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the cliffs of the gorges the mountains rise by gentle slopes to the base of the peaks. The cross profile of each gorge and its surroundings is that of ice, not of water carving. It is the work of channel erosion, not of valley erosion, and the channels were filled with ice. It is a colossal exhibition of the eroding power of water in solid form. From Lynn Canal, a fiord 90 miles in length, there have been carried off and dumped into the Pacific more than 200 cubic miles of rock, and from all the fiords of southeastern Alaska the amount removed may be safely estimated at thousands of cubic miles. The ice has but recently retreated from these gorges, for since its retreat water has done but little work, although the region is one of heavy rainfall and extremely steep slopes, where aqueous erosion is at a maximum.

Of the great glaciers which occupied this region a short time ago, only trifling fragments remain in the upper ends of the gorges, and comparatively few now. reach the sea. I use the word trifling, however, merely in relation to their former extent, for absolutely these remnants are not at all trifling. The ice cap of Greenland and the glaciers of the Antarctic continent alone exceed them in magnitude. All the glaciers of Switzerland together would form but a few rivulets of ice on the surface of the great Muir Glacier, and the Muir is but one of many glaciers of equal magnitude. Indeed, on this coast are scores of live glaciers, glaciers which reach the sea, presenting to it fronts of ice or ice walls rising from the sea bottom to 200 or 300 feet above its surface, and several miles in length, and which drop bergs, with thundering sound, into the sea. such glaciers no fewer than 30 were visited by the Harriman Expedition, and many others are known. Of dead glaciers, or those whose fronts do not reach the sea, hundreds are known.



ward the northwest, but not at a uniform rate. They culminate near the coast in the Fairweather Range, south of Yakutat Bay, at about 16,000 feet, and in the St. Elias Range, west of Yakutat Bay, at 18,000 feet or more. These ranges are not regular or continuous. they follow the general direction of the coast, toward the northwest, they are extremely broken, being cut through on the mainland by many fiords and by streams flowing into the heads of the fiords. The Stikine, which reaches the coast near Wrangell, heads far to the eastward, in Canada, and cuts across the entire breadth of the Cordillera system. The same is true of the Taku River, which, flowing through Taku Inlet, reaches the coast near Juneau; and of the Chilkat, which flows into one of the heads of Lynn Canal. Alsek River heads far to the north, in Canada, and cuts a gorge through the great Fairweather Range. These are the main rivers of this coast, but there are many smaller ones, which head either beyond the mountains to the north and east, or far within them.

The coast line from Cross Sound northwestward to Prince William Sound is comparatively smooth and simple, containing no inlet of magnitude, with the exception of Yakutat Bay. As far as Yakutat Bay it is closely bordered by the Fairweather Range, which rises abruptly from 10,000 to 16,000 feet almost from the water's edge, bearing on the summit a succession of peaks and covered with glaciers along both slopes. A day long to be remembered was that on which our ship steamed, between 8 o'clock in the morning and 6 in the afternoon, from Yakutat Bay to Cross Sound, along the entire front of this range outlined against a cloudless sky.

Yakutat Bay is a deep funnel-shaped bay, penetrating far into the heart of the mountain region. At its apparent head it turns sharply upon itself to the

The mountains increase in height to- south and extends back nearly to the


sea in a narrow fiord, bordered on either side by high mountain walls. This extension, heretofore named Disenchantment Bay, has been rechristened. story of the locality is as follows: More than a century ago Malaspina, the Spanish navigator, entered Yakutat Bay while in search of the Northwest Passage. Sailing on up the bay and finding that open water extended far inland, he for a time thought that for him had been reserved the fame and satisfaction of discovering the long-sought route through the North American continent. His dream was short, however, for on nearing the bend in the bay he found his way blocked by a solid wall of ice. This ice was the front of the combined Hubbard and Turner glaciers, which then extended far beyond their present limits, completely closing the entrance to the fiord above, which at that time was probably an open lake some 200 feet above the level of the sea and overflowing southward into the Pacific. In memory of his disappointment, Malaspina named the upper part of Yakutat Bay "Disenchantment Bay.'

Prof. I. C. Russell, when exploring the head of the bay in 1891, discovered the fiord, and in an open boat traversed it for its entire length. Instead of naming it, he extended the application of the name Disenchantment Bay to cover it. We have rechristened it, in honor of its discoverer and first explorer, Russell Fiord. Our ship, the George W. Elder, was the first large vessel to go to the head of this fiord. We made the passage under the pilotage of a Yakutat Indian, and lay at anchor over night at its head.

Northwest of Yakutat Bay for many miles the shore is covered by a field of ice, Malaspina Glacier, which is in the main a stagnant pool, wasting only under the heat of the summer sun, and supplied by ice streams from the St. Elias Alps, which border it on the north and east. Farther to the northwest stretches a low coast, rising into mountains a score

or two of miles inland. Through these mountains flows Copper River, at whose mouth is an enormous delta, built up of detritus which it brings down from the interior.

Then comes Prince William Sound, a bay of irregular shape, with many tentacle-like fiords extending in various directions into the land. Its entrance is

nearly closed by islands between which are several navigable passages. The islands near the shores are everywhere mountainous, and on the north shore mountains rise to about 10,000 feet, the higher ones everywhere skirted with glaciers, many of which come down into the sea. Several of the fiords are of great length, reaching far inland. Thus Port Valdez, up which the Copper River route to the interior passes, extends inland more than 30 miles, and Port Wells, on the northwest of Prince William Sound, pushes 40 miles into the interior, far up among the high mountains, and each of its branches terminates in a living glacier. Passage Canal, too, up which runs the portage route to Turnagain Arm of Cook Inlet, has a length of 30 miles.

Prince William Sound, in the mountainous character of its shores, in its multitude of islands and fiords, and in the almost total absence of level land, resembles southeastern Alaska. It was until recently but little known, all our information concerning it being derived from the explorations of Vancouver and Malaspina, made a century or more ago. Within the past two years, however (1898 and 1899), exploring parties under Captain Abercrombie and Captain Glenn have supplemented the work of Vancouver and Malaspina, and have added materially to our knowledge of the coast and adjacent lands. Some additional information also was gained by the Harriman Expedition, especially concerning Columbia Fiord and Glacier, and of Port Wells and its glaciers, in the form of sketch maps and photo

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of Port Wells and a large branch coming in from the west were explored and mapped. This western branch, shown on the sketch map as Harriman Fiord, was in all probability closed at no very remote time by the front of Barry Glacier, which extended across the fiord to the opposite shore; indeed, until our visit, it was still supposed to be closed. In bringing our ship close to the glacier front to obtain photographs of it, our party discovered the opening between its point and the land, and as we steamed through we saw unfolded before us a magnificent vista of mountain and glacier.

"We were the first that ever burst
Into that silent sea."

It was sunset when we entered the portals, and through the long twilight of the Arctic evening we passed up the fiord, with mile-high mountains and great glaciers on either hand. A little before midnight we reached its head, where it is terminated by the front of Harriman Glacier. A surveying party was landed there, and two days were spent in making a reconnoissance of the fiord and its surroundings. In this fiord, in a length of 15 miles, there are, besides a score of "dead" glaciers, five live glaciers, four of them of the first magnitude, and all reaching the sea and discharging bergs into it.

The general direction of the coast, which trends northwest to a point beyond Mount St. Elias, gradually swings to the westward, and beyond Prince William Sound turns toward the southwest in the Kenai Peninsula. Beyond the end of this are mountainous islands - Afognak (594 square miles and Kadiak (3,642 square miles), the latter the largest island in Alaska waters. These continue the line of Kenai Peninsula to the southwest, and are separated by the waters of Cook Inlet and Shelikof Strait from the Alaska Peninsula. This

latter peninsula bears the backbone of the mountain system which follows the coast, the westward extension of the Cordillera. Of its structure little is known, except that here and there are upturned stratified beds and occasional volcanoes, some extinct, others still smoking, as if the internal fires were banked but not extinguished. Among these are Redoubt, Iliamna, St. Augustine (on an island near the coast), Pavlof, and many others. Beyond the west end of the Alaska Peninsula its general direction is continued by groups of islands and islets, as if the mountain range of which it is composed were sunken below the sea and only the summits of its peaks protruded above the waves. These are the Aleutian Islands. Upon them also are many volcanoes, some alive, some dormant.


Just north of the Aleutian Islands, which run in a broad curve, convex southward, over ten degrees of longitude, are two islands, Bogoslof and Greminck. These are very young, the older having come into being 104 years ago, the other being but 17 years of age. Only half a generation ago it rose from the sea with great fury and turmoil of escaping steam, and although for 17 years its shores have been bathed in the icy waters of Bering Sea and its summit wrapped almost constantly in chilling fogs, it is still hot and gives out steam. Its older brother has long since cooled and is now the nesting place of millions of birds and the breeding ground of hundreds of sea-lions.

North of these rocks, far in the gloom of the eternal fogs of Bering Sea, lie the Seal Islands, or Pribilofs, St. George and St. Paul-little islands of hills and gentle slopes of tundra, clothed in summer with a rich mantle of grass and flowers. Still farther north, in the midst of this dreary sea, where the sun seldom

shines, are St. Matthew and Hall Islands, buttressed by cliffs, above which are undulating slopes of tundra, grassy and gay with flowers, and beyond them St. Lawrence, a mountain island fringed by a boggy plain.

The Alaska coast of Bering Sea is mainly low and marshy, rising very gently inland, and consisting almost entirely of tundra. The Yukon, the great river of Alaska and one of the great rivers of the earth, ends its long journey seaward in an enormous delta, which covers thousands of square miles. Through this great area of low level land its distributaries meander sluggishly to the sea, bringing from the interior mud and gold and driftwood, to be spread along the coast by the cur


Such is the Alaska coast: where it faces the Pacific, bold, rugged, and bordered throughout by a mountain barrier; where it faces Bering Sea, low, tundra-clothed, and affording easy access to the interior by means of its great river.


Of the interior of Alaska we know much less than of its borders. Not only did the early explorers confine their attention almost entirely to its coasts, but the inhabitants, both natives and Europeans, owing to the difficulties of land travel in the interior, have always lived upon the coast or upon the larger streams, and have made their journeys by the water routes. It is only in recent years that definite geographic information concerning the interior has been obtained, and at present, through the extensive explorations carried on by the U. S. Geological Survey and officers of the U. S. Army, such information is rapidly increasing.

The primary slope of the land is toward the west and southwest, as is indicated by the courses of the great rivers of the Territory-the Yukon,

Kuskokwim, Koyukuk, and others. The trend of the mountain uplifts, on the Pacific side, swings around from northwest to southwest, thus following the general course of the coast. Of the great features of the Territory this chain forms the southernmost, and is the key to the structure of the country. Succeeding it on the north is the great valley of the Yukon, which is separated from the Arctic coast by ranges of low mountains and broken country, probably nowhere exceeding 5,000 or 6,000 feet in altitude.

The Cordillera attains its greatest breadth and altitude between longitudes 142° and 152°. Here are many summits reputed to exceed 12,000 feet in height, with Mount Wrangell, said to be 17,500 feet, and Mount McKinley,* so far as known, the highest summit on the North American continent, rising to an altitude of 20,464 feet. In this portion of the mountain system are the sources of many large rivers, the White, a branch of the Yukon; the Copper, well named on account of the enormous deposits of copper ore found near it; the Sushitna, flowing into the head of Cook Inlet; the Tanana, another branch of the Yukon, and finally the Kuskokwim, which, heading in the western part of this group, flows southwest into Bering Sea. In the region north of the Yukon Valley originate many streams, including several large branches of the Yukon, as the Porcupine and Koyukuk; other into Kotzebue Sound, and still others, streams, as the Noatak and Kowak, flow as the Colville, flow northward into the Arctic Ocean.

The country is intersected by a network of rivers and lakes navigable for canoes, although navigation is much interrupted by rapids and falls. The great highway of the Territory is the Yukon River, which, heading in British Columbia, flows northwestward through a succession of lakes and rapids, and

* Longitude 149°, latitude 63°.

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