Read an Excerpt
EXCERPT, from Chapter I: The Difficulties of Starting An Expedition:
"Everything seems so easy and straightforward when you are young and a born optimist, and when your mind is filled with exciting plans which you will risk much-no, everything, to carry out.
Naturally, in your youthful arrogance you imagine that you are being thoroughly realistic and practical and have carefully considered all the difficulties which could obstruct the road to your goal. One way or another these difficulties become so small or-in imagination-so easy to overcome, the elements of uncertainty so unimportant, that the impetuous course of your thoughts towards the great goal is not impeded by anything so humdrum as the possibility of encountering obstacles. They, of course, can easily be dealt with when they come, if they ever do.
So it was in 1905 with my plans to find the unknown land which theoretically existed in the ice far to the north of Alaska.
The first and greatest unknown was of course the question whether this land I had never seen even existed. Time after time I went through all the arguments advanced, all the alleged proofs of the existence of that unknown land, and to me they seemed most plausible. In my opinion there were really no grounds for doubting that the land was there in the Arctic Ocean-quite the contrary. The land must be there, since two ships' crews have definitely stated that they had seen distant mountains rising high above the great masses of ice of the Beaufort Sea, far north of Camden Bay.
But all the same there was a tiny doubt. Could you put any reliance in a report of this kind coming from whalers, people who have had so many strange experiences on the high seas and related so many strange occurences, that even sailors themselves sometimes doubt their veracity? And they were the source here. "