get anything of account. Here come the ladies and the crowd so I must close for now.

We have only a short time to stay here so I will close now that I am by the P.O. and have a chance to mail. Good bye with many loving greetings.

Charlie -
Yes I love you!

[On a separate piece of paper, otherwise unmarked]
Now at last it is really good-bye - Be good to yourself and do not be lonely nor forget your devoted lover


On board G.W. Elder
June 1st

My dear -
Now we can consider our voyage really begun - Victoria is some hours behind us and we are off for a run of two days and a half before again halting. As I write it is near six o'clock - the sun has come out brilliantly and sea and shore are a marvel of coloring. It is a type of scenery that is quite new to me and one of peculiar beauty. We sail in quiet inland seas from which rise mountains on all sides to varying heights. Not long since we ran thro' a channel not over half a mile wide - Active Pass it is called - connecting two broader reaches of the Georgia Gulf. The land on either hand was not very high but was clothed from the water's edge with a dense forest of the deep green pines you love. Here before me and miles away rises a range of jagged snow capped mountains, their higher summits partly lost in white cloud masses. The lower hills before them are deep blue-purple in the level light and the very bases melt into the sea thro' a light haze. Lines of driftwood, gulls, (a whale's spout has even now been sighted), and many steamers dot and enliven the sea. Just now we are passing a full rigged ship towed by a puffing tug on one side and a steamer is coming up on the other.

I am seated on the topmost promenade deck near the bridge from which the captain and his officers navigate the ship. the girls are all learning to "box the compass" or with the men are spying thro' glasses at everything in sight. I for my part am basking in the warm soft air, enjoying the beauty of the scene and wishing for you to be here to share it all.

Everyone has some special interest. Saunders has been mounting and pressing some of the seaweeds he collected this morning at Victoria. the hunters and fishers are getting their guns and tackle ready; we geologists have as yet little to do but study the forms of the land - our turn comes later. So we pass the time each as he best pleases.

I spent an hour after lunch putting my little room in order. I took out the lower bunk and put my big trunk underneath in very handy fashion. I shall now have to sleep in the upper berth which is on the whole preferable and can get at any of the things I want with comparative ease.

June 3rd - Saturday

I did not get to my journal yesterday for reasons which will presently appear. But I will go on as if I had. Thursday evening we had a most glorious sunset. The sun went down behind a line of level clouds hanging above some picturesque islands. Off on either side the higher distant mountains were a glorious purple-blue which with the blue water gave a splendid setting for the golden glory of the sun himself and his broad path across the waters towards us. The glow had faded out by 8:20 and we were all summoned to the "Science Hall" to listen to a lecture by Dr. Dall on the History and Geography of Alaska - the first session of the Alaska Institute. Although from my reading I knew most of what he told still it was well given and I only went to sleep two or three times. When the discussion was over it was easily bedtime.

Friday morning I woke and got up at 4 o'clock in time to enjoy the most magnificent sunrise within my experience. The sun was coming up behind a splendid range of jagged peaks which were deep blue in the morning shadow while the sky was suffused with golden misty light. We had been lying by for two hours waiting for the tide to rise to its flood so that we might pass one of the most narrow and intricate parts of our inland way - Seymour Narrows. We came into [it] at 5 o'clock and it was indeed narrow and very beautiful. Since then the whole way (with an exception to be noted) has been in narrow waterways not over a mile wide with the mountains rising steeply on both hands 500 to a thousand feet, thickly clothed with forest except at the summit where the snow still lies in heavy masses. I staid around on deck till the finest scenery was past and there was still time for me to go back and get an hour's snooze before breakfast. Afterwards I read "David Harum" with such complete satisfaction that both time and scenery were neglected till I suddenly heard that we were to make a landing and that I could go so off I rushed to get my hammer and heavy boots on. We put into a lovely little cove - Beaver Cove it was called - on the east side of Vancouver Island, at the head of which quite a river ran into the straights. The whale boat was lowered and fifteen of us got in and were rowed to shore.

Then there was a scattering. I hammered away at the rocks on the shore and found some good ones, enough to keep me busy during our short stay - the botanists went for the plants and trees, Ritter dug at his shore animals, the hunters tried their guns to get the sights in order, Morris tried the stream for trout without success, the bird men followed their quarry through the dense thickets. It was good to get on shore again and get some exercise and I was sorry when we started back for the ship. We did not get aboard till nearly three o'clock and were glad enough to get our lunch. By the time I got my stuff packed up and stowed away I was tired and sleepy. I read David Harum again till I snoozed away and when I woke up we were out in open water where there was quite a swell and it was supper time - 7 o'clock. This was one of the two points where in a stretch of 1300 miles the inland passage fails for a short distance and we are exposed to the swell of the open ocean. I am rather ashamed to say that I was one of the few who felt the effect of the swell and I had to dispose of my lunch before I could eat a little supper. I took to my cabin afterward, went to sleep to wake only at 10:30 and then turned in to sleep away the rest of the night with great comfort and content.

This morning the breakfast gong waked me, refreshed and ready for what proved a very busy day. We found ourselves in a superb region. The snow line comes lower as we go north and the peaks that lined our "canal" on both sides were nearly all snow capped. The forest extends to the very edge of the water and to the summit of the mountains except where bare granite cliffs or domes break its even mass. And at short intervals cascades of silvery water come tumbling down from the melting snow. It was a combination of the grand and the minutely beautiful that was as delightful as it was rare. Just as I had started to write some more of this scribble to you the word was passed that we were to go ashore to examine a wild gorge close [at] hand and I packed off to join the expedition. The party was smaller than that of the previous day - about 10 of us. The landing was on some rocks that rose abruptly from the water, the thick mass of forest trees coming down to within a dozen feet of the water's edge.

It is hard to describe the delight with which I made my way into this untrodden wilderness. The forest was such as one reads of - towering trees mostly spruce, cypress and hemlock shadowed the whole ground whose surface was strewn with fallen trunks, all deeply covered with lovely masses of utmost luxuriance. (If I ramble very much you must excuse me on the ground that I am writing while I listen to a lecture by the "sky pilot" Dr. Nelson on the Indian Mission we visit tomorrow.) Back of the first ridge down which our cascade tumbled was a little meadow in which I found a few spring flowers - such as come first with you at home, violets, star grass, skunk cabbage - and others strange but lovely. We have indeed overtaken the spring in our northward journey especially as it is said to be a very late spring in all this western coast. Everything was wet as a sponge - the moss the meadow and the bushes - from the recently fallen rain. I collected my granite specimens and some flowers and returned along the bank of the rushing stream with new delight at every turn. On returning I had the comfort of a cold salt water bath which with dry clothes put me in fighting trim.

This and arranging my specimens took the time to lunch. We made a second landing at three o'clock, in a lovely cove called Lowe Inlet on the mainland. Here was a salmon cannery and a wharf up to which we drew. Dr. Fernow and I started out up the hill to reach a summit near at hand. It was a repetition of the morning's experience to a great extent except that we had a longer time and could get farther up the mountain. Still the steepness of the slopes and the many obstructions of trees and fallen logs made progress slow and we failed to reach the summit we aimed for. Still it was a glorious walk and gave me much-needed exercise and a new and deep impression [of] the country we are passing through.

I am hastening to finish this letter tonight as in the morning we have a chance of sending back a mail - from Mary Island - the first custom house on American soil after we cross the Alaska boundary. I wish we were to receive a mail there too!

The trip is so far better in every way than I hoped for and is a grand success. We are a jolly company, all work together and are all bound to do and see all there is in view. The most interesting part of the journey is of course yet to come. Within a week we shall be among the glaciers of Alaska and if we go on as we have so far making frequent stops for collection all will be well. We are going further west and north too than was first planned and may even visit the seal islands way up in the Behring sea.

Well I must write home and it is late so I must say good night. How I wish it were in person and we might have one of our long unwilling good nights and kisses. But for such joys I must wait. Every flower I pick I think how you would enjoy it were you here and regret your absence. Some day we shall have our trip together. Good night -


On board G.W. Elder
in Clarence Strait,
Sunday June 4th 1899

My dear -
What a contrast dos my Sunday make to yours in Cambridge in every detail! And yet there is one point in common. For each of us a church service was a possibility. Did you unlike me make use of your opportunity? Do you, now my evil influence is removed, again resume your well ordered life of church going? But imagine comparing the service in Christ Church with that at the Indian Mission we were visiting today.

But let me tell you how I happened not to go to church. We came into the cove on the western side of Annette Island where the village of Mettakahtta [? Metlakatla on the 1997 map] is situated soon after eight o'clock this morning, drew up to the wharf and were soon all ashore. The greatest uncertainty prevailed as to the length of our stay and consequently when I started off alone for my walk I only knew that we might start at eleven o'clock. Had I known we were to stay till 1:30 I would have had a more interesting tale to tell. It was a morning of cloud and sunshine but the latter finally got the advantage and once more proved the unreliability of the couplet

"Rainbow in the morning
Sailors take warning,"
for a splendid bow spanned our waterway as we came to the harbor.

I went off toward some bold hills a couple of miles away down whose front spilled a fine cascade but found the way a slow one over a boggy flat. Its surface was covered with a deep mass of sphagnum moss - a perfect sponge full of water into which the foot sank deeply at each step. But there were interesting flowers growing by the roadside and my shoes were good so I did not mind. Finally I got clear of the bog and down to the sea side where I gained ground much faster. By the time I reached the cliff my time was more than half gone and I had reluctantly to turn back without seeing the lake above or the broad view which the summit of the cliff would have afforded. But I had my bag full of rocks and flowers by the time I again reached the ship, and the return was more interesting being along the shore.

Reaching the ship and depositing my load I found there were still two hours before sailing as the party wished to attend service in the church, beginning at the usual hour of 11. I went up with the rest to the huge formless pile of the church and watched the Indians filing in with much interest. Indeed I even went in but it was damp and cold and I had not removed my clothing after my brisk walk so I took warning by my premonitory chill and went back to the ship, changed clothes, had a warming drink of that which cheers and may inebriate and then a smoke and a nap which lasted till the party returned and the ship started. But you will be wondering I am sure what is this Mission I have spoken of but not described. I will give you a brief abstract of what Dr. Nelson told us last night and I heard with half an ear while still writing to you.

Forty years ago a Mr. Duncan made up his mind to devote his life to missionary work among the Northwest Coast Indians and selected as his field a tribe known as the Metlakahtlans - a most degraded set, cannibals, improvident, inhabiting hovels and altogether beasts. He went and lived with them, learned their language, taught them gradually a certain self-respect, made them give up their bestial religious feasts and become outwardly at least Christians. He showed them how to build decent houses, helped them make saw mills and can salmon so that they became self supporting. In short he made men of them and by carefully keeping out the liquor traders built up their characters and resources.

His practical common sense was what made all this possible and he became a sort of prophet to his little people of 400. He was independent of all churches and tho' himself a layman made up a service to suit himself. Amongst other things he administered communion but, knowing that the merest taste of liquor would start his Indians on the down track he gave them only the bread and no wine. He was in British territory and hence under the administration of a meddling bishop of the church who was highly shocked at this frightful desecration of the service and declared it must be changed. After a long discussion Duncan at last, led by advice of friends moved across the Alaskan line to Annette Island where he was out of the Bishop's jurisdiction followed by nearly all of his flock. They took their houses to pieces and moved them; the school-house, built half by outside contributing, half by their own labor they literally sawed in two, taking their half to the new home and so they moved over to flourish under the stars and stripes. This move was made in 1887. Since then the colony has grown to over 1000 and they have a most prosperous looking community.

Dinner and the sunset have intervened - and such a sunset has never delighted my eyes before. How I wish my pen could describe a tithe of its beauty. As we swung around a wooded point a great range of snowy peaks came one by one into view until a whole glorious panorama was before us and then just as the whole range came into view it was lighted up by the alpine glow which seemed to fairly set the snowfields on fire so brilliant was it. This is the first really high range we have seen on the coast - Peaks of 6 to 9000 feet with glaciers upon them - which reach the sea. As I write we are making a landing at the wharf of Fort Wrangell where this letter will be mailed in the morning. It is ten o'clock and still light enough to read outside and the sharp pinnacles of the uppermost crags of the mountains which reach above the snow stand out against the sky in sharp relief. We lie over here tonight, have a chance to see the town in the morning and leave at 8 A.M. and as I must be up at 5 I must go to bed now though I could write on indefinitely if I chose. Good night my dear!!

Monday - 5 P.M.

I found at Wrangell that this letter would go as soon if mailed tomorrow at Juneau so I kept it to continue till then. This has been one of the finest days of the trip in many ways. Weather perfect - too warm for comfort almost when out of the light wind and the grandest mountains always before, behind or all around us to ever delight the eye with vistas new and changing at every new turn. I was up betimes and had a lovely ramble to the summit of a little knoll back of the town. I am rapidly learning to respect the hills of Alaska - a short ramble up one of them is equivalent to a day's work in any other country of my experience. It is the fallen timber that makes the greatest difficulty - great tree trunks piled up upon one another 3 or 4 thick in all possible directions. You jump from the log on which you have been walking onto what seems a mossy rock - and plump you are up to your mid leg in rotten wood and are swearing at the prickles which you have driven into your hand from the "Devil's Club" you have grasped to break our fall - a plant marvelously well named for it has a long thick stem closely armed with prickles, bearing at its end a bunch of fine large leaves.

My point of view was well chosen and the early morning light on the distant mountains very beautiful. but the trees made it difficult to get clear views or to photograph. Behold me then "shinning" with mighty labor up a broken tree trunk on whose top, 15 feet from the ground I perched unsteadily while taking a time picture of a fine mountain group. And behold me also exposing the same "film" again five minutes later for a still longer exposure at another point. Was I mad? By the time I got back to the village most of the party were astir, all seeking the many huge and curious Totem Poles which record the genealogy of the vanished Indian chiefs. Great tree trunks planted upright, carved and painted into most fantastic forms of men and animals - the symbolic forms of different tribes. Sharp at eight the boat started but not before I had obtained a first rate souvenir of the place - a huge wooden fish hook which the Indian willingly took from his line when we showed him our money.

By ten we were threading the intricate Wrangell Narrows with superb scenery ahead and astern which kept the cameras busy while the hunters kept up a fusillade, practicing on the sea-fowl and eagles that were within range on either side the ship.

Just as soon as lunch was over we made a halt at Farragut Bay and two boat loads went ashore, bristling with firearms like a boarding party but all the game they brought back was one tiny wren. We found deer's bones and signs of deer and bear in the woods and I was admiring the virgin wilderness of the uninhabited shore when I stumbled upon the hoofs of an ox shod with iron! a relic of some lumberman's outfit. The rocks were uninteresting so I turned botanist and captured some fine flowers which the others did not see.

Tomorrow we reach Juneau and a small party of us will leave the ship for a few days while she goes up the Lynn Canal to Skagway, the starting point for Klondike. I am more interested in seeing thoroughly the great gold mine near Juneau and so I suggested that some of us take a launch and wait for the return of the steamer which is in any case necessary. Seven men will do so - mostly botanists and zoologists and I shall have a chance to "do" the town and mine thoroughly. It will be a sudden change from the luxurious table we have on board to a miner's boarding house in Juneau but I do not know but a simpler bill-of-fare will be better for some of us. I am so far very well - a little cold the last few days but nothing serious and my appetite is simply enormous. My collections so far have not been remarkable in any way but they are as much as I expected up to this time and indeed even more.

Juneau, Tuesday eve.
June 6th

Two weeks ago New York and now Juneau - the largest town in Alaska - what a contrast! Behold me at the Occidental Hotel, writing at the card table after a busy day. It is 9 o'clock and still very light outside. Just now the whole town is down on the wharf watching the arrival of the weekly steamer which left Seattle the same day we did so that I have no hope of any mail from you being on her. We reached here early this morning and I have been over at the Treadwell Mine all day. The Mine is in Douglas City just across the narrow straights from Juneau, and the steamer, after merely touching here ran across to the Mine wharf and the whole party went to see the sights. The huge size of the excavations and the mills in which they work the ore is the chief feature to strike one but there was an additional geological interest to me in seeing the rocks. So after the party had returned and the steamer gone I went back alone to the mine and pounded rocks all day very busily. I go over again tomorrow morning to go underground.

Last evening I had a novel sort of an excursion. It was nearly eleven o’clock and the light was growing faint when our ship dropped anchor at the end of a little Bay called Taku where the zoologists wished to land to set traps for small animals. I thought I might as well join the party not being particularly sleepy and did so. It was about a mile to shore and a pleasant ride on the whole. It was already dark when we reached the shore but the traps were set and the rest of us wandered about the ruins of an Indian Village without finding anything of interest. On returning to the ship I took an oar and it is no fun to wield one of those 16 foot instruments. I am afraid I made but poor work of it but so did the others so I was satisfied not to have been knocked out of the boat by it. It was midnight when we again got on board.

Juneau is an uninteresting town of the typical frontier type - board shanties, pretentious stores, bad streets, innumerable dogs, lots of loafing citizens and now and then a picturesque Indian. The hotel is better than I expected. We have a lovely little naphtha launch to carry us around the harbor and had our supper on board last night, provisions being abundant.

I must bring this letter to a close and mail it by today's steamer. I can send again from Sitka in about a week and after that I do not know when.

Good night my dear. I think of you often as you last said good night to me with a smile on your dear face. Good night.


Juneau, June 7th 6 P.M.

My dear -
You see I am still here and might have kept my other letter till now for I do not think the mail steamer has yet come in and this will go with the first.

We have been having our first real experience of Alaska weather - pouring soaking rain all day long with hardly a break. I am in for the day and as I write in my room the strains of a music box playing Swanee River come floating harshly up to me, mingling with the drip and beat of the falling rain. I have [had] an easy and interesting day in the mine. The launch landed me at the mine wharf about 9 and the supt. Mr. Corbus met me and put me in charge of the foreman who showed me the underground workings. We went down in the "cage" and then 100 feet of vertical ladders and I collected specimens and information to my heart's content. It was noon by the time I had my stuff packed and then all dirty as I was I went to the supt.'s house to lunch. His wife was very cordial and gave us a fine meal and altogether they treated me in a very "white" fashion.

I came over here on the Ferry afterwards and found at the hotel a former Harvard man a Mr. Lewis who knew this country and wanted to know the Harvard news.

Now it is dinner time and as I must go I will close this now so that it will surely go in this mail. I enclose a clipping from the Seattle "P-I" as it is called everywhere about here giving some biographical details of some of our party that may interest you.

Good-night and may your dreams be none or only pleasant ones.


On board G.W. Elder
Glacier Bay, June 10th 1899

My dear:
The days are slipping away very fast, especially now that we are in a locality so interesting as is this. Yesterday was indeed a full day and I got no chance for writing and the day before I was under the weather and not equal to the effort of composing my ideas. Let me see - I left off before in Juneau after my day in the mine. That evening we had quite an experience. After dinner a number of Juneau's leading citizens came and introduced themselves and told us about the resources of the island and town and finally asked us to join a "stag social" given by the Order of Elks - a Social Order widely distributed through the west. We accepted, not knowing what sort of a thing it would prove to be but tolerably sure of something novel and possibly of some fun. It was held in "Slim Jim's" Opera House whose hall space we found filled with long rough board tables on which we found clay pipes and smoking tobacco laid out while kegs of beer and piles of sandwiches showed the character of the refreshments. The chairman took the stage and we soon saw where the fun came in. He had full power and none might refuse obedience. Most of his acts of power consisted in the levying of fines on the members for doing or for not doing things of all sorts, for saying or thinking or for not doing so, all sorts of things or for not carrying out with sufficient dispatch the orders of the chair. Two burly policemen hustled culprits to the bar to be fined and a refreshment committee kept the beer circulating. At intervals there was a song or dance or story either by members or by some theatrical variety people who happened to be in town. Among other things the head of our party, Prof. Ritter from Berkeley was summoned to tell what new animals he had found in Alaska and after a very decent speech he escaped by telling them that they might find out if they would all come to the Elder at four the next morning when she would be at the dock. We escaped at midnight when the stories were beginning to get unpleasantly coarse and turned in only to be awakened at 2:30 to get aboard the ship which had returned for us. I had to look up some laundry that had been left for us and by the time I got it it was nearly five A.M. so that by the time I had taken a cold bath and got to bed it was already 6: I was up at 8 with a fine headache and general Katzenjammer as a memorial of the previous night's entertainment and was not good for much all day. The steamer headed for this point and along toward noon we began to sight small icebergs, whose sources, the glaciers that empty into Glacier Bay soon came into view.

We were up in front of the great Muir Glacier by 4 P.M. and soon had the anchor out and two parties went ashore to explore - one to hunt for big game which was said to abound in a valley 20 miles to the eastward and intending to stay out four or five days. This consisted of Mr. Harriman and the hunters. The others simply knocked about on the shore till dark. I staid on board and went to bed early after a little game of cribbage with Mrs. Harriman and the Captain of the ship.

I wish I could give any sort of an idea of the glacier. It is the coloring which is utterly indescribable. It comes down to the water with a front of some two miles blocking up the whole channel. It is broken up into gigantic blocks which tower 200 feet above the water and of course runs down to the bottom of the channel which is here 600-800 feet deep. The solid ice is the deepest, darkest blue you can imagine - blue vitriol is the color if you know what that looks like - and as the bergs break off from beneath the water and come up to the surface they present great masses of this glorious blue. Where the sun has acted on the ice it becomes paler and finally quite white and snowy so that all gradations exist between the deep blue and white. The surface of the ice is a great sea of pinnacles and chasms between - the most chaotic and wild place imaginable. From time to time great masses of ice break or slide off with thundering crash and fall into the sea with a magnificent splash causing a wave which rocks our ship as we lie at anchor a mile away. The ice plunges beneath the water and then surges up again to half its former height before it finally gets its balance in the water. The water about us was full of bergs large and small some towering higher than the ship and quantities of small ice in between. In the morning (yesterday) it was raining hard and the cold was arctic. Several parties started ashore - ours a small one to go to the west side of the glacier; but we found the ice drift so thick and dangerous that we could not risk forcing the launch thro' it and we turned back to land with the others on the east side. I stuck to Emerson and Gilbert and first we climbed the mountain 600 or 700 feet up to get a general view over the ice field before we went upon it. We were just on the shoulder of the mountain which towered above us two or three thousand feet and hid its snow covered head in the heavy clouds. Here we photographed and hammered at the rocks. I found my first gold "prospect" - not I fear destined to make our fortunes - and then I had an odd find. Walking over the rocks I suddenly saw at my feet, sitting on her moss nest, a ptarmigan - a sort of grouse - looking at me unalarmed. I lifted her off and I am rather ashamed to say killed her and took her eggs, six in number. It seemed cruel but she was a prize for the bird men and science excused the deed.

We eat our lunch on the mountain side, then descended and left some of our traps in an ice cave and started for a ten mile tramp on the glacier to a rocky mass rising like an island above the ice - technically called a nunatok [?].

The surface of the ice we walked on was very smooth and even. It was nearly covered with a thin coating of mud with here and there bands of rocky moraine material. You could almost have ridden a bicycle for miles over the even surface except that the sharp ice points would soon have cut the tires. We crossed one place full of crevasses where we had to pick our way between deep cracks but the major part was clear sailing. We reached our goal, climbed its summit and had a broad view over the vast expanse of snow and ice that feeds the glacier. Mountains rose behind these fields again but all was shrouded in mist and the view was far from complete. We returned by a longer route of the same character and got back to the ship about 8 P.M. well tired out but delighted with the day's experiences. I forgot to say that soon after lunch we met the hunting party returning footsore, cold and weary - they had found deep soft snow on the summit and had been forced to turn back.

Mr. Muir talked in the evening about glaciers and told some good stories but I was too sleepy to hear much of it and turned in for a solid sleep at 10.

This morning the ship has run down the bay twenty miles to land two parties, one to camp for a couple of days and collect birds and plants and animals; the others for the day to dredge and collect. If all goes well I shall be one of a small boat party to start this afternoon and explore the glaciers along twenty miles of the bay, camping for a couple of days. Gilbert and Muir and 3 helpers make up the party. I am not yet packed for it and must go now and make my preparations. For now good morning.

- June 14th -
Sitka Harbor

My dear:
Good morning once more. Another and I think in many ways the most interesting period of our excursion is over and as I could not write during the busy days while I was away from the ship I must try to tell of our doings now. I see that I stopped writing just before we left the ship. Our party was made up as I described and we left the Elder at 4 P.M. at a point as far up the Bay as the ice would allow the steamer to proceed. It was a straight-away row of 12 miles to our first stopping place. Mr. Muir took the steering oar, and the three packers rowed, Gilbert and I taking the fourth oar by turns, the man not rowing sitting in the bow of the boat with a boat-hook to ward off ice-cakes from the path. This was our order through the whole three days of the outing and I never rowed so much before nor do I like it any better than I did before after the experience. Our camp was in a pleasant sandy cove and while the men put up a tent and got supper we wandered off to see the glaciers of that inlet, the Charpentier and the Hugh Miller which have retreated far back from the point which they occupied twenty years ago when Muir first visited them. This comparison of the present position of the glaciers with their former extent was the chief aim of our trip. It was nearly midnight and still light when we turned in after a fine supper. We had luxurious beds - air mattresses - inflated with a pump like a bicycle tire - which made us independent of the rocky treeless shore on which we were camped. We all scorned the tent and slept under the open sky - a fine sensation which I have not enjoyed for many a day. It was not altogether pleasant to turn out at 3:30 but the glorious sunshine of a perfect morning summoned us and we were up - had breakfast and had packed up our multifarious traps by 6:00 o'clock. The boat was all loaded and we were ready to start when we discovered that the rapidly receding tide had left us on the rocks and we had to unload and by great effort drag her down to deeper water. This kept us an hour. We spent the morning in the bay studying the rocks and glaciers and then coasted along the rockbound shore to the next cove 10 miles further. Thence we tried to cross to the further shore but found the ice packed hard and had to turn back to the cove we had last left where we made early camp - 4 P.M. I was thinking of you particularly all day, wondering what you were doing and thinking. I sat on the bow of the boat, poking at ice cakes and in the intervals where the water was clear indulged in day dreams with you as the central figure. The day was a most glorious one. The clouds which had concealed all the mountain-tops since we had come into the bay all rolled away and the sun shone with a vigor hard to bring into consonance with the ice cakes floating about us and the vast fields of snow which clothed the rocks and peaks above. Here we are indeed in a region of real mountains. Mt. Fairweather, 15,000 feet and over, and Mt. Crillon nearly as high dominate the sea of peaks that circle about the bay. Right by our camp near the shore was a delightful mossy bank where quite a variety of dainty plants were growing - prettiest of all the arctic willows which trail along the ground and perfume the air with their wealth of blossoms and a big bumble bee made a homelike humming. But outside this narrow circle little else was to be seen but bare rocks and loose gravel.

We turned in in broad sunlight about 9 o'clock and had a fine refreshing sleep so that it was not so hard so get up when we were called to breakfast at 4. The sun came up behind a fine group of jagged peaks into a clear sky at first but by 5:30 when we got away the clouds had come up and the day remained overcast and cold all the day. We found a skin of fresh ice on the bay which made the rowing hard and where the ice cakes were numerous, cemented them into masses thro' which we could not force our boat. We coasted the shore for 10 or 12 miles and landed on a fine projecting knob of beautiful white marble cut by innumerable dykes of green rock. On reaching the top we were surprised to find just beyond a fine glacier which was unnamed upon the map so we called it the Harriman and spent most of the day surveying and mapping it. Our way back was a long one and when we finally landed in a sheltered cove it was 7:30 P.M. and we had rowed over 23 miles. We found a couple of Indians already encamped - making a hearty supper on boiled gulls' eggs, with celery and dried fish while a couple of marmots newly shot indicated what the next meal would be. They were there to hunt seal and when they started off next morning their boat was draped in white cloth, white hats on their heads and a big white cloth screen hung in front, all to make the boat look like an ice cake so that they may draw up to the seal and spear him before he takes alarm. It was windy and so I slept in the tent for a change and as we did not have to get up so early we had a good sleep. The next day Tuesday we had our longest row. We went down the coast beyond the point where we left the steamer to see an arm of the bay we had passed by and then on coming out we saw the steamer again passing up the bay out of hailing distance. We had agreed to meet her up the bay but the ice was so bad we did not think she could get in so had counted on intercepting her at the mouth of the bay. As it was we had a ten mile stern chase before we found one of the launches and were taken in. The boats all came in by about 6 P.M. and we started off for Sitka where, after traveling all night we are just arrived. As for me, after I had had a bath and cleaned the first coat of dirt off my hands I felt fully ready for dinner and for bed soon after and am on the whole in much better trim after the 75 mile row and rough living than I expected to be.

Thursday P.M.
June 15th 1899

I had to drop my writing yesterday morning to go ashore on the launch. I had a letter of introduction to a Lieut. Emmons of Sitka whom I found and who proved a very delightful gentleman. He has just retired from the navy and built him a house here where he hopes to regain his health. He has been here off and on for 17 years and knows more of the Indians and game of this archipelago than any other man so he is interesting to talk with. To my disappointment there were no letters for me in the packet at the P.O. but another steamer comes in today which will take this letter back and she may bear me longed for tidings from my dear.

It was a wet drizzly day but still we all went to see the sights of this old Russian town which is the seat of what little government Alaska boasts. What with looking for jade and hunting thro' Indian huts for baskets and seeing the Russian church the day passed quickly and not unpleasantly. In the evening the Governor, Mr. Brady, Lieut. Emmons and one or two other gentlemen with their wives came to dinner on the ship and the champagne fizzed and the Graphophone sang and all was very festive. I forgot to mention that I called at the Emmons house in the afternoon and had a very cosy cup of tea.

Today we went down the beautiful harbor of Sitka to what is known as the Hot Springs, dropping a hunting party by the way. I went off with Gilbert for a ramble over the boggy moor to a good lookout point over a lonely lake and then back along the shore. We returned for lunch and now are on the way back to Sitka having again taken the hunters aboard, their game consisting of one deer killed by Mary Harriman with the aid of a shot from Merriam's rifle. She is an enthusiastic hunter and had already shot a deer in the Adirondacks. Her ambition is to kill a bear!

By the way here is her effusion written the other day with the aid of the other girls the writing being with her left hand for some unknown reason. They are perpetrating these things on all the party. Also I include the invitation just received for tomorrow night. The Gov. went with us today as well as several other Sitkans.

Well here we are in Sitka and as this must be mailed tonight and is already so long that I don't believe you'll read it anyway I will stop here. Give my love to Jeanette and remember me to Miss Búcher and any other of my friends you may see. And for your self - good-night - with all that that sad magic word would imply were I with you.


Sitka, June 17th 1899.

My dear Helen -
For three days we have been in or near this town and now having done it fairly thoroughly are about ready to start further north. It has been a very pleasant stay in this sleepy quiet little town and I have made some such pleasant friends here that I regret leaving. Lieut. Emmons has been friendship itself and sent me away a little while ago with several charming souvenirs of Sitka, one of them a wedding present for you. The three days have slipped away in various excursions. The first Wednesday was spent seeing Sitka and making small purchases from the Indians. Thursday the steamer took us down to the Hot Springs. Friday I made an expedition with Mr. Devereux to a mine at the head of the beautiful Silver Bay whither we went in a launch. In the evening we had the reception at Gov. Brady's which would have been dull but for the excitement of having some of the Indians there in order to get a record of their talking and singing on the big Graphophone we have on the ship. Their songs were not bad and the record when reproduced was fairly successful.

Today has been passed in loitering about again thro' the town hunting for baskets and in writing up notes. Finally in making calls at the Emmons and Bradys in acknowledgment of their entertainment. Mrs. Emmons had invited me to dinner for Friday but it was too late when we got back from Silver Bay for me to go. He is a great student of Indian ways and customs and had store of interesting photographs and relics. So an hour passed very quickly over a cup of tea.

The mail was a blank for me and I leave all hope behind here of hearing from you until we get back to Seattle six weeks hence. I can only hope that the old saying is true - no news is good news and that you are well and happy on this your last day of school. My letters must perforce be less frequent from now on. But the plans are still so uncertain that I can tell you little what to expect in that line. We sail from here direct for Yakutat Bay at the base of Mt. St. Elias where we shall spend some time. Then north to Cooke's Inlet where the hunters have their turn of sport and then westward to Kodiak and Unalaska with a chance for a run as far north as the Seal Islands which would be a rare treat could we see them. Then it will be straight away south for Seattle and Cambridge!! From now on we lose our Inland Passage and get the swell of the wide Pacific so we may expect for a while at least less regular attendance at meals than has been the rule hitherto. I cannot tell you how disappointed I was not to get a letter when others were reading theirs. I know it is the fault of the mails and not because you did not write. But it was very hard to really believe that there was nothing for me.

I have made up my mind that I will get nothing in the way of jade for Mr. Bishop. It was always scarce and has all been gathered in so that it is rarer than gold. There were a few little pieces here which I did not buy because of exorbitant prices and I expect to see no more.

We have just come in from the Greek Church where the Trinity service was beginning, this, Saturday evening. The singing was rather good but it was cold and damp and I preferred to have a chat with you before we sailed and left this letter behind. There was a funny sight at the Gov.'s house this afternoon. The Graphophone was set going for the benefit of the Indians who gathered around in crowds and their amusement was great when they heard their own song of the night before sung out to them. The starting moment has come and I must close. Good bye and be a good girl! I kiss you good night a hundred times and then again good night.


In Camp
Yakutat Bay, Alaska
June 21st 1899

My dear:
You see I have not forgotten that this is our day and that I was to write to you on this date if on no other.

But certainly it would be hard to imagine a greater contrast than that between my present surroundings and those that would have held had I stayed at home. Behold me stretched on the sand in front of a big driftwood fire partly for the sake of its warmth, partly to avoid mosquitoes by keeping in its smoke. It is nearly midday and we have been waiting idly and impatiently all the morning for the steamer visible over the bay to come and take us off. For we have been here two days already and have done all there is to do and would be glad to shift our camp. I think I said good night to you last at Sitka just before sailing away on Saturday evening. We had a game of cards that evening that lasted till late and when we awoke on Sunday we found the steamer still in sight of land tho' well offshore and much less swell from the open ocean than we had expected to find. Big glaciers were in sight and we headed for one of these - the La Perouse - coming within a couple of miles of it when a boat party put off to land. There was a heavy surf where they landed and all were well ducked before they got back again so I was by no means sorry that I was not one of the party. I laid around on the deck or in the cabin all day and read a novel, a wretched story by Weyman which was not worth the reading save that there was nothing else to do. The splendid range of mountains which here skirts the coast and should have been in our full view was masked by heavy low lying clouds and the day passed slowly and quite without event. In the evening there was a service and sermon in the social hall and after that I scurried around to get my things ready for an early start on Monday on this camping trip.

The morning found us at Yakutat village where a Swedish missionary labors among a few poor Indians now all away seal-hunting. Here we left a party and the steamer moved up the bay to this shore where she landed us and two hunting parties and then went on up the Bay thro' the thick pack ice. We made our camp, seven of us, Merriam, Coville, Fisher, Fernow, Curtis and a cook, in a shelter corner behind some sand dunes - a lovely place but for the mosquitoes which soon swarmed out of the swamps and woods. But on went our mosquito veils - black affairs which hang down from our broad brim hats and keep the hungry pests at bay. Tents were soon up and lunch ready. Meanwhile we had had time to see the luxuriance of the flowers round about. Lovely blue violets - quantities of large strawberries which a month later must give a bounteous harvest of fruit, big blue lupines and many lesser known but often beautiful flowers dotted the high grass or grew in swamps and beneath the willows and alders.

Yakutat Bay is the only break in the coast for 300 miles above Sitka where there is safe harborage. It is surrounded by lofty mountains: St. Elias the master peak, but we have as yet seen but the bases of the same and the glaciers that pour down from heights above. In the afternoon we started off in couples, I with Mr. Fernow and we went along the coast to spy out the lay of the land and see what we could do the next day. It was a cold cloudy day, squalls of rain coming now and then and we had frequently to ford streams too deep for our boots and wading was no joke in the ice cold water. We returned in time for supper and spent the rest of the evening and all the night fighting off the ravenous mosquitoes. It is a comical sight to see us all around camp with black veils over our big hats falling down to our shoulders to keep the fiends out and when we eat we have to snatch bites between slaps! Tuesday three of us went in the boat to the foot of the mountain and then scrambled up an old dead glacier whose foot was covered with a dense alder thicket although the ice was but thinly covered with soil. We went up by an open torrent bed but returned thro' the alder thicket which was but poor traveling.

Thursday evening June 22
on board G.W. Elder.

I dropped my pencil yesterday and thro' sheer laziness did not take it up again. We waited all day for the steamer in vain and I lay around in the sand fighting mosquitoes and watching for the mountains to come out of the clouds which they did to a certain limited extent, tho' not so as to show anywhere near their full glory. The ship which we had watched all day disappeared down the bay and we realized that the ice was too thick to allow her to approach.

Toward evening I summoned energy for a walk down the Bay and we were rewarded by finding a fine stream and on its banks an old deserted Indian hut and canoe. I have not mentioned that the only inhabitants of this region are bears whose tracks we were constantly crossing so that we were always in a sort of expectation that each short turn we made might bring us face to face with bruin who was said to be particularly fierce in this locality. Notwithstanding, neither we nor any of the bear hunters in the two camps got sight at the big game and the only captures were mice and many birds by the collectors and some salmon shot in the river. The evening was cold, rainy and miserable, the night was mosquitoey again and I got thoroughly sick of the camp. This morning we saw the steamer coming in and by the time we had packed up our duds the boats were in our creek and by 1:30 P.M. we were all aboard again. We found the steamer party in high spirits over a lovely day in the upper part of the Bay known as Disenchantment Bay so we quite missed the fun and got nothing in return. We landed this afternoon at an Indian village where the seal hunters were in all the glory of their chase - up to the eyes in filth, grease and blubber and it was a relief to get off to the flowers and shrubs of the hillside where we sat or scrambled a couple of hours away. Now all are on board again and we are turned westward down the bay. We lie at Yakutat over night where this letter will be mailed. Then we turn northward once more. We still hope that tomorrow the clouds will lift and give us a glimpse of St. Elias as we pas by. But it is but a poor chance and I have no great expectation that we shall be favored.

So Yakutat Bay has been disappointing to me all around and practically void of results. I hope for better luck in Prince William Sound whither we are now bound.

I do not mean to give the impression however that the camp was not a pleasant one nor that I did not enjoy the enforced idleness of two days. Loafing always does come easy to me and once my mind was made up that we could neither get away nor do anything I had a first class "bum" and put in all the extra time eating - 7 meals a day our cook says. And then it gave me much extra time to think of you and to wonder what you were doing and whether you thought of me once in a while on June 21st. In Sitka we had papers as late as June 9th and they told of a hot spell in New York. I suppose you too are wearing summer things that you so love tho' it seems hard enough to realize that it can be uncomfortably warm anywhere for here my winter wear is none too heavy and I find plenty of use for my sweater and the hideous but warm clothes I purchased in Seattle. The sudden transitions from the camp to the comparative luxury and civilization are queer enough and I must confess that camping out in such a rainy country loses much of the charm which I had learned to associate with it from my California experiences.

I must close in a hurry to catch the mail that is going ashore. Good-night with love and devotion from your


On board G.W. Elder.
Prince William Sound
June 24th

My dear:
I was especially lonely and longing for you this afternoon because it was so beautiful and I wished you might have been here to share the delight I found in the prospect.

All yesterday afternoon and this morning we were sailing in a thick fog that hid from sight everything a few yards beyond the ship. So that when the sun came out gloriously about 2 o'clock we were all doubly ready to welcome it, especially as it came just in time to give us a fine view of the entrance to this sound and of the grand mountains which enclose it. Yesterday we did not move just as I expected. Instead of leaving for the north from Yakutat village we returned up the bay to the Indian encampment where the ship lay all the morning while the trappers look[ed] over their traps for mice and Mr. Harriman bought some canoes from the Indians. I spent the time in a splendid scramble with two of the girls whom I piloted across several rushing mountain streams which they waded in their rubber boots while I jumped as well as I could. Then we scrambled up a steep snow slope and back thro' the bushy side hill gathering a fine bunch of columbines (how they made me think of you and our last walk!) and other flowers and listening to the sweet songs of the thrushes.

Prof. Emerson has just come and started telling stories and bothering me. I sent him off by telling him that the lights go out at midnight and that would be in ten minutes whereupon he desired me to present his compliments!

To go on. We got back to the shore just as the whistle called us aboard so instead of wading the streams again we hailed some Indian canoes near at hand and paddled out in these frail and tipsy dugouts. By the time we had finished lunch we were in the fog as aforesaid and I spent the whole P.M. in the cabin over a register reading with the result that I had a fine headache by supper time and was nearly seasick from the rolling of the vessel. But I went to bed early, dreamt of you and our wedding and woke up refreshed.

The mountains rose up as we entered the bay in a great snowy wall ahead of us and the nearer slopes were all dark green with forest. The swell ceased as soon as we got into the bay and we all lay around on the upper deck basking in unwonted sunshine and enjoying the view. The only regrets were first that you were not here, second that the sun could not have come out one day sooner so as to give us the coveted view of St.Elias and its glaciers.

We had a slight excitement about 4:30 in the form of fire drill, all appearing with life preservers on the upper deck and the boats being manned. After supper we dropped anchor at this place, Orca, where this letter will be mailed, and most of us piled ashore for a stroll in the twilight. I am off early in the morning to climb the high mountain so I must make this a short note. I started to write during the afternoon but the boat shook so and so much was going on all around including the shifting scenery that I put my pen away.

Good night! I wonder how you spent Class Day and today and whether you are having any sort of a good time. I trust so and also that you think of me once in a while - as often say as I do of you which is at least every hour and oftener.

Good night once more and still again good night!


Camp Perfecto
June 28th 1899.

My dear:
I do not know that anyone else calls it by that name - nor whether when they hear me call if so they realize all it signifies - this much however is certain - that it is a place worthy of the original as nearly as a camp could be. I wish you might have been here when we landed Sunday evening to enjoy with me its peculiar beauties. Certainly you would have appreciated it better then than you can from any description I can give under present conditions especially for they are to say the least not wholly favorable to letter writing. Six of us are in a tent ten by fourteen feet in dimensions trying to keep warm and dry about a little sheet iron stove. Again we are waiting for the steamer and the cold rain has driven us all in to keep warm. The quarters are close and the others are talking.

On board the steamer
June 29

You see the conditions were too much for me. Just at the point where I stopped there was a call that the steamer was in sight. And so, although it proved to be a false alarm, it not being our steamer, the interruption was enough to keep me from going on. Now we are once more aboard and with more abundant leisure and better auspices I will try to tell where I have been and what doing the past five days since I last wrote.

Sunday morning last dawned bright and glorious. I was up at five and off for a lovely climb up the mountains that rise direct from the water's edge at Orca to a height of 2000 feet. The walking was first thro' forest and then over snow patches and lovely alpine meadows with the earliest spring blossoms coming out - hepaticas, buttercups and the loveliest heather bells. I reached the summit and enjoyed the view while the morning light was still soft and delicate on the distant mountains and experienced once more that peculiar satisfaction that always comes in a mountain panorama. The descent was rapid and I got aboard in time for a second breakfast and a lazy morning on deck stretched in the hot sunshine. About noon we sailed away for another part of the sound and about six o'clock a party of six of us left the ship for a camping expedition and exploration of a magnificent and unknown glacier before which the ship had come to a halt. Gilbert was our captain, Curtis and Coville being the others of the party besides a cook and oarsman.

We soon reached Camp Perfecto in a tiny cove a mile from the glacier on a high gravel beach with forest rising close behind. A hasty cold supper and we were off for the summit of our island, Heather Island we called it, over the most delicious carpet of velvety moss and heather that ever foot trod. The top was only 400 feet high but gave us a superb picture of the huge ice mass before us and enabled us to plan its exploration. The sun set about 9:30 and we returned to camp for dinner at 10:30 after which we sought our tent and beds. Monday was what one may fairly call a long day. We rose at 2:30 had a solid breakfast were off in the boat at high tide by 3 o'clock and rowed 3 miles thro' winding channels and amid icebergs to one angle of the glacier front. Here we separated, Gilbert remaining to work at his map, Curtis, Coville and I starting off to climb an island peak rising from amidst the ice 5 or 6 miles away. Our first adventure was an odd one. I found a family of wild geese in the grass and caught one of the goslings. The parents ventured very near in their anxiety for the youngster and one of them fell a victim to the skillful aim of Coville's rock so that we had a famous goose stew for lunch next day.

The walk over the ice was an easy one and the mountain views superb in the early moring light. We reached our island or nunatak as it is more properly called about 7 and had a tremendously steep climb of two thousand feet to one of its lower summits, the higher front being inaccessible. The only inhabitant we saw was a big white mountain goat who surveyed us a while and then calmly walked up the cliff we dared not attempt. This is game which the so called "Big Game Committee" would have been glad enough to have sighted but of course we who had no guns but cameras were the ones to find it. Here we lunched, photographed, studied the flow and sources of the glacier and turned back about 2 P.M. The descent was rapid, largely over snow-fields, one of them steep enough for a glorious slide of 5 or 600 feet. Then back over the ice by a different route, past several lakes and through lovely meadows. It was nearly six by the time we rejoined Mr. Gilbert and then the tide had fallen and instead of our 3 mile row we had one of six miles around the island to camp where we arrived at 9 ready enough for dinner and bed.

Tuesday dawned overcast and rainy. We worked around the front of this glacier and climbed a small height on its left side towards evening getting soaked thro' by the rain, the wet bushes thro' which we walked and the long row home in the evening. As an heroic means of getting warm when we reached camp at 8 P.M. I took a plunge bath in the bay among the floating ice cakes and came out shivering enough but soon was warm and happy and quite ready for supper. The steamer was to have taken us up that evening but she did not appear. Nor was she there Wednesday so Gilbert and I resolved on another tramp on the Glacier on the further side across the bay. We had a late start for we did not get up till 9, but the day was rainy and we had quite enough of it after a four mile tramp over the ice. Again we returned to camp, getting in at 6 P.M. in a heavy rain and then it was, after eating supper that I tried to begin this letter with no success.

We began to seriously consider the question of food supply, for besides bacon, pepper and vinegar we had but two meals left. We turned in about 10:30 and at midnight were aroused by the steamer's whistle so out we turned in the rain and half light, packed up our outfit and went aboard. There was a warm welcome awaiting us however in shape of a glorious welsh rarebit which tasted mighty good and of course I had to smoke after it and 2:30 saw me in bed. The steamer had had various exciting experiences while we were gone. They had sailed up an inlet known as Port Wells with innumerable glaciers cascading down its sides, had found one whole bay with five great glacier cascades which was wholly unknown even to our pilots - a bay 16 miles long with grand mountains rising on either hand - Harriman Inlet it is now called of course - and had left a party there to map it. Then they discovered that the propeller was broken and had to return to Orca, beach the steamer and make repairs which accounted for the delay in taking us up. There had been a picnic party during the repairing etc. etc.

We headed back for Harriman Inlet to pick up Gannett and Muir so that we too had a sight of the newly discovered country in the early morning of Thursday. Then the steamer turned westward again and in the course of the day made her way through a devious channel out of Prince William Sound to the open ocean again. I am writing now on Friday morning June 30th while lying at anchor off the tiny town of Homer in Cook Inlet, our next post office. We reached here this A.M. in lovely sunshine and are waiting to go ashore as soon as plans for our stay in this vicinity are complete. Homer is a lovely [lonely?] spot on the end of a long sand spit that juts out into Kachemak Bay. The surroundings however are attractive - low wooded mountains on one side and fine mountains with big glaciers on the other. There is interesting geology and soon - tomorrow perhaps we shall be in the region of the big volcanoes we saw this morning in the distance as we came in so I am looking forward with interest to the Cook Inlet stay. So far Prince William Sound has been the most attractive part of Alaska we have seen and from a scenic standpoint at least the part I should care most to revisit.

I must close this now for plans seem to be maturing and the letter must go to the P.O. Our trip is half over and I count the days that remain with less feeling of hopelessness that they will never be over. I assure you that I would go home tormorrow if I could - still do not think that I am not reaping a harvest in the trip. Every day I am learning things of value and if all the facts are not tangible still in the end they will be more appreciable.

Good-bye once more for the present. Probably my next willl be from St. Paul - Kodiak Island. Love, Love to my dear from your


On board steamer
July 4th '99

My dear:
What I wonder have you been doing this glorious fourth! I hope you have had as lovely a day for it as have we here in this charming place. Too charming indeed for I have spent the whole day ashore instead of writing to you as I should have done. For this is the last you will hear of me until we return to Seattle. It is the northern limit of the mail steamers and we are off tonight for a long run to the west and north and leave our communications here. Look on the map and follow us on the following route. First to Unalaska and Dutch Harbor then to the Seal or Prybiloff Islands where we shall see the Fur Seals in their haunts. Then northward to St. Lawrence Island where we shall see the Polar Bear perhaps - then still north and west to the coast of Siberia at Indian Point almost at Behring Straits. That is the plan and then we turn southward again and hurry back to Seattle stopping only at Cook Inlet on the way. We keep our time and shall be in Seattle about Aug. 1st as far as we can now tell. As I write on the upper deck a crowd is admiring the skin of a big bear and her cub shot yesterday by Mr. Harriman on this Island much to the satisfaction of the whole party - for this was one of the main objects of the trip. It is a huge yellowish brown skin and a fine trophy.

I sent my last letter at Homer. We expected to stay some time in Cook Inlet but for reasons known only to Mr. Harriman but chiefly having to do with the hunting we turned sharp around the same day and ran over here. The next morning found us at a place called Uyak Bay where we left a party of bear hunters and then came on to this port. I got up very early to see the party leave and tho' they did not do so till after breakfast I was glad I got up for I had a most delightful sun bath for two hours in the charming bay in which we lay.

Kodiak is a tiny town on a very narrow arm of the sea at the base of a high range of hills which are free from timber but clothed in a superb coating of high grass literally filled with lovely wild flowers. We reached the wharf by 3 o'clock and I was off on the minute for a solitary tramp up the first hilltops and along them a couple of miles, then down and along the bay shore back. I returned laden with lovely flowers of twenty kinds but the rocks were as in most places uninteresting. You can hardly imagine the pleasure we all feel to once more be in a region not all forest or bare rock and glacier. The green fields have a wonderfully homelike air and when the fog rolled in on me on Saturday shutting out the distant views, the feeling that I was on the Berkeley hills, develooped by the myriad flowers and certain elements of the landscape grew almost to conviction.

Sunday morning Mrs. H. asked me to join a camp up the bay where the girls were to have their first taste of outdoor life. Mr. H. and his hunters had located the camp on Saturday and then gone off on his hunt. Several of us went up in the launch about 10 o'clock, arriving in time for luncheon, eaten among many mosquitoes but in a lovely place. Coville and Merriam were the other men in camp and the four girls were very enthusiastic. We went for a walk after lunch and the event was the discovery of an eagle's nest up to which I climbed and killed the funny downy young one which I found there. The evening meal was a lively one for each girl was bound to cook her own bacon and flapjack notwithstanding the four men besides ourselves who were at hand to serve. Then we - that is the girls and I escaped the flies by going out in the boat, the girls rowing and I trying to tell stories. We landed on a little island which proved to be a gem of a wild garden and returned in the twilight for a little chat about the campfire and a fine sleep. For strange to say every mosquito disappeared at dusk and I slept under the stars in entire comfort.

Monday dawned hot and clear - a real summer day for once. Coville and I went off for a tramp up a fine peak - about 3000 feet high but far enough away to make it quite a climb and interesting from the many and varied flowers all along the way. We returned at four to find camp broken up. We returned to the ship in the evening and later came the bear hunters not with their booty but with the good news of their success. This morning dawned again clear and hot, the temperature going up to 80 during the day and for once I enjoyed light summer clothes in Alaska.

A small cannon oponed the concert at 7 soon followed by another one on board with a double salute for the day and the bear. I went off with Gilbert and Emerson fossil hunting all morning with some slight success. After lunch came our celebration on the upper deck with an oration, poems, singing and graphophone music and then there were some boat and canoe races which however I did not see as I went off for a walk with Coville and some of the younger girls. Now it is later in the evening and we soon leave so I must draw to a close.

The period of our long stops has come to a close. From now on we travel rapidly with few short stops. I would almost rather spend nearly all the time in Cook Inlet which seemed a very interesting place but we have no choice and are thankful enough for what we have been able to do.

I bought a bearskin here which I hope will make a handsome rug for some place in the "Room". How is it getting on by the way? and what have you been able to do for its furnishings. What would I not give to know all you are and have been doing - to have a letter from you with any news at all! The next three weeks will be far the longest of all and I wish they were all over. Good night my dear and good bye. I slip in a bit of Forget-me-not which grows here in abundance with the finest color I have ever seen. I wish it might reach you before it turns black and ugly. Farewell with much love from your


July 5th

My dear:
Instead of going off last night as we intended the steamer stuck in the mud near the wharf and this morning we got up to find her decks sloping at an angle of about 20 degrees so that locomotion was difficult and it looked as though we were all a little the worse for the 4th.

I have just come aboard from a short stroll after breakfast and find the ship afloat again so there is nothing to delay her starting and I have just time to say one more good bye. It is a calm hot morning, just like some Cambridge mornings except that it is fresher.

I went into the big fur warehouse at the dock again this morning and wished I was a millionaire to be able to bring you some of the beauties I saw there. But alas it is all too little that I have and I must not spend it too freely as you warned me before.

Well I wish I could at least continue to write to you for that has been some consolation even tho' I could not hear from you. At least I can write even tho' I cannot send and you will get the letters some time.

July 5th

Left Kodiak about noon as soon as the steamer got afloat in a hot sun and fine quiet weather. Our first course was northerly to the mainland to pick up Ridgway, Saunders and the others put ashore at Kukak Bay five days before. We took them aboard about 6:30 P.M. in good spirits and reporting a fine collecting trip but rather a poor camp owing to many mosquitoes. They brought many birds and plants and a fine lot of fossil plants from some Tertiary beds near the shore. The sunset was very beautiful, a golden sky throwing into strong relief the sharp peaks and volcanic cones of the peninsula.

Played 6 handed euchre in the evening after hearing a short talk by Saunders on the results of their trip. We reached Uyak Bay at 11:30 P.M. to pick up the hunting party left there on the 1st and they came aboard after midnight. The view down the harbor at that hour was beautiful, a rich golden glow in the sky to the N.W. against which were outlined the distant volcanic mountains, the nearer hills and a big ship lying at anchor near the cannery.

Morris, Devereaux, Grinnell, Averell and Trudeau were the hunters and they came in looking tired and disgusted, no game, much discomfort from flies and mosquitoes, hard walking thro alder country, poor camps and packers - generally disgruntled. Most of the packers were here discharged. I did not mention that we met the mail steamer Dora during the morning, boarded her and got papers up to June 25th and a letter for Keeler telling of Wheeler's call to presidency of U.C.

July 6th

Sailed all day on a westward course toward the Shumagin Islands. Spent the morning reading, loafing and finally just before lunch a lively game of tag with the girls, Harriman et al. After lunch spent a good while packing up the fossil plants and storing the two boxes below.
A small party planning to land at the Shumagins while steamer goes north. Lecture in the evening by Trelease on insect fertilization of plants and its relation to color, scent etc. Good but evidently something given before and not spontaneous.
Splendid volcanic peaks, some glacier covered, in sight on mainland all day. Toward evening brought up the perfect cone of Pavlof Mt. and were sailing among the outer Shumagins.

July 7th

Turned out early and found ship at anchor in Sand Harbor Popoff Island. Could not get ashore so went to bed again and got up for breakfast. Understood the ship was to leave at 9 and went ashore with some others for a few moments to collect the lavas which we are here among for the first time. Returning find that Kelly is to go ashore here prepared to make a hunting trip on the mainland so with fifteen minutes to get ready I go along. Ritter, Saunders and Kincaid are to stay at Sand Pt.; Kelly, Pilot Jordan and self to go to mainland. Outfit the steam launch Manila, boat and canoe.

All ashore at ten o’clock and the steamer heads out and away west and north. No regrets after first few moments at leaving her comforts and the chances of interesting scenes to the northward in Behring Sea.

Spend the forenoon in a stroll over the Island with Ritter and Saunders to see the lay of the land and the prospects for their collecting which prove to be good. Returning we find the party installed in a big empty hotel erected for the Lord knows what when Sand Pt. was a port of call for sealers and whalers. Fine lunch cooked by Dickey and then Kelly, Jordan and I run down to Unga, 15 miles on the launch to visit a big gold mine there. We are too late to see the mine but have a pleasant call on the Supt. (Mahan [?]) and his wife and return to Sand Pt. during the night, having a lunch on the way and coming to anchor at midnight.

July 8th

Uncomfortable sleep on the launch and breakfast at the hotel at eight o'clock. Waste the whole morning waiting around for the Pilot to make his plans and get started finally about 12 for the mainland. Weather has changed over night from the clear sunny days we have been having to cloudy squally weather. The run across to Chicago Bay, 30 miles or thereabout took all the afternoon with much rough water which tossed the boat around at a lively rate. Finally landed in a little creek at the east side of a big bay about 7 P.M. in a heavy rain squall. Tents were soon up on a sheltered gravel bar and by 9 we had some supper and turned in. A half breed Russian, Ivan, is our guide, brought over from Sand Pt. He is a hunter and seems to know the land and waters of the region well.

Sunday July 9th

Awoke to find a glorious sunny morning. Kelly and Ivan went off early to hunt and the former came in at 9 with a hare, the only game seen. But tracks of bear and deer were seen. I found the rocks near camp contained fossils and had a fine morning among them along the shore to eastward. Also many many flowers - some of them, especially the arctic poppy new to me. Lunch at 3 P.M. Afterward went with Friedel, a Colorado ranchman and hunter for a walk inland up a fine ridge. Saw no game but ptarmigan and a porcupine which we killed for Merriam. Clouds came up again from northward as sun set but not soon enough to cut off a glorious view of islands and bays and rugged peaks. All same formation as far as I could see - Tertiary shales and sandstone of great thickness and tilted up to high angle. Lovely flowers and heather. Back at 8:30 P.M. to find a fine mess of trout caught by Jordan from the stream in front of camp. The stream is alive with salmon running up to spawn in the lake and the boys killed three in the forenoon in a shallow. They were poor eating but the roe was fine bait for the trout and the pilot caught them as fast as he could throw his hook till he had 99. Great supper - stewed hare, fried trout, boiled potatoes, stewed peaches and tea.

July 10th

Rain in the night and a gale of wind blowing down the valley this morning. Nothing to do after breakfast but lie around in the tent, smoke, play solitaire and generally loaf. Toward noon I make a rich haul of fossils in the cliff near camp - the best lot yet.

Lunch at 2 and as it has cleared off I go with Kelly to try and find Ivan who has disappeared since yesterday morning. He was to go with Jordan in the launch as pilot on a trip to westward. We cross the long sand beach to the further side of the bay and he goes on hunting while I look for fossils with some success, returning at 8 P.M. Kelly comes in little later - no trace of Indian but fresh bear tracks. Early bed and glorious sleep to this morning.

July 11th

Heavy rain falling this A.M. The launch went away at high tide early in the morning. Kelly, Friedel and I left in camp only. Late breakfast and then a bully smoke in the tent while Kelly tells stories of his adventures as a scout in Montana in the 60 and 70'ties, among the Sioux Indians. Was with Miles after the Custer massacre. Kelly goes off hunting at 12 and I write till now, one o’clock, when I stop my pen being empty and nothing more to tell. Rain has stopped but clouds still heavy.

After lunch the clouds broke and gave me a channce for a walk up to a fine hill directly behind the camp. Wet grass was uncomfortable but wind and fast walking soon dried me out. Fine view of ridge to northward, some fossils and dykes rewarded me. Back for supper and so to bed.

July 12th

Morning rainy and cold and miserable again. We occupy ourselves after breakfast by trying to heat the tent with a gasolene Primus stove which however will not light. So we borrow the old rusty stove from the Indian's still vacant tent and get up at least a good smoke if not much heat. Toward noon the sky clears again with the usual heavy northwest wind down the valley and after an early lunch Kelly and I start out together along the beach to westward to the next cove. Here we separate and I follow the beach for 5 or 6 miles up a fine big bay nearly to its head. Hard walking against the head wind. Somewhat scared by a fresh bear track on the beach tho' it is not going my way. At 4 P.M. I climb up the mountain and cut across country for camp. Hard walk up four big ridges and down to the intervening valleys. 8:30 P.M. before I get into camp and relish supper heartily. It consists chiefly of broiled hare, the only game seen by Kelly having been one of those animals.

July 13th

Kelly and I start early to try and climb to the summit of the main ridge, the weather promising a fair day. Lovely but very fatiguing walk of five miles about the borders of the shallow lake which fills much of the valley. The meadows are full of flowers but often boggy and where not so are so deep with moss that the foot sinks into the ankle and makes walking very hard. Just as we reach the head of the valley and start up the slope thro' dense alders toward our pass we strike a fresh bear trail going our way and follow it with great expectations. No results. Kelly decides to "lay for" the bear and I go on up the pass. Part way up I strike the fresh trail again and Kelly comes along and together we climb up past the limit of plants into a wild rocky gorge filled at the bottom with snow. The bear trail disappears and a dense cold fog envelopes us so we give up the climb whose chief purpose was to get a view to northward. Returning we eat lunch by a tiny brook on the hillside and then descend to the region of the bear. Kelly again stops to try and get a shot at him and I return to camp alone not without some uncomfortable sensations at leaving the rifle behind notwithstanding the six-shooter at my belt. Cross a lovely meadow and then around the other shore of the lake and back to camp by five o'clock, shooting a big 10 pound salmon on the way.

Take a refreshing bath, slick up and loaf around till evening when Kelly appears disgusted. He had been near enough the bear to smell! him and found his feeding place but not him.

July 14th

Kelly off very early after the bear again. Fredell [earlier spelled “Friedel”] and I get up later, have a leisurely breakfast and then he goes hunting while I keep camp. Catch a salmon in the creek full of eggs and with them catch 75 trout in a couple of hours on the bank by the camp. Kelly returns with no luck about one. The day is perfect but I am bound to stay in camp till he returns. After lunch I start up the hill behind the camp to get some photographs but the fog sweeps in just as I reach the top and my end is defeated. I collect some flowers and rocks, find the nest of a "snowflake" and have a fine scramble over the cliffs and back down the canon by seven P.M. Find the Indian has come for his boat and camp, having had a successful hunt somewhere to the westward. Fredell returns likewise with nothing. The trout for supper are delicious, fried in corn meal.

July 15th

Cloudy morning but clears up toward noon. A lazy day. Fool away the morning playing with the salmon and catching some more trout. Kelly returns for his bear for the last time about noon. After lunch, I collect some more fossils, shoot a couple of squirrels (ground squirrels) for Merriam and skin one of them, do some washing of clothes and am now writing toward evening. Wind still heavy but sun shining brightly. Kelly returns late still bearless and disgusted with the hunting.

July 16th

Clear this A.M. but a heavy wind blowing off the mountains. Start off with Kelly about 10, he to hunt the next valley, I to try the heights by the middle ridge despite the heavy fog lying on them. After getting up a short way I conclude it is useless and spend a couple of hours taking photographs of the opposite side of the valley and of details nearby, eat my lunch in the shelter of a big rock on the hillside, then descend, wade thro fields of flowers and grass, then the river above the lake and back to camp by the ridge, crossing lower down to the first creek. Spend an hour watching the salmon playing in a big pool and trying to photograph them in the water.

Fished in the stream after getting back and caught some beauties 12 inches long, in a pool near camp. Kelly came in late after we had had supper, tired and unsuccessful as ever.

July 17th

Woke up late - 8:30, to find a glorious morning and, with a S.E. wind the fog gone for once from the mountain tops. So as soon as I can I pack some lunch and make a start up the first ridge for Pinnacle Pk. Sun hot at my back as well as the little breeze and the tramp up the ridge therefore far from cool. Climbed up to about 2000 feet, as far as the crumbling pinnacles would allow, then scrambled by dangerous ledges around by the talus slopes to a snow slope that led to a notch in the ridge. Here I had a splendid panorama, including the waters of Port Moller an arm of Behring Sea to the NW. Also found the wished-for key to the geological structure of the region in the intrusive rocks filling a big area behind the peak. Lunch eaten on the summit and some rocks collected I am off again to slide down the snow slope and wander back over the loveliest alpine gardens clothed in gay flower garments, starting ptarmigan from the rocks here and there and a young eagle from his watch above the lake. Back to camp by 5 P.M. in time for a delicious bath in the bay and then for a quiet fishing near camp with the luck to catch a beauty 18 inches long and several not quite so large.

July 18th

My 30th birthday. We expect the launch or the steamer today and plan no long excursion. Clamber up the sea cliffs near camp to spy the contents of two eagles nests but find nothing in either. Fish the rest of the morning with some success. After lunch Kelly goes off with his gun and I too lazy to do anything else again take the rod and go farther up stream than usual. After I have caught a dozen and am just turning back tired of the sport I am aroused by a call and look up to see Merriam and Miss Mary Harriman across the stream. Hastening back I find the tents already struck and soon everything is in the boats. Those who have come in on the launch are fooling with the salmon in the creek or shooting at the eagles on the cliff. Kelly comes in just as we are about to depart without him and Camp Chicagof is at an end.

A late supper with some of my trout broiled as the best feature bring the day to an end except for a long discourse to the geologists as to what I have found. The ship carried out her program to the word, visited the Seal Islands, Plover Bay, Siberia, the whaling fleet at Port Clarence trading with the Esquimaux, and many other interesting points. But though I regret these pleasures I feel entirely satisfied at having stayed behind, having accomplished a good bit of geologic work. Dall declares my fossils to belong to a period not before found in Alaska so I have a good thing.

July 19th

Steamer bound for Kodiak again. Spend the morning unpacking and packing up again my rocks and fossils and flowers. In P.M. loaf about the deck. After dinner we make a landing at Sturgeon Bay, the N.W. corner of Kodiak Island. Heavy sea, rain and wind. Collect some rocks in the half light and dry out at a grand driftwood fire while waiting for a boat to take us off.

July 20th

Reach Kodiak in the early morning. Stroll thro' the pleasant woods with Emerson and Muir, gathering great bunches of the lovely briar roses that have bloomed since we were here. Indians cleaning a great catch of fish on the wharf making an awful smell. Miss Cornelia Harriman's birthday and lunch table very gay with wild roses and 15 candles. The baby cuts the gold piece in the cake. After lunch the launches run over to Fox Island - a fox farm where blue foxes are raised for pelts and we enjoy the outing on the cool water for the sun is hot. Leave Kodiak at 5 o'clock for Cook Inlet. Champagne for dinner in further celebration of the birthday.

I talk in the evening on what I found at Chicagof Bay and get out of it fairly well only Muir says I stopped altogether too soon.

July 21st

Land a party at Saldovia, Cooks Inlet at 5 A.M. I am up expecting to be put ashore at Homer soon after but delay follows delay and it is not till 10 A.M. that Gilbert, Dall, Coville and I get off in the launch. The early morning view of the great volcanic peaks, Uiamna and Redoubt on north side of Cook Inlet. We expect to spend two days near Homer while ship goes up the Inlet. Spend the remainder of the day at Halibut Cove, south shore of Kachemak Bay with interesting geology but fearfully bad traveling in the forest. On the way back to Homer for dinner we meet to our surprise the Elder turned back from her trip and get aboard for dinner. Pick up the other party about midnight and make straight away for Yakutat. Dellenbaugh talks about the [?] Indians.

July 22nd

At sea out of sight of land all day. Mrs. Harriman's birthday, celebrated appropriately in the evening. Another champagne dinner, music and speeches and fancy dancing afterward, then a welsh rarebit prepared by Dr. Morris and the young ladies in the ship's kitchen with much hilarity. Then euchre and smoking till 12:30.

I spent the whole morning packing up my rocks and those collected by Emerson to the north, 9 boxes altogether.

Sunday July 23rd

Approached the coast at Icy Cape about noon. Clouds slowly lifted and we coasted along the Malaspina Glacier with the panorama of the St. Elias Range gradually unfolding to the view, reaching its best about 5 P.M. as we came to the village of Yakutat. The clouds did not completely disappear from about St. Elias but Cook, Vancouver and the many pinnacles and ridges about them were magnificent. Many Indian boats came alongside to trade and for an hour there was a lively scene. Later we went up the bay a ways intending to put a hunting party ashore for a last bear hunt but they could not make a landing on account of the high surf and as soon as they were aboard again we steamed away southward. Spent a delightful evening on the hurricane deck watching the sunset glow and talking with Dr. Merriam.

Monday July 24th

Sailed all day in view of the magnificent Fairweather Range. A perfect day, clear and warm a steady wind carrying us along and the slow steady swell of the Pacific to rock us gently as we went. I scarcely left my post of observation in one of the ship's boats on deck all day but sat and drank in the splendid scene. Mts. Fairweather, Lituya, Crillion and La Perouse with many an unnamed peak between - great glaciers cascading down their fronts to pour their floods into the sea - densely wooded forests reaching up from sea to snowy slope - the picture ever shifting and changing as we move along. As the light failed toward evening we passed the last of the high peaks - the fog came down again and we left the open water and began again to thread the narrow channels of the Inland passage at Cross Sound.

After dinner something started us to giving college yells and once the ball was set rollling we kept up a lively jig the rest of the hour. A yell was immediately invented, adopted and practiced

Who are we? Who are We?
We are! We are! H.A.E.!!!

Everyone who knew how was called upon to dance and Ritter, Burroughs, Fuertes, Coville and Fernow followed in succession. Then came a Virginia reel on the upper deck and we adjourned thence to the hall to hear a fine talk by Elliot on a collecting trip in Africa.

25th At Juneau wharf in the morning. Had a pleasant walk in the morning up Gold Creek behind the town with Emerson and Trudeau. Returning met Lieut. Emmons of Sitka and had a pleasant chat. Ship moved across the bay at noon to coal at Douglas City and I took another stroll up the hill to the Treadwell Mine. Papers here up to the 19th July and the news of all Harvard's athletic victories. Start southward again about evening.

26th Still glorious weather. Just as we had finished lunch the ship cast anchor before a deserted Indian village where the whole party landed. A lovely cove and beach - fine trees and every appearance of a prosperous village but deserted for some years. After much discussion it was decided to carry off a number of the huge totem poles lined up in front of the houses and after all had been photographed we began. Till late that night and all next morning a gang of sailors, the packers and a number of the science people were hard at work hauling down the big logs to the water whence the launches towed them out to be stowed on board. Nine in all and a lot of small stuff were secured for various museums. I have one for Harvard. The best of the poles were removed.

In the evening cards.

27th. Worked all morning at the poles, had lunch on the beach and again worked but not so hard. A very hot day and the best part of it was the bath when the last pole had left the beach for the ship. The ship lay at her anchor long after all the stuff was on board to avoid passing the rough water of Dixon entrance during the celebration of the evening in honor of Mr. Harriman. Speeches, songs, etc. were the order of the day and were some of them very good.

28th Still hot but delightful as long as the ship is moving. Packed up in the morning. In the P.M. loafed in the shade or wrote a little. The event of the day was the Captain's evening. The ship dropped anchor in a little cove just at sunset and all hands repaired to the hurricane deck. The speech of the evening was by Emerson who was quite up to his high standard. Others spoke we sang new words to old music, the sailors gave us songs and dances and then came beer and cheese and crackers. Altogether the most successful and jolly evening we have had.

29th. A restless day - everybody packing or idling about not knowing how to pass the time this last day of the trip. Lovely sail thro' the narrow channels and hazy smoky mountains. Am appointed a member of the Committee on Publication - 12 in number - who are to be responsible for the volume which shall record the doings and results of our expedition. Have a sitting of committee after dinner. Hardest work of the day is writing something for Mrs. Harriman's album which I at last accomplish. Glorious sunset with the redest of red suns owing to the smoky air. A school of whales sporting about, throwing their great bodies clear of the water to come down with a tremendous splash. After dark some modest fireworks on the upper deck - then whist till late - beer and crackers and again a little whist before bed at midnight.

The lights of Victoria visible in the night. The heaviest wind of the whole trip - right ahead - tosses the ship around considerable crossing the Straits of Fuca.

30th Tied up to wharf at Seattle in morning - 3 tons of coal only, left in the hold - lucky we got in when we did------letters from home

Seattle July 30th

My dearest Helen:
You may be sure I was up early this morning when I woke to find the ship tied up at the wharf. I rushed up town with Mr. Curtis who was to have my mail and found -- not a single one from you tho' a large budget from home. But your precious ones came to me later and I had a long and delightful time reading them. I am glad you missed me - but a thousand times glad that you had so much to do and think that you had "no time to mourn." Evidently you have been as gay as the hot weather would permit and from the number of times you have been tired out I should say you had been doing altogether too much. I saw a Boston paper way up at Kodiak with your name as attending the Smith reception to all the Admirals so I knew from that you were still alive at least.

You must have your hands more than full to tend to the "Room" and all that involves as well as to take care of the children whom you of course have with you by this time. But then Alice can help you in so many ways and I know how you adore the children. By the way - I suppose you have been told that there is another Helen in the Palache family since I left. You've no idea how funny it is to have two whole months of news piled into one day - it's hard to straighten out.

Our main interest, now that the trip is all over is how and when we are to get to our respective homes. All is uncertainty. This much only is known - that we go from here by water still in the Elder to Portland, Or. where we finally take leave of her. When we leave Portland or by what route we return is not known and I do not even know surely as yet whether I am to see Berkeley or not. But I fear not. If I do it will not delay my return to Cambridge for I feel sure that counting all possible delays and stops we shall be back by the 10th as I telegraphed, probably sooner.

What will you think my dear when you receive this short letter. Will you be quite sure that I have not thought of you at all during the month since I was last able to send you a letter and have written you never a word? Do not believe it for a moment. Every day if not each hour I have had you before me and wondered what you were doing each day; and I have tried to write each day or nearly so at least an account of what I have been doing so that you can read it sometime in case I forget the details. But like you I have felt that writing to you directly when I knew that my letters could not be sent was so hard to do and so unsatisfactory that I gave it up. You were not discouraged but wrote in spite of your feelings on this point. I was less true to you in this way and did not put my longings for you on paper.

Even now this will reach you so short a time before I meet you face to face that much writing hardly seems worth while. My telegram which you must have read ere I pen these poor lines will have told you my chief news - that we are safely returned from our long journey with a rich harvest of results and experiences and interests. I have been gloriously well throughout, and have been able to accomplish far more scientific work than I dared to hope when I started on the trip. And I feel sure that when I get back and can tell you about it in the happy days we are soon to spend together in a union so much closer than any we have ever enjoyed, you will share with me the feeling that I did well to come and that your sacrifice was not in vain. What that sacrifice has been I do not believe anyone can realize as well as I. How I have longed to be with you during these days of preparation to at least give you my sympathy where my advice was unneeded. I know all you have done is for the best and only wish I could have shared your labor in planning the new home and especially in the tiresome work of the wedding invitations and lists. That I suppose must all be done before I reach you. And I assure you now that whatever you do I shall approve. Set the day of our wedding - send out the cards and let me know when it is to be and I shall be there.

Believe me that if I have consented to leave you this time it is the last as well as the first that we shall be separated, so widely at least - henceforth we shall travel together or not at all.

How did I come to tell you not to write after the 20th? I might have heard from you fully a week later here. Even when you receive this I may still get a line from you if you send it to Chicago, care Union Pacific Railroad Co. Send me a line anyway.

My plan for our wedding trip is that we go to some quiet place in the White Mts. for two or three weeks before going to Nova Scotia should that visit still be possible. I suppose that we need not be back in Cambridge so soon as we had planned now that you are getting the house in order before we leave. Perhaps the middle of September will be soon enough?

But all my plans must be to suit you who can judge better of the best thing to do being there and I will be only too glad if you will change them or make entirely different ones.

I must send this so it will go in tonight's mail. I enclose the journal. Read it if you care to and send it to Father as I have written nothing home of this part of the trip. I hope I shall have a telegram from you tomorrow when we reach Portland! Adieu - a kiss for each of yours and as many more from me. Love to Alice and the children. I do not realize that but little more than ten days - maybe less separate us but they will be longer than all the rest put together. Would that they were over.


Cambridge, Mass.
May 4th, 1899

My dear Ones:
If the telegram I sent you this morning did not surprise you very much indeed then it will be my turn to be surprised. As I wrote to Prof. Emerson on receiving his letter inviting me to go on the trip "it was the surprise of my life." But meanwhile I forget that you know nothing of the wherefor or how of the proposed trip. Thus it is: A wealthy New Yorker, Mr. Harriman is taking a party of his friends to Alaska for a summer excursion, has chartered a steamer and has invited as his guests about a dozen scientists. Of these Prof. Emerson of Amherst is one and being asked to take a younger man along as his assistant he invited me. The others of whom I know so far are G.K. Gilbert and W.H. Dall of the U.S.G.S., Merriam, Chief Gov. Zoologist, two prominent botanists, and possibly Pres. Jordan and John Muir. So you see the party will not lack of good company. It is the intention to go from Seattle, to which place we go from N.Y. by private car. We sail on May 28th, I believe although I am as yet but poorly informed as to the details of the trip. The trip will be the regular one up the coast by the inside passage as far north as Cooke's inlet and St. Paul. It is planned to be gone from Seattle 60 days which should bring me back here by the second week in August. There is no trouble in my getting away on May 20th, as the work is over for the year on the 30th and as my lectures are finished already practically Eakle and Dr. Wolff can easily tend to the lab. work.

Of course the chief obstacle to my going was my marriage which we had planned for the 21st June but as soon as Helen heard of the chance that was opened to me she said of course we would wait and let me avail of such a unique opportunity. Nevertheless I did and do feel still much hesitation in breaking up our summer's plans; but it seems too good a chance to let go by, and as I shall be back before the vacation is more than half over and it will still be possible to be married in August, it seemed best to accept. I have asked several of my own and Helen's friends how it appeared to them and there was only one opinion that I should go. I feel that I can anticipate what your answer to my telegram will be, based as it is on such meagre information. Of course I have no time to wait for letter exchanges but did not wish to accept absolutely until I had heard from you at home. My answer must be given tomorrow at latest.

Another thing that my going involves is that I cannot be at Leslie Ransome's wedding as I had promised. That is a pity but still as it seems to me no reason why I should not go.

I shall write again and more fully as soon as I know more details. Meanwhile with much love to one and all I am as ever your devoted,


Thanks for your telegram just received. Helen joins me in much love.

Sunday May 21, 1899

My dear Father and Mother:
Your loving letters of last Sunday came to me duly and I was glad to have word from you again before leaving. I see that I counted aright on your approval of my plans and recognized as I knew you must the impossibility of including Helen in the trip in any way. I really begin to feel now that I am going away - my trunk is packed and gone to the station and tonight I take the midnight train for N.Y. Monday I shall spend with Mr. Bishop's man, Dr. Lilley, in finishing up my work for him and on Tuesday afternoon at 2 P.M. our special train (if you please) starts westward. It may be of interest to you to see just what correspondence I have had concerning the trip so I send you the letters I received which please preserve. [These seem to have been lost.] I hear that Keeler and Ritter are to be of the party which will be good news if true.

I go away from Cambridge with the feeling that my year's work has been fairly well done and with the satisfaction of knowing that my salary next year is to be $1500, the highest that I expected. This information is not yet official but came privately from the President through Prof Wolff so it is certain. So now I can advance with my summer plans without the feeling of uncertainty that until now has hung over me.

The ladies plans for summer are fairly settled. Miss Jeanette will be in Newport as she has been for several years, as companion to a Mrs. Bullard of Boston. Helen will stay in or near Cambridge through July, either with her friend Miss Bûcher or in their own house with her sister Mrs. Kavanaugh who may come for a visit with her two children before the wedding. Helen says she will find lots to occupy and amuse her in getting things ready for the house such as curtains and linen and then her own dresses. There is a double advantage in this in that prices on all sorts of goods go down in the summer and Helen counts on much fun in shopping and bargaining!!

Father the Borrow only cost me 4.50 at the cooperative. Your V therefore so nearly covers the two books you sent for that you need not bother about the difference.

All our sunshine has turned to rain and the last few days have been cold overcast and dreary. This morning is the same, heavy showers falling at intervals. We should be glad of the sun again. Still the moisture is needed for the spring as a whole has been dry and crops are suffering for water. it seems a pity to leave Cambridge just now when it is at the height of its spring verdure and beauty. But I look forward to crossing the plains in the spring of the year - always before I have seen them dry and bare. I do not know our route beyond the New York Central line - I guess the Union Pacific and then Oregon Short Line but perhaps it will be a northern route.

The Jaggars will probably give up their apartments in Cambridge next year and go into Boston. Tom will therefore wish to keep the Perkins room and will take the book cases etc. off my hands so I can have new ones made to fit the places in the "Room" as Helen calls our house that is to be.

I am cold and stiff and will break off this rather incoherent letter to go and get some breakfast - my last meal in Memorial by the way unless the unforseen happens. I expect you will say to that last however that lately it has been the unforeseen that happened with alarming regularity and to that I must give my assent.

11 P.M.

Only time to say goodnight. With much love


New York - May 23rd 1899.

My dear Ones:
This must be but a hurried note to say good-bye. I begin to feel at last as if I were going to make a journey, the excitement of the last preparations and the saying of farewells to dear friends having brought it home at last. I left Helen Sunday night with a brave smile on her face but I know there were tears behind in both our hearts and it was far from easy to go. I had a short call on Mrs. Almy Sunday and she paid Helen a well deserved tribute of praise. "There are doubtless other girls who would have said 'go'. But I know of no others who having said so would not indicate by word, look or deed to any living being that she was otherwise than wholly content - or that the giving up of her dearest plans was other than a pleasure". Such or nearly so were her words and the truth of them was absolute.

I have had the satisfaction of finding Mr. Lilley well content with my work on the jade; and also Mr. Kunz. The latter had written most of the material which I rewrote and arranged and I feared he might feel I had taken undue liberties with his material. But he expressed instead lively satisfaction that I had produced so much order out of his chaos. I received $150.00 on account of this work and expect another hundred when it is all complete. This is my wedding present to Helen and she says it will all go into things that we can enjoy together in the house and some of which she hopes to get while I am gone.

Kunz is the gem expert for Tiffany and Co. and he showed me some of the glorious stones which fill their safes yesterday P.M. Oddly enough too the head of the house came in while I was there to whom I was introduced. The atmosphere of money about the place was not unfitting as a preparation to my luxurious journey.

Helen said Sunday eve as I was helping her wash up the tea things "This is a funny contrast to your special train." Still more in contrast perhaps is the fact that last time I went west 2nd class!! Father you should have seen Mr McGinnis eyes pop open as I told him where and how I was going to travel and of the men in whose company and employment I was in New York.

I dined with Lilley and Kunz in pleasant style at the St Denis and spent the evening at the latter's house discussing the jade article.

I must try to write no more for the present. I rather count on finding letters from you in Seattle. My further address so far as I now know will be Sitka, Alaska care Harriman Al. Exp. I will advise you further when I can. For now farewell with many messages of love to one and all from your devoted


Seattle, July 30th 1899

My dear Ones:
As my telegram will have already told you we reached here safely early this morning. I believe I was the first to get ashore, going with Curtis to seek the mail that should await me at his office. And sure enough there it was - your unfailing wekly letters father, and greetings from Mother, Lizzie, Whit and Mary. My Cambridge packet did not reach me till several hours later but its news was good like that from you all and I was greatly cheered by it all. The greatest news of course is that from Edgefield and I must send my first and warmest love to the new Helen. But how shall I manage to answer all my two months letters in so short a space. I must have time to get things in order and connect them with my own existence which has been so cut off from the rest of the world. Well the great trip is over a grand success from first to last. The ship carried out the plan which I wrote you from Kodiak. But I was not aboard of her most of the time she was north. I had a chance to camp on the mainland of the Alaska Peninsula which I seized in 15 minutes notice and was in camp from the 8th to the 18th July, having time to work out a fairly complete study of a region of rocks not before found in Alaska so I felt that I was well repaid for the loss of the interesting trip to the gates of the Arctic Ocean.

I cannot give you the details of the trip now. I kept a journal which has already gone to Cambridge and shall return to you in due course. Suffice to say that our luck and good weather lasted all the way back - we had superb views of the St Elias and Fairweather Mts. last Sunday and Monday, returned by the inside passage as we went and tied up to the wharf in Seattle this morning with 3 tons of coal left in the hold.

I wish I could tell what our plans are from here on, or say that I was coming to Berkeley. But no one knows what we are to do. Not till we reach Portland tomorrow can I tell for only then will Harriman know. We may go there in the steamer and our train will probably return over the route by which we came. But all is uncertain. Of course you will understand that I do not feel justified in the expense of leaving the expedition, for a visit with you would have to be limited to 2 or 3 days at best since Helen is anxious that we be married not later than the 15th and I am hardly less anxious. As soon as I know positively however I shall let you know. I have telegraphed Helen I will be in C. not later than the 10th and she is to set the date and make final arrangements.

I have been splendidly well from start to finish - have done much more than I hoped to be able to do and have had a trip of a lifetime. I must send this off to catch an evening mail so will close with warmest love to each and every one from your devoted


Portland, Aug. 1st

My dear Mother:
In my hasty note of Sunday I did not have opportunity to answer your birthday letter nor to send you special greetings. I wish to thank you especially for the lovely and useful wedding gift you have chosen for Helen. I am sure nothing could keep you more constantly and more lovingly in our minds than such a gift which shall be in constant use and to me especially it will ever recall our lovely days together in Dresden should my memory ever need a reminder. When Helen's last letter to me was written it had not yet arrived and she was in high expectations.

I hardly know what I should do amid the many plans that present themselves to me as we approach Portland. The plan for Whit and Mary to go on to the wedding fairly takes my breath away and I naturally wish more than ever that I might come to you and then make the journey with them. Even as I write I do not know what I shall do. We are going up the Columbia and are to reach Portland at about 6 this evening. Then I hope to find out if I am to have the chance of seeing you. I fear not for I do not feel it would be right for me to leave the excursion and incur the large expense of the trip across. I hope the setting of the date of the wedding will not prevent Whit and Mary coming. As far as I know the reason for choosing that date was the fact that the closing of the Summer School on that day would be the signal for the departure from Cambridge of a number of those who had before been asked to assist at the wedding and they could hardly be asked to wait longer than was absolutely necessary to insure my being there.

I fear I shall be able to give you but a poor account of the money you sent me to make purchases for you. I kept waiting in hopes of finding better opportunity to buy things and then lost the best of them by not going north. Such baskets as I saw in Sitka - and they are almost the only things worth buying - were ugly and expensive. Furs I was most uncertain about. At first I resolved to get none at all and then on second thought it seemed to me they were very characteristic tho' my ignorance of their value made it a poor business for me to go into. I got two bear skins - of which I send you the smaller. I hope it is something which you can make some use of tho' I have my fears. It is a cub Kodiak bear and I suppose you could get one as cheap or cheaper in S.F. The other things seem hardly worth sending - the two little berry baskets I found in Sitka - the curious bag or pocket of the seal intestine is characteristic Aleut work but was bought in a store - the bead covered bottle which was thrown in with something else in bargaining is a sample of the sort of work of which the Sitkan Indians do much, especially bead embroidery on moccasins etc. all hideous. In the package you will find Father's book - Life of Borrow which I have read with much interest altho' it was not so good as I as first expected.

For myself I have little more than I sent you. Two or three curious Indian pipes - baskets similar to the ones I send and a pair of paddles for a canoe. The one thing of value is a pair of old carved silver earrings very curious Indian work - a present from the Lieut. Emmons I met at Sitka. I found no jade for Mr. Bishop, missing the only chance by not going to the Bering Sea where also all the people purchased many curious things from the Esquimo and to Unalaska where are found the really beautiful Indian baskets.

Portland 7 P.M.

We are here and I close in haste to send this note tonight. The package of things is sent by Wells Fargo to Berkeley. Good bye with much love






For information on the Harriman Retraced Expedition e-mail: harriman2001@science.smith.edu

Home | 2001 Expedition | 1899 Expedition | Maps | Log | Educators and Students | Film | Century of Change | After Expedition | About This Site