John Franklin was an Arctic explorer and Royal Navy officer, whose last expedition in 1845 ended in tragedy when his ship became trapped in ice and the entire crew died. This was a sad end for a man who had made several successful expeditions, including his charting of the north coast of Canada in 1819. His exploits during this journey were recorded in his 1824 journal, Narrative of a Journey to the Shores of the Polar Sea. Franklin and his team faced many hardships during their time in Canada, and the following is a good example, when all aspects of nature seemed to combine to persecute them!
Having crossed two portages at the different extremities of the Island Lake, we ran under sail through two extensive sheets of water, called the Heron and Pelican Lakes; the former of which is fifteen miles in length, and the latter five; but its extent to the southward has not been explored. An intricate channel, with four small portages, conducted us to the Woody Lake. Its borders were, indeed, walls of pines, hiding the face of steep and high rocks; and we wandered in search of a landing-place till ten p.m., when we were forced to take shelter from an impending storm, on a small island where we wedged ourselves between the trees. But though we secured the canoes, we incurred a personal evil of much greater magnitude, in the torments inflicted by the musquitoes, a plague which had grown upon us since our departure from Cumberland House, and which infested us during the whole summer; we found no relief from their attacks by exposing ourselves to the utmost violence of the wind and rain. Our last resource was to plunge ourselves in the water, and from this uncomfortable situation we gladly escaped at day-light, and hoisted our sails.
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