After 23 yrs. of effort, hard work, disappointments, hardships, privations, more or less suffering + some risks, I have won the last great geographical prize, the North Pole, for the credit of the U.S., the Service to which I belong, myself, + my family.
My work is the finish, the cap + climax, of 300 years of effort, loss of life, + expenditure of millions, by some of the best men of the civilized nations of the world; it has been accomplished with a clean cut dash, spirit, + I believe thoroughness, characteristically American.
I am content.
Got away from camp 5 - p.m. of 22°. Same brilliant clear calm weather. Short distance from camp encountered an impracticable lead which Captain's trail crossed. Followed this towards land seeking a crossing. Got one entire team in water making an attempt to get over.
Finally lead swung to east, we found Captain's trail back on our side + took it up again. After a short distance through rough ice saw edge of the glacial fringe ahead of us. Stopped party till I could get up on it to take some photos.
At 8.30 p.m. of the 22 entire party on the glacial fringe of Grant Land, off the sea ice + practically on Terra firma though the fringe here (some 5 miles west of C. Nares is 5 miles wide). Found Captain's igloo a few hundred yards further on.
At 11- p.m. stopped for lunch, + at 6- a.m. of the 23rd reached the igloos at C. Columbia, 16 marches from the Pole. It has been a great return trip. Will never be done like this again. 53 days (43 marches) from land to beyond the Pole + back again.
The devil must be asleep, or his attention taken up by trouble with his wife, or we should never have got back so comfortable.
It has been a very comfortable return, + we have had full rations. But a little difference in the weather + all would have been changed. I am glad to be over the treacherous leads, + wide expanses of young ice, where a gale would have put an open sea between us + the land, + rendered our return problematical.