It was time to do it. I mean, Dud had specifically dropped more hints than World War II bombs that he had always craved a pair of snowshoes, and Anita had given him a good set of wood and babiche trail shoes … (the good ones … 12 by 56) for Christmas.
Only problem at Christmas was … it’s hard to justify snowshoes when there’s only an inch of snow on the ground. But now, this morning, the world is a powdery white and it’s time to do it.
So just after breakfast, Dud Campbell walked on down to the field next to Lewis Creek and strapped them on. Kinda weird. But fun. After a little practice, Dud was shuffling along like nobody’s business on those shoes.
Only two more miles, Dud thought, looking back at his following dog team. Only two more miles of packing trail and he’d be in Nome. The Iditarod! Eleven hundred miles of driving a dog team and he’d only had to pack trail for the dogs twice. He smiled through the tunneled parka hood. It takes a real Alaskan to do this job right, of course, and Dud was the one to put the sour in sourdough!
Well, he thought, looking up at the yellow-diamond sky, there’s the old Miller place on the left. Well, where the old Miller placed used to be, anyway. Had to take it down, so all that’s left is this field … this field stretching to …
The North Pole, of course. Oh, others had been here before. Peary and Henson in 1909 and a bunch of others since then. But they hadn’t done it on snowshoes alone. No way. He would be the first. And he wondered … when I get there, will there be some sort of monument left by the others? Some way of telling I’m really there?
Ah, these snowshoes … great opener of doors for Dud’s imagination. Of course, there’s only one reason to reach the North Pole.
He’s always wanted to write in his diary, “From there I turned south …”