CROSS SOUND (Historic Information)
In going from Cross Sound westward to Valdez and intervening points, it was apparent that a radical change had occurred. For hundreds of miles hardly an Indian or miner or cannery or river or bay may be seen ; there are no places for them. Nothing but an ice-capped plateau on the right, and a boundless ocean on the left. Although the geographers have named it Gulf of Alaska, its entrance is 500 miles wide and it is nothing but pure, unalloyed ocean.
The Elias Range caps the ice field; its lofty peaks Mt. Crillion. 15,900 feet; Mt. Fairweather, 15,293 feet; Mt. Vancouver, 15,666 feet; Mt. Cook. 15,758 feet; Mt. St. Elias, 18,024 feet, and Mt. Logan, 19.500 feet are jewels in the crown of this crescent of- ice 250 miles long.
I climbed a small mountain sufficiently high to get a full view of the range, and there before me stretched glacier enough to bury Switzerland; and from this giant field of ice issued such branches as Muir Glacier, three or iour mites long and as many hundred feet above the sea; Malaspina, 70 miles long and almost 2,000 feet high at the water; and others smaller but yet so large as to make Switzerland's largest unworthy a name.
Yes, this is a different country; it is such an abrupt change Irom the countless bays, islands and timber-covered slopes, to this ice-covered range, fearlessly and precipitiously descending into an islandless ocean. This range of mountains is all different from the coast range. The inhospitable shore is a danger to everv storm-caught craft near it. It for all time has been a barrier to the race south. They were not able to protect the coast here, and hence came the Athabascans from the interior of America through the valleys leading to Cooks Inlet.
If the St. Elias Range is the end of the Coast Mountains, then Mt. McKinley is the end of the Rockies 20,460 feet bight is the summit, the highest point, the very climax of mountaindom on this North American Continent. In the same country is the vent pipe for this climax. Mt. Wrangell. an active volcano; the weirdest reports of its activity can be heard every year now. Last summer Mt. St. Augustine and Mt. Iliamma were active, and the natives had numerous fears and traditionary tales concerning them.