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The Bering Sea Survey, C&GS
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Plans are usually made so that the triangulation and topographic parties can operate from one camp and the organization is as follows:

Triangulation Topography
1 officer 1 officer
3 men 3 men
2 horses 2 horses
1 cook

One serious difficulty in separating the triangulation and the topographic parties is that the four horses have to be divided, and since this is their third year together it is difficult to keep them separated. They will invariably break away at night and return to the base camp, leaving one of the parties without a horse.

One outstanding characteristic of the triangulation is the long hikes which are occasionally necessary to reach a station, and which supply the principal argument in favor of horse packing over back packing. The terrain is soft and by midsummer the heavy growth of grass is waist high. Large lagoons, some a mile and a half in diameter, impounded behind barrier beaches make lengthy detours necessary to reach the inshore stations. On occasions Ensign Conerly and his recorder made hikes of twenty miles in one day and once went this distance and occupied two triangulation stations. Obviously, this requires excellent stamina and much determination.

The horses are wintered at False Pass, where they furnish much amusement to the local residents and in turn receive a great deal of attention. When the GUIDE arrived in the spring the horses immediately disappeared and failed to return that evening for their oats and hay. The caretaker said that that was the first night all winter they had failed to return. The conclusion was inescapable that we were not welcome or at least that they knew what our arrival meant in the way of work. Their season started with a 70-mile trip from False Pass to Cape Sarichef, much of it over rocky ground and up and down steep ravines. (It was down one of these steep ravines that "Nip" fell and was killed just before the end of the season.) [Nipper Cove on the northwest coast of Unimak Island is named in memory of this horse.]

This trip has to be made "under bare poles," so to speak, with meager food supplies for both men and horses, as it requires about six days. Hay cannot be carried on this trip and the horse feed is limited to oats and what dry grass they can find along the way. The grazing season does not start until the first part of July and prior to this time the ship has to carry a supply of hay and land it at the various camps. Hayseed seems to get into everything about the ship during that part of the season.

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Last Updated: June 8, 2006 9:24 AM

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