|Bill Layman & Lynda Holland's
La Ronge, Saskatchewan to Arviat, Nunavut on Hudson Bay - 55 Days a 1000 Miles.
|Gigantic breakers are
rolling in where we are now camped and there is no way we
are going anywhere until this quits. It's hard to believe
that it was so hot a few days ago that we were leaping
into the lake with all our clothes. Now we are so cold
that even after three hours in our sleeping bags, our
feet are still freezing. We paddled Mink Rapids and it
was big but thankfully short. On a day like this, every
rapid looks much longer and much more sinister. We
stopped at the Schweder's trading post at the mouth of
the river. This is the independent post that Fred Sr
opened after quitting the HBC in 1939. With his sons,
Charles, Fred Jr. and Mike, they kept this post open
until 1948 when the bottom fell out of fur prices and
they were forced to leave the country.must already be
making plans for where to go. God I hope these dreams
Gerry Dunning's book "When the Foxes Ran" paints a fascinating picture of this family through Charlie's remembrances. When Francis Harper stayed with the family he captured many priceless images on film. The ones of the Inuit coming in to trade at the post are vivid in my memory. But for me, perhaps the most compelling image is the one of Mike about age 10, with Kukwik even younger and her brother Anoteelik about 15 on a caribou hunt. And they weren't play-acting. They went out on their own and killed and butchered their own meat where they camped many miles away from their home. Charlie recounts meeting on their respective trap lines when he and Fred Jr were still in their early teens. He had 28 white foxes and his brother over 60. Adults in the bodies of children.
|Day #51 Tuesday July 30,
Pity the unprepared in this country.
The skies are so low I can touch them. When it isn't pouring torrents, the violent north east wind literally drives fine sheets of mist into your very bones to numb and chill you. Pity the unprepared.
|Where I am writing, I am
dry and relatively warm sitting under our kitchen tarp.
As I said, I am getting restless to move. But, to go out
in this would be foolhardy even if there was no wind. It
would be to court hypothermia. I can see my breath and it
can't be many degrees above freezing. Had I not previousl
seen how fast this country can change its mind and go
from a frozen wet desolate grayness to a warm welcoming
paradise I would be worried about our trip.
As it is, I just have to wait. Right now, the way it looks, we could be here for weeks. As I said, pity the unprepared. Today we hiked to the top of the tundra hills that surround and somewhat shelter us from the wind. Large rocks of solid quartz are littered about. In several places, you can see where people long ago fashioned the stone spearpoints and arrowheads that they needed to kill idthen (caribou). Fed, clothed and sheltered by their friends the caribou, one can only wonder about the intense emotion that must have coursed through them as they saw the herds headed south. Is it any wonder that today their direct descendants the Dene can still be drawn into an animated conversation by one simple question, "Where are the caribou?"
This country and her mercurial nature are pure magic. For those who haven't seen it you can never know. And for you who have, her beauty will haunt your dreams until the day you die and, with luck, perhaps even longer.
to Arviat Trip Map
Here are the Sponsors & Introduction Story for the 2002 trip
Check out Bill and Lynda's 2001 trip to the Dubawnt River in NWT & Nunavut.
Bill Layman's bio - with other Trips & Stories by Bill.
Live text edited by Joan Eyolfson Cadham, freelance writer/editor, Foam Lake Saskatchewan.
here if you have arrived at this page without
|the navigation bar on the left|