"Day had broken cold and gray, exceedingly cold and gray, when the man turned aside from the main Yukon trail..."
started his trail in the snow with his dog.
He pushed the dog in order to see if the ice would break. The dog fell in the water.
"...he compelled the dog to go on in front. The dog did not want to go. Suddenly it broke through, floundered to one side, and got away to firmer footing.It had wet its forefeet and legs,..."
It was getting hard for him to travel in the freezing cold snow with just a dog.
Man vs. Nature
His hands and feet kept going numb so he built a fire but it kept going out which made it worse for him.
The fire went out, he couldn't build a fire again because his hands were numb and the matches fell on the ground.
The dog continues the trail to find the fire providers because the guy can't provide no more. He died.
"And still later it crept close to the man and caught the scent of death....Then it turned and trotted up the trail in the direction of the camp it knew, where were the other food providers and fire providers."