Sunday, December 21, 2008

Old Family Canoes XVIII

Preparations for our 1948 canoe trip in Western Ontario:
During the late winter and spring of 1948 in between classes and field trips I was aquiring  Western Ontario maps from the Canada Department of Mines and Resources and laying out a route for our canoe trip. The idea was to put our canoes into Rainy Lake on the U.S.-Canada Border near Ft. Francis, Ontario, and paddle and portage north until we reached the Hudson's Bay Post at Wabigoon on Canada Highway 17, then the lone east-west road across Canada. The return route was to be back south to Rainy Lake via the Turtle River which would involve many rapids and some portages. We estimated that this loop through the then roadless wilderness would take a month or more. The Canadian maps were far superior to those available for the U.S in those days. All the lakes and rivers and portages were shown in detail and we felt very confident in using them to lay out and follow our chosen route.
John and I coresponded back and forth about equipment and clothing and boots etc. while at the Beta House we were deciding who was going to go along. Although several guys expressed serious interest it worked down to two Mining Engineering Seniors, Ned Wood from Denver and Ken Matheson from Honduras. Neither had any canoeing experience.
We three in Colorado would graduate in June and I had to do two weeks of training at Camp Carson with the Colorado National Guard (I was Executive Officer of an Engineer Battalion) so we agreed to rendezvous in Watervliet the last week of July. Meanwhile we would all see to our clothing, equipment and fishing gear (we were counting on fish to supplement our diet). Dad's 1940 Chrysler Windsor and a boat trailer was to be the means to get us and two canoes and our gear to the Minnesota-Ontario border.
Next: "Grandfather's Collegiate Canoe Trip" by Adam Tury

Emailed August 15

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