Summer travel

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In the old days, in summer and winter, there was only canoeing in the summer. When I was growing up, we used to venture on this river, going up river in the fall. We only used poles, about 5 to 6 feet. These poles would be used in the rapids. If the shore line was good enough to walk on, rope would be used to drag the canoe. We used to use 6 canoes and we would be about 5 to 6 families, at the lake where I was born. The lake is not very far, it is only about 80 miles from here (Fort Albany) We would take about 5 days to get to the lake. But sometimes, it took longer when the river was shallow, about 7 to 8 days. So, traveling would consist of 3 types of propulsion; of using the poles, paddling and dragging the canoe. The difficult portion of the river are the deeper parts of rapids as the water flow is very fast. As a child, this was fun for me, when traversing this part of the river. It just seemed like play to me. Someone will go upriver and drop a roped paddle on the river. Someone waiting downriver catches the paddle, ties the rope to the canoe, and the canoe is dragged upriver. This is done on those narrow parts of the river where it’s very deep and using a pole is useless. After this, we can then continue on the river using the pole. The river rapids are usually not very long, but some can have a long distance. After passing the rapids, and the river is once again normal, dragging the canoe was done at an easy pace. There is only one person on the canoe steering, while the others walk on the shore pulling the canoe up river. The canoe is not heavy but quite light when it is floating atop the water. Only where the river is narrow, then greater effort is required. We just sit in the canoe when the canoe is dragged up river, we do not paddle. When we reach an area of the river where there is overhanging brush, then we paddle on that stretch. We do not pole, just paddling. We would proceed in this fashion on the river until we have reached the lake.


Summer travel by Emile Sutherland


Travel summer canoe poles paddles ropes families rapids dragging

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