Sunday, June 15, 2008

To Norway House - June 11th to 16th, 1827

The country throughout [north-west of Lake Winnipeg] presents the same uniformity. Thick low wet woods and muddy banks. No place for botanising. Towards dusk on the 2nd day reached the head of the Grand Rapid [on the North Saskatchewan River] and walked down the wood while the boats descended – one unfortunately struck on some rocks so that they reached the shore with some difficulty. All next day spent drying the cargo and repairing the boat.

Had a ramble in the woods. Killed a fine large male pelican [in Canada? Surely not?] and preserved the skin. High wind and sleet during the whole night and following day – did not rise until midday [cf 21st May]. Moderated at sundown, when we embarked and entered Lake Winnipeg [Ermatinger’s Journal of the same trip records that they “row in the lake all night – pass several times though loose floating ice”. They are working their way around the northern shore of Lake Winnipeg from Grand Rapids to modern day Warren Landing.]

This image below is from the annual "Treaty & York Boat Day" celebration mounted by Norway House people today, in August each year.

Towards noon, wind rose very high and being near the shore in such broken water we were under the necessity of lying to.

Passed Mossy Point [the promontory on which Warren Landing stands], a part of the lake with steep muddy banks and 3-4 feet of rotten moss on top. Gained the old establishment of Norway House at 1pm for breakfast (!) then resumed our route to the new Norway House which we reached at 8pm . [Current aerial view below:]

Here I found my old friend Mr John McLeod who last year carried my letters across from the Columbia. Rec’d a letter from Jos. Sabine [of the Horticultural Society]; good news the vessel from the Columbia arrived safely and my seed collection sustained no injury.

Letters also from Dr Hooker of Glasgow [the elder of the two Hookers who later left such a mark on Kew] and my brother, the latter affording me but news of a melancholy cast [the death of his father]

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