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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

 XXXI

VALLEY OF THE SHADOW OF DEATH

On the evening of July 25, after crossing two more ridges and wide stretches of intervening forest, we entered a burned region, and at last from a hill top looked down to the valley of the Susan, the valley which through ten years had been to me the Valley of the Shadow of Death.  We had come upon the valley nearly twenty miles below the scene of Hubbard’s last camp, and almost at the point where Gilbert, Donald Blake, Allen Goudie, and Duncan McLean had discovered me in the snow in a helpless condition on November 1, 1903.  Gilbert pointed out, from our elevated position, the place where he and his companions camped on the opposite side of the river, on October 31.

“Down here,” said Gilbert, indicating a widening of the river, “is where we crossed on the ice after we picked up your tracks in the snow.  When we cuts right down this side thinking we’d head you off below, but we don’t find your trail, and we swings back in a circle, and found you right there under that bank, bareheaded, and not much clothes on you and in your stocking feet.  Your skin is just dried down over your bones, and it seems like there ain’t enough of you left to keep living.  After Donald and Allen went on to look for Hubbard, and left Duncan and me to take care of you, I thought you was going to die and I got scared.”

We pitched our camp on an eminence overlooking the river, where the voices of the rapids came up to us, reciting in rhythmic cadence their heroic epic of the wilderness.  I shall never forget the voices of the Susan River rapids.  To me they have a distinctive intonation.  I have heard many rapids speak in my time, but these I think I should recognize if I were led blind into their presence.

 A gentle rain was falling and the Judge went early to his blankets; but Gilbert, silently smoking his pipe, and I, in reverie, sat still by the campfire while a mist settled into the valley and spread over the bare-burned, rugged hills, and night stole down upon the wilderness.

I am with Hubbard again.  I see him, fired by wholesome ambition for discovery and buoyantly enthusiastic, as he begins his battle with the wilderness in the valley which now lies before me.  I see him later ragged and half-starved, but with no abatement of enthusiasm and never shirking duty, pushing on and on over unknown untrod wastes, taking the brunt of the battle and always in the van.

It is evening, and we are resting at our campfire, for the day’s work has been hard.  The fire is a big one, for the nights are frosty now, and we have settled ourselves comfortably to bask in its warmth.  Hubbard is sitting, his knees drawn up and his hands clasped around them, gazing silently into the blaze and dreaming—dreaming of home I know, and presently he will speak his thoughts, for there is no restraint of confidence between us.  His clothing is torn and tattered.  He is bareheaded, and his long dark hair reaches halfway to his shoulders.  He has been ill, suffering for several days from a weakening ailment, but has uttered no word of complaint.  Indeed I can recall now no harsh or impatient word that I have ever heard him speak.  As I look at him I marvel at his fortitude, and his never failing gentleness and patience, in the face of most disheartening obstacles to overcome, and illness combined with privations to endure.  He has never failed in his manliness, and his courage has been superb.  He has never whined at fate or the ill luck which beset him.  I marvel too at his spirit, and unconquerable spirit that impels him to constant action and will not admit defeat.

At last he turns to me, as I knew he would, and says:

“It’s a hard fight, b’y, but when we get home we’ll laugh at it all.  I’ve been thinking of home a great deal to-day, and I’m afraid I’ve been a bit homesick.”

And then he talks of the home he is never again to see, of the loved ones whose voices he is never again to hear, and of plans for the future which are never to be realized.

“It’s time to turn in,” says Gilbert rising and knocking the ashes out of his pipe.

I am suddenly drawn back to the present.  The rapid is still reciting its epic in rhythmic cadence.  The fire has burned low, and I follow Gilbert into the tent.


The boulder as found.  Fallen tree lies across the bed of boughs upon which Hubbard died.

 

Next: Chapter XXXII: The Mind Works Curiously