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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

 XXVIII

NO RELIEF FROM WADING

The sky was clouded, the weather was raw and a cutting wind blew up the valley on the day we left Disaster Camp, and the following day a rain set in which lasted for several days.  The water could not have been colder had it flowed from a field of ice.  Rain increased materially the discomforts of travel.  When it did not rain we were wet only to our waists, but on rainy days we were soaked from head to feet.  Constant work in the water appreciably sapped our strength and at intervals we would find ourselves shivering, like men afflicted with the ague.  Then we would call a halt to boil the kettle and drink tea to warm and stimulate us.

But somehow men in the wilderness do not mind these hardships.  They seem harsh to us here, as we read of them surrounded by the luxuries and the more or less effeminate life of town.  But up here they were a part of living, they are accepted as a matter of course, and we glory in them.  We are battling with nature, our blood is heated by the fire of conquest, and we go into the fight with bared breasts, believing in ourselves.  The instincts of primordial ancestors are revived.  We are next to nature, we are part of it, and we have visual evidence of the Almighty.  About us lies the unsullied world as He made it, and we breathe an atmosphere rich-scented with the attar of forests.  The city with its clatter and rush and greed are remembered vaguely, as one remembers an unwholesome, unpleasant dream.  There we are atoms, here in God’s mighty wilderness we are men, and we live, and we do not mind the price we pay in hardships endured, for it is worth it all to live and be Men.  

After passing the Charles Riley River, the Beaver had taken a westerly, and finally assumed a nearly northwesterly, course in its ascent.  Above the amphitheatre which I have mentioned, it had continued, with one or two brief exceptions, confined to a single channel.  There was no break, however, in the rapid, and relief from the necessity to wade in tracking, save on rare occasions when short portages were required to avoid a particularly dangerous current. 

On the evening of July 22, we pitched our camp directly below a narrow gorge.  Perpendicular cliffs rose on either side of this gorge, and between the cliffs the  river poured in a wild, white rapid.  Steep and high above the cliff on the north side of the river—the side on which we were encamped—a rugged mountain, which we shall call Bailey Mountain, reared its bald head.  Rising from the cliff on the south side the hills were equally steep, though not so high.

Tracking through this gorge was impossible.  No foothold could be had upon the cliffs, and the water was much too deep and swift to be forded.  These conditions prevailed for a distance of at least half a mile.  Beyond that a view of the river was cut off, and whether or not it improved above the gorge we were unable to determine from the position of the camp.

Upon investigation we quickly discovered that an attempt to circumvent the gorge by portaging along the steep sides of Bailey Mountain would prove dangerous if not foolhardy, and therefore wholly unpractical.  In view of this it was evident that if we were to continue up the river a long overland detour around Bailey Mountain would be unavoidable, and this would involve the scaling of a high and exceedingly steep elevation behind our camp.

In view of these discouraging conditions, it was decided to scout ahead for the purpose of ascertaining the character of the river above Bailey Mountain, and if found advisable electing a feasible route and blazing a trail over which canoe and other outfit could be carried.

Fortunately the rain, which had been falling intermittently for several days, ceased during the night of our arrival here, and the following morning dawned with a cloudless sky and transparent atmosphere.  With conditions thus favorable, Judge Malone and Gilbert set out an early hour to look the country over, and at one o’clock in the afternoon returned to report that behind Bailey Mountain they had found still higher mountains.  These they climbed, and from the naked summit of the loftiest peak obtained a wide panoramic view of the country.

With the aid of binoculars they could trace the river for many miles above our camp, but nowhere could they discover a break in the rapid.  As far as they could see it, it presented a continuous stretch of water pouring down from the higher altitudes, but through a wider valley than that which enclosed it below Bailey Mountain.  Their investigations also so proved that a portage around Bailey Mountain would not only involve scaling cliffs behind our camp, but also a carry of many miles through an exceedingly rough country, including the crossing of at least one high ridge.


Below The Chute.  Bailey Mountain in the background.  Farthest advance on the Beaver.
(©Canadian Heritage Information Network)


Camped below The Chute before the trek to the Susan.  Bert Blake’s striped leggings are visible.

 

Next: Chapter XXIX: Hell And Twenty