in Ketchikan at about 3:30 p.m. Tied up to a dock. Set foot
on Alaskan soil for first time at 6:34. Went to a drug store
with Mower, Lewis, Bond. Got a drink and some cards. Saw a
husky, which was a new one on me. Went to picture show. Saw
a good many Indians. Came back to ship. Locke brought down
three friends, Kelly, , and Schafer, or "Spark Plug," as he
is called. "Spark Plug" is one of the characters of Alaska.
When operations were started at Anchorage he wanted to join
a party. They wouldn't let him, however, because he only had
$1.45 and couldn't buy $40 worth of grub, which they insisted
on. He told them that he would be with them or right behind
them when they got there. He had a 26-ft. boat which he had
paid $10 for some years before. The boat had a 6 H.P. engine
which he had picked up and paid $10 for also. He had patched
up the engine so that it would run. The boat was rotten. He
broke his wrist pin, picked up a piece of hexagonal drill
steel somewhere on the coast, filed it down, stuck it in,
and went on his way. He arrived at Anchorage four hours behind
the party he wanted to join, sold his boat for $135, bought
a tent, a stove, and $40 worth of chow, and joined his party.
The trip was outside. He had no charts. He was on the way
for 45 days. He caulked his boat with old shirts on the way
up. He set his tent up in Anchorage, and put up the sign,
"Spark Plug, Will fix anything." He had to move about 4 times
the first 2 days. Finally somebody told him that he was in
the middle of the street and would have to move again. He
said that he had moved the last time, but that he would let
them move him. He selected a place where there were two stumps,
and told them that that place would suit him, but that one
of the stumps would have to come up. He intended making use
of the other one. They put poles under his tent, and about
25 men started the process of moving. The smoke was coming
out of his chimney, and an American flag, probably the first
raised in Anchorage, was flying from a pole. The crowd dropped
his tent, picked it up and went on. Pretty soon a fellow came
up to him and told him that he was afraid that his $1000 worth
of canvas would catch fire from "Spark Plug's" sparks. "Spark
Plug" told him that $1000 worth of canvas was too much canvas
for one man to own, but agreed to use a different kind of
wood if the fellow would furnish it. Presently he found a
stack of wood in front of his tent. One time he had a gas
engine which didn't have a flywheel. He got a grindstone and
put it on and turned the handle. The engine started and he
went his way. His most famous adventure was published in associated
press dispatches clear back East.
got caught in the ice in a little launch in Cook Inlet with
several other men. Finally he knew that the ice had brought
up against the shore somewhere. He told one of the men who
was a tailor, to take his Hudson Bay blanket and make socks
and gloves out of it. He told the cook to cook up grub enough
for a big feed the next morning, and then some. The next morning
he told the others that there was chow enough for one man
for six weeks, but only enough for about 5 days for all of
them. He told them to strike out and to light a bonfire if
they reached shore. He meant to stay by the launch to have
in case the others came back. They protested at leaving him,
but finally went on, and lighted the fire in due time. For
nine days he was in the ice jam. He had to bail like fire
to keep from sinking. Nobody could get to him. He would melt
some ice to use for drinking water. Only a very thin layer
on top was drinkable. About 4 inches of mud would settle in
the bottom of the pot. Finally he gave out of matches. He
made a fire by firing some gasoline on waste with the magneto.
He saved the boat from crushing in by bracing it with a plank
which he had thrown in with his usual luck before starting
out. It will always remain a mystery with the people of the
north how he or his boat ever survived. The ice jam was bad
enough to crush in a steel steamer. Ships have been crushed
in there. Finally he got out of the ice jam and sailed his
boat in, the engine being out of commission. He fainted when
they got him. When they took off his clothes his skin came
off with them. This is considered one of the episodes of the
North. Just the other day he went over a bluff in an automobile.
The car was all smashed up but he escaped with a couple of
small tears in his pants. He is a lean, lanky, country looking
fellow. His upper teeth stick out. Some of them are gold,
and some are missing. Locke says that Alaska is made up of
men of this kind. I know now what he (Locke) means when he
says that Alaska is a man's country.
has been in Alaska since 1894 with the exception of a couple
or so of short trips "outside." He has shot bear on the Aleutian
Peninsula, and gave me some pointers. He says that they don't
come down from the mountains until 2 or 3 weeks after they
come out of their dens, that they make tracks in the snow
on the mountains which can be seen 4 or 5 miles with glasses,
that they feed from 10 to 3 at night and sleep in the day,
that they eat vegetables and small animals until the salmon
come in, and that they can be seen along the salmon streams
at night. He warned me to hunt them from above. I have heard
this many times before.
shifted docks this morning to allow the "Admiral Evans" to
come in. Got up town some today. Loafed practically all day.
Went to picture show with Bond and Mower. Lewis and Bond went
to a dance, but Mower and I came back to the ship. Ela was
down today. Saw a whaler come in. Snow has been falling a
large part of the day. It has pretty well covered the bare
patches on the mountains. Started a letter home and wrote
out to Lake with Lewis and Bond this P.M. Locke had some visitors
down for supper, and "Spark Plug" for dinner. Went aboard
"City of Seattle" tonight. Stayed up until after mid-night
talking to Locke about Alaska and its strong men.
to Forestry Officer this morning. Have about decided to enter
the Alaska Forestry Service in the next year or two. Went
to movies tonight. Went out with Dailey and Bond this afternoon.
Daily took his 22 rifle and I took my 22 revolver. We didn't
have much success at shooting. A bunch of us sat up until
almost one o'clock tonight.
all morning, and practically all the afternoon. Ela and some
more company down for supper. Went to show with Mower Bond.
Heard that we will shove off tomorrow. If I don't go to work
pretty soon, I never will be any good.
write yesterday because I went to a party and didn't get back
until 2:30 this morning. The party was at the home of a Mr.
Cooper, a nice fellow but I would have to be educated to appreciate
the party. I don't savor ladies smoking and drinking continuously.
expected to get away yesterday, but when we finished taking
on oil it was rather late for a good start. We went to the
Lighthouse dock after taking on oil, and shoved off from there
at 7:00 this morning. Slept most of my spare time today. Had
an abandon ship, a fire, and a collision drill after dinner.
Weather got bad, and we anchored in Shakan.
stood anchor watches, as woolewars (williwas) came down from
the hills, and there was danger of the ship dragging the anchor.
The woolewars would almost take a person off his feet. I was
lucky enough to draw the 9 to 11:30 watch.