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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

 IX

A CHIEF VOYAGEUR

We devoted ourselves at once to preparations for departure.  We required a chief voyageur, and two assistants with a second canoe.  Among the first to greet me upon our arrival was Gilbert Blake, one of the four trappers who rescued me in 1903.  I explained to Gilbert our mission, and without hesitation he expressed not only his willingness but his keen desire to join us.

Gilbert was at once engaged as chief voyageur.  I felt that we were exceedingly fortunate in securing his assistance, and subsequent events gave me no reason to feel otherwise.  He proved most loyal and valuable to our expedition in the face of unexpected obstacles that we were called upon to overcome, and uncomplainingly endured the misadventures and trying experiences that befell us.  Indeed all of those four men who came to my rescue and found me helpless in the snow that November morning in 1903 have since been my steadfast and loyal friends.

There was not at the moment another capable man at Northwest River who was unemployed, or who was free to join our expedition for a more or less indefinite period.  Tom Blake, however, another of my friends of former years, suggested that his son Henry who was absent from home at the time but was expected back in a day or so, would engage with us as one of those required to man the second canoe.  I had known Henry from a boy, and well assured that he could be relied upon, accepted Tom’s proposition.  The delay was vexatious but unavoidable.

It may be of interest to mention in passing that it was chiefly through Tom Blake’s assistance I was able to recover Hubbard’s body from the wilderness in March, 1904.  I was determined that the body should be brought down from the Susan River camp to Northwest River during the winter, that I might take it to New York with me in the spring.  My frozen feet had developed gangrene, and I was unable to walk, and physically incapacitated from taking part personally, in the proposed expedition to the Susan River camp.  Elson, the half-breed Indian, declared that Hubbard’s body would rest as well in the Susan River valley as in civilization, and he objected strongly to returning to the wilderness for the purpose of rescuing it.

This was my position when Tom Blake volunteered for the undertaking, and Duncan McLean, one of my rescuers, volunteered to accompany him.  Neither of them knew the location of the camp, however, which was at this time buried deep beneath the snow, and it was necessary that they have a guide.  I finally induced Elson to act in this capacity.  Tom had command of the party.  Elson proved an excellent guide, but because of superstition or through lack of sympathy with the enterprise, Tom and Duncan were not assisted by him in hauling the body over the long snow stretches, down the Susan River and over Grand Lake.  Tom, therefore, like Gilbert, felt a special and sentimental interest in our expedition—an interest which I had no doubt Henry, his son, would share.

We still needed one man, and Allan Goudie, another of my rescue party, and Murdock McLean—a younger brother of Duncan who was also Gilbert’s trapping partner on the winter trails—fortunately arrived at the post at this time, Allen recommended Murdock as “just the man for us”.  Gilbert vouched for Murdock’s abilities as a voyageur, and Murdock was at once enlisted into our service.

It was not until Thursday evening, two days after our arrival at the post, that Henry Blake reached home, and without hesitation engaged with us, as his father promised me he would.  In the meantime all arrangements for our departure had been completed.  A second canoe had been secured.  We had brought with us a supply of desiccated vegetables—potatoes, onions and carrots—condensed coffee, prunes, chocolate and minor food incidentals.  Gilbert had been detailed to purchase and pack at the post store flour, baking powder, pork, tea, salt and sugar.

Limited time had prevented Judge Malone and me from mixing “fly dope” at home, and we had therefore purchased ready-prepared dope from an outfitter.  I had some doubts of the efficacy of this dope, and in order that we might not be disappointed Gilbert compounded from lard and pine an additional supply.

We had in our outfit one balloon silk tent, and Gilbert supplied a smaller cotton tent; and we were supplied with a folding sheet iron tent stove, aluminum cooking utensils—together as light and compact equipment as could be devised, with everything enclosed in waterproofed-canvas bags.  Gilbert and the others declared it by far the most complete and compact outfit they had ever seen.  Certainly Judge Malone nor myself had ever gone into the wilderness more completely or luxuriously equipped or amply provisioned.

Malone was provided with a .30-30 rifle and a ten-inch barrel, single-shot, .32 caliber pistol; Gilbert with a.303 high power repeating rifle; Murdock McLean, Henry Blake and myself each had a shotgun.

Our instruments included a sextant, an artificial horizon, two aneroid barometers, minimum registering thermometers, compasses and two 3 x 5 folding Kodaks, together with a quantity of film rolls individually sealed in tins.

To expedite our passage up Grand Lake in case of heavy sea, Mr. Thevenet suggested that it would be well to transport the bulk of our outfit to the head of the lake in a rowboat.  He very considerably offered one of the post boats for the purpose, and secured William Montague, a native trapper, to assist with the boat and fetch it back to the post.

We arrived at the post on Tuesday evening.  On Thursday evening all of our arrangements had been completed, and our expedition was prepared to launch into the wilderness on Friday morning.

 

Next: Chapter X: The Beaver Is A Bad River