By the time the
interview was done, the breeze had mounted to a wind. Then it swung from
the north to the north-east. By the time I had coffee ready, it was blowing
at 15 mph plus and the rain was a steady downpour. I took coffee to the
tent and told Lynda we would wait for a bit, " to see what happens."
By our second cup, the wind was up to 20 mph and peaked shortly thereafter
at 25 gusting to 35. Thrown into the mix was sheets of unrelenting horizontal
rain. Now, at 2:00 pm the rain hasn't let up, the wind is back to about
15 mph and the temperature is about 8 - 10 Celsius. Way too cold to do
anything but huddle in the tent with frozen feet.
Later. Well it's 4 p.m., the wind is slackening, and the rain has largely
quit. But it is cold cold cold. The sky is clearing so we might get out
of here tomorrow.
Lunch was soup, bannock, and tea. I actually added lard and honey to the
tea to warm up. Don't laugh, it makes a good drink. And if you think that
sounds too hard to drink try this description of an Inuit meal. It was
written by Father Turquetil - who was from Brochet - when he lived with
Inuit at Ennadai Lake in 1906.
"The miniature branches from the vine-like roots ... serve as firewood,
creating much smoke. It may take five or six hours of cooking to produce
something a little less raw.
...The fire is lit, the container is in place, that is on the ground,
at the mercy of the dogs who licked it clean. ... having been called for
that purpose. ... Most of the time the water used for cooking the food
does not come from the lake. A small slough, in the midst of the rotten
moss of the swamp, yields some thick water, of a mysterious colour between
black and green. They can't drink lake water now, we are told. ... I waited
for a reason. Nothing more was said and I didn't ask again.
... Naively I thought I was Eskimo enough to share a meal with them. Everyone
is lying face down around the plate. In the bullion, enriched with leftovers
from previous meals, two whitefish float, boiled as is, neither scaled
nor emptied. "
He goes on to explain how they dine by taking chunks of the fish, swallowing
the "good parts" and spitting the rest back into the communal
wooden serving platter. This continues until nothing is left to eat and
the bullion is sucked up with much loud and frequent belching.
Yummy! And better is his description of the caribou feast. I'll save that
for another day.
I was going to e-mail Sally at Bear Creek Foods to tell her how much we
love their stuff. But I have lost her email address. Anyone who has her
phone number - they are in Heber City, Utah - give her a call and tell
her the "Tortilla Soup" rules. And the Pina Colada cake is good
too. But then so is the Damn Good Chili ... and so on and so on.
Tomorrow we hope to find one of the camps that the Tyrell brothers visited
in 1894. I have been saying their two trips were 1892 on the Dubawnt and
1893 on the Kazan. It was in fact 1893 and 1894. Tyrell stopped at the
camp on August 21, 1894.
"Paddled out into Angikuni Lake. Shortly five kayaks came to meet
us, then seven, then three, all the men wanting presents of tobacco. As
we crossed the lake we were surrounded by a swarm of 20-30 kayaks, all
the men were anxious to see the first white men to descend their river.
On the western shore was said to be the camp of Outoowiack with five tents.
We reached the village of Enetah ( the one Lynda and I hope to visit )
with three tents and as a high wind was blowing, with a big lake ahead
we were obliged to camp among a swarm of inquisitive Eskimos. We bought
some boots and a coat chiefly with needles though our supply was not nearly
as large as it should have been. One man, Anuleah, came in in the afternoon
from a short distance up the river. He says he goes every winter to Du
Brochet Post (now called Brochet, Manitoba) to trade, and that all the
Eskimos bring their furs to him. (Take a look at a map to get a sense
of how far this man walked to trade at Brochet. Unreal.)
We have some excellent notes that I used on the Kazan River some 8 years
ago when we paddled it from Kasba Lake. "Traveling the Kazan"
by Anne B Spriggins-Harmuth; Nawstagan; Summer 1991. This article was
about Anne and her husband Harmuth's 1989 trip. They met a friend of mine,
Ivan Robertson, and his partner Jim Murphy on that trip. Small world.
Anyway, it is great article and July 26 is Harmuth's birthday. He would
be 75 - by my calculation - if he is still alive. So, happy birthday ,
Harmuth. If anyone knows him or Anne tell them their notes are still a
great source of information and inspiration to another couple traveling
in a single canoe as Lynda and I do.
The wind and the rain have quit. The mosquitoes are starting to stir.
The odd song bird is bruiting the end of the storm. I can hear a few terns
shrieking. The sky is a dull gray blue on the horizon. We should be moving