|Bill Layman & Lynda Holland's
2001 trip, on the
Dubawnt River in the North West Territories & Nunavut.
Tuesday July 03 / Wednesday July 04 / Thursday July 05 / Friday July 06 / Saturday July 07 /
|First a bit about the
cabin. It is still standing and a work of art, all dove
tail notches and well fitted. Details like a rounded arch
that formed a part of the roof above the doorway complete
with caribou antler decorations and short purlins cut
into the end walls to form brackets for inner shelves
showed a rare craftsmanship. This was another well loved
home and not just a trapper's working "shack."
The floor of the cabin was dug down about two feet into the ground and the excavated sand was piled around the outside to help insulate the building. The sand was held in place by a small palisade of logs built around the entire structure. A small shed was built with as much attention to detail and this would have been a warm and comfortable base from which to trap. The remains of an old cast iron wood cook stove outside made me think of the trapper returning home to his wife and the smell of caribou roast and warm fresh bannock. With tea and salt for the meat, this would have been a true feast.
This man's story ends tragically though. It is a long story but suffice it to say it involves a winter's catch of fur lost in a card game, too much whiskey, the murder of an RCMP officer, and the eventual tracking and shooting of the trapper who lived here.
It is so fascinating for us to see these places and to try to visualize the life that these white trappers carved for themselves in this country so far from where they were born. God how they must have reveled in the freedom and sense of purpose they felt as they travelled across this land as masters of all they saw.
As to the mundane details of the day, I suckered myself, as I am often wont to do, by thinking we could move in spite of the strong west wind. We made about 4 miles and had to quit to wait out a mounting wind that is still unabated at 6:30 pm. All we did was trade a great sand esker home for one on a barrens land rounded dome island. It is a lovely spot but beaching the canoe is next to impossible due to the angular rock shoreline. I have modified the shoreline enough that we have a trail through the tundra birch and willows and a few flat rocks to act as stepping stones. We haven't set up the tent yet as we are deluding ourselves into thinking we might do a night paddle.
As I type, the whitecaps are rolling across the lake and although it is sunny, the wind is shifting to the northwest. Not a good sign. I think this is home for awhile.
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