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Keep Those Runners Smooth

Before plastic was available, sledge runners had to be kept smooth by other means. Otherwise, sled dogs would have a harder time pulling their load across the snow.

A thick sludge of mashed moss and earth was applied to the base of the runner, allowed to freeze, and then scraped smooth. Water sprayed from the mouth would then be smoothed on - layer upon layer - with wet polar bear hide (ice does not stick to it). This produced a hard, resistant coat of ice.

The layer of ice would have to be applied often, sometimes several times a day, depending on the distance and terrain to be covered. The route through the rough ice had to be carefully chosen as well, otherwise the hard blows would chip the coating off.

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A Guide to Arctic Sunrise and Sunset GUIDE TO ARCTIC SUNRISE & SUNSET: How much sunlight or darkness is there in the Arctic on each day of the year?

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