Hail Brave hearts
Yes, it’s here, the spring has arrived, in snowy, blustery style, In like a lion, with heavy snow falls, March has ended the winter with a cold snap, that keeps us bundled up and happy. Of course, the summer will eventually come, but now the trails are white. The forest floor is covered, a late spring, with no drought in sight.
The itch is on, to turn the seasons, pull out the canoe and test the current. Ice flows passing with the water as the melting winter turns to spring. Catch us in our history, as we wave farewell to winter, the icy highways turn to melt waters and the dangerous ice flows temp. No more the sleighs to speed us along the slippery, white rivers, now it’s canoes and boats and water craft, to take our time away.
Go back, fine fellows, to days gone by, to times of yesteryear. To the fur trade and the brave at heart the times of the voyageur. A dangerous time of year, this is, when winter turns to spring. The trails are wet, the rivers are thin ice and the progress becomes slow. Take a nap and wait a week, a well deserved holiday. The harshness of this difficult time, will melt the winter away. Soon the canoe will be laden, with supplies to take inland. To visit with the natives and to find a brand new land. Off come the winter fur coats, hats and mitts are stored. Onto another adventure, to the watery highways of this world.
A well traveled route, the St. Lawrence, filled with Coureur de Bois. One of the most dangerous occupations of that lifetime, to travel, explore and trade in the great unknown wild.
The canoes are large enough, they carry several men. All trained and skilled in many ways, to tackle the obstacle at hand. Come from far away, in European style, to make a living the hard way, adventure, in the Canadian wild. A fearsome, mighty river, the St. Lawrence is cracking up. Pretty soon, it will be show time, pack your bags and liven up. No more naps or holidays, the spring torrents are flooding. It’s an adventure too dangerous for us, spring break up is not even for the daring. Icy flows and chilly woes, we’ll wait for another day. This is not the best of times, for watery, river play.
But if you were an itchy voyageur, with bills at home to pay, perhaps the tempting season, would cast him adrift anyway.
A lovely camping trip, with lakes and rivers to follow, the Canadian rivers of highway, still bind us to our past. Traditions of camping and canoeing, following well traveled routes. Today, we love this great wild land and praise the nations splendor. Our ancestors did a very fine job, of protecting and implementing the heritage that we covet today. A land of unspoiled wonder, with historical routes to travel. This is our fine country we still travel in style. From winter sleigh to summer canoe, the adventure has never left us.
written by Dr. Louise Hayes
April 18, 2018
Northern Ontario Canoe Trip, The Nat River