Mollie Adams Diary of her Journey in the Canadian Rockies, August 15, 1908

Dominion River Camp.

Saturday, Aug. 15.

               An. 3750 ft.  Partly cloudy and very slight showers early in A. M.  Off at 8.30.  4½ hrs.  The Lister camp at breakfast as we passed.  Mr. L gave M. a piece of graphite, but it does not look like any I ever saw before.  We reached the summit of Yellowhead Pass about 10.15.  It is only 3723 ft., and covered with tall, thick spruce timber.  The Miette does not head from the pass, but from a valley to the north; neither does the Fraser, it comes from a valley s.w. of Yellowhead Lake and heads somewhere up behind Mt. Geikie.  Yellowhead Lake, or the creek which flows from into it, does come nearly from the pass.  The lake, 4 miles long, lies at the base of Yellowhead Mt., 9000 ft. high.  It is rather pleasing, but nothing to write home about.  The timber is already much larger, only a few miles over the divide, Douglas spruces, 2 to 3 ft. thick, being common.  We camped near the lower end of the lake, about 12.45, in a place which seemed at first very free from flies, but they sailed in later.  I got an enormous bite, sand fly, on my forehead which swelled up an inch across, and another similar one on my lip, so I looked like a prize fighter.  M. and W. got the bannock basin almost full of red raspberries, very large fine ones.  Prairie chicken for supper – if we had all we have seen in the last two week we should be living high, but it is hard to get them, for the 22 won’t kill them unless they are hit in the head.  Muggins goes almost frantic when he raises a bunch of five or six.  As we were sitting down to supper W. thought he heard our horses on the back trail and went out to see, and then we heard him talking to someone.  Our camp being right on the trail at the edge of the lake, the passing stranger had to almost step on our supper table to get past.  This outfit was two Indians or half breeds with two pack horses.  They were nice looking and well dressed for Indians, wore red woollen sashes , like the one M has to wear with her Cree coat, and the one riding at the back took off his hat as he passed us. They camped just below us around a corner of the lake. W. and U. went over to visit them and glean what information they could after supper. U. came back presently to get our maps, said the younger one spoke good English, and knew a lot about the country around, had McEvoy’s map himself, but had lost it. We went to bed at 8:45 and were asleep before they came home. Coyotes gibbering and yelling around the lake.

Muggins, Moore Family fonds,

Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies (V439 / PS - 38)

[Indian canoes beside the Fraser River], Moore Family Fonds,

 Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies (V439 / PS - 55)

Yellowhead Lake Camp.

Sunday Aug 16

               Heard the coyotes again dimly through my dreams at crack of dawn. We got started at 9.10 AM; the Indians had not left when we passed their camp. They are just the people we needed to meet. One of them knows all the Athabasca and Brazean trails, the other the B.C. ones. The latter said “don’t try to go west of the Cache with horses or you will be sorry” which was a comfort to us, as we could not if we wanted to this trip. The other, who speaks English the best, says there is a trail from the Brazean straight to the upper end of Maligne Lake – a dim trail, hard to find, and you don’t see Brazean Lake from it at all, it les to the N.E of Br. L., mostly above the timber line. He does not know the trail said to come from Maligne L. To Buffalo Prairie. They seem to be prospectors, from the tools they carry –though of course they would not say so. They came in here from the Canoe River by a valley the other side of this lake, and around the head of it – and have been right around it. Geikie, went in from the Ath by the Whirlpool, and it was they who fired the shot we heard near the mouth of the Miette, they saw us an thought we were the John Moberly gang. They shot 5 cariboo somewhere up there. We travelled 5 ½ hrs. The Indians passed us soon, and then we kept catching up to them again for they stopped to pick berries. I ate about a quart of blueberries myself, getting down occasionally and grabbing up a few bushes by the roots. Camped at the Moose River where they had said was the only feed between Yellowhead Lake and the lower end of Moose Lake.

               Our two fellow travellers came to supper with us. W. had invited them last night knowing we should camp at the same place, and we found our ideas about them were all wrong. The younger one who speaks English is a Frenchman, a French Canadian, name Frank Barra. He says he has been out pacing and prospecting around this way for 5 years, sometimes alone, sometimes not. He looks a mere boy, with brown eyes and very white teeth; speaks English with a very strong French accent. He came in from Edmonton and wanted to get an Indian who knew the way to take him to the back of the mts. south of Moose Lake. Was told that Martin Goadim, a half breed, knew the way, but was out hunting, up the Ath; so with another half breed, Pierre, he chased after him. It was then they heard us and fired the shot we heard, thinking we were Moberly and could tell them where Martin was. However, they finally came to where the trail up the Whirlpool forked – fresh tracks on both trails – so they chanced it and by a miracle struck the right one and ran Martin with his wife and kids to earth. Sent the family back with Pierre (and the smoked meat of the five caribou), and went on past it. Geikie and out on Yellowhead Lake where we first saw them. They have to go to the Tete Jaune Cache and around by the McLennan R. To get to the place he wants. W and U were also mistaken about what Martin said of the trails sound and west from T. J. Cache. There is no trail to Barkerville except by going 40 miles down the Fraser by canoe first. But the Shuswap Indians come from Kamloop all the time, they call it 10 days and pretty bad trail with hardly any food.

Moose River Camp

Monday Aug. 17.

Started at 9:15. 7 ½ hrs. drive; bad trail, but going steadily all the time. Reached the upper end of Moose Lake at 10:45, a long chain sloughs above it. Took 4½  hrs. to get to the foot of the lake – 7 ½ miles long. Swift had told us what a very pretty lake it was, but we did not think it anything wonderful, and it seemed about twenty seven and a half miles long before we saw the end of it – an awful trail on the horses, hardly a step they took but was on rocks or rolling stones, except when we had to cross deep mud holes. According to McEvoy we made 12 miles in a straight line. Mr. Barra said he reckoned the drive about 18 miles. We camped at the first and only available feed. Mr. R. had told us where we should find it, and of course they camped there too. They started before us, but we passed them where they had stopped for dinner, and got to camp about half an hour before them. We had lunch and supper in one, and M. went to bed at 7:15 p.m., rousing enough to drink a cup of cocoa somewhat later. The four men and I sat around the camp fire till 9, showing the rag over maps as usual. Martin understands lots of English, but does not seem to want to talk it. He does not speak French either, although he is a French half breed, only Cree. The Cree sounds a good deal like the Stony language, lots of gutturals, but the general effect rather soft and pleasing. A good many words are the same in both – nemoya I heard them say several times, and M. recognized lots of Stony words. Martin and his family live in Teepees all the year round, somewhere between Jasper House and the Whirlpool River. He has nine horses and whenever he wants to change his residence, he just sticks the whole family and impedimenta on the horses, and pulls out.


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