No this isn’t one of those Nicholas Sparks arctic romance novels you were all hoping for, but the story behind this message in a bottle is heart-breaking. Scientists recently discovered a message in a bottle left under a rock cairn in Northern Canada that dates back to 1959. The letter was written by a young glaciologist and explorer, Paul T. Walker.
He had a simple request in his message: to measure the distance between the bottle’s location and the nearby ice shelf, then report the results to the Department of Geology at The Ohio State University and Albert Crary, a colleague who went on to be a prominent figure in north and south polar science.
The letter read:
‘To Whom it May Concern: This and a similar cairn 21.3 feet to the west were set on July 10, 1959. The distance from this cairn to the glacier edge about four feet from the rock floor is 168.3 feet’.
“Anyone venturing this way is requested to remeasure this distance and send the information to: Paul T. Walker, Department of Geology, The Ohio State University, Columbus 10, Ohio, USA and Mr. Albert P. Crary, Air Force Cambridge Research Center, 11 Leon St., Boston 15, Mass. USA. Thank you very much.”
Sadly, Paul T. Walker suffered a stroke a few weeks after he wrote the note. He came home paralyzed and died on November 11, 1959 at the age of 25. The message in a bottle also didn’t reach Albert Crary as he passed away back in 1987.
As for the request, the scientists measured the distance at 333 feet away from the glacier – a big difference from the 4 feet back in 1959. Still don’t believe in global warming?
Via LA Times