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ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

TABLE OF CONTENTS

ILLUSTRATIONS

CHAPTER I:
A JOURNEY OF SENTIMENT


CHAPTER II:
THE FATAL ERROR


CHAPTER III:
DUTY FIRST


CHAPTER IV:
A MAN'S GAME


CHAPTER V:
A PERMANENT MEMORIAL


CHAPTER VI:
WILL THE ICE TURN US BACK?


CHAPTER VII:
STORMY VOYAGE


CHAPTER VIII:
RETURN TO NORTHWEST RIVER


CHAPTER IX:
A CHIEF VOYAGEUR


CHAPTER X:
THE BEAVER IS A BAD RIVER


CHAPTER XI:
SOUNDING THE BIG LAKE


CHAPTER XII:
BREAD WITHOUT BAKING POWDER MAKES ME SICK


CHAPTER XIII:
I NEVER TRAVELS ON SUNDAY


CHAPTER XIV:
VIRGIN AS GOD MADE IT


CHAPTER XV:
FIRST PORTAGE


CHAPTER XVI:
TRAIL COMPANIONS


CHAPTER XVII:
MURDOCK'S RAPID


CHAPTER XVIII:
TRACKING THROUGH BOULDERS


CHAPTER XIX:
MARCH TO YOUR FRONT LIKE A SOLDIER


CHAPTER XX:
IT'S ALWAYS BAD LUCK TO TRAVEL ON SUNDAY


CHAPTER XXI:
WORST COUNTRY FOR GAME I EVER SAW


CHAPTER XXII:
BACK TO GET THE BAKING POWDER


CHAPTER XXIII:
DISASTER IN THE RAPIDS


CHAPTER XXIV:
TAKING STOCK


CHAPTER XXV:
GRAPPLING


CHAPTER XXVI:
INDIANS HAVE PLENTY OF HARD TIMES


CHAPTER XXVII:
THIS RIVER IS LIKE A BAD WOMAN


CHAPTER XXVIII:
NO RELIEF FROM WADING


CHAPTER XXIX:
HELL AND TWENTY


CHAPTER XXX:
BACKPACKING TO THE SUSAN


CHAPTER XXXI:
VALLEY OF THE SHADOW OF DEATH


CHAPTER XXXII:
THE MIND WORKS CURIOUSLY


CHAPTER XXXIII:
RELIVING THE PARTING


CHAPTER XXXIV:
MARKING HUBBARD'S BOULDER


CHAPTER XXXV:
A NEW DISASTER


CHAPTER XXXVI:
THE HARDEST BIT OF TRAVELING I EVER DONE


CHAPTER XXXVII:
SOMETHING WORTHWHILE UP THERE IN THE HILLS


NOTES

PHOTO GALLERY

COLOUR SLIDE GALLERY

ADDENDUM TO
THIRD EDITION

COMMENTS ON THE
NAMING COMPULSION


BACK TO THE LABRADOR WILDS

 XXVII

THIS RIVER IS LIKE A BAD WOMAN

The portage to Roger Newell Falls was not a hard one and we made it easily in two loads.  Then the river work began again, more toilsome and difficult than ever.  The water poured down in a mad, white fury to meet us.  For several miles the stream, dropping down an incline that rose abruptly into the hills, was separated into two and frequently three channels. These were blocked by boulders and rock-ribbed bars, which made it necessary for us to work almost continuously in the icy water.  Whenever bars occurred, we lifted or dragged the loaded canoe over them by main strength.  When there was enough water on a bar to partly float the canoe over it, Gilbert would force it the remainder of the way alone, while Judge Malone and I hauled on the line; but oftener the united efforts of the Judge and Gilbert, one at each end of the canoe, were needed, while I manipulated the rope alone.  Out in the main channel there was water aplenty, but it was too big and too rough for us to breast, and we were forced to keep to the shallower inshore water.

In thus hauling the canoe over rocks its bottom was of course harshly used.  Indeed, we marveled that cedar and canvas could withstand the abuse to which this frail craft was continuously subjected for several days.

The only relief from this almost constant strife with the rapids was on rare occasions when the main channel ran close to shore and the rapids were too swift and treacherous to risk putting the canoe into them.  Whenever this occurred, portages became necessary, and afforded welcome interludes between long intervals of wading.

Saturday proved a particularly trying day.  The weather was raw, the water icy.  Drenching wet, with teeth chattering we made camp that night on a slight elevation on the north side of the river.  At Disaster Camp, as we called it, a narrow margin of land, of significant proportions, occurred between river and hills.  Here, before our Saturday camp, lay a beautiful amphitheatre, the first substantial opening of the valley not claimed by the river, with which we met.  Here, also, the river was again confined to a single channel, and thenceforward so continued.

Our campsite on this occasion was a most beautiful and romantic one.  A brook fell in sparkling cascades from the summit of a hill on the opposite side of the amphitheatre.  Above us the turbulent river disappeared among rolling forested hills, which closed in upon it to hide it in the seclusion of their unknown and mysterious recesses.  In the far distance bald, bleak, weather-beaten peaks rose above the dark green of the lower hills.  The forest around us was carpeted with thick gray caribou moss.

When we pitched our tent and made things snug for the night, we converted our tarpaulin into a lean-to shelter opening before a roaring fire, the tarpaulin protecting us from a raw and penetrating wind, which blew down the valley.  What a comfort a good campfire is at the end of a hard day’s work!  How it lulls one into forgetfulness of the hardships of the trail!  How it soothes, and banishes discouragement!  The evening hour at the campfire offers ample recompense for all the toil and disappointments of the day.  Here there is time to chat with one’s comrades, or to contemplate in silence while the darkening shadows of night steal in upon the wilderness.

“This river,” remarked the Judge as he lighted his pipe and stretched his long limbs comfortably by the fire after we had eaten our supper, “is like bad woman. How beautiful and charming it was at first, smiling at us and deceiving us, until it had us fast its coils and wedded up to it.  Then it shows its wicked heart.”

“Yes, I suppose some women is that way,” said Gilbert.  “They gets a fellow married to ’em, and then they makes traveling lively and rough for him and spends all he earns.  The river has sure made us pay up well for knowing her.”

“It sure has,” agreed the judge.  “It’s like one of the old turnpikes, where you pay a toll to travel.  And it has made us pay toll pretty nearly every day, and heavy toll, too.   I’m thankful we’ve escaped a levy to-day.”

“Here’s a bag of potatoes we didn’t dry out enough, and they’ve gone sour,” Gilbert presently announced, as he looked through the provision bags and distributed them around the fire to dry.

“That’s to-day’s toll!” said the Judge.  “Pitch ’em into the river and let the river have ‘em if they’re no good.”

Then he produced his tin whistle, and struck up “The Campbells are Coming.”

“What a honeymoon trip this would be for a young couple,” the Judge finally remarked, laying aside his whistle after several renditions of “The Campbells are Coming,” and some soul-searching attempts at other tunes.

“Twould be a hard one now,” Gilbert volunteered.  “They wouldn’t have much time to make love.”

Oh,” said the Judge, “the bridegroom could track the canoe, and the bride could pick daisies by the way, and they could make love between times.”

“Daisies don’t grow in this country,” said Gilbert seriously, “and one couldn’t track the canoe alone.”

On Sunday we held divine service.  The Judge and I each read aloud a lesson from the scriptures, followed by some hymns in which Gilbert led, and a reading by the Judge from Thomas a Kempis.  We were all fond of this inimitable classic—who can fail to be—and sometimes of an evening when we had retired to the tent the Judge would call for my little copy, and read aloud to us by candlelight.

 

Next: Chapter XXVIII: No Relief From Wading