Photography George W. Wyckoff, Jr. Return Home
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The worst struggle on the Far North expeditions may have been the fight to stay warm. Museum crews were always glad for the warm eider-down parkas and durable sealskin boots provided by the natives, but as George W. Wyckoff, Jr., describes, even the native gear did not always provide enough protection:

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"The greatest fear in the Arctic is to get wet, from any source, and then have your socks or clothes freeze . . . We kept our kummiks (outer boots made of seal skin) between our sleeping bags and the caribou skins.

"Without the Eskimo footwear we would all have ended up with frozen feet . . . A young man, George Wenzel, working on his doctoral degree . . . had frozen his feet earlier in the year while hunting and lost four toes . . ."

Photo: Wyckoff’s companion on the 1972 expedition, curator J. Kenneth Doutt, right, winds down for the evening in an Inuit hut – without removing his boots.

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