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Voyages from Montreal Through the Continent of North America
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Thursday, 9. — We began our voyage with a course South by West against a strong current one mile and three quarters, South-West by South one mile, and landed before eight on an island for the night.
Friday, 10. — The weather was clear and pleasant, though there was a keenness in the air; and at a quarter past three in the morning we continued our voyage, steering South-West three quarters of a mile, South-West by South one mile and a quarter, South three quarters of a mile, South-West by South one quarter of a mile, South-West by West one mile, South-West by South three miles, South by West three quarters of a mile, and South-West one mile. The canoe being strained from its having been very heavily laden, became so leaky, that we were obliged to land, unload, and gum it. As this circumstance took place about twelve, I had an opportunity of taking an altitude, which made our latitude 55. 58. 48.
When the canoe was repaired we continued our course, steering South-West by West one mile and an half, when I had the misfortune to drop my pocket-compass into the water; West half a mile, West-South-West four miles and an half. Here, the banks are steep and hilly, and in some parts undermined by the river. Where the earth has given way, the face of the cliffs discovers numerous strata, consisting of reddish earth and small stones, bitumen, and a greyish earth, below which, near the water-edge, is a red stone. Water issues from most of the banks, and the ground on which it spreads is covered with a thin white scurf, or particles of a saline substance: there are several of these salt springs. At half past six in the afternoon the young men landed, when they killed an elk and wounded a buffalo. In this spot we formed our encampments for the night.
From the place which we quitted this morning, the West side of the river displayed a succession of the most beautiful scenery I had ever beheld. The ground rises at intervals to a considerable height, and stretching inwards to a considerable distance: at every interval or pause in the rise, there is a very gently-ascending space or lawn, which is alternate with abrupt precipices to the summit of the whole, or, at least as far as the eye could distinguish. This magnificent theatre of nature has all the decorations which the trees and animals of the country call afford it: groves of poplars in every shape vary the scene; and their intervals are enlivened with vast herds of elks and buffaloes: the former choosing the steeps and uplands, and the latter preferring the plains. At this time the buffaloes were attended with their young ones who were frisking about them: and it appeared that the elks would soon exhibit the same enlivening circumstance. The whole country displayed an exuberant verdure; the trees that bear a blossom were advancing fast to that delightful appearance, and the velvet rind of their branches reflecting the oblique rays of a rising or setting sun, added a splendid gaiety to the scene, which no expressions of mine are qualified to describe. The East side of the river consists of a range of high land covered with the white spruce and the soft birch, while the banks abound with the alder and the willow. The water continued to rise, and the current being proportionately strong, we made a greater use of setting poles than paddles.
Saturday, 11. — The weather was overcast. With a strong wind a-head, we embarked at four in the morning, and left all the fresh meat behind us, but the portion which had been assigned to the kettle; the canoe being already too heavily laden. Our course was West-South-West one mile, where a small river flowed in from the East, named Quiscatina Sepy, or River with the High Banks; West half a mile, South half a mile, South-West by West three quarters of a mile, West one mile and a quarter, South-West a quarter of a mile, South-South-West half a mile, and West by South a mile and a half. Here I took a meridian altitude, which gave 55. 56. 3. North latitude. We then proceeded West three miles and a half, West-South-West, where the whole plain was on fire, one mile, West one mile, and the wind so strong a-head, that it occasioned the canoe to take in water, and otherwise impeded our progress. Here we landed. to take time, with the mean of three altitudes, which made the watch slow 1. 42. 10.
We now proceeded West-South-West one mile and a quarter, where we found a chief of the Beaver Indians on a hunting party. I remained, however, in my canoe, and though it was getting late, I did not choose to encamp with these people, lest the friends of my hunters might discourage them from proceeding on the voyage. We, therefore, continued our course, but several Indians kept company with us, running along the bank, and conversing with my people, who were so attentive to them, that they drove the canoe on a stony flat, so that we were under the necessity of landing to repair the damages, and put up for the night, though very contrary to my wishes. My hunters obtained permission to proceed with some of these people to their lodges, on the promise of being back by the break of day; though I was not without some apprehension respecting them. The chief, however, and another mall, as well as several people from the lodges, joined us, before we had completed the repair of the canoe; and they made out a melancholy story, that they had neither ammunition or tobacco sufficient for their necessary supply during the summer. I accordingly referred him to the Fort, where plenty of those articles were left in the care of my interpreter, by whom they would be abundantly furnished, if they were active and industrious in pursuing their occupations. I did not fail, on this occasion, to magnify the advantages of the present expedition; observing, at the same time, that its success would depend on the fidelity and conduct of the young men who were retained by me to hunt. The chief also proposed to borrow my canoe, in order to transport himself and family across the river; several plausible reasons, it is true, suggested themselves for resisting his proposition; but when I stated to him, that, as the canoe was intended for a voyage of such consequence, no woman could be permitted to be embarked in it, he acquiesced in the refusal. It was near twelve at night when he took his leave, after I had gratified him with a present of tobacco.
Sunday, 12. — Some of the Indians passed the night with us, and I was informed by them, that according to our mode of proceeding, we should, in ten day-s, get as far as the rocky mountains. The young men now returned, to my great satisfaction, and with the appearance of contentment; though I was not pleased when they dressed themselves in the clothes which I had given them before we left the Fort, as it betrayed some latent design.
At four in the morning we proceeded on our voyage, steering West three miles, including one of our course yesterday, North-West by North four miles, West two miles and a half, North-West by West a mile and a half, North by East two miles, North-West by West one mile, and North-North-West three miles. After a continuation of our course to the North for a mile and a half, we landed for the night on an island where several of the Indians visited us, but unattended by their women, who remained in their camp, which was at some distance from us.
The land on both sides of the river, during the two last days, is very much elevated, but particularly in the latter part of it, and, on the Western side, presents in different places, white, steep, and lofty cliffs. Our view being confined by these circumstances, we did not see so many animals as on the 10th. Between these lofty boundaries, the river becomes narrow, and in a great measure free from islands; for we had passed only four: the stream, indeed, was not more than from two hundred to three hundred yards broad; whereas before these cliffs pressed upon it, its breadth was twice that extent and besprinkled with islands. We killed an elk, and fired several shots at animals from the canoe.
The greater part of this band being Rocky Mountain Indians, I endeavoured to obtain some intelligence of our intended route, but they all pleaded ignorance, and uniformly declared, that they knew nothing of the country beyond the first mountain: at the same time they were of opinion, that, from the strength of the current and the rapids we should not get there by water; though they did not hesitate to express their surprise at the expedition we had already made.
I inquired, with some anxiety, after an old man who had already given me an account of the country beyond the limits of his tribe, and was very much disappointed at being informed, that he had not been seen for upwards of a moon. This man had been at war on another large river beyond the Rocky Mountain, and described to me a fork of it between the mountains; the Southern branch of which he directed me to take; from thence, he said, there was a carrying-place of about a day's march for a young man to get to the river. To prove the truth of his relation, he consented, that his son, who had been with him in those parts, should accompany me; and he accordingly sent him to the fort some days before my departure; but the preceding night he deserted with another young man, whose application to attend me as a hunter, being refused, he persuaded the other to leave me. I now thought it right to repeat to them what I had said to the chief of the first band, respecting the advantages which would be derived from the voyage, that the young men might be encouraged to remain with me; as without them I should not have attempted to proceed.
Monday, 13. — The first object that presented itself to me this morning was the young man whom I have already mentioned, as having seduced away my intended guide. At any other time or place, I should have chastised him for his past conduct, but in my situation it was necessary to pass, over his offence, lest he should endeavour to exercise the same influence over those who were so essential to my service. Of the deserted he gave no satisfactory account, but continued to express his wish to attend me in his place, for which he did not possess any necessary qualifications.
The weather was cloudy, with an appearance of rain; and the Indians pressed me with great earnestness to pass the day with them, and hoped to prolong my stay among them by assuring me that the winter yet lingered in the rocky mountains; but my object was to lose no time, and having given the chief some tobacco for a small quantity of meat, we embarked at four, when my young men could not conceal their chagrin at parting with their friends, for so long a period as the voyage threatened to occupy. When I had assured them that in three moons we should return to them, we proceeded on our course West-North-West half a mile, West-South-West one mile and a half, West by North three miles, North-West by West two miles and a half, South-West by West half a mile, South-South-West a mile and a half, and South-West a mile and a half. Here I had a meridian altitude, which gave 56. 17. 44. North latitude.
The last course continued a mile and a half, South by West, three quarters of a mile, South-West by South three miles and a half, and West-South-West two miles and a half. Here the land lowered on both sides, with an increase of wood, and displayed great numbers of animals. The river also widened from three to five hundred yards, and was full of islands and fiats. Having continued our course three miles, we made for the shore at seven, to pass the night.
At the place from whence we-proceeded this morning, a river falls in from the North; there are also several islands, and many rivulets on either side, which are too small to deserve particular notice. We perceived along the river, tracks of large bears, some of which were nine inches wide, and of a proportionate length. We saw one of their dens, or winter-quarters, called watee, in an island, which was ten feet deep, five feet high, and six feet wide; but we had not yet seen one of those animals. The Indians entertain great apprehension of this kind of bear, which is called the grisly bear, and they never venture to attack it but in a party of at least three or four. Our hunters, though they had been much higher than this part of our voyage, by land, knew nothing of the river. One of them mentioned, that having been engaged in a war expedition, his party on their return made their canoes at some distance below us. The wind was North throughout the day, and at times blew with considerable violence.
The apprehensions which I had felt respecting the young men were not altogether groundless, for the eldest of them told me that his uncle had last night addressed him in the following manner: — "My nephew, your departure makes my heart painful. The white people may be said to rob us of you. They are about to conduct you into the midst of our enemies, and you may never more return to us. Were you not with the Chief,1 I know not what I should do, but he requires your attendance, and you must follow him."
Tuesday, 14. — The weather was clear, and the air sharp, when we embarked at half past four. Our course was South by West one mile and a half, South-West by South half a mile, South-West.
We here found it necessary to unload, and gum the canoe, in which operation we lost an hour; when we proceeded on the last course one mile and a half. I now took a meridian altitude, which gave 56. 1. 19. North latitude, and continued to proceed West-South-West two miles and a half. Here the Bear River which is of a large appearance, falls in from the East; West three miles and an half, South-South-West one mile and an half, and South-West four miles and an half, when we encamped upon an island about seven in the evening.
During the early part of the day, the current was not so strong as we had generally found it, but towards the evening it became very rapid, and was broken by numerous islands. We were gratified as usual, with the sight of animals. The land on the West side is very irregular, but has the appearance of being a good beaver country; indeed we saw some of those animals in the river. Wood is in great plenty, and several rivulets added their streams to the main river. A goose was the only article of provision which we procured to-day. Smoke was seen, but at a great distance before us.
Wednesday, 15. — The rain prevented us from continuing our route till past six in the morning, when our course was South-West by West three quarters of a mile; at which time we passed a river on the left, West by South two miles and a half. The bank was steep, and the current strong. The last course continued one mile and a half, West-South-West two miles, where a river flowed in from the right, West by South one mile and a half, West-North-West one mile, and West by North two miles. Here the land takes the form of an high ridge, and cut our course, which was West for three miles, at right angles. We now completed the voyage of this day.
In the preceding night the water rose upwards of two inches, and had risen in this proportion since our departure. The wind, which was West-South-West, blew very hard throughout the day, and with the strength of the current, greatly impeded our progress. The river, in this part of it, is full of islands; and the land, on the South or left side, is thick with wood. Several rivulets also fall in from that quarter. At the entrance of the last river which we passed, there was a quantity of wood, which had been cut down by axes, and some by the beaver. This fall, however, was not made, in the opinion of my people, by any of the Indians with whom we were acquainted.
The land to the right is of a very irregular elevation and appearance, composed in some places of clay, and rocky cliffs, and others exhibiting stratas of red, green, and yellow colours. Some parts, indeed, offer a beautiful scenery, in some degree similar to that which we passed on the second day of our voyage, and equally enlivened with the elk and the buffalo, who were feeding in great numbers, and unmolested by the hunter. In an island which we passed, there was a large quantity of white birch, whose bark might be employed in the construction of canoes.
Thursday, 16. — The weather being clear, we re-embarked at four in the morning, and proceeded West by North three miles. Here the land again appeared as if it run across our course, and a considerable river discharged itself by various streams. According to the Rocky Mountain Indian, it is called the Sinew River. This spot would be an excellent situation for a fort or factory, as there is plenty of wood, and every reason to believe that the country abounds in beaver. As for the other animals, they are in evident abundance, as in every direction the elk and the buffalo are seen in possession of the hills and the plains. Our course continued West-North-West three miles and a half, North-West one mile and a half, South-West by West two miles; (the latitude was by observation 56. 16. 54.) North, West by North half a mile, West-North-West three quarters of a mile; a small river appearing on the right, North-West one mile and a half, West by North half a mile, West by South one mile and a half, West one mile; and at seven we formed our encampment.
Mr. Mackay, and one of the young men, killed two elks, and mortally wounded a buffalo, but we only took a part of the flesh of the former. The land above the spot where we encamped, spreads into an extensive plain, and stretches on to a very high ridge, which, in some parts, presents a face of rock, but is principally covered with verdure, and varied with the poplar and white birch tree. The country is so crowded with animals as to have the appearance, in some places, of a stall-yard, from the state of the ground, and the quantity of dung which is scattered over it. The soil is black and light. We this day saw two grisly and hideous bears.
Friday, 17. — It froze during the night, and the air was sharp in the morning, when we continued our course West-North-West three miles and a half, South-West by South two miles and a half, South-West by West one mile and a half, West three quarters of a mile, West-South-West one mile and a quarter, and South-West by South one mile and a half. At two in the afternoon the rocky mountains appeared in sight, with their summits covered with snow, bearing South-West by South: they formed a very agreeable object to every person in the canoe, as we attained the view of them much sooner than we expected. A small river was seen on our right, and we continued our progress South-West by South six miles, when we landed at seven, which was our usual hour of encampment.
Mr. Mackay, who was walking along the side of the river, discharged his piece at a buffalo, when it burst near the muzzle, but without any mischievous consequences. On the high grounds, which were on the opposite side of the river, we saw a buffalo tearing up and down with great fury, but could not discern the cause of his impetuous motions; my hunters conjectured that he had been wounded with an arrow by some of the natives. We ascended several rapids in the course of the day, and saw one bear.
Saturday, 18. — It again froze very hard . during the night, and at four in the morning we continued our voyage, but we had not proceeded two hundred yards, before an accident happened to the canoe, which did not, however, employ more than three quarters of an hour to complete the repair. We then steered South by West one mile and three quarters, South-West by South three miles, South-West by West one mile and a quarter, West by South three quarters of a mile, South-West half a mile, West by South one mile, South by West one mile and a half, South-South-West, where there is a small run of water from the right, three miles and a half, when the canoe struck on the stump of a tree, and unfortunately where the banks were so steep that there was no place to unload, except a small spot, on which we contrived to dispose the lading in the bow, which lightened the canoe so as to raise the broken part of it above the surface of the water; by which contrivance we reached a convenient situation. It required, however, two hours to complete the repair, when the weather became dark and cloudy, with thunder, lightning, and rain; we, however, continued the last course half a mile, and at six in the evening we were compelled by the rain to land for the night.
About noon we had landed on an island where there were eight lodges of last year. The natives had prepared bark here for five canoes, and there is a road along the hills where they had passed. Branches were cut and broken along it; and they had also stripped off the bark of the trees, to get the interior rind, which forms part of their food.
The current was very strong through the whole of the day, and the coming up along some of the banks was rendered very dangerous, from the continual falling of large stones, from the upper parts of them. This place appears to be a particular pass for animals across the river, as there are paths leading to it on both sides, every ten yards.
In the course of the day we saw a ground hog, and two cormorants. The earth also appeared in several places to have been turned up by the bears, in search of roots.
Sunday, 19. — It rained very hard in the early part of the night, but the weather became clear towards the morning, when we embarked at our usual hour. As the current threatened to be very strong, Mr. Mackay, the two hunters, and myself, went on shore, in order to lighten the canoe, and ascended the hills, which are covered with cypress, and but little encumbered with underwood. We found a beaten path, and before we had walked a mile, fell in with a herd of buffaloes, with their young ones: but I would not suffer the Indians to fire on them, from an apprehension that the report of their fowling pieces would alarm the natives that might be in the neighbourhood; for we were at this time so near the mountains, as to justify our expectation of seeing some of them. We, however, sent our dog after the herd, and a calf was soon secured by him. While the young men were skinning the animal, we heard two reports of fire arms from the canoe, which we answered, as it was a signal for my return; we then heard another, and immediately hastened down the hill, with our veal, through a very close wood. There we met one of the men, who informed us that the canoe was at a small distance below, at the foot of a very strong rapid, and that as several waterfalls appeared up the river, we should be obliged to unload and carry. I accordingly hastened to the canoe, and was greatly displeased that so much time had been lost, as I had given previous directions that the river should be followed as long as it was practicable. The last Indians whom we saw had informed us that at the first mountain there was a considerable succession of rapids, cascades, and falls, which they never attempted to ascend; and where they always passed over land the length of a day's march. My men imagined that the carrying place was at a small distance below us, as a path appeared to ascend a hill, where there were several lodges, of the last year's construction. The account which had been given me of the rapids, was perfectly correct: though by crossing to the other side, I must acknowledge with some risk, in such a heavy laden canoe, the river appeared to me to be practicable, as far as we could see: the traverse, therefore, was attempted, and proved successful. We now towed the canoe along an island, and proceeded without any considerable difficulty, till we reached the extremity of it, when the line could be no longer employed; and in endeavouring to clear the point of the island, the canoe was driven with such violence on a stony shore, as to receive considerable injury. We now employed every exertion in our power to repair the breach that had been made, as well as to dry such articles of our loading as more immediately required it: we then transported the whole across the point, when we reloaded, and continued our course about three quarters of a mile. We could now proceed no further on this side of the water, and the traverse was rendered extremely dangerous, not only from the strength of the current, but by the cascades just below us, which, if we had got among them, would have involved us and the canoe in one common destruction. We had no other alternative than to return by the same course we came, or to hazard the traverse, the river on this side being bounded by a range of steep, over-hanging rocks, beneath which the current was driven on with resistless impetuosity from the cascades. Here are several islands of solid rock, covered with a small portion of verdure, which have been worn away by the constant force of the current, and occasionally, as I presume, of ice, at the water's edge, so as to be reduced in that part to one fourth the extent of the upper surface; presenting, as it were, so many large tables, each of which was supported by a pedestal of a more circumscribed projection. They are very elevated for such a situation, and afford an asylum for geese, which were at this time breeding on them. By crossing frog one to the other of these islands, we came at length to the main traverse, on which we ventured, and were successful in our passage. Mr. Mackay, and the Indians, who observed our manoeuvres from the top of a rock, were in continual alarm for our safety, with which their own, indeed, may be said to have been nearly connected: however, the dangers that we encountered were very much augmented by the heavy loading of the canoe.
When we had effected our passage, the current on the West side was almost equally violent with that from whence we had just escaped, but the craggy bank being somewhat lower, we were enabled, with a line of sixty fathoms, to tow the canoe, till we came to the foot of the most rapid cascade we had hitherto seen. Here we unloaded, and carried every thing over a rocky point of an hundred and twenty paces. When the canoe was reloaded, I, with those of my people who were not immediately employed, ascended the bank, which was there, and indeed, as far as we could see, composed of clay, stone, and a yellow gravel. My present situation was so elevated, that the men, who were coming up a strong point, could not hear me, though I called to them with the utmost strength of my voice, to lighten the canoe of part of its lading. And here I could not but reflect, with infinite anxiety, on the hazard of my enterprize; one false step of those who were attached to the line, or the breaking of the line itself, would have at once consigned the canoe, and every thing it contained, to instant destruction: it, however, ascended the rapid in perfect security, but new dangers immediately presented themselves, for stones, both small and great, were continually rolling from the bank, so as to render the situation of those who were dragging the canoe beneath it extremely perilous; besides, they were at every step in danger, from the steepness of the ground, of falling into the water: nor was my solicitude diminished by my being necessarily removed at times from the sight of them.
In our passage through the woods, we came to an inclosure, which had been formed by the natives for the purpose of setting snares for the elk, and of which we could not discover the extent. After we had travelled for some hours through the forest, which consisted of the spruce, birch, and the largest poplars I had ever seen, we sunk down upon the river where the bank is low, and near the foot of a mountain; between which, and a high ridge, the river flows in a channel of about one hundred yards broad; though, at a small distance below, it rushes on between perpendicular rocks, where it is not much more than half that breadth. Here I remained, in great anxiety, expecting the arrival of the canoe, and after some time I sent Mr. Mackay with one of the Indians down the river in search of it, and with the other I went up to it to examine what we might expect in that quarter. In about a mile and a half I came to a part where the river washes the feet of lofty precipices, and presented, in the form of rapids and cascades, a succession of difficulties to our navigation. As the canoe did not come in sight, we returned, and from the place where I had separated with Mr. Mackay, we saw the men carrying it over a small rocky point. We met them at the entrance of the narrow channel already mentioned; their difficulties had been great indeed, and the canoe had been broken, but they had persevered with success, and having passed the carrying-place, we proceeded with the line as far as I had already been, when we crossed over and encamped on the opposite beach; but there was no wood on this side of the water, as the adjacent country had been entirely over-run by fire. We saw several elks feeding on the edge of the opposite precipice, which was upwards of three hundred feet high.
Our course to-day was about South-South-West two miles and a half, South-West half a mile, South-West by South one mile and a half, South by West half a mile, South-West half a mile, and West one mile and a half. There was a shower of hail, and some rain from flying clouds. I now dispatched a man with an Indian to visit the rapids above, when the latter soon left him to pursue a beaver, which was seen in the shallow water on the inside of a stony island; and though Mr. Mackay, and the other Indian joined him, the animal at length escaped from their pursuit. Several others were seen in the course of the day, which I by no means expected, as the banks are almost every where so much elevated above the channel of the river. Just as the obscurity of the night drew on, the man returned with an account that it would be impracticable to pass several points, as well as the super-impending promontories.
Monday, 20. — The weather was clear with a sharp air, and we renewed our voyage at a quarter past four, on a course South-West by West three quarters of a mile. We now, with infinite difficulty passed along the foot of a rock, which, fortunately, was not an hard stone, so that we were enabled to cut steps in it for the distance of twenty feet; from which, at the hazard of my life, I leaped on a small rock below, where I received those who followed me on my shoulders. In this manner four of us passed and dragged up the canoe, in which attempt we broke her. Very luckily, a dry tree had fallen from the rock above us, without which we could not have made a fire, as no wood was to be procured within a mile of the place. When the canoe was repaired, we continued towing it along the rocks to the next point, when we embarked, as we could not at present make any further use of the line, but got along the rocks of a round high island of stone, till we came to a small sandy bay. As we had already damaged the canoe, and had every reason to think that she soon would risk much greater injury, it became necessary for us to supply ourselves with bark, as our provision of that material article was almost exhausted; two men were accordingly sent to procure it, who soon returned with the necessary store.
Mr. Mackay, and the Indians who had been on shore, since we broke the canoe, were prevented from coming to us by the rugged and impassable state of the ground. We, therefore, again resumed our course with the assistance of poles, with which we pushed onwards till we came beneath a precipice, where we could not find any bottom; so that we were again obliged to have recourse to the line, the management of which was rendered not only difficult but dangerous, as the men employed in towing were under the necessity of passing on the outside of trees that grew on the edge of the precipice. We, however, surmounted this difficulty, as we had done many others, and the people who had been walking over land now joined us. They also had met with their obstacles in passing the mountain.
It now became necessary for us to make a traverse, where the water was so rapid, that some of the people stripped themselves to their shirts that they might be the better prepared for swimming, in case any accident happened to the canoe, which they seriously apprehended; but we succeeded in our attempt without any other inconvenience, except that of taking in water. We now came to a cascade, when it was thought necessary to take out part of the lading. At noon we stopped to take an altitude, opposite to a small river that flowed in from the left: while I was thus engaged, the men went on shore to fasten the canoe, but as the current was not very strong, they had been negligent in performing this office; it proved, however, sufficiently powerful to sheer her off, and if it had not happened that one of the men, from absolute fatigue had remained and held the end of the line, we should have been deprived of every means of prosecuting our voyage, as well as of present subsistence. But notwithstanding the state of my mind on such an alarming circumstance, and an intervening cloud that interrupted me, the altitude which I took has been since proved to be tolerably correct, and gave 56. North latitude. Our last course was South-South-West two miles and a quarter.
We now continued our toilsome and perilous progress with the line West by North, and as we proceeded the rapidity of the current increased, so that in the distance of two miles we were obliged to unload four times, and carry every thing but the canoe: indeed, in many places, it was with the utmost difficulty that we could prevent her from being lashed to pieces against the rocks by the violence of the eddies. At five we had proceeded to where the river was one continued rapid.
Here we again took every thing out of the canoe, in order to tow her up with the line, though the rocks were so shelving as greatly to increase the toil and hazard of that operation. At length, however, the agitation of the water was so great, that a wave striking on the bow of the canoe broke the line, and filled us with inexpressible dismay, as it appeared impossible that the vessel could escape from being dashed to pieces, and those who were in her from perishing. Another wave, however, more propitious than the former, drove her out of the tumbling water, so that the men were enabled to bring her ashore, and though she had been carried over rocks by these swells which left them naked a moment after, the canoe had received no material injury. The men were, however, in such a state from their late alarm, that it would not only have been unavailing but imprudent to have proposed any further progress at present, particularly as the river above us, as far as we could see, was one white sheet of foaming water.
1 These people, as well as all the natives on this side of Lake Winipic, give the mercantile agent that distinguished appellation.