The old-timer knows how cold 75 degrees below zero is. It is extremely well organized, efficient and cost-effective. According to , the hero goes on a journey by leaving the ordinary world and facing trials. The narrator is somewhat vague on this; but judging by the descriptions the story gives you, how old do you think the man is? Nose and cheeks were already freezing, while the skin of all his body chilled as it lost its blood. He tried to take a mouthful, but the ice-muzzle prevented.
Why do you think this is? He could not pick and choose, for he had to lift the fuel between the heels of his hands. He struck the fingers repeatedly and returned them to the mitten, baring the other hand for the purpose of eating. That there should be anything more to it than that was a thought that never entered his head. It struck him as curious that one should have to use his eyes in order to find out where his hands were. It's really, really, cold…like 75 degrees below 0. There did not seem to be so many springs on the left fork of the Henderson, and for half an hour the man saw no signs of any.
Placing it on the foundation, he fed the young flame with wisps of dry grass and with the tiniest dry twigs. And it knew that it was not good to walk abroad in such fearful cold. His wet feet froze the faster, and his exposed fingers numbed the faster, though they had not yet begun to freeze. But the instant he stopped, the action of the pump eased down. But the circulation of wet and freezing feet cannot be restored by running when it is seventy-five below. Then he devised a way.
Several times he stumbled, and finally he tottered, crumpled up, and fell. He moved them inside the moccasins and decided that they were numbed. Also, he noted that the stinging which had first come to his toes when he sat down was already passing away. Also, his moist breath quickly powdered with white his moustache, eyebrows, and lashes. And all the while the dog sat and watched him, a certain yearning wistfulness in its eyes, for it looked upon him as the fire-provider, and the fire was slow in coming. This fear quickly became poignant as he realized that it was no longer a mere matter of freezing his fingers and toes, or of losing his hands and feet, but that it was a matter of life and death with the chances against him. But the man whistled, and spoke to it with the sound of whip-lashes, and the dog swung in at the man's heels and followed after.
On the other hand, there was keen intimacy between the dog and the man. If his feet are dry, and he fails, he can run along the trail for half a mile and restore his circulation. But the man remained silent. It had been days since he had seen the sun, and he knew that a few more days must pass before that cheerful orb, due south, would just peep above the sky- line and dip immediately from view. The withdrawal of blood from the surface of his body now made him begin to shiver, and he grew more awkward.
It was not concerned in the welfare of the man; it was for its own sake that it yearned back toward the fire. When the man had finished, he filled his pipe and took his comfortable time over a smoke. He drew the lower jaw in, curled the upper lip out of the way, and scraped the bunch with his upper teeth in order to separate a match. But it was surprising, the rapidity with which his cheeks and nose were freezing. The dog sat facing him and waiting. It certainly was cold, was his thought. Sometimes there were alternate layers of water and ice-skin, so that when one broke through he kept on breaking through for a while, sometimes wetting himself to the waist.
He was used to not having lesson plans. Small pieces of rotten wood and green moss clung to the twigs, and he bit them off as well as he could with his teeth. GradeSaver, 1 July 2002 Web. He looked at his watch. Unable to feel anything, he succumbs to the cold. The trail-mate could have built the fire. If he kept it up, he would certainly be with the boys by six.
And still later it crept close to the man and caught the scent of death. Day had broken cold and grey, exceedingly cold and grey, when the man turned aside from the main Yukon trail and climbed the high earth- bank, where a dim and little-travelled trail led eastward through the fat spruce timberland. This was too much, and he made another wild run along the trail. The man is at constant risk of freezing in the brutal cold, and soon mere survival, rather than the prospect of finding gold, will become his preoccupation. Already all sensation had gone out of his feet. So he continued monotonously to chew tobacco and to increase the length of his amber beard.
It was a steep climb, and he paused for breath at the top, excusing the act to himself by looking at his watch. He unbuttoned his jacket and shirt and drew forth his lunch. The blazing matches fell sizzling into the snow, but the birch-bark was alight. Or does he simply fail? The exposed fingers were quickly going numb again. It was the only way to keep the biscuits from freezing. Suddenly he bared both hands, removing the mittens with his teeth.
He squatted in the snow, pulling the twigs out from their entanglement in the brush and feeding directly to the flame. When he makes an error in judgment and puts his foot through a thin sheet of ice that was covered by snow, his seemingly innocent trek across the Yukon now threatens his life. He was used to the lack of sun. There was nobody to talk to and, had there been, speech would have been impossible because of the ice-muzzle on his mouth. Yet he was no better off. Fifty degrees below zero was to him just precisely fifty degrees below zero.