Always, there are heroes. Always there are those whose feats are more daring, whose lives are more accomplished, whose endeavors more respected, whose praises more deserving.
A name rings out from our history. A name of the fur trade, a name of accomplishment, unparalleled achievement, a surprise! A victory for us in the mapping of the land. The long stretches of river lay before them, the endless land. On it goes, seemingly forever. The land, the water, the endless travel, the constant voyage. How far? To map the country, how far?
Day after day, the endless journey. Mile after mile the endless mapping, negotiation, fur trading and establishing fur trading posts. On and on into the annals of history for this one persistent and indomitable being. The great negotiation saves us and the great negotiation lasts forever.
This almighty human was David Thompson and the great negotiation was his metis bride, Charlotte Small. Together they travelled thousands of kilometers throughout the country. On and on, mile after mile with a mission to accomplish an enormous feat. The endless mapping, the constant surveying, the passion! It must be done. The thousands of kilometers of surveyed land all throughout Canada and Northern United States.
To pass the route to another. No more the unknown land. No more the fear of failure, the lost souls of the misguided would now have a marked route, a secure map, a written guide. Someone has gone before and secured the way, spoken to the people, traded, claimed the unknown, claimed the land and its people and saved their lives.
Oh, to be the aptitude of the brave and daring. To set the pace of adventure, skills, knowledge and courage. To be the champion.
The vast river system of continental Canada and northern United States provided a lifetime of travel and adventure and professional pursuits as well. From Ontario to the Pacific, down the Columbia River to it’s end at the Pacific Ocean, down to the Mississippi River, along the boarder of Canada and the United States, north to Lake Athabasca.
The spirit soars in a human who has no disability, only a limp and the loss of site in one eye. All of the surveying, the astronomical calculations, the travel by canoe, horseback, on foot, limping along an unknown course, his vision impaired by loss of site. No disability here. Only the passion, only the drive, only the will to succeed and the call of adventure.
Come, almighty man! Becons the great unknown and the adventure begins. It ends with the congratulation for the achievement “the greatest land geographer who ever lived” For mapping millions of kilometers of land and producing maps so accurate they were used in Canada for approximately 150 years.
Hail bravehearts. Let your stories be known.
In a nation of fantastic achievers, one name calls to us from the past. I live forever. I am David Thompson.
written by Dr. Louise Hayes
June 17, 2013