Two diary entries
Hudson Bay Company’s fur trader and his personal experience and views My Diary June 15th, 1805 I have learnt a French song today. I have found singing is a great way to be entertained and escape reality while traveling the long tedious roads of our Journey. With over two months left of our trading trip I already miss my family tremendously. I asked the other members how they cope with missing their families. They simply said: “You’ll get used to it. Just make yourself really busy everyday and you wont even have time to think about them.
I am not confident I will be able to distract myself from missing my family. However, I will try my best to practice their advice In hopes It will succeed. With our food consumption consisting of only four fish and some pemmican we decided to stop onshore and hunt for food. As we were about to begin we were fortunate to meet up with some first nation’s women. They offered us pemmican and harvested wild rice to eat and even provided us clean clothing. Their generosity and kindness deeply touched us; we thought we’d do something kind in return when we come back in the next season.
Continuing our Journey to Fort Garry we paddled through Lake Winnipeg to the North Saskatchewan River. On this immense lake, the wind and waves often made the cannoning Impossible. Consequently, we were forced to Walt on shore huddled In our small tent for the water to calm. Sam told us stories of his dad and his life as a voyageur. He told us to toss a button Into the lake and make a wish. Following his instructions I made a wish for the wind to change directions and to my astonishment, it worked! With the wind now behind us, we raised a sail and began traveling three mimes our usual distance. Ere hope we’ll reach Edmonton House soon. August 1 lath, 1805 Before we made it to Brandon House, our beloved friend John and another voyageur died of small pox. We tried to cure them, but did not have the knowledge, or training to do so. In honor of their memory we planted their crosses on the shore beside the South Saskatchewan River and sadly continued with our Journey to Brandon House without them. The rapids In the south Saskatchewan River were too wild to run with a fully loaded the other paddlers carry the packs onshore. Michael and I were chosen as paddlers.
His plan worked! Not only didn’t we waste energy on portage but we had so much fun in the excitement of running the rapids! All the voyageurs shared in the excitement of Cam’s great idea and cheered on as the canoe sped down the rapids. We finally arrived at the Brandon House in the night. We were so happy to reach the village we celebrated with a grand party. Once we arrived over a hundred people from the surrounding area Joined us for the highly anticipated celebration. We sang, danced, and challenged other people to races and wrestling matches.
This excitement was then followed by a huge delicious feast of fresh bread, pea soup, and raspberry tea. The thrill of the celebration was in great need to all of us! Five trappers bringing furs came almost as soon as we got here in exchange of blankets, pots and other goods. I tried to make the prices as low as possible to protect from having any North West Company traders slip in and get the trade. It was a great deal, so we were all happy. Sam suggested the furs be put in a safe, dry place, to ensure they arrive to Europe in perfect shape in the fall.