Monday, January 19, 2009

Low tech canoeing part two

Planning for my 1948 canoe trip (from the "Wooden Canoe" article):

"Their trip planning guide was an autographed copy of Deep River Jim's Wilderness Trail Book published in 1935 by the Open Road Pioneers Club for Boys" .

(The Open Road for Boys was a monthly boys' magazine encouraging the outdoor life published from 1919 into the 50s. It cost 10 cents per copy).

"Of course this was well before Cliff Jacobson was dispensing canoe trip wisdom in books and magazines. In fact, it was probably before Cliff was born".

"After months of planning and days of driving the intrepid foursome arrived at Ft. Francis, Ontario, across the border from International Falls, Minnesota".

(With the Old Town on top of my Dad's 1940 Chrysler Windsor and the Penn Yan on a boat trailer behind).

"There they decided to patronize Lloyd's Tourist Emporium-Canoes, Blankets, Tents, Indian Guides and Provision to stock up on food, advice and any needed equipment that they hadn't bought at the War Surplus stores back home".

"Their intention was to paddle the length of Rainy Lake and by a series of lakes and straits, and one long portage across the height-of-land, work their way into the Hudson Bay drainage and re-provision at a Hudson's Bay Post. The return was to be upstream on a different chain of lakes and streams to two small portages, which would take them to the headwaters of the Turtle River, then down the Turtle and back into Rainy Lake".

(I worked out this route using Canada Department of Mines and Resouces maps which I had sent for that showed in detail all lakes and streams as well as roads and railroads. In those days Ontario was much better mapped than Michigan. Also in those days there was but one east-west road between the international border and the Arctic Ocean, Ontario Highway 17. Our north-bound destination was Wabigoon on that highway).

"The outfitter told them the trip they planned was dangerous and that they were foolish to go without guides. The two veterans concluded that waves on Rainy Lake or rapids on the Turtle River couldn't be as dangerous as a foxhole on Okinawa or a Destroyer Escort under Kamikaze attack in the East China Sea. Ned and Ken just didn't know any better. So guideless they headed into the wilderness."

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