I gave my first long speech in front of the Victoria Historical Society on Thursday night, and survived the experience.
I wrote the entire speech out and read it off and it was fairly successful, and I never omitted anything or made any mistakes -- The power point worked for the most part, and so everything was okay.
But looking back on the speech, I think I would change a few things.
I am told that the maps did not show well at the back of the room, though they looked great from where my sister and I were.
Maps are hard to deal with in a power point presentation, and so I will have to do it differently.
I think I would show the map, as I did, and then prepare and show black and white maps that show the exact area we are speaking of, so that people can follow along a little better.
I also felt that the speech could have been improved if I had added a few sections where I could just talk freely -- perhaps introducing the characters to the audience. I will plan that for the future.
I found that I had to rush a little to finish, even though the speech was perfectly timed for 40 minutes, as instructed -- power point takes time and other little things will cause a delay, too.
Next time I will write a shorter speech and have little periods of time when I can just talk to the audience.
It's all a learning experience....
In my head, I start off my revised speech with the book cover and the following words:
Good evening, everyone. My name is Nancy Anderson and I am the author of The Pathfinder: A.C. Anderson's Journeys in the West, published this fall by Heritage House.
(I am not sure that's necessary as I have already been introduced).
Alexander Caulfield Anderson is best known as the Hudson's Bay Company fur trader who, in the mid-1840's, threaded his way through mountain passes and down rapid filled rivers in search of a horse-friendly trail through the rugged country that separated the Kamloops fort from Fort Langley, on the lower Fraser River.
This is the story of those four cross-country expeditions and the difficult years that followed, when the fur traders were forced to make their way over the new trails to the coast -- horses fell from clifftops carrying valuable trade goods with them, and frustrated fur traders had fist fights while their French Canadian employees deserted at Fort Langley for an easier life in the California gold fields.....
The information presented in this talk is taken from Anderson's records, and the reports and letters of the other fur traders such as Henry Newsham Peers, Donald Manson, and Peter Skene Ogden.
[Maybe here I would insert a little paragraph telling people what I am going to tell them, to prevent confusion, ie.:]
I will tell you where the brigade trails ran before 1846, when Anderson was granted permission to explore for a new trail between Kamloops and the coast;
I will explain why the fur traders had to find a new trail, and what forced them to use the new trail before it was ready;
I will describe what happened on the difficult 1848 brigade, and how they found a new trail in 1849; and I will tell you a little about some of the people who were involved in opening up these trails.
Image: Simple map of old brigade trail, Fort St. James to Kamloops:
Before 1843, the outgoing New Caledonia brigades started their journey in Fort St. James, carrying their furs downriver by boat to Fort Alexandria, south of modern day Prince George.
There they loaded their packs onto horses and followed their brigade trail east across the Thompson plateau to the North Thompson River. They swam their horses across the river and rode down its rugged east bank into the Kamloops fort.
The trail that led south from Kamloops was first used two hundred years ago, and was in regular use all the way up to 1847, when everything changed.
The trail led them past Monte Lake and followed the hills that lined the west shore of Okanagan Lake. It passed through Summerland and Oliver, along the west shore of Osoyoos Lake and reached the Columbia River at Fort Okanogan.
At Fort Okanogan the fur traders loaded their furs into boats and headed downriver toward Fort Vancouver.
At Fort Nez Perce they stopped again. Just east of Fort Nez Perce was an American mission -- called the Waiilatpu Mission -- that in 1848 will play an important role in Anderson's story.
The boats reached Fort Vancouver in early June, and departed in July for the Okanogan post.
In August they approached Fort Alexandria and everyone rushed out of the fort to help them the last miles home.
By September they had returned to Fort St. James, where they had begun their journey five months earlier.
In the early 1840's the fur traders looked for a new trail to cut off the difficult trail via the North Thompson River and Kamloops.
The suggested trail led north from Kamloops Lake, around the south end of Loon Lake and the north end of Green Lake.
In the area around Lac la Hache it joined the old brigade trail that led west to Fort Alexandria.
When Anderson re-entered the territory in 1842, on his way to Fort Alexandria, he rode over the trail; the following spring he brought the brigade out by this new route and this was the first time the trail was used as the brigade trail.
Image: 4 Explorations Map (See book for this map), with a talk on where Fort Langley is on the map, and where Kamloops is, and how Anderson drew the map.
Now that we have covered the background, I will tell you of Anderson's four expeditions across country in 1846 and 1847, and the international forces that caused the fur traders such anxiety over these next few years:
The boundary line between the the United States and British territories had already been established to the eastern edge of the Rocky Mountains.
In the early 1840's, the fur traders were aware that the British and American governments were now negotiating the placement of the boundary line west of the Rocky Mountains -- between Oregon Territory and so-called British territories.
Only Natives, HBC fur traders, and the first rush of American settlers who had come over the Oregon Trail, jointly occupied Oregon Territory (what would later become Oregon, Washington, and North Idaho.)
Anderson thought the fur traders might eventually require a trail to Fort Langley, on the lower Fraser River, from whence they could transfer their furs to Fort Victoria and London.
He offered to explore for that new route, and the governor of the Company immediately accepted his offer.
Image: Photograph, Hell's Gate Canyon
It was 1846. The fur traders already knew they could not reach Fort Langley by boat through the two rapid-filled canyons (Hell's Gate and Black Canyon) that blocked the Fraser River between Kamloops and Fort Langley.
But the fur traders also knew that Natives from above Hell's Gate and Black Canyons traded at Fort Langley, and that the Sto:lo on the lower Fraser travelled north past those canyons.
There must be a trail around the two canyons, and Anderson was expected to find it!
Image: Photograph, Brigade Trail behind Alexandra Lodge, Fraser Canyon Highway
The trail had to be horse friendly. The country must provide good grass and water for the horses, and the trail bed must be solid enough underfoot that two hundred heavily laden packhorses could pass in safety both ways.
Switchbacks were needed on steep hillsides to allow the horses to clamber safely up or down, and safe fords or bridges must be provided if the horses crossed deep creeks in the season of high water.
Image: Map of route from Kamloops to Anderson and Seton Lakes, and down Lilloet River to Fort Langley
In summer 1846, Anderson's party of six men started off from the Kamloops fort, and rode down the south shore of Kamloops Lake to cross the Thompson River at the lake's west end.
His party rode westward through turbulent Deadman River and the Bonaparte; they followed Hat Creek to Marble Canyon and joined the Fraser River at Pavilion, and followed the river's east shore south to the place where the Natives gathered at their fishery.
There Anderson looked at the end of massive Fountain Ridge, and realized he could not take horses there. Leaving the animals behind, he crossed the Fraser in borrowed canoes and led his men down the west bank of the Fraser, as far as the mouth of Seton River.
They walked along the north shores of Seton and Anderson lakes, and hiked over various heights of land until they stumbled on the Lillooet River.
At a village they borrowed canoes, and their Lil'wat paddlers brought them quickly and efficiently down that rapid filled river to Fort Langley.
An archeologist/anthropologist who does research among the Lil'wat people who live on today's Lillooet River, collected a story from one woman, who said her many-times-great-grandmother, as a child, had been hidden away by her parents because 'strangers were coming downriver.'
He figured out the generations and thought the story had taken place about 1850 -- close enough to 1846 for it to have possibly been Anderson's descent of the Lillooet River.
(Isn't it amazing that the story came down to this woman through the many generations of women who came before her?)
Image: Photograph, The Coquihalla from Fort Langley
This is the Coquihalla mountain range behind Hope, as seen from Fort Langley. Imagine Anderson and James Murray Yale standing on the bank of the Fraser and looking at these hills, while Yale tells Anderson of a trail that ran through or around these mountains.
Yale had arranged that a Sto:lo chief named Pahallak would guide Anderson by one of his trails through this mountain range.
Anderson's party travelled upriver from Fort Langley, and after a short diversion to explore the Silverhope River (which Anderson eliminated because of rocks on the route) they began to walk up the banks of the Coquihalla River.
Image: Map of B.C., Coquihalla Detail (see book for this map)
They followed the Nicolum River east, crossing over the ridge of land that separated that river from the Sumallo -- where the Hope Slide blocks the valley today.
At Rhododendron Flats (Manning Park), they climbed up the south side of the Coquihalla to the top of the mountain, where they found the entire plateau covered in snow, deep enough that horses could not traverse it.
They crossed the plateau in a south to north direction, and followed the rocky canyon of the Tulameen River down the Coquihalla's north side to open country, where they met two Similkameen Natives -- Blackeye and his son-in-law.
Blackeye told Anderson of a Native trail to the to of the mountain: "It is of course very short as compared with the long and painful circuit made by us," Anderson said. "The road mentioned by Blackeye is that by which all, or most, of the Indians of the neighbourhood proceed every summer, in July, to the height of land with their horses to hunt Siffleurs (marmots) and gather roots; a journey of two days with their loaded horses. He expressed his willingness to guide us through it at the proper season, but like the rest of the country in that vicinity, it is impassable at present owing to the snow."
Anderson returned to Fort Alexandria (where he was posted) -- One year later, in 1847, Peter Skene Ogden instructed Anderson to make another exploration, this time down the banks of the Fraser River to Fort Langley -- to see if a snow free route could be discovered.
When Anderson set off from Kamloops, he was already aware that the Similkameen people, who lived on the Similkameen and Tulameen Rivers south of the Nicola Valley, had recently opened a trail that led from the banks of the Fraser River all the way up the hills to the Nicola Valley.
The fur traders had arranged that Blackeye show Anderson the trail, but the Similkameen man was not at the meeting place when Anderson made his journal entries that night.
Sometime later -- perhaps days later -- Blackeye's son joined Anderson's party.
Image: Photograph, Thompson's River
From the Nicola Valley, Anderson rode to the mouth of the Nicola River and, leaving the horses behind, crossed the river in borrowed canoes.
He and his men walked down the south bank of the Thompson River toward modern day Lytton, and next day met their Sto:lo guide, Pahallak, where the Thompson flowed into the Fraser.
Pahallak travelled with "..a large concourse of Indians of every age and sex," Anderson recorded. "They are on their good behaviour and show every external desire to conciliate, but they are a scampish looking set of vagabonds; nor does their ordinary conduct, I believe, at all belie their looks; and though there is little to be apprehended from them under present circumstances, we are of course, as usual, on our guard."
They camped for the night at the meeting place and began their walk downriver the next day.
One day later they reached the Native settlement Anderson called Squa-zowm, at the west end of the newly opened Similkameen trail.
If Blackeye's son hadn't arrived before this time, he and his close relative, Chief Nkwala's nephew, met Anderson near modern-day Boston Bar, where Squa-zowm village stood.
Image: Lake Mountain from North Bend, with a word on Boston Bar, Anderson River, and the location of Hell's Gate and Black Canyons just around the corner of the river.
Blackeye's son led the fur traders up his newly opened Similkameen trail, and at a place that two of Anderson's men recognized, they paused. The men assured Anderson that, from this place there already existed a reasonably good horse road that would take them all the way to the Nicola Valley and Kamloops.
Now Anderson had only to find the trail to Fort Langley, past Hell's Gate and Black Canyons and the miles of rapid-filled river north of modern day Yale.
From the mainstream of the river, the Natives led Anderson's party up a cliff climbing trail that took them to the top of Lake Mountain, where another long sloping trail led them southward to a Native village called Kequeloose, on the Fraser River south of the two canyons.
Image: Fraser River at one of its narrow points (just so everyone gets the idea the journey wasn't that easy....)
From there they crossed the Fraser and made their way downriver -- with some difficulties -- until they were able to borrow canoes to bring them to Fort Langley.
Anderson's party immediately returned up the canyons bringing two unloaded boats to Kequeloose -- again, with some difficulties -- and followed his Native guides up the trail to the Nicola Valley, on foot.
Image: Tsilaxitsa portrait in colour (it's in black and white, in the book)
When the party reached open country, Anderson wrote a note to his clerk, giving him instructions: "The chief part of our survey being now completed, I propose entrusting to your care the further charge of the party...therefore you will proceed to Okanagan with the horses, accompanied by the men herein named -- Fallardeau, Lacourse, and Desautel remain with you. Also Nicholas' nephew, Blackeye's son, and Laronetumleun -- the last as interpreter."
In later years Anderson wrote that he rode many miles with Nkwala's nephew Tsilaxitsa, who was to become the most prominent Okanagan chief of his time.
I suspect that Tsilaxitsa and Blackeye's son, and other Native men who remain forever unnamed, regularly worked for the fur traders, helping them take out their furs and bring in the trade goods.
(At this point we are 15 minutes into the 45 minute talk!)
Image: Map of lower Columbia with Fort Nez Perce showing, and Waiilatpu Mission
About the time Anderson was making his 1847 exploration, measles, which had come north with Natives who traded for horses in California, spread slowly through the Columbia district south of Fort Okanogan.
Measles is an illness that spreads in crowded conditions, and Natives gathered in large numbers around the Waiilatpu mission, east of Fort Nez Perce.
Many died -- so many that the Cayuse chiefs became convinced the missionary was intentionally killing them with poison.
When he failed a test they set for him, the Cayuse swarmed into the mission-house, slaughtering fourteen residents and taking many hostages.
Image: Peter Skene Ogden
When news of the massacre reached Fort Vancouver, Peter Skene Ogden travelled east up the Columbia river to purchase the hostages and settle the tribes.
However, the result of the massacre was the Cayuse war that erupted amongst many of the Native tribes along the Columbia River.
The river was no longer safe for travel, and Peter Skene Ogden and James Douglas immediately instructed the fur traders of Fort St. James, Kamloops and Fort Colvile (on the Columbia River near Spokane) to bring their furs out to Fort Langley by one of Anderson's unimproved trails.
The two men chose the Squa-zowm River trail over Lake Mountain, and Douglas travelled to the Fraser River to assess how easy it would be to travel downriver to the new Fort Yale.
He was horrified by the river rapids and, discovering a rough passage that led through a rift in the rocks on the west side of the river, he ordered that a good road be built through it. This was the Douglas portage, north of modern day Yale.
Before 1848, a typical brigade generally consisted of about 200 horses. The gentlemen rode at the head of the column, and behind them came the provisioning brigade.
Next came the bell mare, that trotted in front of the many individual brigades of heavily laden pack horses. In a normal year, each string (or brigade) of seven to nine horses was in the care of two men responsible both for the horses and the loads they carried.
But in 1848, close to four hundred horses -- including many unbroken animals -- came out in the hands of fifty men, many of whom would not be returning with the brigades.
The outgoing brigade left Kamloops in late May, and travelled over the hills south of the fort before following the Coldwater River west.
They crossed the plateau and rounded the range of hills before dropping down the west side of the ridge, to the Squa-zowm river, which they now called Anderson's River.
Then up the cliffs to the plateau atop Lake Mountain where they passed Hell's Gate and Black Canyons -- down the long sloping hills to the village at Kequeloose and downriver to Spuzzum Creek, where they crossed their loads in "barges" that were difficult to handle and drowned some of their horses as they swam them across the river.
They arrived at Fort Yale in early June, and Anderson wrote: "It is needless to enumerate the difficulties which we had to encounter and surmount; suffice it to say that we continued to reach Fort Yale, which had meanwhile been established, and thence ran down speedily to Langley."
The outgoing brigades had carried out their packs of furs and castoreum -- the incoming brigades would now carry in trade goods -- packs of iron goods and axe heads, balls and black powder and flints for trade guns, salt, tobacco in 90 pound rolls or in carrots, awls for sewing leather, needles and fabric, ledgers for use as post journals and ink cakes to use with goose feather pens they made themselves.
The brigade would also return with fewer men -- nine men sent out with the Fort Colvile crew returned to Fort Vancouver and three men deserted at Fort Langley.
But a young gentleman named Henry Newsham Peers joined the brigade, and he kept a journal of the trip in.
They started off from Fort Langley, and Anderson travelled in the first cluster of four boats, with five more to come under Donald Manson's command.
Image: Donald Manson, with a description of this colourful and historic man
Anderson later described the upriver journal to Yale: "Hitherto, bateaux of about three burthern have been employed by the Hudson's Bay Company, for transport below the Falls (at Yale) -- a slow method when the water is high, as the ascent can then be effected only by warping along shore, with the aid of Indian canoes to pass the lines. By this tedious process, an ascent was made during the freshet of 1848, to the foot of the Falls (at Yale), in eight days; under ordinary circumstances, it would occupy five."
This was also the season of the Native fisheries, and Donald Manson reported: "The multitude of Indians who congregate on the banks of Frasers River at that season and who gave us a good deal of annoyance in passing...would render this route if not dangerous, at least a very precarious one, for our heavily encumbered and weakly [manned] brigade...."
From Peers' journal, on passing over the Douglas portage north of Fort Yale: "I and Mr. Manson left Ft. Yale on the 2nd August with the last trip 30 horses to rejoin Mr. Anderson at the other end; We got on very well on the portage with the exception of a couple of horses falling in the ascent of the big hill & some little confusion in a swampy part of the road rendered worst than its original state by the frequent passing & re-passing of horses. There is a pretty gradual ascent (one stiff hill intervening) as far as Douglas' River where there is a steep descent of about 700 feet to a bridge & a somewhat steeper though shorter ascent on the opposite side of this ravine, thence a level road till within a mile of Spuzzum River or Simon's House where the road descends pretty gradually to that place -- we were about three hours coming across & encamped on the south side of the Fraser River."
Simon's House was a little building constructed at the north end of Douglas portage, on the west side of the Fraser. Peers continues: "Remained at this encampment three days crossing Baggage & horses, etc., found all the goods correct & started on the 6th at 3pm. with some 500 & upwards pieces of goods in 15 brigades each brigade having 18 & some a greater number of horses to 2 men."
They travelled about six miles up the east bank of the Fraser to the place where the Alexandra brigade now crosses the river, and Peers said: "We encamped at the foot of Big Hill where the road leaves Fraser River, many of Brigades only arriving when pitch dark and consequently great confusion from horses straying with their loads and so forth; several fell down a steep hill on nearing the encampment...from weakness, threw their loads & a bale was swept off in the river before it could be seized & one animal killed."
Image: Jacob Ballenden's grave, with a short explanation
Peers's journal continues the next day: "Rainy weather -- this morning Jacob Ballenden was found dead near the encampment with his gun discharged by his side, shot through the heart. It is supposed he committed suicide. The day was spent in collecting strayed horses with their loads and all found but 6 pieces and another horse killed. A war party of the Chute Indians against those of Anderson's River passed the camp and created some little alarm...Nothing I may say here for the horses to feed on."
The brigades climbed Lake Mountain and descended the cliffs on the other side, to Anderson's River, and Peers records: "Some of the rear brigades got on very badly and 80 pieces were found deficient...Remained here today till the lost pieces should be brought in all of which were rendered but 2 bales...very little for the horses to eat."
Then they began the climb from Anderson's River to the top of the hills via Utzlius Creek, eventually reaching "a small patch of thinly wooded ground in which had been constructed a miserable horse-park. Two or three of the rear brigades arrived when quite dark and many horses necessarily strayed away before they could be freed from their loads, passing the night with the rest in the woods under a heavy thunder storm with little or nothing to eat."
Peers recorded that the horses were "much reduced from this constant want of food and the hard labour they had already undergone in the ups & downs of such a rugged & mountainous tract of country -- the pieces all but two or three were recovered after much searching and order was again restored. The Indians who had been employed for the last four days in searching for and bringing lost goods to the camp were paid off and seemed satisfied although there is some doubt as to their honesty."
The next day they camped five miles from the top of the hill; and men in the latter brigades went without supper (if you remember, the provisioning brigade was at the head of the column). On the following day Anderson rode ahead to the top of the hill, while Manson sent Natives out to search for more packs. At the end of the day the fur traders found they were still missing: "six bags of salt, two bags of ball and two rolls of Tobacco." [I mentioned at this point that each of these bags and rolls weighed ninety pounds.]
Anderson sent fresh horses back to Manson and Peers -- and Peers reported that "the early part of today was devoted to catching and loading young horses, about which some time was wasted." [this always happened in the brigades.]
The next afternoon Manson and Peers caught up to Anderson's brigades on the Coldwater River. The brigade reached Kamloops on August 22nd, and the gentlemen held a meeting to discuss the trail.
Manson reported that: "The new route to Fort Langley was found by me...to possess so many impediments, dangers and difficulties that I considered it my duty to condemn it as utterly [useless] for a large brigade such as ours, and Mr. Anderson, who discovered and recommended it as a questionable for our brigades is now convinced of his error. Such a rugged and mountainous country I never before traversed with horses...."
(At this point we are a half hour into the 3/4 hour talk)
About 70 valuable horses had been lost or killed, 27 on the return journey alone. This route was far too difficult, and the gentlemen agreed that the snow-covered trail over the Coquihalla must be tried.
They sent Henry Peers with Edouard Montigny, one of Anderson's men, to Blackeye's camp to ask that he show them his trail to the top of the Coquihalla.
Their actual guide was Blackeye's son, who took them up his father's trail to the top of the plateau, and then guided them due west, across the mountaintop, to a stream he called Sowaqua.
He pointed out his trail down the west side of the mountain, by streams that later came to be called Peers Creek and the Coquihalla River. Peers and Montigny followed the streams to the Fraser, where they borrowed canoes and made their way to Fort Langley.
At Fort Victoria, Peers told James Douglas of his successful journey over the mountains, and Douglas immediately ordered the construction of a new fort near the mouth of the Coquihalla River. He put Peers in charge of building Fort Hope, and also of opening the new trail to the top of the Coquihalla plateau.
Problems occurred almost immediately. Snow began to fall early in the season and it kept falling and the trail up the Coquihalla River valley was buried under deep drifts of snow and remained that way all winter.
In the interior forts the heavy snowfall killed so many horses the fur traders thought they couldn't have enough animals left alive to carry out their furs in the spring.
Image: Anderson's drawing of Kamloops, 1849, (in the book, in colour) and an explanation:
In early 1849, Peter Skene Ogden and James Douglas thought long and hard about the depth of snow on the Coquihalla plateau, and instructed the fur traders to bring out the furs by the Anderson River trail used in 1848.
Anderson, now in charge at Fort Colvile, led his men northward to Kamloops, arriving in May 1849. No improvement had been made on the almost impassible Anderson River trail, and the brigades took ten days to reach Fort Langley from Kamloops.
All the fur traders knew it was too dangerous to travel upriver through the Native fisheries a second time. As they came downriver through Yale, Manson instructed Anderson to go to the new Fort Hope and open up the trail up the Coquihalla River.
However, Anderson was now a chief trader and Manson's equal, and he refused, and came down to Fort Langley where James Douglas awaited them and ensured that everything ran smoothly.
Anderson supervised the unloading and re-loading of his boats, and as soon as possible he pushed his men and boats upriver to the new Fort Hope, where they began work on the trail.
When the pack horses that had been sent over the mountain from Kamloops finally arrived at Fort Hope, Anderson packed what Fort Colvile goods he could take on the horses assigned to him, and advised Manson of his decision to leave. The two gentlemen "exchanged high words."
The Fort Colvile men found the passage over the mountain quick and easy even though the trail was unfinished. Once over the mountain, Anderson avoided the long detour north to Kamloops, and led his men through the Similkameen River valley to Osoyoos Lake. They crossed the lake on one of its eskers, and riding over Anarchist Mountain, reached the Kettle River and followed it south to the Columbia River a few miles south of Fort Colvile.
Back at Fort Hope, Donald Manson worried about the unknown-to-him brigade trail across the Coquihalla. He travelled upriver to Fort Yale and Simon's House to see if it was possible to take his brigades out by that more familiar route, but at Simon's House he found many of his horses starved from lack of grass, or killed by Native fishermen.
But while he was checking out the possibilities there, the Nicola Valley Natives who had ridden over the Coquihalla to Fort Hope (on his instructions), followed him upriver to Fort Yale and told him the trail over the mountain was clear and easy to cross.
Manson left Fort Hope with whatever horses he could scrape together, but he could not carry out all his supplies, and the shortage of trade goods plagued him for the entire year that followed.
For Anderson, at Fort Colvile, it was a different matter. He probably left Fort Hope with the idea of returning to pick up the remainder of his goods.
He sent men and fresh horses back to Fort Hope to bring in his remaining supplies, and the Fort Colvile men made the second journey in short order.
A few weeks later, reports of Anderson's and Manson's argument at Fort Hope reached the ears of the gentlemen at Fort Vancouver, and Ogden and Douglas arranged that the Kamloops and Fort Colvile brigades travel over the mountain separately.
For the next few summers, James Douglas travelled to Fort Langley to meet the brigades -- because, as Peter Skene Ogden wrote, "without a conductor the gentlemen are not competent to conduct their own affairs, trifling as they are, and a separation is absolutely necessary as Pugilistic affairs between the two leaders is not exactly the proper mode of conduct in Brigades in the presence of the Company's servants."
Neither Manson nor Anderson would have called their affairs "trifling."
Their journeys over the mountains were, at times, difficult to impossible. Stress levels were high and remained high, the work was hard and there were sometimes heavy losses, and pay was low.
They worried about having enough men to do the work the fur trade demanded -- fewer men were joining the fur trade and the quality of the men that reached the Columbia district and New Caledonia was in a constant decline.
Moreover, many of their voyageurs attempted to desert the fur trade and make their way to the California gold fields.
Even Ogden sympathized with the deserters when he wrote: "What inducement does the fur trade hold out. None. They look around them on all sides and behold nothing but old men covered with grey hairs, having given forty years servitude and still steeped in poverty."
When the brigades came out in the summer of 1850 they found the trails much improved. From Campement du Femmes at the base of the mountain (on its north side), the Fort Colvile brigades followed Blackeye's trail twelve miles up to Lodestone Lake.
Another twelve miles brought them to a camp on the Tulameen River at Podunk Creek -- where Anderson's exploration of 1846 crossed the brigade trail that resulted from that exploration.
The next day they camped at Deer Camp, and nineteen miles further reached Manson's Camp, at the head of Peers Creek. Fifteen more miles brought them down Peers Creek and the Coquihalla River into Fort Hope, where they loaded their goods into boats and drifted downriver to Fort Langley.
By 1850 the new brigade trail was established and successful, though there were still hiccups. The shortage of horses in the interior remained a problem, and one portion of the trail still caused difficulties for the brigades.
The fur traders spent anxious years trying to find an alternative piece of trail for the part that descended Manson's Mountain, but never succeeded.
By 1852 Anderson was no longer riding over the trail, and could not suggest an alternative route -- his pathway down the wide valley that led up the south side of the mountain from the Sumallo River and Rhododendron Flats.
He had moved on and was happily or unhappily retired near Fort Vancouver.
He would pop up again in 1858, when he came to Fort Victoria and took responsibility for opening the first highway into the interior over the route of his first exploration via the Lillooet River to the Fraser River above the canyons.
By this trail, thousands of eager gold miners accessed the Fraser River gold fields north of the same canyons that had confounded the fur traders in 1848.
Historians often call the Harrison-Lillooet trail British Columbia's first highway, but I think the Coquihalla brigade trail -- or Blackeye's son's trail -- deserves that designation.
But whichever trail you feel opened up the province, Anderson played a part in finding it.
In 1860 the soldiers and engineers of the Columbia Detachment of the Royal Engineers substantially widened the Harrison Lillooet trail that Anderson had first explored in 1846, turning it into a good wagon road.
Then the Royal Engineers carved a good road out of the cliff faces between Yale and Boston Bar above the rapids and falls that had so troubled the brigades in 1848 and 1849. By Autumn 1862 their road reached Lytton, and in 1863 the first Alexandra Bridge crossed the Fraser River north of Spuzzum, its eastern end resting near the place where Anderson's men had buried Jacob Ballenden in 1848.
All these important roads are, one way or another, Anderson's trails -- and all of them helped to create the colony.
However the most important of these trails was the one that finally brought the fur traders over the Coquihalla range to Fort Langley; without it the history and importance of Fort Langley and Fort Victoria would have been severely impacted.
If Anderson had not been able to open up the brigade trail, what would have happened? How would the fur traders have brought their furs to the coast?
In 1975, historian Derek Pethick wrote that Anderson's "discovery of a practical, all British artery for the fur trade was to have a profound effect on the history of not only British Columbia, but also of Canada itself." Without Anderson's explorations, he said, British Columbia could hardly have come into being, and would never have become a part of Canada as it is today.
That was a three-quarter of an hour speech! and it appeared to be well received and everyone heard me -- which is the most important thing.
I'll work on making better maps for future presentations, and maybe I'll write shorter speeches so I can relax a little in between sections of the talk -- that would be nice for everyone including me.
People asked questions after the talk, and most of them were about Anderson's 1867 map of British Columbia.
I am quite disappointed that no one asked me what 'castoreum' was -- I had the perfect answer (which I got from a vegan site):
It is described as a "bitter, orange-brown, odoriferous, oily secretion, found in two sacs between the anus and the external genitals of the beavers."
Natives used it to attract beaver to their traps; Europeans used it in perfumes for its refined, leathery nuances.
It is still used today in perfumes, but also as a natural flavouring added to cigarettes and candies.
Thanks, everyone. I am still cleaning up all the papers, etc., that hit the floor when I am writing a speech or doing the last editing in the book.
We'll talk in a week or so, as I will have some free time -- until I speak in the middle of January in Hope.
Well, that's not quite correct -- the book launch is being held on December 1st -- one week away, but I am feeling quite relaxed by that.
It will I think be a smaller and more personal talk -- a little more relaxed.