Sunday, September 20, 2009

New Brigade Trail, Loon Lake to Drowned Horse Lake

From Loon Lake, the brigaders rode northwest, crossing the range of hills that lay between them and their immediate destination, the Bonaparte River.
The photograph at the top of the page was taken in the Bonaparte River valley, and shows the range of hills that the men crossed as they rode north from Loon Lake.
The map to the right shows the route that the brigaders took once they left the north end of Loon Lake -- according to Alexander Caulfield Anderson's 1867 map, anyway.
The lake at the bottom right of the map is called "Hudson's Bay Lake."
I was unable to determine whether this lake is part of the Brigade Creek system shown on my posting of August 23, 2009 -- New Brigade Trail, Copper Creek to Loon Lake.
I think, however, these names give a pretty clear indication that the brigade trail did once follow the Brigade Creek system to Loon Lake.

The photograph to the right is of the Bonaparte River, and it shows the range of hills the brigaders rode over to reach their next destination, Green Lake.

The brigaders rode around the south end of Green Lake and up its west side for a short distance.
Today the place where their trail would have been has been chewed up by the installation of the natural gas line that runs past the south end of Green Lake.

This photograph looks in the direction the brigaders came from, and they rode away from Green Lake to the left and behind the photographer.
At the place where a stream flowed from the west into the lake, they left the lake to ride along the stream's north bank, to the west.
Probably they then mounted an esker -- a gravelly ridge left behind by the glaciers -- and followed that esker as it lead toward the place where their path would join the old brigade trail west of Drowned Horse Lake.

Anderson admired the beauty of Green Lake, and wrote of it in his draft unpublished manuscript, British Columbia: ".... Lac Vert, or Green Lake, so called from the sea-like tint of its waters. This lake, in length some thirty miles, is a beautiful sheet of water. Several streams run into it; but it has no free outlet. There is a slight subterranean drainage only, into the Bonaparte, a tributary of the Thompson. The water, therefore, kept within limits chiefly by evaporation, is brackish."

The photograph above is also of Green Lake, taken from half way up the lake's shore. You can see that we are now in aspen country.

A little while ago I spoke of the furtraders following an esker from Green Lake toward Drowned Horse Lake.
The photograph to the left will show you what an esker is -- but this is a completely different part of the country than the Cariboo.
The narrow sandspit that runs across Osoyoos Lake, in the South Okanagan, is an esker -- the gravelly bed of the stream that once covered the lake that now exists here.
This esker, or sandbar, across Osoyoos Lake was used for thousands of years by the natives who lived here.
Later the fur traders crossed Osoyoos Lake by this natural bridge. In fact Anderson waded across the lake by this natural bridge many times as he brought his Fort Colvile brigade west to the foot of the Coquihalla range, after 1848.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

The Brigade Trails

I will just let all of you know what is happening in British Columbia, in regard to the many brigade trails around our province. There has recently been an upsurge of interest in these old trails, with many people volunteering to rediscover them and open them up. Michael K (Donald Manson descendent) has been interested in this for some time, but as a result of the recent trip my sister and I took around the province following the brigade trails, he has taken up the torch again.
The group who is opening up the brigade trail between Hope to Tulameen has, in hand, a lot of money from the Provincial Government. Their work on the Hope-Tulameen trail over the Coquihalla is already almost finished, and they are (I am told) even finding some of the old blazed trees that marked the original trail. But, in addition to finishing the Hope-Tulameen trail, they are spending some money in opening up the Harrison Lillooet Trail (really a road) which A. C. Anderson was responsible for building, and which followed the route of his first 1846 exploration through Anderson and Seton Lakes to Harrison Lake. Moreover, they are spending money on relocating all the old portions of the Caribou Road that led all the way up to Barkerville. This is all in the works -- but Michael K. has also approached them to ask them to spend some of that money on locating and geo-mapping the new brigade trail from the north shore of Kamloops Lake all the way past Loon and Green Lake, to Lac La Hache, Williams Lake, and Fort Alexandria.
There is a meeting in Hope on Thursday afternoon and Friday of this week. I cannot get there but Michael K. will be there, as will Ken F. who is another brigade trail researcher. Both of these men are historical-geographers (a profession I didn't know existed before now.) I expect great things out of this meeting, and will keep you all in touch. I think that to celebrate the opening of the trails, we should find all the fur-trade descendents we can find, and ride them -- on horse-back, as our ancestors did. Are we all ready for a massive family re-union, on horseback?
And you must realize the importance of Alexander Caulfield Anderson's 1867 map of British Columbia in this process -- his is the only record of the location of the new brigade trail from Kamloops through Green and Loon Lake. Now that the B.C. Archives has scanned in A.C.'s map and made the brigade trail's location accessible, people who are interested in the early history of the fur trade in this province -- or the gold rush -- will locate the route of these old trails.

Monday, September 7, 2009

A. C. Anderson items in Royal B.C. Museum Collection

By going to the Royal B.C. Museum website at -- object database -- you can view some of the native cultural items that Alexander Caulfield Anderson collected in his travels up and down the coast as Fisheries Inspector. These items were sold or donated by J. R. Anderson after his father's death.
Bark Beater from Nootka Sound Area (Catalogue No. 10226) -- This was used to soften bark by beating it into a hemp-like consistency to make clothing; bark beaters exist all the way up and down the coast and are made of wood, bone, whalebone, or volcanic stone. Capt. Cook collected a bark beater as he passed down the coast many years before the fur trade even made it into this area.
Cedar Bark Cape (Catalogue No. 10227) of woven cedar bark and wool. These types of capes were common up and down the coast and may well have been made with the use of a bark beater.
Haida Grease Dish carved from Sheep's Horn (Big horn sheep?) (Catalogue Number 10224) for eulachon oil at feasts. It has a hawkshead at each end, perforated for beak, wings on sides, and is a red/brown colour.

A.C. Anderson's son, Walter Birnie Anderson, also donated some items, see below:
Haida Copper Model, cut, punched and hammered (Catalogue Number 168 A-J if they haven't recatalogued it yet) a Ceremonial artifact made of copper, the sort of work the Haidas of Queen Charlotte Islands were well known for.
Tsimshian Wooden Comb, made of carved wood (Catalogue No. 181) came from the Tsimshain or Gitzaklath people at Port Simpson which is the modern name for Fort Simpson, where A.C. Anderson was posted early in his career.
Berry Crusher from the central coast or Clayoquot Sound (Catalogue No. 4701).