Peary immediately set his men to work sledging and hunting once the Roosevelt reached Cape Sheridan and supplies were offloaded and stored on Floeberg Beach. Teams of Inughuit and Westerners went on month-long trips. The forays away from the ship gave the Westerners opportunities to gain important dog handling and sledging skills and allowed the collective group to learn the terrain and figure out how to work together and overcome language barriers. By early spring, when the hard work of crossing the Polar Sea began in earnest, teams of Inughuit and Westerners traveled effectively together, and some men became close friends.
Our little Peary doll and Samson Simeonie, our polar bear watcher, developed a close camaraderie as well. Samson enjoyed taking Peary exploring as much as we did. Together the duo documented some Cape Sheridan sights.
A number of ponds in the area have dried up, leaving salt deposits. The salt taste is mild and pleasant, and to everyone’s liking.
Samson and Peary were always looking for evidence of animals at Cape Sheridan. They came across tracks left by musk oxen, fox, wolves, various kinds of birds, as well as a polar bear. Happily, Samson judged the bear’s paw prints, which are rather large, to be a number of weeks old, and none of us came across any evidence of recent bear activity in the area.
Peary enjoyed climbing up to examine the Alert and Roosevelt cairns — so much so that Samson built Peary his very own Inukshuk!
Human-made objects from all time periods were always interesting, but most fascinating were the remains of structures and material culture on Floeberg Beach left by members of Peary’s expeditions.
Exploring, surveying, and excavating are hard work. Samson often heated water for our afternoon tea and a badly needed chocolate break. Peary often supervised preparations and then settled in for a nice afternoon nap.
Once back in Resolute, Samson went home. Waiting for his flight south, Peary spent his time watching “Operation Nanook” Canadian armed forces activities around him. He was also impressed by the logistical base of operations of the Polar Continental Shelf Program and the helpful men and women staffing the facility. He loved his venture north and hopes that people will take him on their travels throughout the world, especially if they are headed to polar regions.