Saturday, October 27, 2012

From Knee Lake to old Norway House, the with Columbia Express

Let us continue our journey west with the Columbia Express, beginning with a description of the route between Knee Lake and Norway House, from the book Exploring the Fur Trade Routes of North America, by Barbara Huck et al.
Heading west from Knee Lake: "Ahead lay Knee Lake and Oxford Lake..... Above Oxford, the brigades passed through a scenic gorge (better appreciated going down than up) they called Hills Gates before reaching Robinson Falls and its accompanying portage. This "carrying place," as the HBC men called it, is more than 1.5 kilometers long -- only the portage at Grand Rapids is longer on the route to Cumberland. Both eventually boasted tramways with flatcars to transport the York boats and their heavy loads past the falls or rapids.
"From Robinson Lake the upper Hayes leads via Painted Stone Portage to the Echimamish river (in Cree, "the River-that-Flows-Both-Ways"). Here two streams originate in a flat, marshy meadow. One flows east and the other west and in the early years of the fur trade a succession of beaver dams kept the water level in this wetland sufficiently deep to float canoes. Then the beaver were trapped out and the men were obliged to build the necessary dams. Fortunately the beavers are back, building again in just the right places. The westward flowing portion of the Echamamish leads to the upper Nelson River, Playgreen Lake and the modern community of Norway House.
"Where many other large rivers in Manitoba, including the Nelson, have been dammed over the past 40 years, the Hayes is undeveloped. As Hap Wilson and Stephanie Aykroyd wrote in their excellent book of maps, Wilderness Rivers of Manitoba, "Past history combined with the thrill of whitewater and an ever-changing scenery makes the Hayes an excellent choice for the discriminating paddler.""

From the same book, "While most canoeists on the Hayes choose to travel downstream from Norway House to York Factory, experienced canoeists Douglas and Wilfred Keam from Norway House undertook the much more arduous upstream journey in 1999. The trip from York Factory to The Forks of the Red and Assiniboine Rivers took 52 days and the pair was joined by other paddlers and canoes along the way."
So, as you will see, it is a long uphill slog -- and apparently neverending, as even once the fur traders reached Norway House, they still had the long river journey up the Saskatchewan River to Edmonton House.
It was a lot easier for the Saskatchewan Brigades (and York Factory Express) to get to York Factory, than to return home.

Journal of a Voyage Across the Continent of North America in 1826, by Aemilius Simpson, R.N.:
Sunday 23rd [July] Commenced fine clear weather, wind S.E. We remained in our encampment until the arrival of our sternmost boats at 7.30 am. when we continued our ascent of Knee Lake, at 9.20 we arrived at the Magnetic Island, mentioned by Franklin. I estimate it to be 27 miles from the lower entrance of the lake, it is in Latitude 55 degrees and at the upper termination of the Knee, on a close approach to this small island, which was hardly above the surface of the lake, I found the compass became greatly agitated, veering about with great rapidity, until at last it became stationary, the south point being fixed in the direction of the Island, and although I applied a key, it had not the effect of withdrawing it from that direction, but as we left the island, it gradually resumed its true direction, but on passing point of another islet, a few hundred yards beyond it, the compass again became similarly affixed, from which circumstance I would infer that [the rocks] possessing this quality extends for some distance, in a S.E. and S.W direction. At 3.24 pm we completed the ascent of Knee Lake, which I estimate to be 47 miles, averaging a [?] direction, except in the Knee, where it runs [..]. We commenced our ascent of the Trout River, which having done for 1 1/2 miles, we arrived at the Trout Falls, one of the most dangerous rapids or falls on the line of communication. We encampt at the head of these falls, two of our boats having fallen again in the rear. These falls with the surrounding scenery afforded as fine subject for the [artist] but the heightening of the landscape by the silver tints of the moons rays shooting [on] the opposite shore and playing upon the agitatic [agitated?] surface of these [word] Falls made me regret that they were not similarly presented to him, as they were to me this evening, which [made] much of their natural grandeur.
Monday 24th. Commenced fine clear weather, we remained in our encampment until 5.30 am waiting for the arrival of our sternmost boats, when we continued our ascent of the Trout River, a very rapid stream five miles of it being a constant chain of rapids and falls. At 9.35 we got above the Knife Portage and having hauled by line above a number of rapids at a quarter past noon we arrived at comparatively still water, enabling us to proceed with greater expedition, at 3 pm we arrived at Oxford House, a small trading post on Holey Lake. The Trout River being by my estimation a distance of 14 miles from its bottom to Oxford House, 9 miles of that a succession of rapids, its direction [words omitted]. Our crews received a supply of pemmican at this post, and we resumed our Journey at 4.30 pm and having ascending Holey Lake 15 miles between [words] we encamped at 9pm on an island.
Tuesday 25th. Fine clear weather, a breeze from the S.W. We embarked at 4.30 am and continue our ascent of Holey Lake, at 10.45 entering the Wipinapanis, making the estimated distance of Holey Lake 33 1/2 miles, [words] leading among clusters of islands. Having ascended the Wipinapanis about 2 miles we arrived at the lower portage in this River, and here met a canoe and boat from the New Caledonia district, with returns for York Factory. On making this portage we continue our ascent of this stream, making 2 portages and hauling four rapids within a distance of two miles, on arrived above these rapids we passed thro' Windy Lake and entered the Rabbit [River?], where we encampt having travelled during the day, a distance of 32 miles. We experience great heat during the day.
Wednesday 26th. Fine weather, at 2.30 embarked and continued our ascent of the Rabbit [River]. We arrived at the Lower Portage of Hills Gates at 1/4 before 6 am in hauling these [long] rapids one of our boats filled, having broke her sheer in the rapids and not having made a sufficient discharge of her cargo, which should never be considered in hauling dangerous rapids, which the crews are apt to do to save themselves trouble in transporting the goods. The scenery about this portage presents one of the [most] singular pictures of the fair of nature, which seldom fails to impress the contemplative men with feelings of [word] and wonder. [Words omitted] Capt. Franklin in speaking of this place supposes that [the] action of water in time produced this extraordinary chasm through which the river now [makes] its course. I should rather ascribe it to the force of one of those mysterious convulsions to which our earth has been subjected. Having made this portage, we continue our ascent of the Hill River, hauling a succession of rapids and making the Upper Portage of Hills Gates, which we completed at 3 pm. We now arrived in comparatively still water, [and] at 6.15 pm arrived at the White Fall or Robertson's Portage, having travelled a distance during the day of 25 miles.
Thursday 27th. Commenced gloomy threatening rain. The crews from daylight were employed transporting the cargoes and boats across this portage, which is a most laborious operation, being across a mile of considerable elevation and a distance of 3/4 mile and is performed entirely by main strength, our crews despising the aid of [word] they are not even furnished with a tackle, which if judiciously applied render great assistance, a chain of gales on our right as we ascend forms this serious obstruction. [Words omitted] We embarked and continued our route by a small stream, coming from a chain of swampy lakes which produce the white fish in great abundance and perfection, I understand. The country along our track is [covered] with a growth of pines and poplars and [another tree] shewing themselves above the swamps are projecting [bluffs] of rock which form a curious contrast. At 5.45 pm having made the portage across the Painted Stone a massive ridge of rocks forming a barrier between the [course] of the Hayes River and the Echamamish, we continued our route of the latter, a shifting stream, taking its course through a marsh. We fortunately found no obstruction from want of water and continue our route for 7 miles, when we encamped upon a [ridge] of rocks at 8.15 pm having come a distance of 23 1/2 miles from the [Painted Stone] Portage. The weather during the day was close and gloomy. Thermometer at noon 78 degrees.
Friday 28th. Commenced close gloomy weather, thermometer 70 degrees. At 3 am embarked and continue our route down the Echiamamis without meeting any obstruction from want of water, which is a rare occurrence in this season. I understand on arriving at the dam erected by Mr. Kemp for the purpose of elevating this stream, we found the sluice gate carried away and the work otherwise considerably injured. At noon we entered Hairy Lake and were opposed by a breeze from the S.W. The weather was extremely warm [words omitted]. Having completed our descent of Hairy Lake which is a small sheet of water of about 5 miles S.W. we commenced our descent of the stream called the Black Water, which is I suppose merely a continuance of the Echamamish, on descending five miles we entered the Sea River. The oppressive heat of the day was followed by a severe thunder storm accompanied by very heavy rain and hail storms of an immense size, obliged in the latter shelter for about an hour under care of a small island, when we again continue our ascent of the Sea River and Carpenters Lake, opposedly strong rapids, and at 8.30 arrived at the Rapids formed by the falling of Play Green Lake into Carpenters Lake [and] Channel, we encamped upon the ledge of rock on the right for the night, our [men] unloaded the boats and hauled them above the rapids.
Saturday 29th. Commenced close weather with drizzling rain, with a breeze from the S.E., rendering in great assistance in our progress to Norway House. We embarked from the Sea Carrying Place and pursued our route by the lower Play Green Lake, little Jack River and Upper Play Green Lake, in many parts the intricate channels and winding courses, but principally S.W. a distance of 40 miles which brought us to Norway House at 3 pm, having taken sixteen days to perform the journey from York Factory, which I estimate to be a travelling distance of 395 1/2 miles. It is certainly a long time for so short a distance [words omitted].

York Factory Express Journal, 1827, by Edward Ermatinger:
23rd [July] Rained all last night and continued at intervals during the day. Cleared the Portage by 5 am. Proceeded in the Knee Lake pulling against a head wind (S.E.). In the afternoon overtake Mr. Nolin with 2 boats for Red River. Men's provisions reduced to Peas and water. Encamped on an Island a short distance beyond the Knee about 9 pm.
24th. Showers of rain during the day. Started about 2 am. -- rejoined Mr. Leith at the Trout Fall, encamped at 10 pm. at the last strong rapid in Trout River, having made on it 1 portage and 3 lightening places.
25th. Fine weather. Started at 3 am. -- arrived at Oxford House about 8 o'clock. Thence proceeded thro' the Holy Lake sailing most of the day with a side wind. Got our cargoes over the first portage in the Weepin-a-panis and encamped about 1/2 past 8 pm. Slight rain.
26th, Thursday. In the evening we had a tremendous shower of rain with much thunder and lightening. Men began to get up the boats about 1/2 past 2 am. Made another portage in the Weepin-a-panis -- passed through a lake, then a grassy River and another Lake and cleared the first portage in Hell's Gate or Hill's Gate. Encamped at the 2nd Hauling Place.
27th. Slight showers of rain.. Cleared the 2nd Portage in Hell's Gate. Passed thro' a small Lake and arrived at the White Falls about 9 am. Got over our boats and cargoes by 8 o'clock -- loaded the boats and encamped.
28th. Fine weather. Started at 1/2 past 1 am. arrived at the Painted Stone about 8. Found the upper end of the Itchenemanines [Echamamish] rather shoal. Encamped near the end of the River at 10 pm.
29th. Rain in the morning. Started about 3 am. Proceeded with the oars to the Sea River portage which having cleared hoisted the sail and sailed to Jack River House (the 'new' Norway House) where we arrived about 9 pm.
30th. Wet weather. Left Jack River House before noon and sailed to Norway House. Here we found 2 Red River boats Messrs. Ross and Heron. Started again in the evening and encamped at the next point.

It sounds as if the Jack River House was now Norway House, and the old Norway House was in the process of being abandoned. In his next year's journal [1828] Edward Ermatinger does not mention the old Norway House at all.
So from this point, we will travel past the "new" Norway House and pause at the abandoned fort -- that is, if our express men pause.
As you will see, at this point they have before them the often dangerous crossing of Lake Winnipeg.
You will see why, when you read James Douglas' journal entry.
In 1832, clerk Alexander Caulfield Anderson faced the same rough crossing.
From The Pathfinder:
"On Sunday, August 5, Anderson was back at Norway House [from York Factory]. He now travelled in a Hudson's Bay York boat -- a plank boat, pointed at both ends, that was bigger and heavier than a canoe and rowed by men with oars instead of paddles. These were the boats that had carried the Saskatchewan men all the way from Edmonton House in the spring, and these boats would carry them the thousand miles home. The eight boats of the Saskatchewan brigade set off early the next day, and the Norway House journals report that it rained heavily on the morning of their departure.
"The brigade route lay across the top of Lake Winnipeg, where dangerous winds from the south could push the boats into the limestone cliffs that lined the shore of the lake. A gentleman later reported that "much risk was run in the crossing of Lake Winnipeg." In spite of the hazards presented by winds and waves, the brigaders made their way safely to the Saskatchewan River....."
I found the report on the rough crossing in the Edmonton House post journals.
Sometimes you have to discover what happened by reading the post journals of forts one thousand miles away!
But let us continue...

Diary of a Journey from Fort Vancouver in 1835, by James Douglas:
Mony. 27. Passed Knee Lake under sail, the Trout Falls, and encamped at the Upper Knife Handing Place. Cold, cloudy weather. Wind, north.
Tues. 28. Reached Oxford at 2 o'clock. Encamped at the upper end of the Lake.
Wedy. 29. Encamped at Hill's Gates.
Thursdy. 30. Robertson's Portage.
Friy. 31. Barren [?].
Saturday August 1st. Head of Tea River.
Suny. 2. Reached Norway House.
Mony. 3. Left Norway House; encamped on Play Green Lake.
Tuesy. 4. Reached the old Fort, beyond which we could not proceed on account of a boisterous wind which renders any further progress in the present state of the Lake, intensely dangerous. Mossy Point which is about 6 miles distant rises abruptly from the water's edge, and during stormy weather the heavy swell breaks angrily against its steep ascent, and renders it at such times quite inaccessible. The coast for 27 miles beyond Mossy Point partakes of the same inaccessible character & forms but one continued unbroken line of abrupt ascent, undistinguished either by bays or rivers wherein a secure harbour might be found in case of boisterous weather, whence it becomes a matter of necessity never to attempt this part of the lake particularly with loaded craft except when nearly in a calm and tranquil state.
Wedy. 5 Augt. The wind (crossed off: having) abated (crossed off: considerably we recommenced our journey) for a short time this morning, but freshened again immediately afterwards which rendered a move impracticable.

Journal of a Trip from Vancouver to York Factory, Spring, 1847, by Thomas Lowe:
Thurs. 29th [July] [in Knee Lake] Raining at intervals during the day. Got to the Trout Falls after breakfast, and made a portage of the boats and cargo at that place. Made portages likewise at the Lower and Upper Knife Landing Place, and encamped at the head of the latter. On account of the low state of the water, had also to take the pieces out at a rapid a short distance above the Trout Falls.
Friday 30th. Fine weather. Reached Oxford House before noon, and only stopped there to take s supply of Pemican and flour for the boats' crews, as there was a fine breeze blowing which carried us to the end of the lake before night. Encamped at the mouth of the Waipinapanis River.
Saturday 31st. Fine weather. Ascended the Waipinapis and made the three portages in this river called Lower Waipinapanis, John More's Island, and Crooked Rapid. In the morning Mr. O'Brien passed us in a canoe to overtake Mr. Rowand, who is with the boats ahead of us. In the afternoon crossed the Lac de Bois Blanc with a fair wind, and then came to White Water, in which we made a party at Lower Hells Gates, at the upper of which we encamped.
Sunday, August 1st. Exceedingly warm weather. Made a portage at Upper Hell's Gates in the morning, and reached Robertson's about noon. Got all the pieces across before night, but the boats remain at the other end of the Portage.
Monday 2nd. The boats were hauled across this morning on wheels, and we breakfasted before starting. Had a head wind all day, and only got the length of the height of Land or Painted Stone, where a very long Portage had to be made on account of the low state of the water in the Echimamis or Black River, and it was late at night before the boats were loaded. Another warm day.
Tuesday 3rd August. As we were starting from the Height of Land this morning, a light boat with 14 Indians met us, who were sent down from Norway House to assist in bringing up the Saskatchewan Brigade. We got 6 of them between our 4 boats, and the other 8 were sent on to be distributed amongst the 5 boats which are behind us. This has been an exceedingly warm day. Besides the two regular portages at the Beaver Dams, we had to make a third at a place near the Half Way Creek. In several places also the men had to take to the line, and haul the boats through the mud. Encamped a short distance beyond Half Way Creek.
Wednesday 4th. Warm. Had a good breeze to carry us through the remainder of Black River and Hairy Lake. Got to the Sea Carrying Place in the afternoon, a little above which we met the Revd Mr. Mason in a canoe on his way to YF. Encamped within 8 miles of Norway House.
Thursday 5th. Fine warm weather. Arrived at Norway House this morning at 8 o'clock, and found that Mr. Rowand and Mr. O'Brien had reached this yesterday morning with 2 boats.
Friday 6th. Weather still warm and fine. In the morning the other 5 Saskatchewan boats arrived here, and in the afternoon Mr. Hodgson likewise arrived from YF with the three English River boats. A thunder storm in the evening.
Saturday 7th. Warm pleasant weather. Started from Norway House this morning at 9 o'clock with the Saskatchewan Brigade, consisting of 11 boats in charge of Mr. O'Brien. As the wind was ahead we could not enter Lake Winnipeg, and encamped on an Island at the end of Play Green Lake.
Sunday 8th. Warm weather. Started early this morning but only reached Norway Point, where we remained the rest of the day, as the wind was strong ahead. A very severe thunder storm at night.

This year, Thomas Lowe will have a little difficulty in crossing the top of Lake Winnipeg.

Did you notice that in this journal that Thomas Lowe's men portaged the boats on wheels?
This is one of the two places, mentioned in Barbara Huck's book Exploring the Fur Trade Routes of North America, where the HBC men built "tramways with flatcars to transport the York boats and their heavy loads past the falls or rapids."

Journal from Vancouver to York Factory with Express, Spring 1848, by Thomas Lowe:
Tuesday 25th [July] Showery all day, and a head wind. Arrived at the Trout Falls in the evening, and got the pieces across the Portage.
Wednesday 26th. Hauled the boat up the Falls the first thing in the morning, and went only as far as the Decharge de Bouleau, where we breakfasted, and encamped, as it kept blowing and raining all day.
Thursday 27th. About 7 o'clock this morning the two Cumberland Boats came up, and we started in company with them. They had been detained a whole day repairing one of the boats, which had been very much damaged in the Upper Rapid in Jack River. In course of the day made Portages at the Lower & Upper Knife Handling Places, and arrived at Oxford House about 5 pm. Took supper there, and started at 6 1/2. Had a fine fair wind, and sailed all night. Got to the entrance of the Waipumapamis River at 2 o'clock in the morning.
Friday 28th. Very warm. Made Portages at the Lower Waipimapamus, John Moore's Island, and Crooked Rapid, before breakfast. Pulled through Winy Lake in the afternoon, and in the evening made a portage at Lower Hell's Gates, and having proceeded some distance beyond, encamped.
Saturday 29th. Fine warm weather. Made a portage at Upper Hell's Gates and breakfasted at Robertson's. Got the pieces across in the afternoon, and when the two Cumberland Boats arrived in the evening, had the boat hauled across. Encamped there.
Sunday 30th. Started from Robertson's Portage this morning, and go to the Height of Land at 9 am. where we breakfasted, and in the afternoon made a portage at the Sea Carrying Place. Got to within 10 miles of Norway House. A very heavy thunder storm after we encamped.
Tuesday August 1st. Clear weather this morning, and a fine fair wind. Arrived at Norway House under sail about 8 am.
Wednesday 2nd. Fine weather. This morning before breakfast the two Cumberland boats arrived. Went over in a small canoe with Mr. Beardmore this forenoon to Rossville.
Thursday 3rd. Showery. This morning Mr. Deschambt. started ahead with the two Cumb. Boats, and in the forenoon the 8 Saskatchewan boats arrived. After dinner we started with a fair wind, and encamped at Norway Point. C.F. Nicol Finlayson joins the Brigade there, being appointed to Carlton, and is a passenger in Mr. Rowand's boat. Mr. Beardmore embarks with me in the Columbia boat as he crosses the Mountains. We got three additional men at Norway House for the Columbia, being now 26 new hands in all. The 12 Otter packs brought up from YF were left at NH, but we have embarked 20 in place of them. Only half the number of Otters are to be sent across this season. [Probably these otters were skins to be sent to the Russians, on the Northwest coast.]
Friday 4th. Fine warm weather, but a strong head wind in the Lake, so that we have remained in our campement all day. In the evening Mr. Samuel McKenzie arrived with the 3 English River boats, and encamped alongside of us. A thunderstorm at night.

Journal of the Columbia Express Party, 1849, by John Charles:
30th, Monday [July]. Came to the foot of Trout Falls.
31st Tuesday. Made "Trout Fall Portage" and three others. Encamped in sight of Oxford House.
August 1st, Wednesday. Put ashore at Oxford House where having procured some white fish, we breakfasted. Left it under full sail. Made one portage and camped a little below a strong rapid called "Rapide de Croche".
2nd, Thursday. We came up to day to the Head of Lower Hills Gate, where the Columbia boat in being hauled up, full cargo, sustained some injury, but which was before night, repaired.
3rd, Friday. Arrived at Robinson Portage about 11 am. Before night all the boats together with part of the cargoes were taken over to the other end. Warm weather.
4th, Saturday. About 10 am. we left "Robinsons" having taken breakfast before starting. Were about three hours on a rock, drying, washing and resting. Camped a few miles from the "Height of Land."
5th, Sunday. Made the "Height of Land" portage before breakfast. Arrived at the Dams about two or three hours before sunset, and camped on a rock, half an hours pull above the last launching place.
6th, Monday. Pulled through Swampy Lake, where we had the good fortune to trade some fish from two canoes of Indians. Put ashore for the night a little way below the last Portage or Rapids. Raining almost all day.
7th, Tuesday. Took breakfast on an island immediately above the "Demiere Rapide on Monton." The wind being favorable we hoisted our sails and arrived at Norway House about 10 minutes before dinner. After dinner I got all the letters and small bundles for the Columbia packed up in the express box. Fine weather.
8th, Wednesday. The Columbia boat was repaired this morning. An additional cargo for the Saskatchewan District was divided between the 11 boats for that district. The wind being still favorable we used all speed to start by 10 am. Reached the point immediately above Old Norway House before sunset. Passengers in boats, viz. Messrs. Rowand and Harriott, Mr. and Mrs. Christie and Messrs Spencer, and Simpson for the Saskatchewan, Messrs Young, Griffin, Gladman, Logan, young Fraser, Frederick Lewes and myself for Columbia and New Caledonia.
19th, Thursday. The wind blowing so strong from off land and the boats being so heavily loaded it was considered most prudent not to venture out in the Lake.
10th, Friday. Not able to leave to day also owing to a heavy gale blowing from the sea.

One more stage of the express journey toward home is finished; but once across Lake Winnipeg these men still had a little under a thousand miles to travel to reach Edmonton House.
They were always in a hurry and everyone was eager to reach home.
But for the Columbia men, they had to cross the Rocky Mountains before the snow fell.
Sometimes they didn't make it in time.

As you can see from some of the journals, sometimes new men joined the Saskatchewan brigade at Norway House.
These men came from Lachine or Red River, or elsewhere to the south, and they travelled with the brigade to their new assignments.
In 1832, Alexander Caulfield Anderson travelled this historic route west to join the Columbia express -- though he met them at Norway House on their way to York Factory, rather than on their way west.
But apparently, there are times when those coming from Lachine did not make it to Norway House in time to catch the boats downriver, and they joined them later.
So I will fit in the details of this journey to Norway House in my next post, and after that continue west toward Edmonton House, and home.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

From York Factory to Knee Lake, with the Columbia Express

I have told you that this first journal is not complete, as when I collected it I was following James Birnie (my great-great-grandfather) across the country.
So if you want to read the entire journal, you will have to request Fort Vancouver post journals, B.223/a/3, HBCA
Lieutenant Aemilius Simpson was Governor George Simpson's first cousin, and he went west to the Columbia to take charge of one of the ships that was travelling up and down the coast.
On his journey across the country, Simpson carried a few apple seeds which, on his arrival at the fort were planted.
The oldest apple tree is still there, a few miles from old Fort Vancouver.
Simpson died a few years after he reached the coast, and was buried outside old Fort Simpson.
His was one of the bodies that was removed from the old fort by Peter Skene Ogden, when he and his men brought the last batch of goods from the old fort they were abandoning.
On Ogden's arrival at the new Fort Simpson, Simpson's body was again buried.
His body is still there, outside modern-day Port Simpson.
The story is in my book, The Pathfinder. Both Alexander Caulfield Anderson and James Birnie were there.

Just to give you a little information about this section of the journey, I am quoting from a book called Exploring the Fur Trade Routes of North America: Discover the Highways that opened a Continent, by Barbara Huck et al [Winnipeg: Hartland Assoc., 2002] p. 158-59.
This book is an excellent resource if you are interested in learning more about the various fur trade river routes around the country.
Here is what Barbara Huck (or et al) has to say about the Hayes River:
"Going upstream from Hudson Bay, the 610-kilometer journey began with days of "tracking" the loaded boats, hauling them with long lines to which the men were harnessed like oxen.
"The river's 37 portages (bypassing 45 rapids and falls) began nearly 200 kilometers upstream at "the Rock," now called Whitemud Falls.
"Here, where two large islands and several small ones block the river as it tumbles off the Precambrian Shield onto the Hudson Bay Lowlands, crosses paid tribute to bay-bound paddlers who made a fateful decision against one last portage.
"During the 1790's, a small supply post -- Rock Depot -- was built on one of the islands to cut the round-trip journey of men from the western posts by 400 kilometers; goods and furs could be ferried at leisure from York Factory.

"From here to Knee Lake, a distance of about 80 kilometers, the riverbed climbs steeply, gaining almost three quarters of its total 218-metre rise in elevation.
"Full of rocks and islands, the waterway is tumultuous.
"En route is Brassey Hill, the highest point between Hudson Bay and Lake Winnipeg.
"The view from the top allows a panorama over 36 lakes.

"Slogging upstream, the brigades reached what was known as "the Dramstone," which marked the last of the worst of the rapids.
"Here the men often demanded to be treated with a wee nip for their toils.
"Ahead lay Knee and Oxford Lakes.
"A resort graces the scenic shores of the former; on the latter, the modern community of Oxford House dates its history to the fur trade.
"Both lakes are aligned with the prevailing westerlies.
"Though bay-bound travellers may find this an advantage, both lakes can be dangerous in high winds."

In this post we are only travelling as far as Knee Lake, so I will preserve further information on this route till the next posting -- which should bring us all the way to Norway House.

Warning: in this first journal, all of the words that appear in the square brackets I have put in without having access to the actual microfilm. When I copied the words I left blanks in places where I could not actually make out the words. Hence, the words in square brackets are put in there to help the story along but they might not actually be the word that Simpson used. If you want a true copy, rent the reel and copy it out yourself.

Note: the bottom of the Hayes River was sometimes called the Steel; the section of the river called Hill River came next; and Jack River is the piece of the Hayes River just before Knee Lake -- these fur trade journals have many different names for various parts of the same river.

Journal of a Voyage across the Continent of North America in 1826 by Aemilius Simpson, R.N.:
July 1826 -- Friday 14th. The Saskatchewan Brigade, which I was appointed to accompany (as were all the party bound for the Columbia) being now equipped, and the number of men required for the latter department being made up the dispatches closed, and all other arrangements being completed, we embarked from York Factory at 3 pm. and commenced our journey across the continent of North America. Our brigade consisted of about sixty persons in all for the several departments viz. Saskatchewan, Columbia, and New Caledonia including Messrs. -- Stewart C.T., Rowan C.T., McMillan C.T., MacGillivray C.T., MacDougal, Clerk, [James] Birnie, Clerk, Sinclair, mate of Cadboro building in the Columbia, and myself for the purpose of taking command of that [vessel]. We embarked in five boats which were fully laden with the supplies for the Interior. Our crews were in high spirits and commenced their laborious journey with as much apparent indifference as if a few days was to bring it to a conclusion. On embarking we were accompanied to the Wharf by all the gentlemen and servants assembled at York Factory, which at this time was very numerous. To be [word] to so many was therefore a very formidable task, and although my mode of life from an early period has exposed me to frequent changes and separation from friends, yet it has not been able to prevent me from feeling very acutely such separation when the hour arrives, and on the present occasion I could not divest myself of such a feeling, when parting with my valuable friend the Governor of Ruperts Land. I was now [alone?] among strangers and upon entirely a new mode of life, [on] consideration which was calculated to create a good deal of anxiety as I was a stranger to the habits of the former...
On embarking at 3 pm. we had a favourable breeze which [assisted] our ascent of Hayes River, but on its dying away, our crews were obliged to commence [rowing] which was a very laborious duty, the path in many places being along the [side] of steep cliffs of [word] clay. Yet such is the spirit of [word] among these voyageurs, that they are regardless of many obstacles and perform their Duty with a cheerfulness and perseverance that cannot be [word]. We continued our ascent of Hayes River until a short distance below eighteen mile Creek, where we encampt for the night at 9.20 pm. The weather throughout the day was fine but we were very much persecuted by moskitos.
Saturday 15th. The morning commenced hazy, but cleared up on the sun's rising when the weather became fine and pleasant. We embarked at 12.50 am and continued our ascent of Hayes River, which we completed at 5 pm. When we arrived at the confluence of the Shamattawa, making the estimated distance from York Factory 56 miles, which exceeds Capt. Franklin's a few miles. As we continue our ascent the current gains additional force, which adds very much to the labour of tracking, but we were occasionally favoured with a breeze which gave us assistance, and the [tracking] path was in many places very good having a beach covered with rounded stones, as compactly as if done by human labour, and forming a good causeway. We continued to ascend [Steel or Hayes] River until 9:30 pm. when we were 12 miles above the junction of the Shamattawa & having made a dent on the course of the day of 50 miles by my estimation [illegible].
Sunday 16th. The morning commenced hazy, with a cold dew followed by a warm day. At 2.30 am. embarked and continued our ascent of the [Steel or Hayes] River until noon, when we arrived at the confluence of the [Steel or Hayes] and [Hill] Rivers, making the latter by my estimation a distance of 29 miles, we now commenced our ascent of Hill River, which we continue until 8.30 pm., having ascended it 12 miles and making a distance in the course of the day of 29 miles in a winding course to the S.W. when we [stopped], our men having had a hard day tracking over a very indifferent path, it being in many places along the way perpendicular clay cliffs affording frequently a very unsafe footing. These cliffs often attain a height of a hundred feet with their summits perfectly level and bearing a [thick] growth of pines.
Monday 17th. The morning hazy but fine weather during the day. We embarked at usual hour and continued our ascent of the Hill River by tracking the path generally better than yesterday, as those steep clay cliffs no longer [loom]. But its being flooded in some places still renders it a very laborious duty. We do not [travel] therefore at a rate exceeding .... miles per hour, at 4.45 pm. we arrived at the Rocky Portage, which I estimate is 34 miles above the mouth of the Hill River, making this portage occupied us until 6 pm. when we proceeded for 2 miles and [illegible] and having hauled above them at 8.15 we continued our ascent for a mile, when we encampt for the night, at 9 pm. On getting above the Rock Portage the [word] men tracking, and proceeded by Poling, on open water at which our Canadian boys again are very expert. The face of the country assumes a different character along our days track. The hills are now rounded taking their rise gradually from the banks of the river and forming a chain or ridge of hills running parallel with the course of the river, bearing a stint of growth of pines, with bush and [word] of shrubs. The scenery about the rock portage is very picturesque and romantic.
Tuesday 18th. Commenced a heavy fog which cleared up at 5 am. At noon the weather was hot and sultry. The thermometer up to 80 degrees, which ended in the evening with rain and thunder. At 3 am. we continued our ascent of the Hill River, which now presents a constant chain of rapids, obliging us to make frequent discharges and portages viz the White Mud Portage, Rocky Point Discharge, 1st and 2nd Brass Portages and minor rapids. At 7 pm. we arrived at the lower Burnt Wood Portage where we encampt for the night. Having after a day of great labour and fatigue come a distance of only 13 miles. Mr. Alex Stewart passed in the afternoon in his light canoe, my travelling companion Mr. MacMillan accompanied him, being anxious to get to Norway House, this afforded him a more expeditious means of getting there. I was offered a seat, but declined it.
Wednesday 19th. We had a considerable fall of rain during the night, some of our boats having fallen on the rear, we were detained in our encampment until 6 am. when we pursued our journey opposed by a constant [rush] of strong rapids requiring the utmost exertion, alternately at the poles hauling line and oars, and making frequent portages, viz. South Harding Plain, Morgans Rocks, Passage des Isle, Upper Burnt Wood, Smooth Stones, Portages, above which we encampt for the night. Having only come a distance of five miles from our mornings encampment. The fatigue from the giant labour attending this mode of travelling is very great, and notwithstanding, the fine scenery presented by many of these [word] rapids, which are well calculated to please either the eye or imagination of the traveller, yet their frequent repetition of the serious obstacles accompanying them, divests them in a great measure of that [pleasure] which under different circumstances they must [give], the attention of the travelers principally [attend] to his progress, do you hear a constant repetition of the query, how far distant is the next portage? Occasionally the portages remunerate us by a supply of wild fruit, viz. Strawberries, gooseberries.
Thursday 20th. Fine clear weather, some of our boats being [left] in the rear we did not proceed on our journey until 4.30 am. We were occupied until 8.40 in getting above the rapids of the Mossy Portage, at noon we were making the 2nd portage, the day extremely warm. Thermometer 81 degrees. Notwithstanding our incursory exertions our [travel] today has been very trifling in point of distance being only 4 1/2 miles but taking Portages and rapids as an equivalent we have certainly made a fair days march having [crossed] Four portages two of them [word] places for boats, besides [word] by am. three [word] long shoots of rapids, some of these dangerous, the best tedious and fatiguing, the crews being frequently obliged to leap overboard in the rapids to launch the boats over rocks. The heat of the day was followed by showers in the evening. Two of our boats having fallen in the rear, we encampt at 8 pm. above the Rapids of Ground Water Creek.
Friday 21st. The morning gloomy with drizzling rain. We continued in our encampment until 9.30 am. in consequence of two of the boats being still behind, when we embarked we continued our ascent of the Hill River by Poling, hauling by line and rowing alternately, as circumstances required.  At 3 pm. we arrived above the Upper Rapids of Hill river which River by my estimation is 64 miles, the last 30 above the Rock Portage, a continued chain of rapids and spouts which has occupied us four days in ascending them. We now entered Swampy Lake and being favoured with a sailing wind, we landed on the Sail Island, a short distance from the Dramstone, and furnishing ourselves with masts we made sail up this Lake, an agreeable change in our mode of travelling. On completing the ascent of Swamp Lake which is about 10 miles [long] we entered [Jack] River at 5 pm. and having carried across the first portage, which is about 1 mile up the River we proceeded on to the Long Portage. When we encampt for the night five of our boats still in the rear. The weather today has been rather cold and cloudy. Wind S.E. Thermometer 57 degrees.
Saturday 22nd. Fine clear weather. Having remained in our encampment for the arrival of our two sternmost boats, we did not embark till 6.45 am. When carrying with 2nd portage Mr. MacDonnel for Timmiscamaing in a light Canoe came up with us from York Factory bringing along with him Mr. [George] Barnston, Clerk, to join the Columbian brigade. At 3 pm. we completed our ascent of the Jack Fork or Lower Jack River, which presents a constant chain of rapids and is the only 9 miles is taken, than are four portages with a distance of two miles, that may be considered one of the worst parts of the track from York Factory. Now entered Knee Lake, which we continue to ascend with a firm fair breeze until 8pm. when the [sternmost] boats again falling out of sight behind us [we camp] for the night upon a small islet, having ascended the lake 21 miles in a WSW direction, and having come during the day a distance of 28 miles. We had fine clear weather throughout the day. Thermom. at noon 67 degrees, Wind N.E. [name] passed on his way to Montreal from York Factory in three canoes.

Journal of a Voyage from York Factory to Fort Vancouver, Columbia River, 1827, by Edward Ermatinger:
July 14th, Saturday. Wet weather. Mosquitoes very numerous. Left YF [York Factory] 1/4 before 5 o'clock pm. with 3 boats manned by 24 men. Encamped at 1/2 past 9 o'clock below the 18 mile Island.
15th. Fine weather. Started at daylight. Stopt 1 hour for breakfast -- afterwards hoisted sail with a fresh breeze and continued sailing all day. Encamped about 9 pm. a little above the mouth of Steel River.
16th, Monday. Fine weather. Tracked the whole day, except 1 hour stopt for breakfast. Entered the Hill River at 5 pm. and encamped a few miles up it at 9 o'clock.
17th, Tuesday. Day fine. In the evening showers of rain with thunder. Started at 2 am. Current very strong and rapidious. Encamped at 1/2 past 8 o'clock 2 pipes below the Rock. Wm. Spence with letters from YF overtakes us this evening.
18th. Wet morning, fine day. Started at 1/2 past 3 am. cleared the Rock Portage by 1/2 past 6 o'clock. Arrived at Borwick's Falls by 8 and hauled up at a 1/4 past 9. At 11 came to the White Mud Portage which we cleared by 1/4 past 12. Thence proceeded on and hauled up the Point of rocks Rapid by 3 pm. Made another short hauling place and entered the still water about 6 o'clock. Encamped among the Rapids at the head of it at 9 o'clock.
19th, Thursday. Light showers of rain at intervals during the day. Started at 2 am. and arrived at Brassy's Portage at 5. Hauled up it with half cargoes and left it at 7 -- then hauled and poled up the Lower Flats and reached the Lower Burntwood portage at 10, which we cleared and took breakfast by 1/2 past 12 o'clock. At 1/2 past 1 we reached the South side Hauling place where we took out half cargoes and cleared it in 2 hours. Mr. C[uthbert?] Grant with 2 boats from Red River passes us on his way to YF. Afterward ascended some bad Rapids. At Morgan's Rocks one of our Boats gets stove while passing within a small island to gain the foot of the Rapid. Cargo very little wetted -- delayed, repair the boat 2 hours. Leaving Morgan's Rock we proceed to U. Burntwood Portage which having cleared we went to the Rocky Launcher and encamped at 10 pm.
20th, Friday. Fine weather. Began our day's march at 1/2 past 2 am. Cleared the Rocky Launcher, Swampy and Smooth rocky Portages and reached the Mossy Portage by 1/2 past 10 am. Here we occupied 5 hours afterwards with much difficulty get up the Upper Flats and Lurance's Boat meets with another accident. This causes us to encamp at the next portage rather earlier than usual.
21st. Slight rain in the morning. Fine warm day. Embark at 2 am. Shortly after leaving the Portage McKay's boat runs foul of a stone and knocks a hole in her stem. Put ashore about an hour to repair then make the Upper Portage and a lightening place [demi-charge] which holds us till about noon. Continued the remainder of the day poling and hauling a succession of very strong rapids. Encamped on an Island near the top of Hill River at 9 pm. Heavy rain in the evening.
22nd, Sunday. Heavy rain this morning. Started a little after 2 am. Come up to Mr. [James] Leith &c with 2 boats just ready to leave the 2nd portage in Little Jack River at 1/2 past 11 am. Cleared it ourselves by 1/2 past 3 pm. Arrived at the Up. Portage between 7 & 8 o'clock. People carried over the cargoes and got up the Boats over the first brink of the Fall and encamped about 9 pm.
23rd. Rained all last night and continued at intervals during the day. Cleared the Portage by 5 am. Proceeded in the Knee Lake pulling against a head wind (S.E.). In the afternoon overtake Mr. Nolin with 2 boats for R.R. Men's provisions reduced to Peas and water. Encamped on an Island a short distance beyond the Knee about 9 pm.

Diary of a Journey from Fort Vancouver in 1835, The Return Journey from York Factory, by James Douglas:
Thursday July 16th. At 3 o'clock in the afternoon of this day we took our departure from York Factory on our return to the Columbia. We are two boats in company and we expect to overtake within the course of a day or two 7 more boats which left this yesterday. In these boats [blank in mss.] the Columbia party consisting of 21 labourers and 3 passengers are embarked and will assist in transporting the property required for the trade of that district as far as Edmonton where we leave them to their own resources. At Norway House we will be joined by two additional gentlemen, and one more in the Sascatchewan forming in all 27 persons besides two families. The boats are manned with crews of 7 men, and a few of 8 men, but many of them are suffering from the effects of severe colds contracted at York, or in the journey downwards, which in several cases has rendered the sufferer unfit for duty, and in many instances, particularly with the natives terminated by inflammatory diseases of the lungs, generally proving fatal. A cold North East wind blowing off the ice on the Bay accompanied with rain. Encamped 12 miles distant from the Fort.
Friy. 17. Blowing a breeze from the same quarter as yesterday which enabled us to use the sail during the whole day. Overtook the 7 boats mentioned yesterday as having preceded us. Cold hazy weather with rain. Encamped at the lower end of Steel River.
Sat. 18. Clear, pleasant weather. Made use of the sail during the early part of the day, but the wind failing us we were forced to have recourse to the tracking line during the afternoon. Encamped 6 miles in Hill River.
Sun. 19. Made use of tracking line the whole day.
Mon. 20. Proceeded on with the tracking line until 11 o'clock when we reached the Rock carrying place which occupied two full hours -- Borwick's Falls 2 hours more; the White Mud portage 2 hours more, a little above which we encamped for the night.
Friday 21. Leaving our encampment we carried part of our cargo at the Point of Rocks; remained 5 hours at Brassey where the whole cargo was carried. Encamped at the Lower Burntwood where the whole Cargo was also carried.
Wedy 22 & Thursday 23rd. Passed South side of landing place and Morgan's Rocks without discharging a package. At the little Rocky Launcher & Little Burntwood carried Boat and cargo at Smooth Rock, Mossy and 2nd carrying place, and encamped in Bird's Lake [probably named for James Bird, HBC furtrader].
Friday 24. Passed Bird's Creek early in the morning, Upper Carrying Place, and encamped in Bird's Lake. [sic]
Saty. 25. Crossed Logan's Lake and entered Jack River; at the upper end of the 1st portage encamped.
Suny. 26. Passed the 2nd and 3rd Portage Hill River and encamped on Knee Lake. The country from the Factory to this place is thickly wooded with the spruce, larch, the Scotch fir, patches of poplars, and dwarf birch, with willow in the vicinity of waters. Generally speaking the surface of the soil is covered with a thick coating of lichen, amongst which the Labrador tea plant grows with great luxuriance. The only other plants I observed are the French Willow, and Cranberry (Herbes Troid?) and two other plants with whose names and properties I am not acquainted. In some few places a kind of long wiry grass is found, but as I have already mentioned this is peculiarly the country of the lichen. The banks particularly of Hill River rise to a considerable elevation; in other places they are low and possess a very uninteresting appearance. The soil which lies immediately under the lichen in places consists of a reddish clay, in others a vegetable decomposition with a slight mixture of clay. Large masses of white granite are observed all along the river, and with the exception of some islands in Knee Lake where the Rock is of a very dark red colour, Granite is the only mineral observable as far as Norway House. Amongst the productions of this part of the country, I omitted to mention the alder tree and the red blue currant bush.

Journal of a Trip from Vancouver to York Factory, Spring 1847, by Thomas Lowe:
Thursday 15th July. Started from York Factory at 11 am. with 2 boats, in one of which is C.F. [John] Rowand and Mr. O'Brien, and in the other Mr. Ferdinand McKenzie & myself as passengers. We are loaded with goods for the Saskatchewan, 6 pieces per boat and 8 men besides the Steersman. The water this season is unusually low, otherwise we would have been more loaded. Mr. Rowand retires this year to Canada. Mr. O'Brien is for McKenzie's River, and Mr. McKenzie accompanies me to the Columbia. Warm day, and a fine breeze up the river Only got as far as 18 mile Island, where we encamped.
Friday 16th. Fine fair weather, and a favorable breeze up the River. Got as far as the Forks, where Fox River falls into Steel (or Great) River.
Saturday 17th. Weather still fair. Detained until breakfast time getting Mr. Rowand's boat mended. Got up to within a short distance of the junction of Hill River with Steel River.
Sunday 18th. Fair during the day, but in the evening came on to rain hard, with a very severe thunder storm. Made good progress, although the water is very low.
Monday 19th. Overtook the Saskatchewan Brigade this forenoon, which started a day before us from YF and the whole 11 boats then went on together. Tracking all day.
Tuesday 20th. Very rainy. Detained for some time on this account. Made but little progress.
Wednesday 21st. Rained very hard last night, but did not make an early start. Got to the Rock about noon, and made the portage. We then separated into 3 Brigades, Mr. Rowand going ahead with 2 boats, one boat with 3 others forming the second in charge of John Ballenden [an important character in The Pathfinder when he was in charge at Fort Vancouver]; and the last division consisting of 5 boats, in one of which were Messrs. O'Brien & Ross. We then proceeded with our 5 boats, and made portages at Borwick's Falls and the White Mud; at which latter place we encamped, the pieces only having been taken across tonight, the boats remaining still at the lower end of the Rapid.
Thurs. 22nd. Rained heavy during the night. In the morning the boats were brought up, and in the course of the day we made a portage at the Point of Rocks. Thunderstorm in the afternoon, which made us put ashore for about an hour. In the evening made Brassy Portage, and encamped at the lower end.
Friday 23rd. Rained heavy last night, and a little this morning, but kept fair during the day. Got the pieces taken across Brassy before breakfast. Met two boats from Oxford House on their way to YF at the upper end of the Portage. In the afternoon got the pieces across the portages at Morgan's Rocks and the Lower Burning Wood, and encamped not far from the Rocky Launcher.
Saturday 24th. Fine weather. The boats and cargoes were taken across the Rocky Launcher first thing in the morning, and before breakfast we had likewise made a Portage at the Upper Burning Wood. In the forenoon met 3 boats from Oxford House on their way to YF. In the afternoon got the pieces across the Smooth Rocks and Mossy Portages, and then proceeded to the Flats above; but as there was very little water, we did not succeed in getting through, and were obliged to camp in the middle of them.
Sunday 25th. Fine day.Dragged the boats through the remainder of the Flats, and got the pieces across the 2nd carrying place in Hills River before breakfast. Made Portages in course of the day at the Upper carrying place, Devil's Landing Place & Greenwater Island, at the two former places however only half the pieces were taken out. Encamped at the head of Greenwater Island which is the last Portage in Hill River, making 15 between this and the Rock. Two of the boats were slightly broken today, and some time was necessarily spent in repairing them.
Monday 26th. Fine warm weather. Got through the remainder of Hill River today, and came through Bird's Lake, and part of Logan's Lake. Encamped on an Island in the latter, where there was a camp of Indians, abreast of the old Fort. Head wind all day.
Tuesday 27th. Fair during the day, but rained towards evening, had to camp sooner in consequence. Got through the remainder of Logan's Lake, and made Portages at the Lower Carrying Place, Long Carrying Place, and 2nd carrying place in Jack River, and encamped at the foot of the Upper carrying place.
Wednesday 28th. Got the pieces across the Upper Carrying Place before breakfast, and reached the end of Jack River about 10 am. Had a strong side wind in Knee Lake, which carried us very nearly to the end of it before night. Drizzling rain most of the day.

Journal from Vancouver to York Factory with Express, Spring 1848, by Thomas Lowe:
Friday 14th. Cold unpleasant weather, with heavy showers of rain at intervals. Mr. Rowand and I started with the last boat this afternoon about 2 o'clock from York Factory, and had a fine wind for a short distance, but it soon died away, and as the men had made too free with their regale before leaving we made poor progress, and encamped at 6 mile island.
Saturday 15th. Very warm and fair in the forenoon, but in the afternoon showery. Passed the Pennygatawny about 12 o'clock, and made good progress afterwards, tracking.
Sunday 16th. Oppressively warm and swarms of mosquitoes. Passed the Nipigon river at 8 am and kept on tracking the whole day.
Monday 17th. Fair and warm. Got to the Hill river this morning at 7 o'clock, and camped a short distance beyond Dancing Point. In the evening met Magnus Harper on his way to York with 3 boats, manned by Indians.
Tuesday 18th. Fine weather. Reached the Rock at 4 o'clock in the afternoon, and got the pieces across, and the boat hauled up in a very short time, as the water is in a good state this year. Made the portage, likewise Berwick Falls, and encamped a short distance beyond.
Wednesday 19th. Cold disagreeable weather, but no rain. Made a portage at the White Mud early in the morning, and overtook the two Cumberland boats at the Portage at the Point of Rocks, where (after having got the pieces across) we breakfasted with Mr. Deschambeault. Had a fine fair wind in the Still Water, & passed the Hill about 2 pm. Got to Brassy at 5 o'clock and encamped a short distance above it.
Thursday 20th. Fair warm weather. Made portages in course of the day at the Lower Burning Wood, Morgan's Rock, Rocky Launcher, and Upper Burning Wood. At the last two places had to haul the boat across. Encamped a short distance below the Smooth Rock Portage.
Friday 21st. Cloudy, and a few peals of thunder. Made portages at the Smooth Rocks and Mossy before breakfast. At the first of these places met three boats from Oxford on their way to York, and at the latter overtook the Saskatchewan Brigade of 8 boats, which left the Factory two days before us. In the afternoon got across the 2nd and Upper Carrying Places, and in the evening above the Devil's Landing Place, where we encamped only having to take out about half the loads at that place.
Saturday 22nd. Fine weather. Lost a great deal of time this morning in the Rapids above our Encampment, as the Brigade took a long time in getting up these strong places with the pole. Took out 10 pieces per boat at Greenwater Island, and hauled the Boats up with the rope. Strong Rapids nearly all the way afterwards to Birds Lake. Got about 5 miles in Logan's Lake and encamped.
Sunday 23rd. Got through the remainder of Logans Lake, and made a portage at the Lower Carrying Place in Jack River before breakfast. Made a portage afterwards at the Long Carrying Place and encamped at the lower end of the 2nd carrying place about 4 o'clock in the afternoon, as it came on a heavy thunderstorm with rain and snow, which continued all night.
Monday 24th. Remained in our campement for 4 hours after daylight this morning on account of the rain, and afterwards got the pieces across the 2nd & Upper Carrying Places, and remained at the latter until 2 pm. waiting for the first Brigade of 4 boats to come in sight. Started after they arrived, and having got to the end of Jack River had a fair wind for some time in Knee Lake, but it soon came ahead, and we only made about 10 miles in the Lake before encamping.

Journal of the Columbia Express Party, 1849, by John Charles:
17th/22nd July. The Saskatchewan boats being all ready by 6 o'clock this morning we left the Factory. F[rederick] Lewes [son of John Lee Lewes] and I being passengers in the boat steered by the Columbia guide. On the 22nd we made the Rock portage and passed the night a little way above, called Rock Fort. We had rainy weather every day since leaving the Factory.
23rd, Monday. This morning we came to a strong rapid called Petit Charge de Penette where the boats were discharged of half their cargoes and hauled up by the main line. We made two other Portages before night namely the Grand Charge de Penette and the White Mud. Messrs. Rowand and Harriott who left the Factory a day after we did overtook us and went ahead.
24th, Tuesday. In coming up a strong rapid a little below Brassy Portages one of the boats struck on a rock and let in water which damaged a bag of sundry articles belonging to C.F. Rowand. Before the damage was repaired and we were able to proceed it was noon the accident having occurred at 8 am. At Portage Cadotte we found Mr. Spencer who was left there by Mr. Harriott to examine the bales in the Columbia boat and to see them dried.
25th, Wednesday. Got over two portages to day viz the Rock and Burnt Wood. Mr. Spencer opened six bales at the latter place, but it came on to rain so heavily that nothing could be done.
26th, Thursday. Rained heavily all night and this morning until about 7 o'clock, when we started. We got over the portages Gulle and Muscaag [Muskeg?]. Encamped between the latter place and the Flat. We were overtaken this evening by the Swan River boats.
27th, Friday. The boats were this morning a considerable time in toiling up a strong current called the Hats. After making a portage we put ashore at a point of rocks where the wet bales were again opened out, the weather, however would not admit of their being dried in a hurry. We were, therefore, obliged to differ [defer] the drying until to morrow, when from the present appearance of the sky we expect to have a little sunshine. Encamped at the upper end of another portage.
28th, Saturday. Made one portage to day and entered Logans Lake. Had several showers of rain towards evening.
29th, Sunday. Sailed through Logans Lake and encamped at the end of it.

Though it is not mentioned in John Charles' actual journal, the next day they reached and passed through Knee Lake.

Those of you who have read my posting about young John Charles will be watching for something that will lead to his unfortunate end at Moose Encampment, in Athabasca Pass.
I have discovered that, at the insistence of his father, John Charles' body was removed from the place where he was buried and brought down to Fort Vancouver.
When, I do not yet know.
But James Anderson, son of Alexander Caulfield Anderson, wrote in his Memoirs, p. 121:
"[John Charles'] body was buried on the spot, but at the instance [sic] of his father, was some years after brought to Fort Vancouver and interred in the cemetery there.
"A useless, and as it turned out, a most unwise proceeding, as the last time I saw the grave it was in the parade ground of the U.S. troops garrisoned at Fort Vancouver and is now, I suppose, unmarked and unremembered."
This will help you further identify the spot:James wrote on page 207 of those same memoirs, "Behind the garden [of Fort Vancouver] on a slight rise about half a mile from the Fort were the barracks of the United States troops. In front of the Fort and for a mile or more up the river was a flat plain where the U.S. troops exercised."
Sooner or later I hope to stumble across the letter that George Simpson wrote to John Charles' father, so that I can learn the rest of this interesting story.
Though John Charles had a short life, it was an interesting life and he played a part in some very important history.
Some of you will have realized that he accompanied Peter Skene Ogden to Fort Nez Perces, after the Waiilatpu Massacre in December 1847.
If you don't know that story, you will have to go back a dozen or most posts in this blog, to learn what happened then.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

From Norway House to York Factory, on Hudson's Bay

We are continuing the various express journals eastward, from Norway House to York Factory on Hudson's Bay.
Both Edward Ermatinger's York Factory Express Journals end at Norway House, but he will return in one journal that takes him from York Factory westward to the Columbia, in 1827.
The gentlemen who kept the journals often had little to say of the journey to York Factory -- you will see what I mean when you read James Douglas' journal.

However, as you will see when you read these posts, none of the Columbia men that kept these journals travelled downriver with the York Factory Express.
Instead they remained behind to attend the meetings and write the Minutes, and then went on to York Factory in canoes.
Sometimes they reached "the Factory" before their expressmen did.

I should say something of the journey from Norway House to York Factory, to help you understand why they mention so many different names of rivers on their relatively short trip to Hudson Bay.
Alexander Caulfield Anderson took out the express in 1842, but he also travelled this same route in 1832, as he was coming to the Columbia.
So he travelled over this short, rapid-filled river system four times.
From my book, The Pathfinder -- in 1832, Anderson travelled north from Fort Garry (Red River), to Norway House to join the east-bound Columbia express and Saskatchewan Brigade:
"Anderson arrived at Norway House on the morning of June 27, and by five o'clock that evening he was travelling east toward York Factory with the men from Edmonton House and the Columbia District.
"The Fort Vancouver men had crossed the Rocky Mountains in the early spring, carrying the papers and records of the Columbia district east to the annual meeting of the Company at Norway House.
"While the chief factors attended the meeting, the men of the Columbia express continued on to York Factory to help the Saskatchewan men off-load their furs for shipment to England, and pick up the thousands of pounds of supplies and trade goods to be carried back to Edmonton House.
"As Anderson had been assigned to the Columbia district, he would now travel with the Columbia express wherever it went -- first east to York Factory; then west to Edmonton House and beyond.
"The Saskatchewan boats crossed Playgreen Lake, at the north end of Lake Winnipeg, and entered the Nelson River, a rough waterway that carried the combined flow of the Saskatchewan, Red, and Winnipeg rivers north to Hudson Bay.
""The descent for a certain distance from Lake Winnipeg towards the sea," Anderson learned, "by a series of lakes terminating in Split Lake, is necessarily very gradual; thence consequently to its mouth the Nelson rushes with great impetuosity."
"The brigaders soon left the boisterous [Nelson] River for a tiny stream [Echimamish] so blocked by beaver lodges that it was little more than a series of still ponds that carried the boats into the calmer Hayes River, at a place called Painted Stone Portage.
"The men paddled quickly downriver and within a day or two arrived at the Company's headquarters on Hudson Bay."

I will tell you more about the Hayes River, with its many name changes, rapids, and portages, in the next posting.

From the same above source (The Pathfinder), a description of York Factory: "York Factory stood on a muddy peninsula covered with scrub willow and saw grass; its docks lay at the far end of three miles of boardwalks across flooding bogs.
"The officers' store sold goods that came straight from London via the Company ships that anchored offshore.
"There were flannel and gingham shirts, trousers, shawls, hose, tobacco, clay pipes by the dozen, finger rings, breast pins and beaver hats.
"Anderson bought a few items he had missed on the journey north -- an enamel wash basin, soap, cotton suspenders and a fur cap.
"He played with the idea of purchasing a sextant but decided against it.
"Then the wide selection of candies tempted him, and he bought Scotch caraways, candied sugar and almonds.
"He was only eighteen years old."

If your ancestor was a clerk, Chief Trader or Chief Factor, who might have shopped at York Factory, you can look for the record of his purchases (as I did Anderson's) in the York Factory Officers' Shop Book, B.239/d/422, HBCA [check HBCA records online for exact file number for the year you are interested in].
So lets begin with the journals....

Diary of a Journey from Fort Vancouver in 1835, by James Douglas:
Fri. 19th June. Left Norway House at one o'clock; in 6 hours reached Black Water river; in two hours more passed Black Water and Harvy Lake. Encamped at the Etchinamines.
Saty. 20. Left encampment at half past 2 -- 8 1/2 hours Painted Stone; 4 hours to White Falls; 3 hours Hill Portage; encamped.
Suny. 21. Windy Lake. Wessenissanis River, Oxford Lake. Encamped.
Wed. 24th. Reached the Factory (York).

James Douglas' journal will continue, bringing him from York Factory westward to the Columbia District.
From this point in time it will no longer be called the York Factory Express, but the Columbia Express.

George Traill Allan's express journal also ends at Norway House; however you will be happy to know that I have a copy of his Journal of a Voyage from Norway House to Fort Vancouver, Columbia River, 1831. We already know, from his journals, that some very interesting people travelled west with him that year.

Journal of a Trip from Vancouver to York Factory, Spring 1847, by Thomas Lowe:
Monday 21st [June] Beautiful day. Early this morning C.F. McKenzie arrived with his Brigade from Isle a la Cross, and C.T. Ball from Red River with his family, having gone there for them on his way up from Canada. The Norway House brigade of 4 boats was sent off today for York Factory with the Returns, and 1 forwarded the letters from the Columbia by them, as I may be detained here for some time. This evening the Saskatchewan Brigade of 11 boats likewise started for York Factory.
Tues. 22nd June. Fine warm weather. Employed writing the Minutes of Council. Messrs. O'Brien, Pelly & Burke started this morning to overtake the Saskatchewan Brigade in a loaded boat. In the evening Hector R. McKenzie & James Pruden started with 3 boats for Carlton on their way to McKenzie's River, and Joseph Hardisty accompanies them as far as Carlton, to go into the Columbia this Fall with the Express.
Wednesday 23rd. Rained a little during the day and a thunder storm in the afternoon. Mr. [Francis] Ermatinger arrived after breakfast with the loaded canoes from Canada, and was accompanied by a Mr. Griffin, app. Clerk.
Thurs. 24th. Raining most of the day, with much thunder and lightning. In the evening Sir George Simpson gave a Ball in the Council Room, at which we all mustered, and kept it up until midnight.
Friday 25th. At day light the morning Mr. [John] Rowand and I embarked in a light canoe with 10 men for YF. Rain in the morning. Got as far as the Painted Stone or Height of Land, where we encamped.
Saturday 26th. Much rain in the morning. Got the canoe and luggage carried across forenoon at Upper Hells Gates, and Mr. O'Brien left the boats to embark with us in the canoe. Encamped near the end of Oxford Lake.
Sunday 27th June. Fine day. Reached Oxford House at breakfast time, and remained there about an hour. The River is very low, and we had a great many Portages to make. Encamped a short distance beyond Knee Lake.
Monday 28th. Met a great many boats today on their way from YF to Red River with Goods. Encamped near the Rocks and found the mosquitoes very troublesome.
Tuesday 29th. Very warm. Passed the junction of the Fox River with Hill River before sundown which is then called Steel River. As the Fox River is rather high, we will have fine water down to York. Put ashore to supper and paddled all night, as there are now no more rapids.
Wednesday 30th. Fine warm day. Arrived at York Factory at 2 o'clock in the afternoon. I find that the Columbia letters I forwarded from Norway House have not yet come to hand here.
Thursday 1st July. Very warm. Working in the office at the Columbia Accounts. Cromarty, a Postmaster, arrived with the Returns from Severn.
Friday 2nd. Rain in the morning, but fine and fair throughout the day. The Norway House Brigade arrived, and brought the Columbia letters.
Saty. 3rd. Beautiful weather. Roussain, a Postmaster, started with the Lac La Pluie [Rainy Lake] Brigade of 4 boats, with the outfit of that district.
Sunday 4th July. fine warm day. All quiet at the Factory.
Monday 5th. Rainy. In the evening 4 boats of the Saskatchewan Brigade arrived.
Tuesday 6th. Very close and oppressive. In the afternoon Messrs Pelly & Burke arrived with one boat, the rest will be here tomorrow.
Wednesday 7th. Still unusually warm. Thermometer at 90 degrees in the shade. The remainder of the Saskatchewan Brigade arrived today.
Thurs. 8th. Sultry. Mr. Pelly began today to work at the Furs for England.
Friday 9th. Rain & thunder. Most of the boat crews drunk and fighting.
Saturday 10th. Very squally weather. In the afternoon all the men were called up and told where they were to go. We have got 20 pretty good hands for the Columbia.
Sunday 11th. Blowing fresh, and the air cool and free from the swarms of mosquitoes which have lately been so troublesome.
Monday 12th. Rainy and cold. Finished all my accounts, and have nothing more to do until the Brigade starts.
Tuesday 13th. Warm and swarms of mosquitoes. In the forenoon the Swan River Brigade arrived, consisting of 5 boats in charge of Dr. Todd. Passenger C.T. Bell and Mr. Griffin, the former to await the arrival of Sir John Richardson from England, whom he is to accompany in search of Capt. Sir John Franklin, and the latter to remain at this place, to which he is appointed.
Wednesday 14th July. Fine warm weather. This forenoon 9 of the Saskatchewan boats started for inland, and the other two will leave tomorrow. Mr. Bernard Ross goes up as a passenger with these Boats on his way to McKenzie's River.

Journal from Fort Vancouver to York Factory with Express, Spring 1848, by Thomas Lowe:
Tuesday 20th [June] Warm weather. Busy writing all day. Council sitting most of the day. Messrs. Sinclair & Mactavish, also Mr. George Miles, and Mr. & Mrs. Clouston started early this morning in a light canoe for York Factory, and the Saskatchewan Brigade consisting of 11 boats including the two boats from Cumberland left in the afternoon. One boat remains behind for us.
Wednesday 21st. Fine day. This afternoon about 3 o'clock Messrs. Rowand, Harriott and myself started in a light boat for York Factory, called in passing on Mr. Mason at Rossville. Encamped a short distance above the Sea Carrying Place.
Thursday 22nd. Rainy disagreeable day, with a good deal of thunder. Detained at the 1st Beavers day in the Echinamis River for about 2 hours. Water in this River very high. Encamped a short distance beyond the 2nd Beaver dam.
Friday 23rd. Fair most of the day. Got to the Painted Stone early, overtook the Saskatchewan Brigade at Robertson's portage. It was in a very bad state owing to the recent heavy rains. Got the boat and pieces across and started from the other end about noon. In running Upper Hells Gates broke the boat, and had to put ashore to have it repaired. Encamped here.
Saturday 24th. Rainy. Had a head wind in Windy Lake, and only got a little beyond the entrance of Oxford Lake.
Sunday 25th. Head wind and rainy weather. Only made a short distance in the Lake, and had to encamp on an Island early in the day.
Monday 26th. Remained in the same Island all day windbound. Rainy disagreeable weather.
Tuesday 27th. Fine weather. Started from our encampment this morning and with the assistance of a little wind arrived at Oxford House to an early breakfast. Had a fair wind through Knee Lake as far as the Knee, and pulled afterward nearly to the end of it before encamping.
[I suspect that Knee Lake has a big bend in it, which the fur traders called the Knee].
Wednesday 28th. Had a fair wind this morning through the remainder of Knee Lake and also in Logans Lake. Running rapids all day afterwards. Broke the boat in the first Rapid below Mossy and were delayed there 5 hours repairing it. Went a short distance afterwards and encamped at the Rocky Landing. Rainy, and a thunder storm in the afternoon.
Thursday 29th. Fine weather. Ran the remainder of the Rapids this morning, and passed the Rock at 8 am. Got into Steel River at 2 pm. and having put ashore for supper at sunset drifted all night. We have been passing boats the whole day on their way up from York Factory to Red River.
Friday 30th. Found ourselves this morning at daylight at Pennygatawny River. Sailed most of the way afterwards, and arrived at York Factory at 8 am. Mr. Sinclair with the Lac La Pluie boats only got here this morning and Mr. Mactavish with the light canoe two days ago. Fine warm weather.
Saturday July 1st. Fine pleasant weather. Employed settling accounts &c.
Sunday 2nd. Mild fair weather. In the forenoon the Saskatchewan Brigade arrived consisting of 11 boats including the two from Cumberland. Mr. Deschambeault was the only passenger.
Monday 3rd. Fair and warm. Mr. Cromarite arrived from Severn with 3 boats. The men of the brigade got their Rum this morning, and there has been a good deal of fighting.
Tuesday 4th. Rained a little during the day. In the forenoon Mr. McKenzie of Rat Portage started with the Lac La Pluie boats.
Wednesday 5th. Fine weather. Mr. Sinclair started this morning in a small canoe for Norway House.
Thursday 6th. Cool during the day, but in the evening very warm and sultry. Late in the afternoon the 3 English River boats arrived at the Factory in charge of Mr. Saml McKenzie. Mr. Clare was likewise a passenger. Sir George Simpson started from Norway House on the 24th ultimo.
Friday 7th. Fine warm day. Dr. Todd arrived in the afternoon with the Swan River Boats.
Saturday 8th. Cloudy, but no rain. Messrs. Rowand & Harriott finished packing the Saskatchewan outfit, and as soon as Mr. Deschambeault has got the Cumberland pieces ready the Brigade will start.
Sunday 9th. Rainy during the day, and in the evening a good deal of thunder & lightning. Mr. Hargrave read prayers in the forenoon as usual.
Monday 10th. Fine day. In the evening the news of the different boats were appointed. There are 23 new hands for the Columbia. One boat is to be left here to bring up the new hands that come out in the ship, so that there will only be 9 boats for the Saskatchewan, besides the two for Cumberland.
Tuesday 11th. Cloudy and sultry weather, with a few peals of thunder. All the pieces were taken down to the Store near the Wharf ready for embarkation.
Wednesday 12th. Fine day. In the forenoon gave out the cargoes of 8 of the Saskatchewan Boas, amounting to 76 pieces each, and in the afternoon about 4 o'clock they started with a fair wind.
Thursday 13th. Cloudy but no rain. Mr. Deschambeault started in the afternoon, with the two Cumberland boats.

Journal of the Columbia Express Party, 1849, by John Charles:
27th, Wednesday [June]. The day occupied in making copies of the Minutes of Council as well as other documents of a public nature.
28th, Thursday. Messrs. Rowand, Harriott, Christie and Simpson started at 2 o'clock this morning for [blank in mss]. Messrs. [John Lee] Lewes and Deschambeault left at 8 am. immediately after breakfast, and Mr. Sinclair, Mr. Lockhart and myself embarked in alight Canoe at 11 am. We overtook and passed Mr. Lewes and Co. about sunset. We camped at the Damn [sic].
29th, Friday. Came up with Messrs Rowand and Harriott at Robinsons Portage which is computed to be about 3/4 of a mile in length. We left the portage at half past twelve and about an hour afterwards were across the Mountain Portage.
30th, Saturday. Overtook Peter Calder this morning, with his brigade at .... Portage. After breakfast we came up with the Lac la Pluie Brigade and before 4 pm. overtook the Oxford House boat and arrived at the above place [Oxford House] about half an hour before them, where we put ashore and had dinner given us by Mr. Robertson.
July 1st, Sunday. Made two Portages before breakfast, the Knife handled Place and Trout Fall. Had two hours sail in the evening. Put ashore for the night almost at the end of Knee Lake which Mr. Sinclair informs me is 60 miles in length.
2nd, Monday. Entered Swampy Lake about 4 o'clock am. Made 4 portages and 3 demi-charges today. Met the Red River Freighters towards evening. Put ashore at 5 o'clock and had supper when we embarked and drifted and paddled all night.
3rd, Tuesday. Entered Steel River about 4 am. Sailed for about two hours, just before arriving at the Factory which was at 2 o'clock pm.
4th/16th. This period was spent at the Factory in equipping the Saskatchewan and other Brigades, also in packing and making up Outfits. With the assistance of Mr. Clouston the accountant, I was enabled to get every thing necessary for the Columbia in the way of documents etc. The weather during this interval was very changeable.

And that is it for express journals from Norway House to York Factory.
I can, however, give you a little more information on the York Factory Express' arrival and departures in 1842, when Alexander Caulfield Anderson accompanied it to the east.

Excerpts from the Fort York (York Factory) Journals, B.239/a/155, HBCA:
July 1st, Friday. Heavy rain with thunder. Four men employed packing otters for the Columbia. Mr. McTavish arrived in the CF small boat from Norway House. the English Packet not received there at the date of his departure the 26th ult.
2nd, Saturday. Cloudy weather in the forenoon; heavy rain towards evening. Finishing packing furs for the Columbia. Eight men in the fur store. [These were fine furs to be supplied to the Russians on the Northwest coast, I expect].
Sunday 3rd. Moderate weather and high clouds. Wind north east. About midday two Saskatchewan Boats arrived and delivered their cargoes in apparent good order.
4th, Monday. Heavy rain throughout the day. Wind north. Tinsmith making hatbands for Saskatchewan district. Mr. Sinclair began duty in the general shop making up the Saskatchewan orders. Mr. Gillespie finished the orders of the gentlemen of that District.
5th, Tuesday. Mr. Sinclair finished the Saskatchewan orders.
7th, Thursday. Clear moderate weather wind north east. The Blacksmith making bundles of iron for Saskatchewan. Tinsmith finished making tinware for shops. At noon the Montreal express canoe arrived from Norway House, Messrs. Harriott and Anderson passengers. A small canoe from Oxford House with two Indians arrived. Also outfitted Saskatchewan District.
8th, Friday. Fine clear weather, wind south.
9th, Saturday. Sultry weather with slight showers in the forenoon. Wind south east. Munro allowed to be off duty in order that he might prepare for his voyage to the Columbia.
10th, Sunday. Close, sultry weather with showers at intervals, wind south. Public prayers read.
12th, Tuesday. Thick fog in the morning, fair at noon, afterward heavy rain till evening, wind north. Gorston employed this am. making a shell for the body of Rowland, one of the sawyers off duty sick. Early this morning the Norway House Brigade of 4 boats received their cargoes and took their departure. Three boats belonging to Saskatchewan and one to Cumberland were also cleared in course of the day.
13th, Wednesday. Heavy incessant rain throughout last night and till noon this am. when the weather cleared up. the boatbuilder finished repairing three Saskatchewan boats which are to start tomorrow. Outfitted English River.
14th, Thursday. Sultry weather in the forenoon. thunder with heavy rain and hail in the evening. Three boats started this morning for Saskatchewan, and Mr. C. T. Todd with 4 Swan River boats arrived and delivered their cargoes in good order.
15th, Friday. Fine warm weather with light clouds, wind variable. Smith a boatbuilder from the Columbia employed repairing boats cut his hand so severely as to incapacitate him from duty.
16th, Saturday. Fine weather and light clouds, wind east. At noon the two last boats for the Saskatchewan started with Messrs. Harriott, A. McPherson, Anderson & Pelly, passengers. At the same time 3 boats left for English River with Messrs. McKenzie and W. Sinclair, passengers.
18th, Monday. Cold raw weather, with rain and fog from the northward all day.

The next posting will cover the upriver journey to Norway House -- a long, hard slog through the many rapids and portages of the Hayes River.
The downriver journey from Norway House had been quick and easy.
No so the upriver journey!

Sunday, October 7, 2012

From Carlton House to Norway House, sometimes with the York Factory Express

You may not understand why I have put on that heading, but from Carlton House some of these men travelled a different route, to a different place.
The York Factory express itself always continued down the Saskatchewan River to Norway House and York Factory.
And that has given me pause, as you will see at the end of this post.

York Factory Express Journal, 1827, by Edward Ermatinger:
Tuesday, 5th [June] Rain most part of the day. Dr. Richardson having quitted Carlton on the 21st ultimo, in order that Mr. [Finan] McDonald may get surgical aid as soon as possible, a boat manned by 5 men is dispatched with him to Cumberland [House] accompanied by Mr. McDougal, this afternoon. The other boats afterwards receive an addition to their cargoes from the returns of this place and 8 of them depart in the evening.
Wednesday, 6th. Fine weather, very warm. The other 5 boats start at 2am. See some Crees and freeman from whom we gather a few skins. Stop to supper a little below the South Branch. We hoisted sail once to day, but this rather caused delay than advance the wind dying away almost immediately. Run down part of Cole's Rapids by moonlight, it being 9 o'clock when we stopt to supper. Lash the boats together and drive; current very strong.
Thursday, 7th. Fine warm weather. We are alarmed in the night by 2 of our boats having run afoul of a large stone, but no other damage was received than the breaking of one rib in her upper works. See more Indians this morning from whom we get some skins. Overtake all the Boats afternoon. Stop to cook below Thorburn's Rapid. (Thorburn, a fur trader, had a house near here in David Thompson's time -- 1805 or so). Drift all night.
Friday, 8th. Fine warm weather. Wind N.W., strong ahead. Commence rowing at sunrise arrive at Cumberland [House] about 7pm with 9 boats, 4 others having taken a wrong channel do not come up with us. Mr. McDonald arrived this morning.
Saturday, 9th. Fine weather. Remain here all day reloading and waiting the other boats.
Sunday, 10th. Overcast, wind strong ahead. Leave Cumberland at 5 am. Continue pulling all day. Encamp at 8 pm.
Monday, 11th. Rain all last night. Ceases about 7 am. Start at5 o'clock. Breakfast at the Pas (an outpost in the Cumberland district). Find several freemen here. Receive (indecipherable) from them. Continue till 1/2 past 8 pm. and encamp at Muddy Lake. Find our other boats here. Leave one.
Tuesday, 12th. Hoist sail with a fair wind at 3 am., breeze freshens, reach the lower end of Cedar Lake by 1 o'clock by 1 o'clock, breakfast. Resume at 1/2 past 2. Proceed thro' narrows and across Cross Lake, then down the River to the Grand Rapids. Boats run down full cargoes. One breaks upon the rocks. Cargo wet. Find J. Spencer (an HBC chief trader), Esq., encamped at the lower end, with 2 boats. He has been detained here 9 days -- the ice in Lake Winnipeg not permitting him to proceed. Encamp. Set a net.
Wednesday, 13th. Fine weather. Wind Easterly. Mr. Spencer sets off with his two boats early this morning. People employed here unpacking and drying furs -- procure 25 sturgeon, part traded from Indians and part killed by our men.
Thursday, 14th. The weather became very boisterous during last night. We had thunder and lightening with very heavy rain which continues all this morning, latterly it turned to snow. Wind N.W. blowing very hard. Obtain from Indians 15 Sturgeon and 2 of our Iroquois killed 5. In the evening the wind have moderated, we push off at 9 pm. and row in the Lake (Lake Winnipeg) all night. Pass several times thro' loose floating ice.
Friday, 15th. Fine weather. Wind E.S.E., hoist sail -- put ashore 1 hour to breakfast. Pass the ... Islands. About 3 pm. begins to blow very hard. Obliged to make shore. Land with 4 boats a short distance on this side the steep banks, flat gravelly beach. Experience some difficulty in landing our cargoes dry, very few packs get wet. The other Boats keep out and hold their course to Mossy Point -- soon lose sight of them.
Saturday, 16th. Fine weather. Being calm this morning, begin to load our Boats before 3 o'clock am and start at 4. Fair wind springs up, hoist sail. At the steep banks find Mr. Spencer who had driven ashore yesterday in the gale. One of his boats was dashed so violently against the shore that it is broken useless -- abandon it. Load the other and put the cargo of the other amongst our Boats and proceed. Arrive at Norway House, old establishment, at noon. All the other Boats here safe. Breakfast. Resume at 1/2 past 2 pm with 3 boats, leaving the remainder here to dry some which have got wet. Reach the New Establishment at the foot of Jack River at 10 pm.
Sunday, 17th. Fine weather. Governor Simpson arrives at 5 am. The rest of the Saskatchewan Boats arrive shortly after.

Edward Ermatinger's outgoing York Factory Express Journal for 1827 ends here; we will pick his journal up at York Factory and follow him home again.

Express Journal, Spring 1828, by Edward Ermatinger:
29th, [May] Leave Carlton (all the boats having received additional lading) at 4 am. Encamp above the Rapids. Commences raining.
30th. Rain all last night. Start at daylight. Our Boat broken against a rock, delay more than 2 hours repairing her. Evening, thunder and lightening with rain. See Indians: made several pactons Rats [muskrat]. Put ashore to supper. Afterwards drift all night.
31st. Fine weather. Sail most part of the day. Arrive at Cumberland at 10 pm. Lake too shoal, unable to enter.
June. 2nd. Fine weather. The Lake being too low, we retraced our way up the little River until we regain the grand river [Saskatchewan]. Left Cumberland at 8 am. having left a few bags of pemican &c., and a new boat for Mr. Leith. Only put ashore to sup and afterwards set off to drift for the night.
3rd. Fine weather. Arrive at the Pas between 8 and 9 am. Find freemen from whom we get eggs and a little fish. Encamp a little above Lac Vaseur.
Wednesday, 4th. Fine weather. Start as usual. In making the grand traverse we used the sail a little, but the greater part of the way we had to pull against a strong contrary wind. Encamp at the Point.
5th. A strong head wind impedes our progress all this day and we only reach the Grand Rapids late afternoon. Water being very low find it necessary to take out half cargoes. People begin to carry. Rain.
6th. Rain all last night and continues till afternoon. Men run down 7 Boats and return with them light for the remaining cargoes, then run down the other eight boats and afterwards employed carrying the remainder of the cargoes across the Portage.
7th. Fine weather but cold. The 7 Boats being found to be few to embark the half cargoes of 15 boats from this end of the Portage to the end of the Rapid, people fetch up another and afterwards the rest of the pieces are all got down safe. Sturgeon plentiful among the freemen here, trade nearly 100.
8th. Fine weather. Leave the Grand Rapid early this morning and pull, the weather being perfectly calm, to the point opposite the Pine Island. Breakfast, then hoist sail across to the Islands, thence to the little Stoney Island and encamp.
9th. Remain wind bound till afternoon and then pull to and along the mainland till 9 pm. Encamp on a gravelly beach.
10th. Reload our Boats (we were obliged to unload last night there being an appearance of wind from sea) and start at 5 am., pull for sometime and then hoist sail with a light breeze which forwards us to the head of the little Jack River, where we encamp.
11th. Start before 3 am. and reach the Fort (New Norway House) about 6 o'clock. Find here J. G. Mctavish, Esq., from YF and Mr. Rae from Montreal.

Diary of a Journey from Fort Vancouver in 1835, by James Douglas:
Sun. 10th [May]. Remained at Carlton.
[As you see, he will not continue down the Saskatchewan River to Norway House, but rides across the prairies to Red River].
Mon. 11th. Left Carlton at 8 o'clock this morning with 6 men, 3 Indians and 7 officers, forming in all a party of 16, with 2 boys on their way to Red River school. Our course from Carlton was about east by North during the whole of this day's journey. The country is of a diversified character being in some places open & level, in others covered with aspen trees and the whole is intersected by numerous small Lakes; 18 miles from the Fort we crossed the South branch of the Sascatchewean commonly called Bow River. It takes its rise in the Rocky Mountains, runs parallel with the Main river. We encamped 10 miles beyond bow river in sight of Montana Hill.
Tues. 12. Our march today was continued at the same rate as yesterdays. Encamped on the banks of a small brackish lake; 28 miles. Dry weather. Alternate plain, wood & lake.
Wednesday, May 13. Raining all day. Encamped at a small Lake -- Coteaux, in part covered with wood, and in others clear.
Thurs. 14. Encamped at a small pond of water in the midst of an extensive prairie. Country same as yesterday. Crossed numerous buffalo paths.
Friday, 15. Passed a large lake of brackish water. Encamped at a small river. Low, level country.
Suny. 17. Rained heavily during the latter part of the day. Encamped on a bare hill overlooking a small lake. In the morning extensive prairies; the afternoon continued woods -- swamps and ponds of water.
Mony. 18. Arrived at Fort Pelly in the afternoon. Our route lay through a most delightful country during the greater portion of the day. Leaving Carlton the country is level; generally open, and here & there covered with poplar and willow copses and small Lakes of brackish water; and this description may apply almost to the whole of the country through which we have already passed.
Thursy. 21. Left Fort Pelly after a stay of two days to refresh the horses. Encamped at 2nd muddy creek.
Friy. 22. Encamped 4 hours march from Shell River. Our progress is very slow owing to the reduced state of the horses. Raining both today and yesterday. Country partially wooded with poplar mixed with a few oak & maple trees.
Saty. 23. Raining. Reached Shell River at 10 o'clock. From the swollen state of the river obliged to construct a raft by means of which we crossed over. Encamped 12 miles beyond. Beautiful country today; hills gracefully sloping into extensive valleys, groves of wood and streams of water with a thousand other indescribable beauties all tending to embellish the scene.
Sun. 24. Fine weather. Passed 20 miles inward of Beaver Creek where there is a trading post. Passed the Eagle Foil River in the afternoon. Encamped at a small Lake. Fine country.
Monday 25th. May. Fine weather and very warm. Passed the N.E. end of Shoal Lake at 3 o'clock pm. Encamped at a small lake. Open country -- tufts of willows -- undulating.
Tuesy. 26. A little rain. Country as yesterday. At 10 o'clock crossed the Sascatchewanees or Rapid River. Encamped at a small river.
Wedy. 27. Raining. Encamped at the White Mud River -- Hill & Valley.
Thursy. 28. Passed the White Mud River twice before breakfast. The banks of this river covered with oak, maple, ash & poplar. Our afternoon's journey through an open country, and so perfectly level that on the border of the horizon the sky and the verdant plain seemed to blend and united with one. Encamped at river Champignon.
Fri. 29. Open level country. Encamped at Wn. Beliour (?).
Sat. 30. Encamped at Fort Garry.
Wedy 10th June. Today at 4 o'clock in the afternoon left the Stone Fort [Fort Garry, Red River] after a stay of 10 days in the [Red River] colony. There appears to be a natural division of this settlement into five districts, namely -- following the order we observe in ascending the rivers -- The Lower District, composed of Native Indians, the second of Orkney men; the third Scotchmen, the fourth above the Forks Canadians; and the fifth at the White Horse Plain half breeds.
Wedy. 17. June Reached Norway House in the afternoon.

A Voyage from Fort Vancouver, Columbia, to York Factory, Hudson's Bay, 1841, by George Traill Allan:
Wednesday 26th [May]. Having disposed of all our superfluous baggage and provisions Dr. Toolmie and myself, an Indian Guide and three men, including a young Halfbreed, son of Chief Factor Pruden, mounted our Horses and commenced our journey over the plains to Red River. Our route for the first three days lay through a very pretty country -- a mixture of plains, woods and lakes, the latter abounding with wild fowl, a number of which we killed, and the plain with Antelopes; but our time pressed too much to admit of our hunting them.
Saturday 29th. Very sultry weather and no water to be had except from stagnant pools and to increase our comforts the guide lost his way and kept us wandering backwards and forwards for upwards of three hours; at last he fell upon the track; during the day we perceived three Buffalo, but at a great distance -- and the Guide going a little a-head saw two Moose Deer at which he snapped his gun three times; lucky for him they were not Blackfeet! The rest of the party coming up fired two shots without effect.
Sunday 30th. To day we came in sight of a very extensive Salt Lake the borders of which are much frequented by Buffalo at certain seasons; at present we only saw three Bulls and our time was too precious to go in pursuit of them. Our horses were also very much jaded as we had ridden very hard all day in order to get to the end of the Lake, no fresh water being found along its borders, we were so fortunate as to achieve our object and enjoyed with great relish a glass of good cold water than which when a man is really thirsty nothing can be more acceptable.
Monday 31st. This morning we commenced our journey as usual very early and had travelled about twenty miles when our guide once more got bewildered to my great chagrin, as the despatches I carried for Governor Simpson were already late; having arrived upon the summit  of a hill, the poor Indian, worn out with vexation and fatigue, asked my permission to smoke a pipe and recollect himself; which being granted, and the pipe finished, he again led the way, but in a totally different direction to that which he, for the last few hours, pursued. We of course followed though doubting whether he was right or wrong. Towards evening we encamped with our horses much fatigued and uncertain with regard to the route; while at supper I dispatched the guide to make a tour of discovery; he had not proceeded far when he fell upon a Lake which put him again to rights and he rejoined us with a smiling countenance.
Thursday 1st June. At half past 3 am. we raised camp, the guide & I being a-head, and upon ascending a rising ground we discovered a herd of about fifty Buffalo Cows with their Calves; calling a halt I immediately dispatched the Halfbreed & Guide to endeavour to intercept them, while the rest of us remained concealed with our guns ready for action, as it was most probable they would pass our way, but most unfortunately as they approached them the wind suddenly changed and the Buffalo scampered away at a great rate leaving us to digest our perhaps over sanguine anticipation of Beef stakes and Roast Ribs as we best might. This evening we reached Fort Pelly a post in charge of Mr. Chief Trader Todd who had left a few days before for Red River. I found, however, his representative Peter Sinclair, an old Halfbreed, in charge of the Fort, who waited to receive us at the gate with his pipe in his cheek, arms folded, and hat upon one side of his head, evidently impressed, and no doubt wishing to impress us, with a high idea of his importance. I did not however at the moment feel in a humour to be awe-struck with our friend Peter's dignified demeanor (being vexed at the state of our horses) and therefore desired him sans ceremoni to provide us the means without loss of time to prosecute our journey. I here found a note addressed to me by Chief Factor Rowan [John Rowand?] who had passed only four days before, informing me that he had left two fresh horses for our use and hoping we might overtake him before he reached Red River, where the Columbia Despatches, of which I was the bearer, at all times looked for with anxiety, were doubly so this year as Governor Simpson was about to visit that quarter of the Hon. Companys territories. We certainly stood in great need of fresh horses for those we had been travelling with were wretched in the extreme; in fact, could we have only mounted Mr. Peter Sinclair as Don Quixotte and procured an equally good representative of his man Sanche nothing else would have been wanting upon our arrival at Red River where windmills abound to have completed a most perfect likeness of that celebrated hero as any one of our steeds might have very well passed for a Roseanante (?). I had myself ridden for half a day an old Buffalo runner out of one shoulder, who was so extremely well bred that when he felt inclined to lay down (which occurred rather too frequently) he would endeavour to get to one side the road and lay down gently upon the grass, his sense of politeness however carried him no farther for did you not immediately dismount he would roll over you without more ado.
Wednesday 2nd. Bidding adieu to Mr. Peter Sinclair and his importance we soon fell upon a narrow muddy River in endeavouring to cross which some of our horses nearly stuck fast & what would have been a still greater misfortune the Cassette containing the papers narrowly escaped getting wet.
Thursday 3d. Starting this morning as early as usual we arrived upon a River -- both deep and rapid which gave us some trouble to cross, we soon however fell upon the plan of rafting the Provisions &c by means of the bed-oil cloths, which we converted into a Raft, drove in the Horses and swam after them.
4th, 5th, & 6th. Our route during those three days lay through a low swampy country studded with woods and small lakes.
Monday 7th. We arrived this morning upon another very rapid river -- over which we swum the Horses and crossed ourselves & luggage in a sort of wooden canoe lined with two of the oil-cloths. We had no sooner landed and had just begun upon the opposite bank when one of us happening to look ahead discovered upon a rising ground descending towards us a band of eight Indians, tall, fierce looking fellows who we soon perceived to be armed from the glancing of the guns in the sun as they descended the hill. As our guns were all scattered about we immediately each secured his own & remained waiting the approach of the Indians who we imagined might be Assiniboines, but fortunately they turned out to be Santeux, or it is not unlikely the recourse to our guns had not been in vain. I was not, I need not say, displeased to find they were Santeux as I felt very anxious respecting the fate of the despatches, besides we did not feel particularly anxious to fight they being more numerous than our part -- and, as Buttler has it, "He that fights and runs away, lives to fight another day."
So much for the Santeux and our encounter with them -- who having received their pittance of Tobacco "took their road and so did we." Towards evening we fell in with a Hut of Indians and procured a large supply of Eggs viz: Goose, Duck and Water Hen or Coot, which enabled us to make a comfortable supper.
Wednesday 9th. This morning having got underway very early we pushed the Horses to a trot, determined if possible to reach the settlement next day; we had now trotted on to about 9 o'clock am. where we began to think of breakfasting at a small River now at no great distance when we suddenly perceived a band of Horses and Cattle, and upon a nearer approach discovered people and a great number of Carts and other paraphernalia evidently the accompaniment of a party about to start upon a very long journey -- who we immediately supposed to be some of the Red River settlers bound upon a pilgrimage to that land of promise -- the Columbia -- and upon our coming up our conjectures proved to be correct. Having rec'd the news of Red River -- we in our turn dealt out those of the Columbia to willing ears. The Doctor and myself were upon the point of setting down to breakfast when an invitation arrived from one of the principal settlers for us to partake with him of that meal and certainly nothing could have happened more appropos as though our waiting-man had possessed in perfection all the attributes of the never to be forgotten Caleb Balderstone he could not have garnished our table with more than Pemican of which we had now become thoroughly tired. On proceeding to the Tent of Mr. Alex McKay, for to him we stood indebted for the invitation to dejeuner we found that his wife, a nice tidy little woman, had laid out the table in great style consisting of Bread and Butter, Buffalo Tongues and Roast Veal flanked by a fine Pork Ham of stately dimensions. I need scarcely remark that we did ample justice to Mr. McKay's hospitable board, which seemed like a table spread in the wilderness for us. Breakfast being dispatched we bade adieu to our kind entertainers wishing them a pleasant trip to the Columbia, and continued our route over beautiful and extensive plains.
Thursday 10th. I have hitherto refrained from stating the annoyance which we daily received from those mischievous dabblers in human blood the Moschetto & the Bull Dog or Gad-Fly, as it is a plague to which travellers in this country are always more or less subject; to day however we felt rather indebted to than annoyed by that respectable insect the Gad-Fly, as when our Horses began to flag he invariably attacked them and spurred them on or I question much whether or not we would have reached the Fort in the time we had anticipated. Soon after breakfast we reached the first house in the Settlement belonging to Mr. Belcour, a Catholic priest, who received us with great kindness to whom I stated the miserably fatigued state of our horses and as we were still about thirty miles from the Fort solicited his assistance in providing us fresh ones and we did not solicit in vain -- his reverence very soon procured us what we required and it was high time as upon coming out of the house we found our own poor Horse lying down saddles and all, just as we had dismounted. We again resumed our journey with many thanks to the Revd Mr. Bellcour and in about an hour and a half reached the hospitable manshion [sic] of Mr. Cuthbert Grant, who would not let us depart without dinner -- at which we had an opportunity of proving the quality of the Red River beef in the shape of an excellent steak. Having dined we proposed starting for the Fort when Mr. Grant kindly tendered me the load of his Gig by way of change and his fine American horse to drive to the Fort; of course this was too agreeable a proffer to be rejected -- we having by this time (our sixteenth day upon horseback) had quantum sufficit of that sort of exercise; and having, as we though, during the time proved our equestrianism beyond a doubt, had no wish whatever to show off before the good lieges of Red River. The Doctor and I had no sooner taken our places in the Gig and I had taken possession of the reins & whip, and which I am sure no John in the Strand could have done more knowingly, we set out and having got safely round the angle of a fence (against which by the bye, in spite of my dexterity in managing the reins, we had nearly run foul) we found ourselves in the high road to Fort Garry. Mr. Grant's American is of first rate metal, a single shake of the reins being sufficient to put him to a hard trot, at which rate we continued until we reached our destination. During the drive we passed through beautiful green plains, alive with herds of Cattle, Horses, and Sheep, and, upon each side of the road, neat whitewashed cottages, with gardens and fences, laid out with great taste. Upon our arrival at Fort Garry we were kindly received by Chief Factor [Duncan] Finlayson (the same gentleman whom I accompanied formerly to the Columbia) and the rest of the gentlemen. By Mr. Finlayson we were introduced to Sir George Simpson, Governor in Chief,  who had arrived from England on that morning & Sir George introduced us to Lords Mullgrave and Caledon and a Russian gentleman who had accompanied his Excellency to Red River -- their Lordships in order to enjoy a Buffalo Hunt and the Russian to accompany Sir George to the Columbia, and from thence toi Russia. Having delivered the despatches to the Governor we retired to have a view of the Fort which we found to be extremely neat in all its arrangements -- the House and Stores laid out with great regularity, the whole surrounded by a well built Stone wall ten or twelve feet in height & a Bastion of stone at each angle; in fact from whatever side the approach is made the effect is striking and leads one to believe that there will be comfort within the walls -- which a days trial at Mr. Finlayson's table will not fail to realize even to a more fastidious appetite than mine. On Sunday I accompanied the other gentlemen to church where we had a good sermon from the Revd. Mr. Cockrane whose congregation looked very respectable.
June 24th. In company with Mr. Chief Trader Gladman & Dr. Tolmie I started in a bark canoe for York Factory, a voyage of ten days during which, when not wind bound in Lake Winnipeg, we travelled at the rate of seventeen hours per day -- and on one occasion we started at 1/2 past 7 pm. the following evening. I mention this to give some idea of light Canoe travelling which of all kinds, is by far the most severe upon the men. On the 30th we reached Norway House, the place where I had passed my first winter in the Indian Country; and here I found Mrs. Ross, who looks upon me as one of the family. On the same evening Mr. Ross arrived from Red River accompanied by the Rev. Mr. Evans and his daughter. I soon discovered that an absence of ten years had made great changes at my old quarters: -- instead of living all the year round upon white fish, as in days of old, Mr. Ross produced a dinner, a better than which I have seldome seen beyond the Rocky Mountains.
The Revd. Mr. Evans, who is chief superintendant of the Methodist Mission, resides with his family at Norway House, and has established a School there for the purpose of educating the Indians; but it has not yet been long enough established to enable one to predict respecting its success.

Journal of a trip from Vancouver to York Factory, Spring 1847, by Thomas Lowe:
Wednesday 2nd [June] Started from Carlton this morning at daylight and were enabled to make a long days march as the river has risen from the recent rains.
Thursday 3rd. Came to Cole's Rapids before breakfast, but having broken two boats, put ashore to breakfast, and get them repaired. In course of the day 5 more boats were broken, one of them having gone to pieces, the crew saving themselves by springing into a boat which was passing. Most of the cargo was picked up and distributed amongst the Brigade, although the packs were very much injured with wet. Encamped half way down the Rapids.
Friday 4th June. Ran several of the Rapids before breakfast, but two more boats having been broken the remainder were run down to the bottom of the Rapids by the experienced steersmen only, who had thus to make two trips and it was 2 o'clock in the afternoon before we were able to start from the termination of Cole's Rapids, in which 8 more boats were broken more or less severely, and 1 entirely lost. A short distance below these rapids, the Southern Branch falls into the Saskatchewan, and as there happened to be a good flush of water in it, we made a good distance before camping. Raining at intervals during the day.
Saturday 5th. Raining hard. Made a long day's march.
Sunday 6th. Rainy, and a thunder storm in the afternoon. Pulled all day and drifted at night.
Monday 7th. Fine warm weather. Arrived at Cumberland this morning at 8 o'clock. Here two boats & the bateau were left, their ladings to be taken to Norway House by the Athabasca brigade. Mr. Hector E. McKenzie, who is in charge, takes a boat down with his returns, and accompanies the Saskatchewan Brigade to York Factory. Started from Cumberland at 4pm. and pulled until sunset.
Tuesday 8th. Very warm. Had a fine breeze all day, and reached the Pas in the evening, where we remained all night. A sufficient number of Indians were engaged at this place to make up the boats crews to 3 men each, a few had 4, besides the steersman. Almost 10 pieces of Pemican were likewise taken out of each boats.
Wednesday 9th June. Started from the Pas early this morning, and after a hard day's pulling got as far as the commencement of the Muddy Lake. Very warm, and a few peals of thunder.
Thursday 10th. Beautiful warm day. Got into Cedar Lake by breakfast time, and sailed all forenoon, but the wind then headed us, and had to pull the remainder of the day. Encamped on an Island near the end of the Lake.
Friday 11th. Fine weather. Pull through the remainder of Cedar Lake, and breakfasted at the other end of Cross Lake. In the forenoon 3 boats were broken in the Red Stone Rapid, and as a good deal of time was lost in repairing them, we only got as far as the head of the Grand Rapid. Laplante's Boat struck on the rocks, and blocked up the channel, when the Columbia boat, which was close behind, ran foul of it, and cut it down to the keel. The crew immediately jumped into the Columbia boat and left it in the middle of the Rapid. Before a boat could be unloaded and sent to haul it off, the cargo was completely soaked. Another one was likewise slightly broken, and we were obliged to encamp at the lower end of the Portage, having only come about a mile since starting this morning. Last night's rain rose the water a good deal.
Saturday 13th June. Fine weather. Ran the remainder of the Grand Rapid today, the boats having taken out 30 pieces each, as the water was too low to run with full cargoes, and one half of them had therefore to make a second trip. Encamped at the bottom of the Rapids to mend the boats and dry the packs. In the afternoon the Portage la Loche Brigade passed us, in charge of L'Esperance the Guide, consisting of six boats, with goods for McKenzie's River.
Monday 14th. Fine warm weather. Remained all day in the same encampment, drying the furs.
Tuesday 15th. Beautiful day. Started in the afternoon and pulled down to the entrance of Lake Winnipeg. Encamped in the Horse [?] shore.
Wednesday 16th. Started this morning under sail, and came about 10 miles, but as it began to blow a strong head wind, had to put ashore on an island in the Lake. A heavy thunder storm in the afternoon.
Thursday 17th. Remained on the same island all day, and as it blew a strong gale, the boats were discharged, and hauled up on the beach.
Friday 18th. Raining and blowing strong. Remained in the same place all day, but as the wind lulled towards sunset, the boats were reloaded, and we pulled towards an Island about 5 miles distant, where we remained encamped until daylight.
Saturday 19th. Started early this morning, and had a fine side wind the whole day, which carried us through Lake Winnipeg, although we had much difficulty in rounding Mossy Point. Fine clear weather throughout the day, but a thunder storm at night. Mr. [John] Rowand who was in the foremost of our Brigade, after passing Mossy Point, fell in with Sir George Simpson, who was in a boat on his way from Red River to Norway House. The Governor was accompanied by C.F. Harriott & Mr. Clouston. Mr. Rowand's boat and the Governor's pushed on ahead, in order to reach Norway House tonight, but we remained behind with the Brigade, and encamped on an Island at the commencement of Play Green Lake.
Sunday 20th. fine warm day. Arrived at Norway House at 3 o'clock in the afternoon. Sir George Simpson, Mr. Roward &c arrived here about 10 o'clock last night. Found C. F. Nicol Finlayson & Mr. Hopkins here.

Journal from Vancouver to York Factory with express, Spring 1848, by Thomas Lowe:
Monday 5th [June] Cold disagreeable weather. Waited most of the day expecting that the Blackfeet would arrive, as Mr. Harriott is unwilling to leave the Fort as long as they are about. As there was no appearance of their coming however we started from Carlton at 5 o'clock in the afternoon, and encamped about 20 miles below.
Tuesday 6th. Rained a little in course of the day. Encamped at the head of Coles Rapids.
Wednesday 7th. Very cloudy, and a few passing showers. Had to wait this morning until the sun was about 2 hours high to allow the fog to clear off before running the rapids. As the water is this year in a good state, there was only one boat broken, but 23 packs got wet. Two more boats broke in course of the day but nothing wet. Drifted all night.
Thursday 8th. In course of the night one of the boats got broken, and we then separated into 2 brigades, 11 boats remaining behind with Peter Calder the guide. Came a good distance although we put ashore for about 3 hours to dry the packs which were wet. Rained very heavy in the evening.. Did not drift tonight.
Friday 9th. Beautiful weather. Mr. Harriott's boat & ours left the brigade to go ahead to Cumberland. Passed Holburne's Rapid before breakfast & got to the Cumberland Portage about two hours after sunset.
Saturday 10th. Walked across to the Fort this morning. About breakfast time the principal part of the Brigade had arrived, but some of the boats did not arrive until near evening and we consequently could not get far. Encamped opposite the entrance of Cumberland Lake. Each boat left 5 pieces of Pemican at the Portage. Two boats from Cumberland in charge of C.T. Deschambeault joined us there.
Sunday 11th. Clear weather. Pulled against a head wind until after midday, when we had to put ashore and were windbound there for a period of 4 hours. Started again in the evening and encamped within 5 miles of the Pas.
Monday 12th. Fine weather. Arrived at the Pas early this morning In the forenoon 2 light canoes arrived with Sir John Richardson & Dr. Rae to overtake the Expedition in search of Sir John Franklin's party, which started from Cumberland on the 1st inst. in charge of Chief Trader Bell, and the canoe will probably overtake them at Fort Chippewyan. The one remained at the Pas about 10 minutes. As one of the Boats was a long distance behind, we could not start from the Pas until about 4 o'clock in the afternoon. The Rev. Mr. Hunter & Miss Jessie Campbell embarked here to take a passage to Norway House. There was a small boat left at the Pas for the use of Mr. Hunter and its cargo divided amongst the others, but to make up for that about 100 pieces were taken out and left in store, principally provisions for the Mission, and Pemican intended for the use of the Brigade going up in the Fall. Encamped about 20 miles below the Pas.
Tuesday 13th. Very changeable weather, rain and sunshine. Sailed most part of the day. When we reached Cedar Lake 7 Indians were put ashore to take a boat up to Cumberland which was left there last Fall by Mr. Clare who was taken by ice on his way up to Edmonton with the green hands. In the evening the wind died away, but we pulled until 10 o'clock at night, when we put ashore on a small Island to supper, but started again immediately afterwards and got as far as Rabbit Point before daylight, when the wind came ahead, with a very heavy thunderstorm.
Wednesday 14th. Started early this morning from Rabbit Point, and went about 5 miles when we were obliged to put ashore and remained windbound the rest of the day. Thunder, and heavy rain all day.
Thursday 15th. Still raining and blowing strong. In the same place all day.
Friday 16th. Got off from our encampment in the afternoon, and with the assistance of a little sail wind got out of Cedar Lake and encamped a short distance below it.
Saturday 17th. Fine weather. As the water is in a good state we run the Grand Rapid with full cargoes, and only one boat was broken. Met L'Esperance at the Grand Rapid with 7 boats on his way to Portage La Loche. Started from the mouth of the River in the afternoon, and with the assistance of a little wind got to an Island about 15 miles off, where we encamped.
Sunday 18th. Started early this morning with a fair aft wind, which carried us to the Pine Islands, after which it came more ahead, and was nearly as close as we could sail to until getting round Mossy Point, where we arrived at 3 pm. The waves were rather high, and we shipped a little water. Had a sail wind up to Norway House, where we arrived at 9 o'clock at night, although the principal part of the Brigade remains behind. Here we found that Sir G[eorge] Simpson had arrived on the 11th inst. and Messrs. [John] Rowand, Nicol Finlayson, Sinclair & McTavish were also there, also a Mr. [Eden] Colvile from Canada.
Monday 19th. Fine weather. The remainder of the Saskatchewan Brigade arrived this morning, also 7 boats from Swan River, Lac la Pluie [Rainy Lake], and Red River, those from La la Pluie in charge of Mr. McKenzie and Mr. Roussain.

Journal of the Columbia Express Party, 1849, by John Charles:
5th, Tuesday [June] Left Carlton House after breakfast with 26 boats, one having been added to the 25 brought down from Fort Pitt. We camped at a point where formerly stood a North West fort.
6th, Wednesday. Blowing a pretty gale this morning. Towards night the wind abated. Put ashore at sunset and had supper; then embarked in the boats which being lashed together by threes we were able to drift all night. An Indian deserted from the Brigade this side of Bow River.
7th, Thursday. Men toiled all day against a strong head wind. At midnight when drifting down stream as usual one of the boats got a plank stove in by a tree lying in the river. We immediately put ashore and had the pieces taken out and spread in the other boats.
8th, Friday. Six of the boats arrived at Cumberland House late in the evening, the others will make their appearance tomorrow. Mr. Deschambeault informs us that Cumberland Lake broke up on the 5th June and it is much feared that we will be detained by ice further down our route.
9th, Saturday. Two of the Saskatchewan boats with their cargoes of grease and Pemican for the use of the North Brigades were left at Cumberland House, the others left about 2 pm. Mr. Deschambeault would leave, late in the evening.
10th, Sunday. All the boats reached the Pas before 3 o'clock in the evening. Alexie Nault has at last arrived with the Lesser Slave Lake Returns. We took tea with Mr. and Mrs. Hunter who live in a fine and elegantly furnished house. Had a heavy shower of rain accompanied with thunder for about two hours this evening.
11th, Monday. Very cold morning. We took leave of Mr. Hunter at 9 pm. and went as far as the "Feast Point" at the head of Muddy Lake which we reached about 6 pm. Blowing a strong head wind all night. It was also very cold, a circumstance that makes us fear there is still ice in the Lakes.
12th, Tuesday. Owing to a heavy sea blowing ahead of us we were not able to leave our camp before 3 pm. We put ashore for the night at the end of Lac Vaseur. Had a slight shower of rain towards evening.
13th, Wednesday. Started this morning at 2 am. Sailed to the first point in Lac Bourbon where we breakfasted. Pulled and sailed across Lac Traverse, at the end of which we camped. Chilly weather.
14th, Thursday. By 10 am. all the boats were safely taken down to the end of Grand Rapid, here we found an Indian with his canoe, which with two men Mr. [John] Rowand dispatched to Lake Winnipeg to see if the passage was clear. The canoe returned after an hour's absence with the unfortunate news that the Lake appeared "like winter." Fearing that we might be detained here sometime 4 nets were set in the river, which before night provided us with 12 sturgeon and upwards of 30 jackfish. One of the Indians succeeded in killing a moose deer. Fine weather.
15th, Friday. Peter Calder the guide with a crew of men in one boat visited the lake, which he reports to be so full of compact ice as to preclude the possibility of our leaving the Grand Rapid for some time. A good many fish were taken out of the nets this evening.
16th, Saturday. Doctor Dodd from Swan River arrived this morning in a small canoe. Ten sturgeon were taken out of the nets this evening. A great many jackfish were also caught. A pretty smart shower of rain fell last night. Cloudy weather towards evening.
17th, Sunday. Heavy fog this morning. The sky overcast all day.
18th, Monday. Blowing very hard.
19th, Tuesday. Doctor Dodd left us a little after dinner. Wind not very strong.
20th, Wednesday. Left Grand Rapid about 1 am. but were obliged to put ashore about 7 o'clock in consequence of the ice being in such large masses in the lake and it not only being useless but dangerous for us to proceed. Lesperance with 7 boats in his charge arrived at our encampment being on his way to Portage la Loche. He has been five days coming from Norway House.
21st, Thursday. Started this morning at 2 o'clock am. with a light breeze in our favour. the first boats arrived at the old Fort (Norway House) about midnight, the others arrived an hour or two afterwards. We had sail wind all day, and at one time a real gale, which lasted for some time.
22nd, Friday. Arrived at Norway House about 1 o'clock pm. where we found the Governor and other gentlemen from the interior. Warm weather.
23rd, Saturday. Six light canoes arrived before dinner. Passengers Mr. Paul Fraser, C.F., and son, Mr. Tierney, Mr. Lockhart and Mr. Young, the latter an American gentlemen from Canada who intends going to the Columbia with the Fall Express. The Commissioned gentlemen attended Council this evening.
24th, Sunday. Divine service held by Rev. Mr. Mason at the Fort.
25th, Monday. Cloudy weather. The gentlemen again attending Council. The Oxford House and Lac la Pluie boats left for York Factory this morning.

Well, this was a long posting! Isn't it interesting when we put the corresponding sections of these journals together and let ourselves compare them with each other, directly.
It taught me something, I think.
I have learned that if the annual Committee meetings were held at Red River, then the gentlemen travelled across country on horse, to the Red River settlement.
But if the meetings were held at Norway House, as they often were, then the commissioned gentlemen stayed with the boats.
In 1842, Anderson took out the express and attended the Council meetings.
I have some information about his 1842 York Factory express, from the Norway House post journal, 1st June 1842 to 31st May 1843, B.154/a/39, HBCA:

"Monday 20th [June] Ther: 60/48. Saskatchewan Brigade of 21 boats arrived in the morning, passengers Messrs. Harriott, Pelly & McPherson with Messrs. Anderson & Jas. Sinclair from Columbia.
"Tuesday 21st -- Fresh Westerly breeze with clear weather. Ther: 53/42. 9 pm. Chief Factor McKinzie arrived with three boats from English River.
"Wednesday 22nd -- Clear pleasant weather, evening sultry. Fresh SW breezes during the day. The Saskatchewan brigade reduced to 10 boats, departed at an early hour for York Factory, Messrs. McPherson & Pelly passengers.
"Thurs. 23rd -- Weather sultry, light SW wind, nearly calm.
"Friday 24th -- Dull weather, and rain in the evening. Light easterly wind. A light canoe arrived from Canada.
"Saturday 25th -- First part of the day cloudy, sultry evening. Wind from NE. At an early hour Mr. McTavish departed for York Factory, accompanied by Mr. Jas. Sinclair.
"Sunday 26th -- Very sultry. Atmosphere filled with a haze. Strong S.W. wind. Late in the evening a boat arrived from Red River, passengers Mr. and Mrs. [Duncan] Finlayson and Masters Robert Ross and James Simpson.
"Monday 27th -- Boisterous weather, rain in the morning and all day overcast. Strong, N. Ely winds.
"Tuesday 28th -- Light southerly winds and cloudy. Rain at night. The four district boats dispatched for York Factory.
"Wednesday, 29th -- Rainy morning, but afternoon cleared up. Strong N.E. winds.
July 1842 -- "Friday 1st -- Weather again overcast, seemed inclined to clear up in the evening. Light Easterly wind. In the evening a light canoe was dispatched for York Factory, Messrs. Harriott & Anderson taking their passage in her."