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IN this narrative I have endeavoured to give a plain and 
unvarnished account of twenty months' journeying through 
the Northland of Canada. The book deals with sport 
and travel, no attempt having been made to accomplish 
elaborate geographical or other scientific work. I have 
written of the Eskimo as I found them, having, with my 
two white companions, lived their life, sharing their habi- 
tations, clad in deerskins, and subsisting on caribou and 
musk-ox meat in winter, or on fish in summer. Of the 
Indians, with whom I have been much longer acquainted 
than with the Eskimo, I have also written without pre- 

To the natural features of the country it would be 
difficult for any writer to do justice. They require the 
artist's pencil rather than the pen of a wanderer. The 
photographs will give the untravelled reader but a poor 
idea of the character of the country which for many years 
has, with scant justice, been called the " Barren Ground." 
The Northland must be lived in to be understood and 
appreciated, for its constantly changing aspect baffles 

That such an enormous tract of territory should remain 
untrodden by the foot of the white man is to me a matter 
of surprise. Africa and Central Asia have attracted many 
explorers, while the men of European origin who have 
passed through the Northland of Canada can almost be 
counted on one's fingers. To the geologist, especially to 
the student of glacial phenomena, this region offers a field 
of exceptional interest. The sportsman, the naturalist, the 


artist, the ethnologist, even the prospector, will find abundant 
interest in these northern wilds which hitherto have been 
so severely avoided. If I succeed in directing some atten- 
tion to this neglected region, and, in so doing, assist in 
whiling away an idle hour for those into whose hands 
the book may fall, my modest pretensions will be accom- 

The map showing my route was prepared, in collabora- 
tion with the late Mr. W. Shaw, by Professor Logan Lobley, 
F.G.S., who also revised my geological notes, and prepared 
the geological map. The geological specimens were de- 
termined by Dr. J. S. Flett of the Geological Survey of 
England, and the botanical specimens by Mr. R. A. Rolfe, 

The Historical Sketch of Exploration in North Canada 
was written by Mr. J. P. A. Renwick. 

To Mr. H. J. Elwes, F.R.S., I am indebted for the 
description of the Arctic coast butterflies shown in the 
coloured plate in the Appendix. 

Most of the photographs reproduced were taken by 
myself, but my acknowledgments are due to Captain 
Deville, Surveyor-General of the Dominion of Canada, for 
permission to reproduce a few taken by Mr. J. W. Tyrrell, 
C.E., and to Mr. C. E. Mathers of Edmonton, Alberta, 
for permission to reproduce a few others. 

In the endeavour to represent the sound of Eskimo 
names and other words, both in the text of the book and in 
the vocabulary given in the Appendix, the system of spelling 
adopted by the Royal Geographical Society has been 
followed so far as it was found practicable, but, to avoid 
the frequent duplication of consonants, the quantity of 
vowels has in many cases been indicated by the usual 

D. T. H. 









GREAT SLAVE LAKE . . . . . . 17 



ARK-I-LINIK RIVER .'..'. . ... . . 28 





























"DISMAL LAKES" . . . . . 198 




TROUBLES ON DBASE RIVER .-.''.' , ,. .'. . 217 






CANADA . . ". ' . . . . 268 








INDEX . . . .-. . . . .313 


ESKIMO AT THEIR GAMES . . . . . . . . To face page 2 



















THE ARK-I-LINIK RIVER . . '.-. . ,, 42 
LINIK RIVER . . ' . 46 

A HUSKY'S GRAVE . . ." ,, 50 





INDIAN CACHE To face page 94 

GROUP OF OUR PARTY . . . ..... . ,, 94 





ESKIMO HUNTING IMPLEMENTS, &c. . . . . To face page 150 


YOUNG BULL CARIBOU To face page 158 


COUNTRY ON KENT PENINSULA . . ;. . * .' ,, 162] 






ISLANDS) ,, 186 







BLOODY FALL . . , ,, 202 







SANDY CREEK ' . . ,, 226 


VIEW DOWN DBASE RIVER ........ ,, 242 



MusK-Ox Frontispiece 

DEER CROSSING WATER To face page 38 






AUTHOR'S JOURNEY . . . .... . . At End 




THAT portion of continental Canada with the exploration 
of which this sketch is concerned is the region which lies 
between the north-western coast of Hudson Bay on the one 
side, and Great Slave Lake and Great Bear Lake on the 
other. Its northern boundary is the coast line from the 
mouth of the Coppermine River to the mouth of Back's 
River, and its southern, the course of the waters which flow 
respectively eastwards to Chesterfield Inlet and westwards 
to Great Slave Lake from the watershed between Artillery 
Lake and the head-waters of the western branch of the 
Ark-i-llnik. This region forms a large part of the so-called 
" Barren Ground." It is neither barren nor uninhabited ; 
but the conditions of life within its borders are too severe 
for Europeans. Exploring parties and hunters have visited 
it, but it contains no European settlement, not even a 
Hudson Bay Company's trading post. Its exploration was 
begun, not for the sake of gaining a knowledge of the 
country, nor for the development of its resources, but in 
the hope of finding a passage through it to the Western 
Ocean. Henry Hudson was engaged in the search for a 
North- West Passage when, on August 3, 1610, he rounded 
the north-western shoulder of Labrador and entered the 
Bay which now bears his name. He sailed along its eastern 
side and wintered on its south coast, but, in the following 
summer, soon after leaving his winter quarters, he, his son 
(a mere boy), and seven sick men were seized by the 
mutinous crew and sent adrift to perish in an open boat. 

The search for a passage westwards from the Bay was 
taken up by a succession of navigators, some of whom 



were appointed to the task by Government and others b] 
merchants. These discoverers were in general skilful 
well as daring, but, as they only touched at points on the 
coast, making no attempt at inland exploration, brief men- 
tion of their work will here suffice. In 1612 Captain (after- 
wards Sir Thomas) Button entered the Bay with two ships, 
and, holding on his westward course, encountered land at 
about 60 40' N. lat. He called the place " Hopes Checkt," 
and turned southwards. Being a Welshman he called the 
land " New Wales," a name which afterwards gave place 
to " New North Wales " for the northern part, and " New 
South Wales" for the southern ; but all three designations, 
as applied to the Hudson Bay coast, are now only of his- 
toric interest. Button wintered at Port Nelson, which he 
so named in memory of a shipmaster who, with many of 
the sailors, died there. When the ice broke up he went 
northwards past Cape Churchill and a place in about 60 N. 
which he called " Hubbart's Hope." On July 23, 1613, 
he reached " Hope's Advance," now taken to be Marble 
Island, and on July 29 he was in 65 N. lat. Farther he did 
not go, but, turning south-eastwards, shaped his course for 
the homeward voyage. " Button's Bay " is the name by 
which our Hudson Bay is distinguished on old maps. 

In 1619 a Danish expedition, comprising 64 men in two 
ships under the command of Captain Jens Munck, reached 
the Bay, and, on September 9, laid their vessels in winter 
quarters at Churchill. By June 18 of the following year all 
the men had died except Munck and two others, who were 
just able to make their way back to Denmark. 

In 1631 two notable voyagers, Captain Luke Foxe and 
Captain James, in separate expeditions, searched the coasts 
of the Bay both north and south. The former, on July 27, 
reached the western shore at a point in 60 10' N. lat., and 
to a small island there he gave the name of " Sir Thomas 
Rowe's Welcome," a name which now denotes the channel 
at the south end of which the island stands. Turning 
southwards he passed, on July 29, " Brooke Cobham," the 


island which a hundred years afterwards received the name 
of Marble Island. Two days later he reached the group of 
small islands which he called " Brigges his Mathematics " ; 
on August 2 he was opposite " Button's Checks," and next 
day at " Hubbart Point." On August 6 he passed the 
mouth of the Churchill River, and two days later he entered 
Port Nelson, where he found remains of Button's expedi- 
tion. He then searched the coast eastwards and south- 
eastwards, calling it " New Yorkshire " after his own county. 
He went as far south as Cape Henrietta Maria, and then, 
having gone northwards to Foxe Channel, he explored as 
far as 60 47' N. lat. When this was accomplished he 
returned to England without having been under the neces- 
sity of wintering in the Bay. The investigations of Captain 
James were carried out chiefly in the bay which now bears 
his name, where he wintered, and in Foxe Channel, and 
they require no further mention here. 

The next expedition with which we have to do was 
prepared in 1719 by the Hudson Bay Company, mainly for 
the discovery of a North-West Passage. Samuel Hearne, 
in the Introduction to the Narrative of his own remarkable 
journey, tells the story of this expedition. The command 
of it was given to Captain James Knight, a man who had had 
experience in the Company's service, but who, being nearly 
eighty years of age, was presumably unequal to the task 
he undertook. Two vessels were fitted out in the Thames, 
and, being provided with supplies and all the articles and 
appliances which were considered necessary for a successful 
voyage, sailed in June 1719 under the command of Captain 
Barlow and Captain Vaughan. By the end of the following 
year they had not returned to England, and in 1721 the 
Company's officials in London sent orders to Churchill 
that search should be made for them. These orders could 
not be carried out till 1722, and then John Scroggs, who 
was entrusted with the search, and who sailed as far as 
64 56' N., could find no evidence that the vessels were lost. 
In these circumstances many conjectured that they had 



found the North-West Passage and had sailed to the Soutl 
Sea by way of California. The truth was not known til 
1767 (forty-eight years after the vessels had sailed). Ii 
that year some whaling-boats belonging to the Company 
discovered a harbour near the east end of Marble Islam 
and at the head of it they found guns, anchors, cables, am 
other articles too heavy for the Eskimo to remove. Sunl 
in the harbour were the hulls of two ships, and the figure 
head of one of them was identified as belonging to one 
of the missing vessels. In 1769 some particulars were 
gathered from Eskimo of the region respecting the fate 
of the crews. The two vessels had reached the island ii 
1719, and the natives had seen the crews, who, they sai< 
numbered about fifty, setting up their wooden house wit 
iron fittings. The Eskimo visited them in the following 
year, and observed that their numbers were much smaller 
and the survivors unhealthy. When winter set in there 
were not more than twenty left alive, and in the summer 
of 1721 only five survived. They purchased from the 
natives seal's flesh and whale's blubber, which they ate ; 
but three of them died in a few days. The remaining two 
were often seen going to the top of an adjacent rock and 
looking earnestly to the south and east as if in expectation 
of relief. At length one of them died, and the other, in 
attempting to dig a grave, fell down and died also. These 
details, which were supplied by an aged Eskimo, were 
supported by the position of the bones and other remains 
found about the harbour. 

Still the search for a passage to the west of the Bay was 
continued. A ship, despatched from Churchill in 1737 for 
discovery in the north, was used merely for purposes of 
trade. In 1741, however, two vessels, under Middleton and 
Moore respectively, sailed from England, and on August 10 
reached Churchill, where they wintered. Next year they 
went northwards and discovered Wager Inlet and Repulse 
Bay. Rankin, one of Middleton's officers, entered the 
harbour near the west end of Marble Island, and his name 


is given to the large inlet on the neighbouring mainland 
coast. Middleton's expedition was highly successful, for 
he had showed that there was no outlet from the Bay to 
the north. But this result was not satisfactory to those 
who had employed him ; his statements were discredited, 
and suspicion was cast on his motives. He was, in fact, 
an ill-used man, and, after spending what money he had 
in repelling the attacks made upon him, he died in distress. 
With the idea of correcting Middleton's misrepresentations, 
another expedition, with two ships under Moore (Middle- 
ton's former colleague) and Smith respectively, sailed from 
England in 1746. In the following year they did much 
useful work, examining the bays and inlets from Cape 
Esquimaux to Wager Inlet, but they supplied no evidence 
that Middleton had been wrong. Narratives of this expedi- 
tion have been left by Henry Ellis and by Drage, both 
of whom took part in its work. Of interest here is the 
exploration of Chesterfield Inlet. This opening was entered 
by the long-boats of the two ships, which advanced for 
eighteen leagues, or about half its length. The water, 
however, "from being salt, transparent, and deep, with 
steep shores and strong currents, grew fresher, thicker, 
and shallower at that height," so that the officers were 
discouraged from proceeding farther. 

The search for a passage was now restricted almost 
exclusively to an examination of Chesterfield Inlet. In 
1761 Captain Christopher sailed up the Inlet, till, from the 
water losing its saltness, he concluded that he was on a 
river, not a strait. Next year, being ordered to repeat the 
voyage, he found that the Inlet ended in a freshwater lake 
(Baker Lake), closed up on every side except the west, 
where it was entered by a little rivulet. Norton, Chris- 
topher's companion, ascended this rivulet, and saw " that 
it soon terminated in three falls, one above another, and 
not water for a small boat over them" (Cook's "Third 
Voyage," Vol. I. p. XLV). A perplexing fact in view of this 
statement is that the Doobaunt, a large river, flows without 




a single break which could be described as a " fall " int< 
the north-west corner of Baker Lake. How could ai 
explorer have missed seeing it ? There was, at all events 
room for further investigation. 

In 1791, Captain Duncan, in a brig from the Thames 
explored the head of Corbett's Inlet, and in 1792 he wz 
sent to examine the head of Baker Lake. He left his brij 
in Lake's Harbour, and went in a boat to "Norton's 
Falls." Thence he followed, not a rivulet, but "the cours 
of the river, by land, till he found it came from the north- 
ward, in which direction he traced it near thirty miles." 
Then he desisted, convinced that to follow it farther coulc 
lead to no useful discovery. (Goldson's " Observations 01 
the Passage between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.' 


The Hudson Bay coasts became familiar not only t( 

voyagers sent specially to explore them, but also to captaii 
of the vessels which in the summer months were employe 
in the Hudson Bay Company's traffic. Such a sailor 
Captain Coats, who, after having been engaged in this ser- 
vice from 1727 to 1751, wrote a book called "Remarks on 
the Geography of Hudson Bay " (published by the Hak- 
luyt Society in 1852). These "Remarks" are pronounce( 
by competent authorities to be surprisingly accurate. 
are roughly put together, but some of his kindly thought 
respecting the natives may be set down here. " It will 
necessary," he says, " before I quit these parts, to set dowi 
my own sentiments and that of others, in regard to th< 
Usquemows, the naturall inhabitants of all the northen 
borders of Hudson's Bay and Streights, which swan 
with robust, hardy fellows, fitt for the severest exercise, an< 
indeed, with such dispositions, as if God's providence ii 
fullness of time had prepared them to receive the yoke of 
civility. And I do assert of my own knowledge that tries 
people are nothing near so savage as is represented b] 
our early voyagers, and that their confidence is in their 
innocence, not in their numbers, which I have often 


experienced when one or two has put themselves into my 
hand without reserve or caution." Elsewhere he describes 
them as " bold, robust, hardy people, undaunted, masculine 
men, no tokens of poverty or want, with great fat, flatt, 
greazy faces, litle black percing eyes, good teeth, &c.," and 
he propounds a pious scheme whereby those tribes " may 
be made useful to us, and acquire salvation to themselves." 

The first European to traverse the region with which 
we are concerned was Samuel Hearne, an officer of the 
Hudson Bay Company. The Indians who visited Churchill 
for the purpose of trade had reported that, far to the north, 
there was a large river, the banks of which abounded with 
copper, and with animals of the "fur" kind, and it was 
clearly desirable to ascertain what truth there was in their 
statements. The difficulty of exploration was great, for 
the region, bare, bleak, and frozen for the greater part of 
the year, was known only to roaming tribes of Indians. 
The task, however, was undertaken by Hearne, who, though 
not a man of masterful character, had quiet, persistent 
energy. An Indian guide was appointed, and, on Novem- 
ber 6, 1769, Hearne set out westwards with heavy-laden 
sledges hauled by Indians. He had not gone far when he 
found reason to distrust his guide. This rogue began by 
trying to discourage his companions, suggesting that they 
should turn back ; next he took measures to starve the 
party into compliance ; then he induced several men to 
desert, and finally, on November 30, he, with the rest of 
his countrymen, packed up their belongings and went their 
own way towards the south-west, making the woods ring 
with their laughter. Hearne of course turned back, and 
reached Churchill on December n. 

His second attempt had little better success, though 
its failure was not brought about by treachery. He set 
out from Churchill on February 23, 1770, directing his 
general course towards the north-west. He travelled 
slowly, making long halts lest he should outstrip the 
birds and beasts on which his party depended for supplies, 



and on August n, after he had reached a point somewhen 
to the north of Doobaunt Lake, his quadrant was blowr 
down and shattered. As this instrument was indispens 
able for the determination of his position from time t< 
time, he resolved to turn back, and, on November 25, h< 
for the second time entered Churchill an unsuccessfi 

Having been provided with an old and cumbrous 
Elton's quadrant, he, on December 7, 1770, set out fc 
the third time, accompanied by a party of Indians. His 
course is not easily followed, for many lakes and rivers 
which he crossed are now unknown by the names he 
gave them ; their shapes and their distances from eacl 
other, as laid down on his map, do not agree with thos 
on recent maps, and, in short, his determinations of lati- 
tude and longitude were all wrong. A stalwart geographer 
of those days, Alexander Dalrymple, pointed out Hearne's 
errors, and Hearne did not take his remarks in good part 
but no one in our time blames this indefatigable traveller 
for defects which were inevitable in his circumstances. He 
did excellent work with the poorest equipment, and his 
descriptions of the country, of the Indians who roamed 
over it, and of its animal and vegetable life, are full of 

At first he held westwards, and, on April 8, 1771, 
reached a lake, " The-lewey-aza-yeth " (apparently about 
106 W. longitude). His party had gradually increased 
by the addition of Indians, and now it contained seventy 
persons. Holding northwards he reached "Lake Clowey" 
on May 3, and here he was joined by about 200 Indians 
from different quarters. The Indians had a deadly hatred 
of the Eskimo, and Hearne discovered that the volunteers 
who now thronged about him were eager to accompany 
him to the Coppermine River for the purpose of slaughter- 
ing their hereditary enemies. He tried to dissuade them, 
but finding that his remonstrances only gained him the 
reputation of a coward, he thought it prudent to desist 


However, when the time came for resuming the journey, 
many of these volunteers, with characteristic Indian fickle- 
ness, changed their minds and remained behind. 

Continuing northwards Hearne crossed "Catt Lake" 
(Artillery Lake), and then " Thoy-noy-kyed Lake " (Aylmer 
and Clinton Golden Lakes), and on June 20 reached 
" Cogead Lake " (Rum Lake). A few days later he crossed, 
in canoes lent by Copper Indians, the stream which still 
has the name of " Conge-ca-tha-wha-chaga." Here the 
women of the party were left behind, and, on July 2, 
Hearne and the men went forward, guided by Copper 
Indians. On July 14 he reached the Coppermine River, 
probably in the neighbourhood of the Sandstone Rapids, 
and the Indians lost no time in setting about their 
murderous purpose. Three scouts were sent to look 
for the enemy, and in two days they returned with the 
news that there were five Eskimo tents on the west side 
of the river. Hearne's Indians were simply savages whom 
he could not control. They at once resolved that the 
occupants of the tents should be slaughtered during the 
night, and, having put their weapons in good order, they 
crossed the river. Each man painted his shield with red 
or black figures, and then they marched under cover of 
hills and rocks to a spot about 200 yards from the Eskimo 
tents. Here they lay in ambush, smearing their faces with 
war-paint, tying or cutting their hair, and making their 
dress as light as possible. Then, at about one o'clock in 
the morning of July 17, they rushed forth and fell on the 
unsuspecting creatures. After the first attack about twenty 
men, women, and children rushed from the tents, but not 
one of them escaped the spears of the savages. A young 
girl ran towards Hearne, who looked on in horror, and 
when the spear struck her she fell at his feet, twisting 
round his legs. He begged the two pursuing Indians to 
spare her life, but they transfixed her to the ground and 
then asked him if he wished an Eskimo wife. The slaughter 
was followed by mutilation, the search for more victims, 



and the plundering or destruction of the property of 
the slain. There were Eskimo at the farther side of th< 
river, beyond the reach of the Indians, and they escapee 
to tell the tale of murder which is remembered by theii 
descendants to this day. 

After the massacre the whole party had a good meal of 
fresh salmon, and then, at about five o'clock in the morn- 
ing, Hearne, accompanied by Indians, proceeded to survey 
the river to the sea. This survey, after such a night's ex- 
perience, was obviously hastily begun and perfunctorily 
carried out, and from its defects Sir John Richardson con- 
cluded that it was merely imaginary ; that, in short, Hearne 
only surveyed the river from the hill overhanging Bloody 
Fall. Hearne, it seems, under-estimated the distance from 
the Fall to the sea, and at the mouth of the river he found 
marks indicating a tide 14 feet high. How Franklin re- 
garded such mistakes we shall see in due course. 

The limits of space forbid the attempt to follow Hearne 
on his homeward journey. His return route lay at first 
farther to the west, but later almost coincided with his 
out-going route, and it was not till June 29, 1772, that, 
after undergoing numberless privations, he re-entered the 
fort at Churchill. 

The more important of Hearne's errors were corrected 
by Captain (afterwards Sir John) Franklin, who, fully 
equipped by Government for scientific work, and accom- 
panied by Richardson, Back, and Hood men of dis- 
tinguished ability, set out on August 2, 1820, from ok 
Fort Providence, on the north side of Great Slave Lake, 
to ascend the Yellow Knife River. His party comprised 
Canadian voyagers and Indians who were inclined to in- 
subordination, for there were rapids, cascades, and portages 
to be passed, and very often only scanty fare could be 
procured ; but on August 20 he reached Winter Lake 
near which he established his winter quarters. Here 
wooden houses, dignified with the name of Fort Enter- 
prise, were erected, and, after various exploring excur- 


sions in the region, the party settled down for the long 

On June 14, 1821, Franklin resumed his march; on 
June 20 he crossed the ridge separating the waters flowing 
south from those flowing north ; then he reached Point 
Lake and the Coppermine, down the rapids of which he 
passed, portaging at times. On July 7 he gained the 
portage leading to Great Bear Lake, and found the river 
narrower, with banks sometimes precipitous like stone 
walls, from 80 feet to 150 feet high. On July 12, when 
approaching the Eskimo country, he sent forward two 
Eskimo interpreters to negotiate, keeping his Indians well 
in hand. But the natives were suspicious, and, though in 
several interviews they seemed not unfriendly, on noticing 
(July 15) some of Franklin's men on the hill tops, they 
turned and fled. The place answered exactly to Hearne's 
description, and, even then, several human skulls, bearing 
marks of violence, and many bones were lying about. 
Next day the Indians were surprised to meet a band of 
Eskimo, who seemed equally surprised. Both parties made 
signs of peaceful intentions, but neither had confidence in 
the other, and they separated. One old Eskimo remained, 
and his description of the ways of his countrymen agrees 
with those given by travellers in our own day. 

On July 18 Franklin descended the river to the sea, 
which he found to be decidedly salt, and he observed a 
rise and fall of 4 inches (not 14 feet) in the water. He 
found his position in latitude to be 67 47' 50" N., and in 
longitude 115 36' 49" W. Hearne's determinations here 
had been 71 54' N., and 120 30' W. Notwithstanding 
these differences, Franklin says, "the accuracy of his 
description, conjoined with Indian information, assured 
us that we were at the very part he visited." He makes 
no reference to Hearne's statement that here, on July 21, 
he saw the sun at midnight, but only records, on July 19, 
that "the sun set this night at 30 minutes after n, appa- 
rent time." 



From the mouth of the Coppermine River Franklin 
turned eastwards and paddled along the coast, well pleased 
to quit the " fresh-water navigations," though a >voyage on 
the " Hyperborean Sea " was alarming to his Canadian 
companions. Setting out on July 21, he kept inside the 
crowded range of islands ; sometimes he was impeded by 
ice ; sometimes assisted, sometimes retarded by the wind. 
Here and there he found traces of Eskimo. On July 25 
he rounded Cape Barrow, and on July 30 found, at the foot 
of Arctic Sound, the mouth of Hood River. Thence he 
explored round the head of Bathurst Inlet, and on August 
13 and 14 passed along the southern and northern coasts 
of Melville Sound. Turning northwards he proceeded as 
far as the north-west corner of Kent Peninsula, where, as 
the season was now far advanced, it was necessary to halt. 
The point where he stopped he called Point Turnagain, 
and on August 20 he set out for Bathurst Inlet. On 
August 24 he reached Barry Island, and next day passed 
to the head of Arctic Sound, and up Hood River as far as 
the first rapid, where the Canadians were delighted to be 
again on fresh water. On August 27 he camped beside 
Wilberforce Falls, the height of which he estimated, the 
one at over 60 feet, and the other at over 80 feet, the whole 
descent at the place being over 250 feet. 

The water above the falls being too shallow for the large 
canoes, it was resolved to strike overland to Fort Enter- 
prise, about 149 miles distant. Two small canoes for 
crossing lakes or rivers were made out of the material of 
the large ones, superfluous baggage was left behind, and 
on August 30 the party set out, each man carrying about 
90 Ibs. weight. Their march proved a long course of 
suffering. Supplies were soon exhausted, and they 
travelled through a country where game was scarce, 
and where there were no berries, only grass and lichens, 
with sometimes Labrador tea. Heavy rain and snow with 
violent wind sometimes made travelling impossible. One 
canoe got broken, and the other was not always serviceable 


when required. Now and then a few partridges were shot ; 
one day a musk-ox, and afterwards some deer were killed, 
which kept the party in hope. On September 13 they 
reached Rum Lake, where, to lighten their loads, they 
deposited several instruments and books ; a week later 
Richardson had to leave his specimens of plants and 
minerals. . The men had to satisfy their hunger by eating 
the skins, bones, and horns of deer which had been de- 
voured by wolves, many of them adding their own old shoes 
to the repast. They had thrown away fishing-nets and other 
needful articles, and now they abandoned the canoe. On 
September 24, however, they killed five small deer and 
fared sumptuously. To cross the Coppermine at Point 
Lake, they built a raft which proved unmanageable. Dr. 
Richardson volunteered to swim across with a rope, but 
his limbs became benumbed and he was hauled back to 
land half dead. A second raft proved as useless as the 
first, but at length, on October 4, a canoe, made of canvas 
on a willow frame, was found sufficient for the transport of 
the party one by one. Back and three Canadians were 
now sent forward to obtain help while the rest trudged 
slowly onward through the deep snow. Soon Richardson 
and Hood, with Hepburn (a Scotch sailor) to attend to 
them, had to be left behind. Then several Canadians 
dropped away from Franklin's band, but only one, Michel, 
joined Richardson and Hood. 

Franklin reached Fort Enterprise on October 12, and 
found it desolate, but a note left by Back stated that he 
had gone further south in search of Indians and supplies. 
Soon, however, a messenger from Back brought word that 
no Indians were to be found ; whereupon Franklin sent 
forward two men to join in the search, he himself re- 
maining behind at the Fort, where the best fare consisted 
of deerskins, bones, and lichens. 

One day Richardson and Hepburn entered, and an- 
nounced that Hood was dead, and Michel dead. They 
told a painful tale, which may be summed up thus. In the 



direst extremity of hunger, Michel had become refractory 
Hood, in the depth of physical weakness, had rebuked 01 
remonstrated with him, and then Michel had shot hit 
through the head. Of this there could be no doubt. Thei 
Michel had assumed an offensive attitude towards Richard- 
son, and had used threats towards Hepburn, so that, beinj 
armed, he was clearly a dangerous companion. Hepburr 
the first time he and Richardson were alone together, offeree 
to shoot Michel, but Richardson took that responsibility or 
himself, and, when Michel approached, shot him througl 
the head with a pistol. 

In the meantime Back, in desperate circumstances, 
making his way towards Fort Providence, accompanied b] 
two Canadians, the other having been frozen to death. Or 
November 3 they found Indian footprints, which one of the 
Canadians followed up, and in the evening an Indian 
came to Back with meat and a letter, which Franklin had sent 
by the messengers already mentioned. The Indians at once 
set about the work of relief, and, early next morning, thn 
sledges with supplies were on their way to Fort Enterprise. 
On November 7 these stores arrived, and by November 16 
Franklin and the others were able to begin the journey to 
Old Fort Providence. The Indians treated them with the 
utmost kindness, and on December n they reached th( 

Franklin, having been successful in surveying a lonj 
stretch of coast to the east of the Coppermine River, 
appointed to the command of an expedition to explore the 
coast to the west of that river. The exploring party spent 
the winter of 1825-26 at Fort Franklin, at the west end of 
Great Bear Lake, and on June 22, 1826, set out along Bez 
River and Mackenzie River for the coast. When they 
reached the head of the Mackenzie delta they separated, 
Franklin and Back descending the western arm, and 
Richardson and Kendall, a capable young naval officer, 
the eastern. The coast surveys of both parties were 
successful, but were mostly outside our sphere. On 


August 4 Richardson and Kendall, in two boats, the 
Dolphin and Union, reached the Dolphin and Union 
Strait; on August 7 they rounded Cape Krusenstern 
into Coronation Gulf, and next day, having entered the 
mouth of the Coppermine River, camped within a hundred 
yards of Franklin's old camping-ground. On August 9 
they ascended to Bloody Fall, where they left their boats 
and superfluous stores, taking, however, a canvas boat, 
which might prove useful. They soon found that the 
Coppermine could not be navigated in a canvas boat, and, 
abandoning this craft, with other encumbrances, they 
worked their way over the difficult ground near the river. 
On August 13 they breakfasted at the place where the 
Coppermine is at its nearest to Great Bear Lake, and then 
they struck westwards. Next day they were stopped by a 
stream (afterwards named Kendall River) at a place where 
it issued from a chain of lakes (afterwards called the Dismal 
Lakes), but just above the outlet they found a shallow bar, 
along which they passed, and, on August 15, reached the 
height of land between the Coppermine and Great Bear 
Lake. Here they fell in with Indians, who led them to 
Dease Bay, whence there was an easy passage to Fort 

In 1832 fears were entertained for the safety of the 
Arctic expedition which had sailed in 1829 under the 
command of Captain Ross, and a search expedition was 
organised at the cost of the Hudson Bay Company and 
Captain Ross's friends, with Government assistance. At 
the head of the search-party was Captain (afterwards 
Sir George) Back, who had instructions to descend the 
Thlew-ee-cho-dezeth or Great Fish River to the coast. 
That river, which, for brevity, we shall call Back's River, 
was then totally unknown, and Back, on reaching Great 
Slave Lake in August 1833, at once began to look for its 
headwaters. On August 18 he entered the mouth of Hoar 
Frost River, which flows from the north into the lake 
about thirty-four miles from its eastern end. From this 


river, which was merely a series of cascades and rapic 
he passed to Cook Lake, Walmsley Lake, and Artilh 
Lake. Following up Lockhart River he reached Clintoi 
Colden Lake on August 25, and next day he enterec 
Lake Aylmer, not far from the north shore of which h< 
found a small lake, Sussex Lake, which proved to be the 
source of the river he was in search of. He descendet 
the stream as far as Musk-Ox Lake, and this was his 
limit till next year. In returning to Great Slave Lake 
he passed down Artillery Lake, and, avoiding the rapids 
and cascades of Lockhart River (known to him as Ah- 
hel-dessy), walked in a straight course to the east end 
of Great Slave Lake. Here he built a wooden house. 
Fort Reliance, which served for quarters till June 7, 183^ 
At that date he resumed his journey, and, proceeding 
to Artillery Lake, found the two boats which he had 
instructed his carpenters to build for the expedition. H< 
had heard that Ross was safe, and there now remained 
only the work of exploration to complete. 

Taking only one of the boats, the party, ten in number, 
went forward, usually dragging it over the ice on runners, 
but sometimes towing it on open water. An expert officer 
of the Hudson Bay Company, MacLeod, preceded them 
to Lake Aylmer, and here and there left caches of deer 
which he shot for the party. Thus there was little diffi- 
culty about supplies, and on June 27 they reached Sandhill 
Bay, on Lake Aylmer, where the portage to Back's River 
was only about a quarter of a mile. The boat was safely 
launched, but there was no prospect of an easy passage 
to the sea. The river and lakes were still mostly frozen, 
though the ice was not always practicable, and there were 
many portages. On June 30 they crossed Musk-Ox Lake, 
and reached the limit of their autumn journey. On 
July 2 they made a portage of four miles, then ran a 
series of rapids, and then dragged their boat on runners 
over a frozen lake. Farther down the rapids were fre- 
quent and violent, and the weather became boisterous, 


but on July 8 the prospect somewhat brightened. The 
men pushed from the shore and went down with the 
current, which sometimes surged among rocks and 
boulders, sometimes broadened into lakes still beset with 
ice. On the banks they saw musk-oxen which gazed 
stupidly at them, and deer which scampered away. As 
they descended, they left here and there caches of meat 
for their upward course. On July 13 they reached Beechey 
Lake, where the river bends suddenly to the south-east. 
Back had hoped the stream would carry him to Bathurst 
Inlet, but now he feared that his destination would be 
Hudson Bay. Then they came on more difficult rapids, 
down which the boat had to be manoeuvred with the 
utmost caution. They passed the mouths of many tribu- 
taries flowing in from east and west. Now and then they 
saw piled stones and traces of circular encampments 
which indicated that Eskimo frequented the region ; at 
Buchanan River these marks became more numerous. 
On Pelly Lake the travellers were involved in a labyrinth 
of bays and islands, and, when they found an outlet and 
reached Lake Garry, the passage was obstructed with 
ice, through which they had to break or cut a way, and 
often to portage, till, on July 21, they reached open 
water. In crossing Lake MacDougall they were guided 
to the outlet by the noise of the rapids, and the descent 
to Lake Franklin was a long series of cascades which 
taxed the skill of Mackay and Sinclair, two boatmen whose 
praises Back was never weary of repeating. In this region 
they found deer, musk-oxen, wolves, and geese, and below 
Lake Franklin they came on a band of Eskimo, who took 
them to their tents, gave them information concerning 
the coast, and helped them with their boat at the one 
remaining cascade. Before long the river banks changed, 
on the east to cliffs, and on the west to low flats, while 
the channel opened out into an estuary with headlands 
and islands. They explored the eastern side, crossed 
to Montreal Island, went northwards as far as Ogle Point, 


and from neighbouring heights viewed and named the 
principal features of the region. 

The return journey began on August 16 ; they reached 
the river mouth on August 21, the head of the river on 
September 17, and Fort Reliance on September 27. 

The long stretch of coast from Point Ogle to Point 
Turnagain still remained unknown, and its exploration 
was undertaken by Warren Dease and Thomas Simpson, 
officers of the Hudson Bay Company. These men had 
already done excellent work in exploring to the west of 
the Coppermine, when, on June 6, 1838, they moved from 
their winter quarters at Fort Confidence on the north-east 
corner of Great Bear Lake to make their way eastwards 
along the coast as far as might be practicable. In their boat 
voyage they did not reach Point Turnagain, but Simpson 
went on foot about 100 miles beyond it. The expedition 
added little to what was already known, and the travellers 
returned to Fort Confidence in the hope of proceeding 
farther in the following year. 

Setting out on June 15, 1839, they reached on July 20 
their boat limit of 1838, and then coasted round the Kent 
Peninsula. They passed the Minto Islands, sailed between 
the mainland and Melbourne Island, crossed Labyrinth 
Bay, " a perfect maze of islands," and on August i camped 
near the mouth of Ellice River. At White Bear Point 
they were detained till August 5. Then they passed to 
Ogden Bay, and on August 10 opened a strait (Simpson 
Strait) running to the southward of east. Following its 
south shore they went far to the east, and, without sus- 
pecting it, landed on Ogle Point. On August 16 they went 
to Montreal Island, where Mackay directed them to a cache 
which Back had left. Thence they passed north-eastwards, 
and, on August 20, gained their farthest east at Castor and 
Pollux River. Then, hastening westwards, they reached 
the Coppermine on September 16, and Fort Confidence 
on September 24. Two days later they left the fort to ruin 
and the Indians. 


The last voyage of Sir John Franklin is not within the 
range of this sketch, but several expeditions in quest of the 
missing voyagers visited the rivers and islands of our region. 
Richardson, accompanied by Rae, searched the Copper- 
mine region in 1848, and Rae continued the search in 1849 
and 1851. Dr. John Rae, who gained a place in the front 
rank of explorers, was the first to obtain news of the fate of 
the Franklin expedition. In 1846-47 he had traversed the 
isthmus between Repulse Bay and the Gulf of Boothia, and 
in 1853, when no trace of Franklin could be found else- 
where, he again turned his steps in that direction. First he 
sought a short cut to the mouth of Back's River by Chester- 
field Inlet and the Quoich River, which he ascended in a 
boat for two-and-a-half degrees of latitude (up to 66 N.), 
but, finding the river full of rapids and impracticable for 
his purpose, he returned and hastened north to Repulse Bay. 
In 1854 he crossed the isthmus, and while searching the 
coast found in Pelly Bay some Eskimo, from whom he 
gathered tidings of Franklin, who, as is otherwise known, 
had died off the north of King William's Land on June n, 
1847, the command of the expedition then devolving on 
Captain Crozier. The information which Rae acquired, 
when put together, amounted to this. In the spring of 
1850 about forty white men were seen travelling south- 
wards ; at a later date about thirty of their bodies were 
found on the mainland (near Point Ogle), and five on an 
island (Montreal Island), a day's journey north of the 
mouth of a large river (Back's River). From the Eskimo 
Rae purchased articles (spoons, forks, &c.), bearing the 
initials of the names of Captain Crozier and other officers 
of the Erebus and Terror. The men had marched 250 
miles dragging boats on runners and sledges over the ice, 
falling from the drag ropes, and dying where they fell, their 
track being marked by a line of dead bodies. One boat 
they had dragged to Montreal Island, where it was broken 
up by the Eskimo for the wood and nails. Traces of it, 
with other relics, were found by John Anderson, a factor of 


the Hudson Bay Company, who in 1855-56 descended 
Back's River and visited Montreal Island and Ogle Point. 

The last of the explorers of our region is Warburton 
Pike, who in 1889 travelled by a new route northwards from 
Great Slave Lake to Mackay Lake, Lac-de-Gras, and the 
head-waters of the Coppermine to hunt musk-oxen, and in 
1890 descended Back's River to Lake Beechey. In these 
journeys, which he has described in a lively narrative, 
he discovered a number of important features in the 
geography of the country. 

Important researches were carried on in 1893-94 by 
J. B. Tyrrell of the Canadian Geological Survey, and in 
1900 by J. W. Tyrrell over areas adjacent to and sometimes 
overlapping the southern boundary of the tract dealt with 
in this sketch. 




MY first attempt to reach the unexplored tract lying 
between Chesterfield Inlet and Great Slave Lake was 
made in the summer of 1898. That attempt was baffled 
at the outset, but the experience I then gained con- 
tributed to the success of subsequent efforts. I had 
travelled by canoe from Winnipeg vid Norway House, 
Oxford House, and York Factory, and had reached 
Churchill on July 6, only to find that my projected journey 
was impracticable for that year. There would be no open 
water towards the north for at least a fortnight. The 
Hudson Bay Company's trading boat would not start 
for Marble Island before July 20; the voyage would 
take about ten days, and I would be landed sixty miles 
from the mouth of the inlet, too late to commence a long 
journey through an unknown country. I therefore quietly 
changed my plans, and decided that, after spending the 
summer on the Hudson Bay coast, I would make pre- 
paration for an early start in the following year. 

I found the country about Churchill not without 
attractions ; in some places the scenery is pretty, and, 
now and then, caribou are to be found not far off. The 
men employed by the company are of various races, many 



of them being Eskimo or Huskies, as, in accordance with 
local usage, I shall call them. I had many opportunities of 
becoming acquainted with Huskies and of taking photo- 
graphs of scenes to show their appearance, mode of life, 
dress, habits, and amusements. Some of those who be- 
longed to the crew of the trading boat were clad partly in 
white men's clothing ; but Huskies, as a rule, adhere both 
to their native costume and their native habits. They 
produce fire with great dexterity by rubbing two sticks 
together. They are fond of sports, wrestling, and feats 
of strength and skill, and they enjoy games and dancing. 
One evening I entertained some Huskies and Chipewyan 
Indians at a feast. For the former the viands consisted of 
oatmeal and sugar, followed by plenty of tobacco ; for the 
latter, tea, sugar, flour, bacon, and tobacco. The feast was 
followed by dancing and games, and the entertainment was 
most successful. Early next morning I was awakened by 
a knocking at my door, and George Oman, the interpreter, 
entered with two Huskies. They had come on behalf of 
all the other Huskies to thank me for the feast ; they said 
they were sorry to wake me up so early, but must thank 
me, and could wait no longer. From the Indians I neither 
received nor expected thanks. 

I may here remark that, in general, less confidence can 
be placed in Indians than in Huskies. Two Cree lads (to 
give one instance) who, after signing contracts at Oxford 
House, had come with me to Churchill, now left me, 
pleading sickness as an excuse for wishing to return to 
their homes, when in fact they dreaded the prospect of 
privation. A Husky never disappointed me without suffi- 
cient cause. 

After a time a whale-boat with a crew of Huskies put 
into port. The boat was their own, having been " traded " 
to them, or perhaps given to them by one of the American 
whalers which visit the bay. They had caught an ugyuk or 
large seal, and on coming ashore they cut it up, so that 
each man who had helped to kill it received a slice. 




In summer the Company's servants, using large nets, 
catch many white whales from ten to sixteen feet long. 
The whales, being retained by the nets till low water, 
are easily lanced by the men in boats. Their flesh is 
cut up and kept to feed the dogs in winter, the blubber 
is boiled down at the factory, and the hides are shipped 
to England, where they become the " porpoise hides " of 

Harpooning whales from a boat affords excellent sport, 
and several can be killed in this manner on any suitable 
day. I found that the more successful plan was to sail 
down on to them. With a shoulder gun, firing a light 
harpoon, one could kill large numbers of them, but I 
am told that this has the effect of making the whales leave 
the place. 

The Company's trading boats, small craft of about ten 
tons, are usually open, but some have a small cabin aft. 
They sail well off the wind, but not when close hauled. I 
made a voyage in the first that sailed for the north. At 
Eskimo fPoint, half-way to Marble Island, we found Husky 
families in deer-skin tents, and saw men engaged in the 
construction of kyaks. For kyaks on the Hudson Bay 
coast deer-skin is used ; on the Arctic coast seal-skin, 
which is heavier but more durable. These cranky vessels 
are managed with great skill and boldness by the Huskies, 
who feel perfectly at home in them so long as they are 
under way, but exercise great caution when at rest. I 
observed that they invariably landed when they wished to 
light their pipes, or even to take a cup of water. If a kyak 
turns over, its occupant is almost certainly drowned. They 
do not trust their women in them unless they are lashed 
together so as to form a raft. Kyaks are usually con- 
structed out of the material of old sleighs, the ribs being 
simply tied together with deer-skin thongs. They are skil- 
fully made, and are never seen lop-sided. It is not every 
Husky who can build them ; in fact, most have to seek the 
assistance of a master-builder. From the Huskies at this 


place I procured dogs, and at the next place we visited I 
obtained a few more, all of which were to be sent on to 

Our next port of call was at Term Point, where there is 
an excellent harbour for small craft. Here we met many 
Huskies trading " furs," mostly of the musk-ox, wolf, and 
fox. Then we ran up to Marble Island, and on the main- 
land coast opposite I deposited my canoe in cache to be 
ready for future operations. It was near the end of August 
when we got back to Churchill with our cargo of " furs," 
which were at once hung out to dry in preparation for 
shipment to England. 

Having resolved that, for my next year's journey, I 
should not wait for the breaking up of the ice, but set out 
from Churchill for the north in spring, and haul as far as 
possible with dogs and sleighs over the ice, I now ordered 
two sleighs to be made, engaged Huskies to meet me, and 
gave directions that such articles of outfit as could be pro- 
cured at Churchill should be ready on my return in spring. 
Having made all the arrangements which were necessary, 
I set out for Winnipeg with dogs and sleighs on Septem- 
ber 5. Difficulties, however, beset me at the start. I had 
twelve excellent Husky dogs, but 1 was almost a total 
stranger to them, and they would not follow me. They 
had for weeks been revelling in meat and blubber and were 
unwilling to leave their comfortable quarters. Coaxing 
was of no avail, so I coupled them two and two together. 
Some of the couples were led and the others were expected 
to follow but would not. The dogs were in the worst 
temper, and before we had travelled a dozen yards, they 
were engaged in a sanguinary battle, blood and hair flying 
in all directions. Those which, being apparently well 
disposed towards each other, had been selected to run 
in couples, became the bitterest enemies, and, though I 
changed the couples in my efforts to suit tempers if pos- 
sible, there was no improvement, and, in the excitement, 
one dog went quite mad. I then muzzled the most 




aggressive animals and made another start, but a hotly 
contested running fight was kept up till we reached Ribboos 
Bay, where we camped for the night. 

On September 7 we camped near Cape Churchill, and 
in that neighbourhood we spent the next ten days. I had 
abundant supplies for myself and the men, but required 
food for the dogs. Polar bears were said to be numerous 
here, and no doubt frequently are so, but though I went 
in search of them every morning I had no success. I 
came on the fresh tracks of a large bear, but he had gone 
inland to seek out winter quarters in the woods, for in this 
region polar bears as well as black bears " hole up " in the 
winter. At York Factory I remained six weeks waiting for 
the " freeze up," and during this time, snow having fallen, 
I broke in my dogs, several of which had never been in 
harness before. The white fish at York Factory are very 
small (four or six to the pound), and are caught with sweep 
nets of one-inch mesh a few miles up Hayes River. By 
November 8, Hayes River was frozen solid, and, as a large 
amount of snow had fallen, I started for Oxford House, 
distant about 240 miles. I had a guide, for there was no 
trail and the country is one vast moss swamp, or muskeg, 
with only a stunted, scattered, and useless growth of spruce 
and larch, scarcely fit even for firewood. As there had 
been a heavy fall of snow before the hard frost set in, the 
swamps were soft, so that the dogs' feet passed through the 
snow into the slush below with the result that they " balled 
up." On the lakes the deep snow had submerged the 
ice so that they had to be skirted. We, however, were 
travelling very light, and with two excellent trains of dogs, 
and did not exceed the twelve days usually allowed for the 
journey. The Hudson Bay Company have abandoned the 
use of dogs for this stage, the mail being now hauled by an 
Indian on a hand sleigh. 

At Oxford House we remained two days to rest and 
feed the dogs. In Oxford Lake, which is 30 miles long, 
many fine white fish are caught, fishing in winter being 


carried on through the ice. The soil of the surrounding 
country (notwithstanding the assertion of a young missionary 
who, in a written report, stated that it is a " country where 
nothing will grow") is exceedingly fertile and produces 
fine potatoes, turnips, and other vegetables. The journey 
with dogs from Oxford House to Norway House, at the 
foot of Lake Winnipeg, takes about six days, and from 
Norway House to Winnipeg about eight days. At Norway 
House the temperature of 30 Fahr. had already been 

Reaching Winnipeg in the early days of December, T 
had leisure to complete my preparations. A fresh outfit 
which I had ordered from England had duly arrived, and 
I engaged two trustworthy Red River half-breeds for the 
journey. In February the Manitoba hotel where I was 
staying was completely destroyed by fire, but I fortunately 
saved my instruments, cameras, rifles, and other equipment 
for the journey. 

On February 26 I set out from Selkirk and went with 
horses and sled as far as Berens River, about half-way down 
the Lake, and here my dogs and drivers from Norway 
House met me. At this place I had the novel experience 
of riding in a sleigh drawn by a team which included a 
wolf. This animal was muzzled, and, though rather savage, 
worked well. I was told that a pure wolf does not retain 
its stamina in captivity, but a half or quarter cross makes 
a most useful animal. In this region sleighing with dogs 
forms the subject of never-ending talk, and tales of notable 
journeys (some of them not well authenticated) are fre- 
quently told. One such tale, which I heard, there is no 
reason to doubt. John Sand, a pure Indian, travelled with 
dogs from Little Grand Rapids to Norway House, a dis- 
tance of 250 miles, in three days (probably including 
portions of the night), thus covering over 80 miles a day k 
He did not drive the dogs, but ran in front of them. 

Of the dogs used in " tripping," the Husky dog with his 
pricked ears, shaggy coat, and tail curled close over his 




back, looks like the gentleman of his profession, and his 
lisposition is attractive, in spite of his love of a fight. At 
work he seldom tires, his feet are tough, he seldom requires 
the whip, and he can stand hunger marvellously. Though 
he is slow, going only about five miles an hour, he can 
keep up this pace the whole day if the weather is cool and 
he is not overloaded. The Indian dog is usually a non- 
descript sort of animal, but I have seen good Indian dogs. 
Crosses have been tried with the Scotch deer-hound, the 
mastiff, the setter, and the wolf. The mastiff cross seems 
the most successful, notwithstanding the weight and the 
short hair, but few are agreed on this subject. Consider- 
ing the importance of the dog in this region, it seems 
strange that so little trouble has been taken for the im- 
provement of the breed. These animals are hard worked. 
The usual load for one dog is about 100 Ibs., a train of 
four dogs drawing 400 Ibs., and 80 miles is not an unusual 
day's journey when weather and ice are favourable. In 
some years mange is prevalent, but it is not severe, and the 
dogs at work seem little incommoded by it. The animals 
never have fleas. 

From Berens River I made a rapid run to Norway 
House, and then to Oxford House and York Factory, 
short delays being made at each of these posts. In the 
first week of April, 1899, I reached Fort Churchill, to 
the surprise of my friends there, and also to their de- 
light, since I had brought the mail with their letters. 

This was the last store-house from which supplies 
could be obtained, and there was no need to hurry 
away, for the spring was very late, the thermometer 
frequently registering from 10 to 30 Fahr. Here I 
spent five weeks, the monotony being broken by the 
arrival of Huskies with loads of caribou, which were 
reported to be abundant all along the coast. Chipew- 
yan Indians also came in with tales of starvation 
during the winter months. One Husky who had pro- 
mised to accompany me did not turn up, so I engaged 


another, Miluk by name, who agreed to go with me 
as far as I pleased, and was able to act as guide as far 
as Marble Island. My company, including myself, con- 
sisted of four men, and we had two sleighs with twelve 
dogs. I had left (as already stated) a canoe near Marble 
Island, but, lest it should have been destroyed by bears, 
I provided another. We had dried meat for ourselves 
and the dogs, but only in sufficient quantity for several 
nights, as we expected to kill caribou and fish in abun- 
dance. We were provided also with tea, tobacco, and 
trade articles, such as knives, files, beads, thimbles, awls, 
&c. We had the indispensable rifles, guns, and nets, 
but did not burden ourselves with bacon or flour. 

On May 12 we left Churchill, and on June 5 reached 
Marble Island, where, finding the canoe safe in cache, 
we speedily broke up the spare canoe for fuel. The ice 
had been fairly good for travelling, but the deer had gone 
inland, and we found only their tracks. Except for one 
blizzard, we had had glorious weather, the air clear and 
cold, and the surface of the ice as dry as in mid- winter, 
but we were in straits for supplies, and I bitterly regretted 
having brought such a small quantity of dried meat. At 
one time it seemed as if we should have to fall back on 
Churchill, where I should hardly have dared to show 
my face after being baffled a second time. Fortunately, 
we found and killed a few deer, the mainstay of the 
traveller on the " Barren Ground," just in time to save us 
from an ignominious retreat. We held on our way and 
reached the entrance to Chesterfield Inlet on June 8, 
the weather being still perfect, though we had now and 
then to splash through or go round numerous pools on 
the ice. We found and shot deer as we wanted them, 
but at times they were not plentiful, and now and then, 
several consecutive days had to be spent in hunting and 
hauling in and dressing the meat. About this time geese, 
ducks, ptarmigan, hawks, loons, gulls, and other birds 
began to appear. As we ascended the Inlet, the ice got 


worse, and at one place it was so rough that the dogs' 
feet were cut almost to pieces. We retraced our steps 
for a long distance and then, getting near the shore, 
managed to travel along the rafted ice, so as to avoid 
the hummocky places. Towards the head of the Inlet the 
ice was smooth and from three to four feet thick, but 
for several days we had to travel through water from 
one to two feet deep on its surface. Several times the 
smaller dogs were actually swimming and still trying to 

On June 21 we reached the head of the Inlet, where we 
met some starving Huskies, who had no nets for fishing, 
and had been unable to find deer. On June 23 we made a 
short portage to a Husky camp on Arkok, the deep-water 
bay at the south-east corner of Baker Lake, near the head 
of the southern outlet of the Lake. We had the canoe 
hauled over the bare ground by dogs, and we carried all 
the stuff over on our backs, with the cheerful help of the 
Huskies. On June 27 we reached another Husky camp at 
Arkok, where our nets kept us well supplied with fresh-run 
salmon from three to ten pounds in weight. After waiting 
for several days we were able to launch our canoe, and 
Miluk his kyak, and proceed along the narrow strip of 
water which had opened along the shore. Following 
the south shore of Baker Lake we reached the mouth of 
the Kazan River on July 12, but here a delay of five days 
was necessary, the ice ahead being still compact. Deer, 
although fairly plentiful, were very difficult to get near, 
owing to the plague of mosquitoes, which was now at 
its height, but I managed always to kill enough for our 
immediate use. The flesh of the deer at this time was 
hardly fit to eat, being discoloured all through. The 
marrow, usually a luxury, was now of the consistency of 
blood and water, owing to the "fly-time," the wretched 
beasts being kept on the run day and night. 

On July 19 we reached the head of the lake, which is 
some sixty miles in length, east and west. Here we met 


other Baker Lake Huskies, who had a camp at a place 
called King-ak, a deep bay to the south of the river flow- 
ing into Baker Lake from Schultz Lake. These natives 
were delighted to see " kablunak," or white people again, 
and a present of tobacco completed their happiness. 
They willingly gave us assistance at the portage to the 
river, thus saving us both time and labour. After tracking 
the canoe and kyaks up the river for two days, we reached 
Schultz Lake. On Aberdeen Lake we were delayed several 
days by head winds, and once were beset by ice, though it 
was now July 31. However, by availing ourselves of every 
chance, and travelling by night instead of by day, we made 
good progress. The nights were now almost as clear as 
the days, and frequently I set out to hunt deer at midnight. 

At the head of Aberdeen Lake we found deer in large 
bands on their annual migration to the south. From this 
time it was not necessary to hunt deer ; they could have 
been shot with a pistol from the tent door one could 
almost catch them. Fish large trout, white-fish, a few 
salmon, arctic trout, and one or two other varieties were 
taken with nets in large quantities. In one night a single 
short net took over 100 Ibs. weight. This was indeed a land 
of plenty. 

On August 3 we reached the mouth of the Doobaunt 
River and entered the Ark-i-llnik River (the Thelewdezeth 
of Back), which, flowing from the west, joins the Doobaunt. 
On the banks of the Ark-i-llnik we found large quantities 
of driftwood, for this river is well wooded further west. 
Hitherto we had depended on moss and small heaths to 
provide a fire for cooking purposes. 

We had now entered the unexplored country. How 
far west the Ark-i-linik River would take us, and whether 
it was navigable for canoes, were problems which we had 
come to solve. There was no information to be obtained 
from the Eskimo, for none of them had ever ascended the 
river for any distance. So, without guides and without 
supplies of any kind, we started into this unknown country, 




trusting to our rifles and nets to provide us with a living, 
and to the good fortune which, up till now, had attended 
us. But the journey turned out to be so absurdly easy, 
that I more than once regretted that I was deprived of 
the pleasure of meeting and surmounting difficulties. We 
explored the main Ark-i-llnik for a distance of 182 miles, 
and its western branch for 117 miles. We crossed the 
divide between the waters of the Hudson Bay and Great 
Slave Lake on the one side, and the Mackenzie River on the 
other, at an altitude of 1394 feet, a short distance beyond 
which we reached Clinton-Golden Lake, and our journey 
of exploration was safely accomplished. 

The Ark-i-llnik is a fine large river about 300 yards 
wide, having an even, steady current of from four to five 
miles an hour. For the entire distance over which we 
followed the main river, there is not a sign of any rough 
water which could possibly be called a rapid, and the 
stream is navigable for a steamer of considerable draught 
nearly the whole way. About fifty miles from its mouth 
wood (spruce) of fair-size growth is to be found, and the 
woods then increase in size of timber and in extent until 
the river divides, the larger branch coming in from the 
south, the smaller which we followed up joining from 
the west. The western branch has numerous small and 
some large lakes on its upper waters. Although not free 
from rapids and rough water, it presented no difficulties 
worth mentioning ; a few portages of a mile in length, one 
of two and a half miles, and several smaller ones. At its 
head is the large, peculiarly-shaped lake usually indicated 
on maps by dotted lines. Failing to ascertain the native 
name of this lake, I called it after my friend and old travel- 
ling companion in Central Asia, Dr. W. L. Abbott. 

After ascending the main Ark-i-llnik River for about 
thirty-five miles, musk-ox tracks commenced to get very 
numerous. The muddy shores in places were so ploughed 
up with them as to give the idea that a drove of cattle had 
p- sed along. 


On August 9 our eyes were gladdened by the sight of a 
band of musk-oxen, numbering eighteen. They were lying 
on the low, sloping, grassy bank on the south side of the 
river, and were quite unconscious of danger. I had with 
me two Huskies from Baker Lake, and while laying plans 
for approaching the animals, I made them promise only 
to kill one apiece. When the three of us had managed to 
crawl unobserved to within 200 yards of the herd, the two 
Huskies suddenly and without a word left me. The musk 
oxen very soon appeared uneasy ; they rose, sniffed at the 
air, and seemed ready for a start. Being within range, 
and not knowing the whereabouts or plans of my Huskies, 
I fired and killed the only three large bulls in the band. 
The rest of the herd I allowed to pass me at close range 

The two Huskies now came up with very long faces, 
and said that I had spoilt the whole show. They had laid 
plans to surround and slaughter the whole herd, in spite 
of the agreement that only three one apiece were to 
be killed. 

I give the weights and measurements of the largest 
bull : 

Tip of nose to tip of tail (2-inch tail) . . 92^ inches. 

Girth . 69 

Height from heel to hump (hair pressed down) 52 
Horns right, 25^ inches; left, 26 inches. 

The height of a large bull which I killed in 1896 at a 
spot about fifty miles further north was 55 inches ; horns, 
27 inches. 

As my weighing-machine only weighed up to 300 Ibs., I 
was obliged to weigh the animal piecemeal. 

The following were the weights of the different 
parts : 


i shoulder with fore-leg and hoof ... 45 


i hind leg with shank and hoof ... 43 

j 43 

Entrails 46 

Paunch (full) . . . - .80 
Liver .... ... 7 

Head and neck ...... 75 

Brisket . . . . . . . -13 

Ribs 17 

Ribs and part of back . , . 52 

Rump -35 

Heart and lungs 13 

Hide 38 

Off piece of belly flap 7 

Blood (allowed) 10 

Extras , . <; 


I have seen larger and heavier beasts, but this one was 
a fair average full-grown male. 

On the main Ark-i-llnik River there is a stretch of 
country about eighty miles in length into which no human 
being enters. The Eskimo do not hunt so far west, and 
Yellow Knives and Dog Ribs from Slave Lake do not 
go so far east. To penetrate this country in the dead of 
winter would be simply to court starvation. Then the 
deer have all departed, and to depend on finding musk- 
oxen at the end of the journey would be risky indeed. Thus 
there still remains one spot in this Great Barren North- 
land which is sacred to the musk-ox. Here the animals 
remain in their primeval state, exhibiting no fear, only 
curiosity. I approached several herds within thirty yards, 
photographed them at my leisure, moving them round as I 
wished, and then retired, leaving them still stupidly staring 
at me as if in wonder. When deer were not procurable, 
a musk-ox was killed. Fish were plentiful all along the 
Ark-i-llnik ; in fact, I never saw such a grand river for fish. 


The nets were rarely set, however, when meat was pro- 
curable, as it caused considerable delay in the morning, 
and the nets had to be dried. Moose are to be found on 
the main Ark-i-llnik, also black bears. On the western 
branch the woods decreased in extent and in size of timber 
as we ascended until at the height of land there were none, 
and we had to fall back on moss and heaths for fuel. Deer 
were then very scarce, and the musk-ox we had long since 
left behind ; but something always turned up to keep the 
pot boiling. One day it would be a wolverine or glutton, 
another time a fat wolf. All animals appear to be good 
on the Barren Lands ; or is it that one's appetite is good ? 
An occasional goose was shot, or duck, or ptarmigan, or 
an arctic hare ; we always had enough, being indifferent as 
to the exact kind of animal which satisfied our hunger. 

We had the good luck to meet the Eskimo from the 
Arctic coast, who resort to this river to obtain wood for 
their sleighs. These natives had never set eyes on a white 
man before, and had no articles of civilisation whatever. 
They were all dressed in deerskins, and armed with long 
bows, arrows, and spears, beaten out of native copper. 
The use of tobacco was quite unknown to them, and fire- 
arms they had only heard about. They gave me a good 
deal of information about their country and the copper 
deposits along the Arctic coast, and I obtained from them 
several copper implements, such as dags, spear and arrow 
heads, needles, &c., all beaten out of native copper, giving 
them in exchange knives, files, and needles, which last 
appeared to have by far the most value in their eyes. 
They exhibited no signs of fear at our approach. They 
were a jovial lot, and camped with us that night. In the 
evening they sang together, rather nicely I thought, and 
next morning we separated, with many signs of friendship 
on their part. 

On Clinton-Golden Lake, a very incorrect Dominion 
Government map in my possession was the cause of our 
going nearly a hundred miles out of our way. From 


Clinton-Golden Lake to Fond-du-lac on Great Slave Lake, 
the geography of the country is well known, if not very 
accurately surveyed. On Artillery Lake we struck the green 
spruce again about half-way down, and there we bade fare- 
well to the Barren Northland, over which we had journeyed 
for well-nigh four months, and which had treated us so hos- 
pitably. Lockhart River flowing from the foot of Artillery 
Lake into Great Slave Lake is only navigable for canoes 
the first five miles or so, beyond which distance it flows 
torrent-wise through a deep precipitous chasm. In our 
progress down this troublesome stream we had made 
several portages, and it was getting on for camping time 
when an unlucky accident occurred. When the canoe was 
being letfdown a small side rapid by a bow-and-stern line, 
the stern line parted, and the tail of the canoe was quickly 
swung out into the current. In an instant it was caught 
by the rapids, and the bow-line wrenched from the grasp 
of the man who held it. We ran wildly down the river 
in the hope of the small craft being caught by some side 
eddy, and so brought close enough to the shore to be got 
hold of. It shot the first rapid broadside on and even 
survived through the second without capsizing. A faint 
gleam of hope sprang up in my breast, but only for a 
second. A glance down the river quickly dispelled any 
such hopes. The waters ahead, toward which the small 
canoe was being hurried, were all white, one broad 
expanse of seething foam, from which the tops of black 
rocks protruded in ominous fashion. The next time I 
lifted my eyes to look, the canoe was being tossed about, 
bottom up, amidst a sea of foam, and the stuff, such of it 
as floated, was being scattered and swept away down to 
the rapids. My heart sank, everything we possessed had 
disappeared all gone ! Rifles, guns, nets, axes, instru- 
ments, cameras, collections of geological and botanical 
specimens, note-books, and my precious photos, the result 
of a whole summer's work, irretrievably lost ! Even the 
canoe itself was soon out of sight, and we were left with 


absolutely nothing but the clothes we stood in, staring as if 
spell-bound by the raging river. My first impulse was to 
feel in my pockets for matches, and to my joy I discovered 
nine dry wax lights, each one of which was good for a fire. 
This meant nine nights' fire, anyway. To cut a long story 
short, the canoe was eventually recovered, also a box, in 
which were my note-books and diaries containing the record 
of the journey, and a few other things. The loss of the 
geological and botanical collections, on which I had spent 
much time and trouble, I particularly regret ; the loss of 
an exceptionally interesting collection of photos I deplore. 
By the loss of the rifles, guns, and nets, we were now 
without the means of procuring food, and were in the 
middle of a very rough country. Deer were plentiful, 
and stood stupidly staring at us within easy range, fish 
were leaping in the pools on the river, but the means of 
killing deer or taking fish were gone. Not an enviable 
position in which to find one's self, and a very disastrous 
finish up to an otherwise successful and most enjoyable 
journey. For six days we lived on what cranberries 
and blueberries we could find. We then fell in with the 
Yellow Knives, many of whom I knew. From them I 
obtained some dried meat, sufficient to take us to Fort 
Resolution on Great Slave Lake, where we safely landed on 
September 25. At Resolution we heard all about the Great 
Slave Lake Mining bubble, which had finally burst, leaving 
many richer in experience if not in pocket. There still 
being a chance of reaching Athabasca Landing by open 
water, I availed myself of it, only remaining at Resolution 
a couple of days to get some very necessary clothes and 
footgear. A fresh start for the south was made on 
September 28, but we only reached as far as Red River 
post, thirty-five miles north from Fort McMurray, when the 
ice stopped us on October 17. The rest of the journey 
was accomplished with dogs. 



THE purpose of exploring the barren Northland, which has 
a wonderful fascination for those who have once penetrated 
its solitude, was not interrupted but rather confirmed by 
the vexatious canoe accident. There remained vast tracts 
still unknown, and it was my desire to traverse these as far 
as the Arctic coast, where I would find a welcome among 
the natives, favourable specimens of whom I had met on 
the Ark-i-llnik River. These men, intelligent, able-bodied, 
contented, and friendly, had given me much information 
concerning their country and their mode of life, and they 
had promised to assist and accompany me if I visited their 
coast. Their equipment of implements and arms of native 
copper beaten into shape by their own hands, was of much 
interest, and they had offered to guide me to the localities 
where copper was to be found. Copper deposits on that 
coast would probably be of no commercial value, but I 
might at least see the beginnings of the metal industry 
among a primitive people. Thus the outline of a new 
journey was formed, and I decided to reach Hudson Bay 
near the mouth of Chesterfield Inlet in autumn, spend the 
winter among the Huskies of that region, and set out in 
spring with dogs and sleighs due north for the Arctic coast. 
On reaching the ocean I should turn westwards and make 
my way to the Coppermine River, which I would ascend 
for some distance, and then strike westwards across the 
divide separating the waters of the Coppermine River 
from those of Great Bear Lake, whence I should return to 
civilisation by way of Fort Norman and the Mackenzie 

7 B 


River. On this journey I should make a survey of my 
route, take meteorological observations, collect geological, 
botanical, and entomological specimens, and, of course, take 
photographs of the country and of the Huskies. 

Various matters detained me in England, but, at length, 
in May 1901, I had reached Winnipeg, and was ready to 
set out for the north. Here details as to the precise route 
were arranged, but as these will appear in the course of the 
narrative they need not now be given. My outfit was made 
as light as possible. The scientific equipment was limited 
to a sextant prismatic compass, two aneroids, hypsometer, 
maximum and minimum thermometers, and a patent log for 
measuring distances travelled by canoe. A solar compass 
and a theodolite were purposely left behind as they were 
not likely to stand the long journey on a sleigh, which 
we should have to make, without getting hopelessly out of 
adjustment. For photographic work I took three cameras 
and a large supply of both glass plates and films. Every- 
thing that was likely to be damaged by water or damp I 
packed in two of Silver's watertight tin boxes. The films 
and glass plates were put up in separate tin cases, each 
containing one dozen, and hermetically sealed. I had 
determined, in the event of another canoe accident, to save 
some of my things if possible. My battery, which I con- 
sidered complete, consisted of two Mannlicher carbines 
fitted with sporting sights, and a double-barrel breach- 
loading 28 bore shot-gun. About three thousand rounds 
were taken for the carbines. For catching fish we took six 
nets of different-sized mesh. As the larger part of the 
journey would have to be made through a country where 
we should have to depend absolutely on deer, musk-oxen, 
or fish, fire-arms, ammunition, and nets, formed the most 
important part of our outfit. 

I had ordered two cedar canoes, 19 feet and 19! feet in 
length respectively, to be specially built for the journey by 
the Peterborough Canoe Company of Ontario, and to be 
forwarded to Edmonton. As these canoes would only 


hold a limited amount of stuff, arrangements were made 
with Messrs. Thomas Luce & Co., New Bedford, Mass., 
to ship up the balance l of the outfit by their whaling 
schooner Francis Allyn, which was due to leave New 
Bedford for the Hudson Bay about July i. The outfit 
I sent up, and which amounted to about i| tons, included 
food supplies for the coming winter, trade articles for the 
natives, such as guns, rifles, powder, lead, caps, knives, 
files, awls, beads, needles, thimbles, clothes, &c. A 
reserve of Mannlicher cartridges, photo plates and films, 
a spare set of canoe paddles, a " primus " cooking stove, 
and fifty gallons of kerosene oil, completed the list. Marble 
Island, which lies about 40 miles south from the mouth of 
Chesterfield Inlet, was the place mentioned as the probable 
winter quarters of the Francis Allyn. As the owners were not 
absolutely certain as to the winter quarters of their vessel, 
the captain being absent at the time, I informed them that 
it was a matter of indifference to me where the vessel 
wintered, for I should have no difficulty in finding her, a 
remark which I afterwards had cause to regret. 

As I had frequently travelled between Winnipeg and Fort 
Churchill by Norway House and York Factory, that route 
could now present little in the way of novelty. I had 
discovered a new and easy route by the Ark-i-llnik, with 
which I desired to become familiar, and I had no hesitation 
in deciding to travel by rail to Calgary and Edmonton, 
whence, after a short land journey, I should be able to 
proceed almost the whole way to Hudson Bay in a canoe 
voyage on rivers and lakes. There would be portages, 
but for these provision could easily be made. By leaving 
Edmonton about the middle of June I expected to reach 
the shore of the Bay early in August. 

At Edmonton, which I reached early in June, I found 
the two canoes I had ordered, and, all other arrangements 
having been completed, I turned my attention to the 

1 See Appendix. 


engaging of men for the journey ; and here a few general 
words on this subject may not be out of place. 

I have learned from experience that an expedition to 
the north has the better chance of success the fewer white 
men are connected with it. In travelling over the " Barren 
Ground " one cannot have more suitable companions than 
the natives of the country. A white man there is in a 
strange land, and, however willing and able to stand cold, 
hunger, and fatigue, he is a novice in this experience. The 
conditions and work are unfamiliar to him, and if he were 
to meet with a bad accident, or to fall ill, or to lose himself 
in a fog, his misfortune would probably be the ruin of the 
expedition. Husky servants, on the other hand, are always 
at home, for their wives and children join your company 
along with them, so that they never leave off their cus- 
tomary life. If one of them falls ill and has to be left 
behind, his wife remains with him ; they build their snow- 
dwelling, and their household is at once complete. All the 
work which has to be done, such as hunting, cutting up 
meat, looking after dogs and sleighs in winter and boating 
in summer, is done better and more quickly by Huskies 
than by white men. The wives somewhat retard the 
journey, but they perform services which are indispensable, 
making and mending clothes and foot-gear, which soon get 
worn out. Huskies are hard-working, honest, good-natured, 
and cheerful companions. They are unwearying on behalf 
of one who treats them well, and the traveller, on his side, 
must learn to exercise a little patience with them. 

However, white companions, or else half-breeds, are 
necessary in order to reach Husky-land and to return from 
it. I decided to take only two. One, Sandy Turner by 
name, a half-breed, I engaged at Edmonton, and trusted to 
find another suitable man at Fort Resolution. Not that 
there was any scarcity of applicants, for it seemed as if 
the whole of Edmonton wished to accompany me. The 
fascination of the north had seized even sober business 
men and farmers. A freighter who owned a fine team of 


horses and was earning good money, was eager to join me, 
and when I asked what would become of his team during 

his absence, he replied : " To h with the b- y horses 

if I can only get along with you." Another man, engaged 
to be married shortly, protested his willingness to " chuck 
it " if he could only get to the north. 

Transport of merchandise from Edmonton to Athabasca 
Landing, a distance of about ninety miles, is by wagon. 
The canoes and heavy " stuff " I despatched under the 
charge of Sandy Turner, and, a few days later, I followed 
by the " stage," which covers the distance in two days 
when the road is not unusually bad. There is no made 
road, but only a natural track through the bush, which 
here consists of stunted cotton woods, with an occasional 
bluff of pine or spruce. A few short and indispensable 
bridges have been put up, but otherwise hardly a cent has 
been spent in improving the track, though the whole of the 
traffic for the north has to pass along this route. The road 
winds about through the dreary scrub; one mud-hole 
succeeds another, each apparently deeper than the former, 
and at length the buggy sinks in a creek where the mud is 
bottomless, till nothing is visible but the box, which seems 
to float. In such circumstances the driver is helpless till a 
friendly freighter comes along, and, with his heavy team, 
pulls the vehicle on to terra firma. Road-mending has 
advanced no further than the placing of a few skids on the 
mud to support the waggon wheels at such spots. There are 
stopping-places at intervals of about fifteen miles, but they 
provide neither hay nor oats for horses, nor even a decent 
meal for human beings, and, as they are too filthy to sleep 
in, one wonders what purpose they are intended to serve. 
Mosquitoes, flies, and bull-dogs (large carnivorous flies) 
swarmed thick, and a violent hail-storm stripped the leaves 
from the trees. Notwithstanding the terrible condition of 
the road, the rates for freight from Edmonton to Athabasca 
Landing were not high, varying between a dollar and a 
dollar and a half per 100 Ibs. 


At the Landing I found my men in camp ; everything 
had got through safely, and the canoes were lying in water 
to soak. This post, at the head of the navigation of the 
Athabasca River, serves as the port of shipment for freight 
to the north. It has been in existence for many years, 
and, besides a saw-mill for cutting the timber required for 
building scows to carry supplies for the many trading-posts 
scattered over the country, it possesses three stores, a 
boarding-house, and a church. The maintenance of order 
seems entrusted to a member of the North-West Mounted 
Police, while a bishop upholds the dignity of the Church. 
The place had a busy appearance, for now large cargoes 
were being despatched. 

There is an easy passage down the river for about 
180 miles, but for the next 100 miles there are rapids-. To 
make the passage of the Grand Rapids in safety it is advis- 
able, though not absolutely necessary, to have a steersman, 
who is paid fifty dollars for his services, and has to return 
from Fort McMurray on foot. All the men capable of 
acting as steersmen had already gone down the river 
except one who had been engaged by an American trader. 
I hoped to have my canoes and " stuff " taken on board 
this trader's scows on payment of a reasonable sum, but 
he made such a favour of this service, and, while need- 
lessly delaying to come to terms, seemed so fearful that 
he would not ask enough, that on June 22 I set out in my 
own canoes with only my own men, trusting to find a 
steersman before reaching the rapids. After descending the 
stream for two days, I fortunately met Mr. Spencer of the 
Hudson Bay Company coming up with five large scows 
under full sail, and from him I obtained for steersman a 
Cree Indian, named Philip Powder. That evening we 
reached the Grand Rapid, and Philip surprised me by 
stating that, if we attempted to run it with canoes so deeply 
loaded, we should probably be swamped. 

Considering that each canoe carried 350 Ibs. and two 
men only, and that the capacity of each was about four 

Photo, by Mathers, Edmonton. 


Pho.o. by Itfat/itrs, Edmonton 



times that amount, I began to think that the rapids were 
even more dangerous than I had been told. An accident 
which might possibly result in the total loss of my outfit 
was not to be risked, so we delayed for a day, hoping that 
some scow would come along and take part of the " stuff." 
None appeared, however, so when we had abandoned surplus 
food and tacked waterproof sheets over the canoes, Powder 
intimated that the dreaded rapids might now with great 
care be run in safety, and we ventured out. Dropping the 
canoe down the first rough piece of water by a bow-and- 
stern line, and packing the stuff along the shore on our 
backs, we negotiated the worst rapid in safety. Next day 
we ran most of the rapids, and early the following day, 
June 28, we passed the last and arrived at Fort McMurray, 
an abandoned Hudson Bay post, at the junction of the 
Clearwater River with the Athabasca. 

The ninety miles of dangerous rapids are, for the 
greater part, swift water only. There are some twelve or 
fourteen rapids, none of which presents any very great 
difficulty or danger, nor do they call for any special 
knowledge or experience on the part of the steersman, so 
far as I could judge. At very low water they may be 
dangerous (I do not know), but no one has ever been 
drowned there. From the rocks on either side, the proper 
passage can always be ascertained ; there are no whirl- 
pools, and only one small fall at the Cascade, which is 
spoken of with bated breath. 

Just above the dreaded Cascade Rapid there is a small 
riffle, not worth the name of a rapid. At the time of the 
Klondike rush a number of inexperienced men, in descend- 
ing the stream, mistook this for the place of danger of 
which they had heard. They landed, unloaded the canoe, 
and carried their " stuff " along the shore on their backs, 
letting the canoe drop down by bow-and-stern line till it 
had got below the riffle. Then they re-loaded and re- 
embarked, thankful for escape from danger. To their 


dismay they were soon swept over the real Cascade at its 
worst part, but beyond a wetting, suffered no damage. 

From Fort McMurray we paddled to Fort Mackay, 
35 miles in six hours, assisted by a moderate current. At 
Fort Mackay there was famine, for, through the mistake of 
some official, the usual supplies had not been sent ; sick- 
ness had broken out among the Indians, who were con- 
sequently unable to hunt, and the water in the river was 
too high for successful fishing. Dogs as well as men were 
in a pitiable state. In fact, at most of the Hudson Bay 
Company's posts the dogs, though hard-worked in winter, 
are utterly neglected in summer. From Fort Simpson and 
a few other places they are sent to summer where fish are 
plentiful, but at most posts they are left to pick up a living 
or starve. If a society for the prevention of cruelty to dogs 
existed in Canada, its officers would find plenty of work, 
summer and winter. Leaving Fort Mackay on June 29, we 
reached Fort Chipevvyan, at the north-west end of Lake 
Athabasca, on July i. The distance was 150 miles, but for 
the greater part of the last day we had to lay by, as the 
lake was very rough. The wind on these great lakes 
generally rises and falls with the sun, so that, in travelling 
over them, it is necessary often to turn night into day. 
Fort Chipewyan is celebrated throughout the north as 
affording the best goose and duck shooting in these 

From Lake Athabasca we descended the Slave River 
90 miles to Smith Landing, where, to avoid the rapids, we 
followed the waggon-road of 16 miles which has been cut 
through the bush by the Hudson Bay Company, and on 
reaching Fort Smith we again found smooth water on 
which to proceed. Travelling 180 miles further down the 
river we arrived at Fort Resolution on July 7. 

There we found a large encampment of Indians Dog 
Ribs, Yellow Knives, and Slave Indians. They assemble 
here annually at this season to await the arrival of the 
Indian Commissioner and receive their treaty money and 


allowances. The Yellow Knives and Dog Ribs have only 
recently " accepted treaty," i.e. have renounced all claim to 
exclusive ownership of the district, and placed themselves 
on the same footing as white men with respect to land and 
game, receiving in return five dollars per head and allow- 
ances of flour, bacon, tea, tobacco, and ammunition. What 
advantage the Government expects from this convention is 
not clear, for it is unlikely that white men will ever settle 
in this region. 

I had to spend several days here to select and engage 
suitable men to go with me. I required one companion 
for the whole journey, and four Indians to help me towards 
the borders of the land of the Huskies. For the former 
purpose I engaged Hubert Darrell, a young Englishman 
of good family, and the owner of a ranch in Manitoba. 
Tiring of the monotony of life on a farm, this young man 
had turned his steps northwards at the time of the rush 
to Klondike, and like many others over whom the far 
north had thrown its spell, he had remained in the north. 
He had accompanied the Yellow Knives to the " Barren 
Ground " on their annual winter hunt after musk-oxen, and 
was thus well acquainted with the cold and hunger incident 
to the journey which he now undertook. 

An Englishman generally knows his own mind, and 
does not waste time coming to an arrangement. It is 
otherwise, however, with the "poor Indian" who, when 
any sort of negotiation is in progress, has to keep his 
friends fully informed, and deliberate with them at great 
length. Consultations are held with brothers, uncles, 
aunts, and cousins, and, after much tea-drinking and 
tobacco-smoking, a promise or bargain of some sort is 
made. But a bargain does not bind an Indian, if, next 
morning, he thinks he has not asked enough. He then 
comes to announce that his wife is ill and he must there- 
fore remain at home, but he hints that, if he were to receive 
a few dollars more, he might contrive to leave her. When 
this difficulty is apparently disposed of, he solicits money 


to pay for some one to look after his wife in his absence, 
and for some one else to look after his dogs. He wants 
more money to provide moccasins, pipe and tobacco, and 
a blanket. In fact, his demands extend to the provision 
of a complete outfit, and if this were granted he would still 
be dissatisfied. With the assistance kindly bestowed by 
Mr. Gaudette, the Hudson Bay Company's officer at Foci 
Resolution, and by his interpreter, Michel Mandeville, I 
was able to arrange for the services of three Indians and 
one half-breed, on the understanding that they were not 
to be taken near the region frequented by the dreaded 
Eskimo. We were to set out on July 13, and on the i2th 
I gave orders for the start at four o'clock next morning. 
The three Indians, however, came with long faces and told 
me that they wished to attend the sacrament next day. 
I gave them permission to attend the early celebratiodt, 
which was to take place at six o'clock in the morning, antf 
ordered them to start with me at seven o'clock. 

I had thus three hours in the morning to muse on; 
the ways of the Indians. They may be good Christians^ 
I do not know ; but notwithstanding the labours of mis- 
sionaries, they are Indians still, and the return for the time, 
trouble, and money expended on them seemed to me very 

At this season there were, I was told, about eight hun- 
dred Indians encamped at Fort Resolution, many of them 
having brought " furs " (chiefly musk-ox robes, and musk- 
rat skins, though I saw also two silver-fox and a few good 
marten skins) to trade with the Hudson Bay agent and 
others. A trader dealing with them has need of a good 
temper. Prices for "fur" have been pushed higher and 
higher in recent years, owing to competition between the 
Company and the free-traders, but still the Indians are nofi 
satisfied. They require a whole day to settle one bargaijjjl 
and then think they should receive more, even demandinai 
a gratuity, which is given more and more freely with tltfc 
arrival of each new trader. The Indians (those who comT 


Photo bv Mathers, l-amontan 



to Fort Resolution, at least) are now masters of the situation, 
and can afford to be lazy and extravagant. Among the 
" furs " I noticed a number of skins of unborn musk-ox- 
calves. I understand that there was and is a legal close- 
time for the protection of the musk-ox, but it is disregarded, 
as it would be almost impossible to enforce it among the 
Indians, few of whom are aware of its existence. The sale 
of these unborn calf-skins might, however, be stopped. 
The demand for them is increasing, but, if the possessor 
or the purchaser of every such skin were laid under a 
heavy penalty, the trade in them would soon cease, and 
there would be no temptation to the Indians to provide 

Big game requires protection from other than human 
enemies. The wood buffalo which roams over the country 
north of the Peace River has been protected against the 
hunter for several years, and the protection has been ex- 
tended to the year 1907. The Indians respect this law, 
for they know that in this case protection can be enforced, 
and they have a wholesome dread of the consequences of 
violating it. But the buffaloes are in danger of extinction 
from the ravages of wolves which have rapidly increased in 
numbers within the last few years. If the Government 
were to give help in the war against wolves ; if they would 
grant a bounty of at least twenty dollars per head, so that 
it might be worth while for a white man or an Indian to 
prosecute the war, and if they would grant permits for the 
careful use of poison, the threatened extinction of this 
race of buffaloes might still be averted. 



ON the morning of July 13 we bade farewell to Fort 
Resolution, and started on the canoe voyage up to the 
east end of Great Slave Lake, or Fond-du-lac, as it is 

The party consisted of Darrell, Sandy Turner, and 
myself, with the three Indians and half-breed interpreter. 
In addition to the two Peterborough canoes, we had a 
birch bark canoe for the Indians to return in. For the 
first fifteen miles we followed narrow channels, or "snyes," 
as they are called, to the mouth of Slave River. We thus 
had a shorter route than if we had followed the shore, and 
we could proceed along the " snyes " though the weather 
might be stormy on the lake. We reached the big lake 
the same evening, and camped on Stony Island, where 
we were wind-bound till after eight o'clock next evening. 
Then we proceeded, and, paddling steadily, we made the 
traverse of about twenty miles to a long, continuous group 
of small islands. 

This distance can be shortened by about eight miles by 
continuing to follow the south shore of the lake some dis- 
tance eastwards before striking across. 

Our route wound in and out among the small islands, 
which are chiefly of red granite, sparsely timbered with a 
stunted and scattered growth of spruce and white birch, 
presenting a very pretty view, especially in the fall of the 
year. Round them the water is icy cold and beautifully 



clear, so that on looking down we could see large trout 
lazily swimming or playing about in the depths. 

The land on the south of the lake is flat and low-lying, 
productive only of beds of red willow and alder growing 
along the muddy shores. The shore on the north side is 
rocky, the land high, and spruce, of somewhat reduced 
size, is abundant. 

I know of no accurate map or chart of Great Slave 
Lake. Dr. Bell, of the Canadian Geological Survey, was 
on the lake in the summer of 1900. I hope that, besides 
geological work, something was done towards the fixing 
of a number of prominent points by accurate astronomical 

Three years ago Great Slave Lake attracted much atten- 
tion owing to the reported discovery of gold there in large 
quantities. Several companies were formed, and miners 
and prospectors flocked in ; but the boom lasted only a 
short time, for iron pyrites had been taken for the precious 
metal. The bubble burst, and many were left richer in 
experience but poorer in pocket. In passing along the 
north shore we saw evidences of the boom in many places ; 
old claims staked out with posts and piles of stones, and a 
broken skiff here and there. Close to the shore we saw in 
the shoal water the veins of quartz in which are embedded 
small and large chunks of glistening metal, very pretty, but 

The weather was oppressively hot on the lake, and 
paddling for long hours proved tiring and monotonous 
work. Every evening at camp time the nets were set, 
and seldom failed to furnish a supply of trout and white- 
fish. Trout are very plentiful at the head of the lake, some 
of them very large, 25 or 30 Ibs. being not uncommon. 
They take a spoon readily, but in canoeing the pace is 
usually too fast for successful trolling. As far as I can 
make out there are two distinct species of trout in the 
lake. Those caught near Fort Resolution are very large, 
generally white in flesh, with a huge, ugly head ; whereas 


most of those we caught towards Fond-du-lac were of a 
smaller size, had a small head and flesh nearly always 
pink, and proved excellent eating. 

There was no game of any kind, either on shore or on 
the lake. 

We reached Fond-du-lac on July 2oth, after paddling 
for a long day on perfectly calm water. Three tall lopped 
trees mark the first portage between Fond-du-lac and the 
foot of Artillery Lake. On landing we at once observed 
the trail which has been used by generations of Indians. 

Here we left the birch bark canoe and a cache of food 
for the Indians on their return, and after making the nine 
portages, which are required between the small lakes which 
extend from Great Slave Lake to Artillery Lake, we reached 
the latter on July 23. The first portage, which is about two 
and a half miles in length, is the only long one. On one of 
them fresh caribou tracks were observed, which indicated 
that the annual migration from the north had already 

Artillery Lake looked very picturesque in the bright 
sunlight ; the water, which was of a beautiful blue, was 
fanned into ripples by the gentle summer breeze. The 
" Barren Ground " lay on either side beautifully green, and 
decked gay with a variety of wild flowers. Its charm, 
and the sense of freedom which it gives, are very im- 
pressive, but cannot be described. 

There were no human beings within 200 miles of us, 
and, in fishing and shooting over the lakes and the sur- 
rounding country, there was no fear of intrusion on the 
part of outsiders. 

I have always maintained that " Barren Ground " is a 
misnomer for the Northland of Canada. No land can be 
called " barren " which bears wild flowers in profusion, 
numerous heaths, luxuriant grass in places up to the knee, 
and a variety of moss and lichens. It is barren only in 
the sense that it is destitute of trees; hence the name 
" De-chin-u-le " (no trees), which is the Indian name for it. 

Photo byj. jy Tyrtfll. 




On Artillery Lake we expected to meet caribou, or deer, 
as I shall now call them, and we kept a keen lookout over 
the hilly ground on either side as we paddled along, for we 
were getting hungry for fresh meat. 

On July 25, while ascending the river flowing into the 
head of Artillery Lake, we shot our first deer, which 
occasioned great excitement among the Indians. After 
examining the hoofs and inside, they were positive that the 
animal had just come from the main bands, which they 
asserted we were sure to meet the following day. In this 
opinion, however, they were completely wrong. This 
small bull was one of many which had separated from the 
main bands on their migration northwards, and had then 
remained in the south by themselves during the summer. 

Next day a bull musk-ox was spied and shot. Not very 
many years ago musk-oxen were plentiful round and to the 
north of Artillery Lake, but they were killed off by the 
Indians and are now extinct in these parts. Where this old 
bull had wandered from it would be hard to say, but he 
must have come a long way. The Indians are now obliged 
to travel a long distance to the musk-ox ground. When I 
accompanied them in 1896, we travelled for twelve nights 
out from the edge of the wood before we fell in with them. 
Every year they have to travel further, and so it will be till 
the game is not worth the candle. The Indians will find 
that it pays better to remain at home and trap " fur " than 
to make their annual musk-ox hunts, which entail much 
discomfort, hunger, and thirst, and are not altogether with- 
out risk to their dogs, if not to themselves. Distance will 
ensure effectual protection for the musk-oxen. 

On July 26 we camped on the waters of the Mackenzie 
River basin, and on July 27 on Campbell Lake on the head- 
waters of the Ark-i-llnik River, and our journey would be 
then down stream all the way to Hudson Bay. The divide 
is only a low moss swale, about 300 yards across. It is just 
possible to observe the water trinkling here to the west, 
there to the east. Next day we reached Abbott Lake. 


The last woods had been behind on Artillery Lake. 
The spruce got more stunted and scattered as we proceeded 
north to the lake-head, until they finally disappeared, and 
tall willows took their place. These also disappeared be- 
fore we reached the divide, where we had to fall back on 
heaths and moss for fuel to " boil our kettle." It is always 
possible to make a fire on the ''Barren Ground " except after 
a very heavy rain. In winter the moss from underneath 
the snow, having been perfectly dried by the frost, provides 
a better fire than in summer, a fact of which the Indian is 

On Abbott Lake we saw a good many bull caribou. 
They could be seen in every direction racing at full gallop 
over the moss, driven half crazy by the warble or bot-fly, 
which in appearance resembles a yellow-striped humble- 
bee. This fly has a sting about i inch in length, which 
penetrates the hide of the deer, in depositing the eggs. 
These develop into large maggots, which form a bed or 
layer underneath the hide, more especially over the loins, 
and eating through the hide renders it worthless. The 
flesh of the animal is not affected by them. In the fall 
when the deer get into condition the maggots disappear 
and the holes in the hide close up. Though flies and 
mosquitoes annoy the deer during the summer, it is the 
warble fly which drives them into a frenzy, and in their 
endeavours to get clear of this tormentor they keep on 
the dead run day and night, or plunge into lakes and 
rivers ; in fact, they do not appear to know what they are 
doing. One swam right up to our canoe and never saw us 
until within a few feet. 

For some days the three Indians had been dilatory and 
dawdling, and they had put forward excuses with respect 
to working on the Sabbath. Now, July 28, they intimated 
through the interpreter that they were about to return 
home, having accompanied me as far as they had agreed to 
come. This I knew was only a threat in order to extort 
more pay and presents, but their help was not indispens- 


able. They had acted as guides at the portages to the foot 
of Artillery Lake, but now, on Abbott Lake, they were in a 
strange country and I was the sole guide of the party. A few 
portages remained, but my " stuff " was not very heavy, and 
Darrell, Sandy, and I were well able to handle it and the 
canoes. I never yet was accompanied by an Indian who did 
not threaten to leave me. Any excuse is good enough for 
him, anxiety about his wife and children, ignorance of the 
country, the danger of being lost, the dilapidation of his foot- 
gear, or, finally, the state of his health. Only the threat to 
withhold his pay will induce him to complete his contract, 
and, if he has been paid in advance, he is master of the 
situation. The representatives of the Hudson Bay Company 
have introduced the system of making advances to Indians. 
This system may suit them, but its general effect is bad, 
and every Indian now expects to be paid beforehand for his 
services. It is usually necessary to make some advance 
where a wife and children are to be left behind, but to pay 
a man for a journey of 500 miles before he has travelled a 
yard is demoralising. A few years ago, when descending 
the Liard River in British Columbia, I paid an Indian $100 
to accompany me as guide, and see me over the long and 
steep portage called the Devil's Portage. I was new to the 
country ; the Indian had received his $100 in advance, and 
he took wing the night before we commenced the portage. 
On the present occasion I had only made small advances, 
and the Indians were by no means masters of the situation. 
I told them that I was tired of their laziness and of their 
attempts to delay me, and I bade them go right away. I 
added that ammunition and tobacco would be given out in 
the morning, but that I would certainly not give them a 
letter to Mr. Gaudette asking him to pay them. Next morn- 
ing, July 29, they were in a repentant mood and professed 
there had only been a misunderstanding as to the distance 
they were to come. But such a misunderstanding was 
impossible, for, in anticipation of such troubles, I had 
engaged them by time as well as by distance, two moons 


being the period agreed on. However, no evil came of the 
incident, and, as we proceeded on our journey down the 
western branch of our Ark : i-llnik River, it was amusing 
to see with what eagerness they did their portaging, rust- 
ling to push forward and evidently accepting the altered 
condition of affairs. 

The western branch of the Ark-i-llnik River flows 
through many small and large lakes in its course. These 
lakes are most irregular in shape, bays and inlets running 
from them in every direction. 

In 1899, when exploring this river, I had the greatest 
difficulty in finding my way out of some of the larger lakes, 
and owing to the thick, misty weather which at that time 
prevailed, I was unable to fix the positions of the inlets and 
outlets with any accuracy. On that occasion I found the 
gulls of some assistance, for their presence generally indi- 
cated the outlet. It was here, a short distance east of 
Abbott Lake, that, on my former trip, I discovered that my 
compasses refused to work. On the present occasion I 
found them equally unreliable. However, the weather 
was clear now, and after a little exploring and making 
some bad shots up blind inlets, we managed to make fair 

We met large bands of deer on their migration to the 
south. Some of these bands were composed of bulls only, 
others of cows and calves by themselves, others again were 

The deer when gathered together in these huge bands 
paid little or no attention to our presence. We passed 
through them freely without occasioning alarm. A bull 
was shot whenever we required meat for the pot, but they 
were all in wretched condition, owing to the incessant, 
attacks of winged pests, notably the warble fly. 

The first spruce, very stunted, were seen on July 29. 

On August 2 we reached the only lengthy portage on . 
the western branch. The river cuts its way through the 
rock, forming a deepish gorge. The rock is of felspathic 


granite, and is massive, the beds dipping south at an angle 
of 60 degrees. It varies in character, quartz being very 
much in the ascendant in some places, biotite in others. 
The portage is about i\ miles in length, but the going is 
excellent, hard and dry. At the end of the portage a 
change in the formation is at once apparent. The older 
plutonic rock is replaced by white sandstone, which latter 
formation is then continuous, with occasional breaks, to 
the mouth of the main river. 

At this time of the year the shores of the river are 
thickly covered with the hair of the deer, which they shed 
as they swim across. 

A little above the junction with the main river there is 
a fine fall about thirty feet in height. 

The general character of the western branch of the 
Ark-i-llnik is very similar to that of many rivers in Scot- 
land. The water is swift and heavy in some places ; in 
others swift and shoal, with a few stretches of quiet water. 
The lakes very much resemble Scotch lochs. The water 
looks black, the bottom rocky or sandy, and the shores 
boulder-strewn. The surrounding land, near the height 
of land especially, is very flat or gently undulating, and 
mostly rocky. 

At the junction the main river widens considerably. In 
some places the banks are precipitous, the river having cut 
its way through thick horizontal beds of red and white 
sandstone ; but for the most part the banks are low and 
sloping, with gravel and sandy shores. 

August 5 being Sunday, we made it a day of rest. We 
had now passed all the portages, and were but a short 
distance from the junction with the main river. Beyond 
flowed the main Ark-i-llnik, wide and deep, with a steady 
current, and with no rough water which could possibly be 
described as a rapid. A smooth waterway would now take 
us right to the Hudson Bay, with the exception of one 
portage at the foot of Schultz Lake. 

The Indians were now allowed to return, armed with 


my letter to Mr. Gaudette, which would ensure the promised 
payment. They had behaved very well in the latter part of 
the journey. I heard afterwards that they reached Fond- 
du-lac in seven days. 

A few words concerning the name of the fine river we 
were about to descend may not be out of place. As I was 
the first white man to explore this river, I considered that, 
in virtue of this priority, I had some right to name it. On 
old maps it is called the Thelewdezzeth, but this Indian 
name seems dropping out of use, and the Indians now call 
it the Thelon. The main part of the river is not visited by 
Indians, and only Yellow Knives from Great Slave Lake 
occasionally visit the upper waters of its western branch. 
The Eskimo, on the other hand, frequent and always have 
frequented the lower waters of the main river, and among 
them it is known as the Ark-i-llnik, which in their language 
means the Wooded River. Considering the great advantage 
of using local names which are not merely known to the 
natives but are descriptive of natural features of the country, 
I have no hesitation in adhering to the existing name of 
Ark-i-llnik. The Canadian Geographical Board, however, 
have thought fit to take exception to the Eskimo name, and 
I do not know at present what name they have decided to 
adopt. Mr. Tyrrell, who visited the river in the summer 
of 1900, informs me that he has named its western branch 
after me an honour for which I thank him, but for which 
I was not at all anxious. Wherever I have been in unex- 
plored regions I have invariably made it a strict rule to 
ascertain and adhere to local and native names, whether 
of lakes, mountains, rivers, or other physical features of 
the country, and I wish to lay particular stress upon the 
importance of following this plan, for it is of the greatest 
service to the traveller who finds himself in the country for 
the first time. If he has a map in his possession, and on 
this map finds the native name for every place, he will have 
no difficulty in making the natives understand the route he 
wishes to follow. 



THE summer was now nearly over. Already there was a 
suspicion of frost at night, and there was a feeling of 
autumn weather in the air. Mosquitoes had almost dis- 
appeared, but black flies were still very troublesome, more 
especially in the early mornings and evenings. 

On August 6 we commenced the descent of the Ark-i- 
Imik proper. The southern and main branch of the river 
rises, as I am informed by the Indians, not far from the 
north-east end of Lake Athabasca, and it would be in- 
teresting to start from the Athabasca Fond-du-lac and 
follow the river from its source. 

Mr. J. M. Tyrrell, of the Canadian Survey Department, 
and his party descended the main river in the summer 
of 1900, the purpose in view being, as I was told, the con- 
struction of a railway through this region to the Hudson 
Bay. This is the pet scheme of a gentleman whom I happen 
to know in Ottawa. In fact, the railway company has 
already been incorporated, and at this stage I fancy the 
concern will remain. 

Talking on this subject my Ottawa friend said : " You 
have no idea of the vast resources of the north, or of the 
importance of this railway, by which in summer wealthy 
Americans will flock to the Hudson Bay to reach the sum- 
mer residences, which will quickly spring into existence 
on the shores of the Bay." But talk of this sort only 
amuses those who are familiar with the Hudson Bay coast 
and its climate, though it would be foolish to deny the vast 
resources of the north, not yet discovered. 



It is surprising that, in the early days, the Hudson Bay 
Company never explored this route to the Mackenzie River, 
the only route then available being by York Factory, Lake 
Winnipeg, and up the Saskatchewan to Edmonton. The 
head of the Chesterfield Inlet is as quickly and safely 
reached by vessel as York Factory. From the head of 
Chesterfield Inlet to Great Slave Lake the distance is not 
greater than from Edmonton to Great Slave Lake. The 
long journey from York Factory to Edmonton would thus 
be saved. Railways have now altered conditions, and the 
Ark-i-llnik River route to the Mackenzie River basin is, of 
course, out of the question, except to the traveller, who 
will find the country interesting and easy to traverse. 

The peculiarity of the Ark-i-llnik is that, though so 
far north, it is wooded on either bank, and in places one 
might even say heavily timbered, spruce trees, with butts 
measuring i| to 2 feet across, being by no means un- 
common. It is a long way north of the limit of trees 
marked on the maps, and there is a large extent of country 
to the south of it, destitute of trees. I can find no ex- 
planation of this peculiarity from the geological formation, 
for the same red and white sandstone which prevails nearly 
the whole length of the river also occurs at places which 
are without trees. 

The heavy growth is confined to occasional bluffs, the 
largest and heaviest of which occur, not along the main 
river itself, but a short distance back. Mr. Tyrrell, I find, 
on his way out, gave his interviewers an exaggerated 
estimate of the timber of the river. His description was, 
however, probably amplified by the over-fertile imagina- 
tions of those who questioned him, and I am sure that he will 
not mind these remarks. The woods as a whole amount 
only to a rather deep fringe, the trees for the most part 
being scattered and not continuous. Here and there along 
the banks are spots and short stretches quite bare of timber. 
After a short walk away from the river on either side one 
reaches the outer edge of the woodland fringe beyond 


which the land is typical prairie. Along the creeks 
and affluents, however, the growth extends to a con- 
siderable distance, in places as far as the eye can reach, 
the trees diminishing in size until the spruce is mere 

Should gold or other precious metal ever be discovered 
in these regions and who can tell ? this timber would be 
of economic value. 

Paddling down the river, we came on signs of musk- 
oxen, and shortly afterwards saw an old bull lazily wan- 
dering through the thick willows on the bank. As we 
were getting tired of living on deer's flesh, which was 
wretchedly poor, I landed with a carbine. There was no 
necessity for caution, as the musk-oxen are absurdly tame 
here. I soon rolled him over, and he proved to be in 
excellent condition. The flesh of the musk-ox, in spite of 
the strong smell of musk, which at this time of the year 
is particularly noticeable, is excellent eating, but it is 
generally pretty hard and requires much cooking. When 
the animal is in prime condition and rolling in fat, the 
meat is as tender as English beef. But he is not often 
found in this condition. 

The skinning and cutting up of the animal occupied 
some little time, black flies swarming about us in clouds. 
We took enough meat to last us several days and pro- 
ceeded down the river, meeting the same day several more 
musk-oxen. One remained close to us while we were pitching 
the tent in the evening. As he did not appear disposed 
to move off, I took my camera and approached within 
about thirty yards, when I snapshotted him. He remained 
feeding on the willows, so I went still nearer. He showed 
no sign of fear, but I did, for I carried no arms. I as- 
cended a small knoll below which he was feeding, and 
thus got within a few yards of him and snapshotted him 
again. I then wished for another shot in a different 
position, so I threw a piece of rock at him, which only 
produced an angry shake of the head. I threw several 

4 o 


other missiles, but he only stood, angrily shaking his head, 
pawing the ground, and making a low, guttural grunt. I 
took one more photo and then retreated, leaving him to 
finish his evening meal in peace. He remained near our 
camp all night. 

I was surprised to notice how little difference there 
was between the summer and winter coats of the musk-ox. 
At this date, August 12, one would naturally expect the 
robes to be worthless, but they were quite handsome. 
The fact is that the long black hair, which often reaches 
nearly to the ground, is never shed. Once the undercoat 
of wool has been rubbed and scraped off, the robes are good 
and certainly worth preserving. The trees and bushes along 
the river were loaded with this wool, which is very fine in 
texture, much resembling the pashmina of Kashmir. Bags 
of this wool could be collected from the bushes. It would 
be a novelty to have a shawl made of it. 

Of other game found on the Ark-i-llnik River I may 
mention moose. I have not come across the animals 
themselves, but I have seen numerous fresh tracks, and 
the places where they have browsed on the willows. On 
my last trip I picked up the jawbone of a moose. Black 
bears are also found, their tracks and other signs being 
fairly plentiful. Geese (Canada) nest along the main river 
and on the " Barren Ground " along its western branch. 
Ptarmigan are very numerous in the willow beds all along 
the river. Excellent sport might be had by any one with 
time and ammunition to spare. On a journey small game 
is not interfered with unless other meat and fish give out. 
The ptarmigan were very handsome at this time of year. 
But for a few white feathers in the wings, they might 
easily have been mistaken for grouse, the colour, flight, 
and call (both in the early morning and when flushed) 
exactly resembling that of the red grouse. The young 
birds were strong on the wing, fully as forward as grouse 
in the north of Scotland about the middle of August. 

Trout, white-fish, and toolabies (very similar to white- 


fish) abound, and large numbers can be taken with nets 
of from 3 to 4! inch mesh. There are few rivers equal 
to the Ark-i-llnik for food fishes. Salmon do not run 
so far west. Pike and suckers do not exist here, I be- 
lieve, for I have never succeeded in taking any on the 
main river, though setting nets regularly. The only 
suckers I caught were found nearly at the head of the 
western branch. 

The spruce, which had been diminishing as we pro- 
ceeded down the river, now (August 13) appeared in the 
form of scrub only. About twenty miles west from the 
point where the Ark-i-llnik discharges into Ti-bi-elik Lake 
the woods ceased, and we were on the " Barren Ground " 
once more. 

On August 15, near Ti-bi-elik Lake, we met a small 
party of Huskies from the Doobaunt River country. They 
were passing the summer on the river fishing, and waiting 
for the arrival of the bands of migrating deer from the 
north. Their camp was at a spot where the deer in cross- 
ing are easily speared by men in kyaks. 

I was delighted to be once more among the Huskies, 
whose disposition presented a striking contrast to that of 
the "poor Indians" we had recently left The Indian is 
morose, even sullen, rarely smiles, and of late years has 
acquired a slovenly, swaggering way of going about. When 
one arrives at his camp and proceeds to pitch his tent, 
the Indian never offers a helping hand. Pipe in mouth, 
he stands sullenly looking on, his hands thrust deep in 
his trousers' pockets. The contempt which he nourishes 
in his heart for the white man is expressed on his 

The Huskies, on the other hand, when the strangers' 
canoe is sighted in the distance, put out at once in their 
kyaks to meet them and conduct them to the camp. They 
appear delighted, overwhelmed with joy, to see and wel- 
come " kablunak," or white people. Women and children 
rush down to the canoes, seize hold of the "stuff" and 


carry it up to the camping ground, never stopping to 
ask whether one is to camp or to go further on. They 
bring large stones, which in these parts serve for tent- 
pegs, and all lend a hand to pitch the tent. Amid much 
laughter, screams, and yells of joy, the tent is erected, and 
then they rush off to their own tents to bring what they 
have in the way of food. It is often not much ; the meat 
and fish may be, and very often are, stinking and putrid, 
but it is the best they have. 

The Huskies are like happy and contented children, 
always laughing and merry, good-natured and hospitable. 
Everything that they possess, food, clothes, footgear, and 
services are at the disposal of the white strangers. Their 
wives even they freely offer, shocking as this may sound to 
respectable people at home. This subject need not be dis- 
cussed here, but I must add that to accuse the Huskies 
of immorality on the ground of such practices would be 
grossly unjust. 

Ti-bi-elik Lake, which lies about north-east and south- 
west, is thirteen miles in length, has a breadth of five or 
six miles at the widest part, and is the only lake on the 
main river. Its name implies the existence of driftwood, 
"ti-bi-iik" being the Husky name for driftwood. 

A short distance east from the foot of Ti-bi-elik Lake 
the Ark-i-llnik joins the Doobaunt, and the united river 
discharges into the head of Aberdeen Lake. At the junc- 
tion the Ark-i-llnik appears to be the larger of the two 

When the Indians left us there were only the three of 
us to manage two canoes, and we had therefore taken one 
of them in tow. However, when we reached the Husky 
camp I got two men to accompany us as far as Udi-ek- 
tellig, another Husky camp at the head of Schultz Lake, 
where I expected to meet Amer-or-yuak, an old Husky 
friend, whom I intended to engage for the whole journey. 
Husky camps inland, and there are many, are usually 
at places where the deer cross on their migration south. 



"he natives were now laying in their supply of meat for 

fall and winter, and most of the camps were occupied. 

On Aberdeen Lake we met with some bad weather, 
/hich obliged us to lay by, and we did not reach Udi- 
ek-tellig till August 20. Here I found my old Husky 
friend and four tents. He appeared delighted to see me, 
and had much to say. I found that I had almost com- 
pletely forgotten what Husky language I had picked up 
on my former trip, but it soon came back to me, and I 
was able to make myself understood. 

These Huskies, like the others we had met, were look- 
ing for the arrival of the deer from the north, but as yet 
only a few had come. The deer arrive in bands of from 
about a dozen to as many as two hundred. Trotting 
quickly down to the edge of the river they take the water 
without a moment's hesitation. They swim with mar- 
vellous speed, almost appear to be trotting, and they keep 
up a peculiar grunting noise while in the water. The 
Huskies wait till they are fairly in midstream, then shoot 
out in their kyaks and surround the band. The spearing 
then commences. The deer are rounded up first in one 
way and then in another until each has received its death- 
thrust, when after a short spasmodic struggle, it floats down 
with the current, now red with blood. 

These deer are mostly cows returning from near the 
Arctic coast with their young. On their way to the south 
they have many rivers to cross, and they naturally choose the 
narrowest parts. A place such as Odi-ek-tellig, with large 
lakes to the east and west, and a river connecting them, 
constitutes an ideal crossing-place. The slaughter is some- 
times great, and, if deer are very plentiful, unnecessary 
spearing may take place; but this is exceptional. A Husky 
cannot be expected to be imbued with the same notions of 
game preservation as sportsmen. Their fathers and fore- 
fathers always slaughtered deer in this fashion, so they 
think it all right. The deer show no signs of diminution 
at present, nor will they so long as the population of the 


north remains as it is. They exist in hundreds of thousands ; 
it is safe to say millions ; and the few hundreds, perhaps 
thousands, killed by the Huskies are insignificant. 

The meat is stored, the carcases being piled in a heap 
and stones placed over them. The horns of a bull are left 
sticking up to indicate the spot after the snow has fallen. 
The weather is often warm at this season, but the blue-bottle 
flies are dead, and though the meat turns rather putrid, it 
does not get fly-blown and walk off. The hides are wanted 
to make clothes for the approaching winter, and the tongues 
are generally taken to trade on board the whalers wintering 
in the Hudson Bay. 

The Husky is not wasteful by nature, but the reverse. 
The Indian, on the other hand, will waste meat or ammuni- 
tion in the most reckless fashion. Those who have read 
Warburton Pike's book, " The Barren Ground of Northern 
Canada," will call to mind some of the episodes of his trip, 
three hundred carcases of deer having been counted at one 
place, where they had been ruthlessly slaughtered and left 
to rot in the water. I am told that this recklessness is now 
restrained, and that the chiefs of the Yellow Knives and 
Dog Rib Indians limit the number of deer to be killed, 
allowing each man only what he requires. I have never 
witnessed the spearing of deer in the vicinity of Great Slave 

The Huskies at Udi-ek-tellig were poorly off, and had 
run out of both ammunition and tobacco. Few of them 
had ever been to Fort Churchill. What little "fur" they 
had caught had been traded to the whalers many months 
before. The arrival of white people was very welcome to 
them, and I was glad to be able to provide them with a 
few of the necessaries of life, such as ammunition, tobacco, 
knives, files, needles, matches, &c. They made no com- 
plaint of their hard life, for they are happy and content in 
the struggle for existence. It is a pleasure to give to them, 
for they never beg, and are grateful for so little. 

When trading with them, it is customary to take what 


you require, and in return to give them just what you like. 
They trust you, and are always satisfied. There is no word 
for " Thank you " in their language, but they express their 
gratitude with their eyes. 

To be generous towards them it is not necessary to give 
much. They might easily be spoilt and led to expect too 
much for the services they can render, or the supplies of 
meat and clothes they may be able to furnish, if overloaded 
with presents which appear to be of trifling value to white men. 
This would be unfair to the natives themselves, as well as 
to other travellers who might happen to be less abundantly 
provided with articles of trade. But, to my knowledge, 
Huskies are sometimes unfairly dealt with. It raises one's 
indignation to find that a white man has given nothing 
more than a single needle for a good pair of long seal- 
skin boots, or than a thimbleful of beads for a suit of 
deerskin clothes ; for sealskin boots and deerskin clothes 
are of value to the Huskies, and represent much time and 
labour. That white men can make such bargains and 
afterwards boast of them passes comprehension. 

The nets we set at Udi-ek-tellig took many white-fish, 
toolabies, trout, and one salmon. Salmon do not run much 
further west. The one caught showed signs of having 
been some time in the fresh water. I shall have some- 
thing to say about these salmon later. I am not sure if 
they are true salmon. They average in weight from 3 
to 10 pounds. In colour they are greenish along the 
back, with silver bellies ; the sides are speckled with 
small, circular, pink spots. All the rivers flowing into 
the north part of Hudson Bay, as well as all the rivers 
flowing into the Arctic Sea, abound with these salmon or 
salmon trout. 

I was on the lookout to purchase dogs and sleighs for 
the projected journey to the Arctic coast, but dogs were 
scarce, and of sleighs there were none. Amer-or-yuak, 
however, informed me that I would find both at Mawr- 
en-ik-yuak, a Husky camp at the foot of Baker Lake. 


At Udi-ek-tellig I found a man, Sahk-pi by name, whom 
I had known at Churchill. Sahk-pi was the cold-blooded 
murderer of no less than six of his fellow-beings on the 
Hudson Bay coast. The Huskies told me that they were 
going to shoot him the following winter, but here he was 
strong and well. For a long time he had carried his 
loaded rifle wherever he went, but had now apparently 
recovered from his alarm, for he had discarded his weapon, 
and the murders seemed to lie lightly on his conscience. 
His quarrel and its murderous results had been about a 

I formally engaged Amer-or-yuak, his wife, and an 
adopted son, a lad of about eighteen, to accompany me 
as far as Marble Island, where I expected to find the 
whaling schooner Francis Allyn. 

We were delayed several days at Udi-ek-tellig by wind 
and rain, common in the fall of the year in these parts. 
All the bad weather appears to come from the north- 
north-east and north-west. When the wind gets into that 
quarter it remains there for days and brings up heavy 
rain or snow storms. Delay from this cause is the most 
objectionable and patience-trying feature of travel in the 
north at this time of year. One is kept in his tent day 
and night ; the moss being soaking wet, a fire is impos- 
sible, and not even the comfort of a cup of hot tea can 
be obtained. We had nothing in the way of literature 
and the hours passed slowly by. 

The Huskies did not mind ; they remained in their 
tents, smoking and sleeping alternately, and were perfectly 
happy ; but to the more active temperament of the white 
men this enforced idleness was almost insupportable. Yet 
the temperament of the Huskies is by no means sluggish. I 
found them wonderfully quick in learning, and they never 
needed a second lesson. They could understand a chart 
the first time they ever saw one, and could use a pencil to 
supply details respecting distances and the features of the 
country. Their manual dexterity made them serviceable 



in many ways, in pitching a tent, fixing an instrument on a 
stand, or in cleaning and taking a rifle to pieces. They are 
far ahead of Indians in intelligence. 

On August 25 we made a start from Udi-ek-tellig. 
Besides Amer-or-yuak, his wife, and son, I had arranged 
for two other Huskies to accompany us and lend a hand 
an packing our stuff over the portage at Ulek-sek-tuk, the 
rapid at the foot of Schultz Lake. The murderer Sahk-pi 
was one of them. I had always found him a very good and 
^willing worker and a keen hunter. 

It is very convenient, almost necessary, to have a 
[woman in the party. Husky women are excellent workers. 
ttn camp they collect moss for fuel, do the cooking, and 
keep one's clothes and footgear in decent repair. They are 
[good walkers, and across a portage take a fair share of the 

We had fair weather on Schultz Lake, and made good 
way. Hunting did not delay us, for we killed deer on the 
portage at the foot of the lake, and our own stock of pro- 
Svisions, taken from Fort Resolution, still held out, though it 
was getting very low. The river connecting Schultz with 
Baker Lake is wide, deep, and swift, confined by steeply- 
sloping banks. The country, more especially on the north 
side of the river, is hilly and rocky. We got about half-way 
down Baker Lake before we were again stopped by rain 
and wind. 

There were no black flies now, August 30, and mos- 
quitoes had long ceased to trouble us. The Huskies say 
that black flies are unknown on and near the coast of the 
Hudson Bay. 

The bull caribou were now commencing to get into 
good condition, but the tips of the horns were not yet set 

All along Baker Lake and also down Chesterfield Inlet 
small willows and dwarf birch grow in sufficient quantity 
to ensure a fire even in the rainiest weather. In dry 
weather, of course, there is abundance of fuel from the 


moss and heaths with which the ground and rocks are 

When the weather became moderate we, on September 
3, put out early in the morning. A dense fog lay on the 
lake, so that we could not see a canoe-length ahead. 
However, I knew the course, and we steered by compass. 
We paddled steadily for eleven hours, taking our midday 
meal on board, and reached Mawr-en-ik-yuak, at the foot 
of the lake, in the evening. Here we found six tents. All 
the Huskies in camp were old friends whom I had met on 
my journey in 1899. They were not having a very good 1 
time ; deer had been very scarce, and being without nets, 
they were unable to catch salmon. In the spring and early ; 
summer these salmon take a bait and hook readily, but they 
refuse to be caught in this fashion in the fall. However,) 
our nets took a 5-lb. fish next morning. 

A few deer cross Mawr-en-ik-yuak, but this is not a 
favourite crossing. Those that had been speared were] 
made good use of, and not an ounce of meat was wasted. ; 
The hides, now in good order and getting thick, were being 
stored to make the winter clothing. 

These Huskies supplied our party with long boots, m< 
fat, and deerskin robes and clothes, for the weather 
already turning cold. The tide from the Hudson Bay ris 
about six or eight feet at the foot of Baker Lake. 



ION September 5 we left Mawr-en-ik-yuak, and proceeded 
ion our way to Chesterfield Inlet. There are two outlets 
from Baker Lake. That to the south is about twenty miles 
iin length, and the water is deep and rapid. This is the last 
(portion of the Doobaunt River, discharging into the head 
:of Chesterfield Inlet. 

We ran down the inlet in three days, being favoured 
jiwith a fair wind from the west, and on September 8 we 
jiwere south of Fairway Island, which lies opposite the 
] mouth of the inlet. Three large bull caribou were shot in 
I the afternoon, and we had therefore to camp early. All 
the bulls were very fat now and the horns commencing to 
, clean, but the Huskies say that the deer on the coast are 
i always exceptionally fat at this season. I should have 
i guessed the weight of any one of these bulls to have been 
'something over 400 pounds, live weight. On Great Slave 
i Lake I remember weighing a very large bull. This was at 
I the end of October, and the animal was completely "run." 
(It weighed 295 Ibs., live weight. In prime condition 
100 Ibs. would not be too much to add to the weight. 
The back fat alone I have seen weigh nearly 50 Ibs. 

The Huskies are wonderfully expert at cutting up a 
carcase. They are well up in the anatomy of a deer, and 
every part of the animal, each sinew, muscle, joint, bone, 
or portion of the meat, has its name. One stroke of the 
knife suffices to separate any two parts. The process of 
cutting up is invariably done in the same regular order, 
and is never reversed. 

49 D 


We were now camped on the main coast. Fairway 
Island lay to the north and east of Baker's Foreland, a few 
miles to the south. We were detained here for several 
days by a regular hurricane which I have rarely seen 
equalled. The wind blew with terrific force for two whole 
days. In the small shoal lakes the water was piled up in a 
heap at one end, leaving the bottom bare at the other, so' 
that one could almost walk across dry-foot. Ducks were 
killed by the score, and the ground was strewn with the 
bodies of small birds. 

The land a short distance back from the coast is un-< 
dulating, stony and rocky, dotted with small lakes. Moss 
swamps occur between the lakes and in depressions of 
the land. Taking a walk one afternoon I came on two 
Husky graves. The customary pile of stones marked the 
place, on or near which were piled the tent-poles, sleigh 
runners, and musket of the deceased one. I have seen 
many Husky graves, but very rarely have I found the 
skeleton, only the old deerskin robes in which the corpse 
had been wrapped remain. 

I questioned Amer-or-yuak, whose name I must really 
shorten to Amer, about this. He replied that bears and 
wolves remove the stones, devour the bodies, and pack away 
the bones. He also stated that it is not uncommon in 
times of starvation for the Huskies to have recourse to 
eating a dead body. He said that he had seen it done, 
but that he had never participated in the feast. Huskies, 
however, in mentioning objectionable practices, never 
acknowledge that they themselves are guilty of them. 

On September 14 we put out, but rough weather com- 
pelled us to land when we had travelled only about eight 
miles. Next morning we made a start at 4.30, when it 
was just dawning, the wind being off shore and the 
smooth. We camped in the afternoon on the point of 
land just opposite Marble Island, which appeared to 
about ten miles beyond Rabbit Island, a small island near 
the main shore. 



We were delayed on September 16 by too much wind 
and too heavy a sea. Almost any wind from the north-east, 
east, or south-east soon brings in a lop of the sea, which is 
too much for a Peterborough canoe, splendid little sea-craft 
though it be. It is surprising what one of these small 
canoes will stand in the way of wind and sea when light 
and properly handled. 

Deer were plentiful around us, so that there was no 
fear of starvation, or even of running short, but all our 
supplies from Fort Resolution, hard tack and tea, had been 
finished some days before. There were large numbers of 
duck along the coast, and a few flocks of swans passed over 
our camp. I stalked and shot one of these birds with my 
Mannlicher carbine one afternoon, and I was rather proud 
of the feat. I had often attempted it before, but had found 
it difficult to raise myself sufficiently to get a shot at the 
bird's body without being seen. The head is always the 
first part that comes to view. That is a very small mark to 
shoot at, but if you attempt to get a sight of the body the 
bird will be off. This bird, which proved to be a full 
grown male, weighed 14 Ibs., and measured 6 feet 10 
inches from tip to tip of wings, and 4 feet i inch from 
beak to tail. 

We had up to this date no snow and only sufficient frost 
to put a thin coating of ice on the small pools. 

The morning of September 17 was perfectly calm, so 
we lost no time in getting under way for the passage to 
Marble Island. Large numbers of walrus played round 
our canoes as we paddled across. Many of them would 
raise their ugly heads and half of their huge bodies right 
out of the water within a few feet of our small craft. It 
would have gone hard with us if one of these animals had 
put his tusks over the gunwale. 

The hopes of meeting the whaling schooner Francis 
Allyn, in which was the whole of my outfit for the coming 
winter, were doomed to disappointment, for, on rounding 
the south-west point of Marble Island and entering the 


narrow gut, which leads to the inner and almost land-locked 
harbour, there was no sign of a living creature, and I read 
bitter disappointment on every face, white and Husky 
alike. We were out of tea, sugar, flour, &c., but these 
were details. What we most wanted was warm clothing 
and foot-gear for the now fast approaching cold weather. 
On the Francis Allyn were all my food supplies, the 
"primus" stove, a good tent, and also a four months' 1 
mail, which I had been eagerly looking forward to receiving. 
I was so used to disappointments, however, that I accepted 
this one in the spirit of resignation and patience. We had 
plenty of meat and fat anyway, and sufficient ammunition 
for our return to Mawr-en-ik-yuak at the foot of Baker 
Lake. There was no immediate or even remote prospect 
of starving. Nevertheless, I regretted the remark I had 
made to the owners at New Bedford, that it was a matter 
of indifference to me where the vessel wintered, since 
I could easily find out her winter quarters from the 

One of two things might have happened, (i) The 
vessel might have gone to other winter quarters, in which 
case I was bound to find her, or (2) she might have been 
wrecked on her way up, in which case the sooner we made 
our way to Fort Churchill and thence to Winnipeg and 
civilisation the better for us. Deciding to accept the 
former alternative we returned to the mainland without 
delay, while the weather was still fine and the sea smooth. 
We had provided ourselves with a large supply of meat 
lest we should not find the whaler and be storm-stayed 
on the island, but fortunately the weather had remained 

Marble Island has been fully described by Dr. Bell of 
the Canadian Geological Survey Department. It is about 
25 miles long, lying east and west. The coast, except for 
the harbour near the south-western corner, is straight, 
rock-bound, and forbidding. The peculiar quartzite of 
which it is composed has a very white and dazzling 


>pearance when seen in the distance in the bright sun- 
ight, hence the name " Marble Island." When seen 
icarer the rock presents a rusty or yellow appearance, 
ts surface has been smoothed and flattened by ice action, 
being in this respect similar to the rock surfaces on the 
coast and throughout the " Barren Ground." 

The inner harbour, a circular basin, is completely 
land-locked but for the narrow gut already mentioned. 
The anchorage outside does not appear to be of the best, 
for my Husky informed me that two vessels had dragged 
their anchors, gone ashore, and broken up some years 

We found some old wood, not very much, barrel 
hoops, broken stoves, and other rubbish left by whalers. 
A well-marked track led to a small lake a short distance up 
the rocks, which was evidently the source of their fresh water 
supply. But the water was believed to be the cause of all 
the scurvy on board the vessels that wintered there, and 
since 1891 the place had been deserted. That many had 
died there the number of graves testified. The island is 
regarded with superstition by the Huskies, who say that 
long ago it did not exist, that its appearance was sudden, 
and that at first it was solid ice with one huge cavity, which 
is now filled by the sea and forms the harbour, believed to 
be bottomless. 

The western coast of Hudson Bay, with its many deep 
inlets and islands, was a long and difficult coast on which 
to search for a small whaling schooner of about 100 tons 
register. I knew that between Churchill and Marble 
Island, with the exception of Term Point, there were no 
suitable winter quarters for a vessel. No vessel, to my 
knowledge, had ever wintered at Term Point, and I deter- 
mined to go north and search. The Huskies, who are 
generally informed the year before as to the winter 
quarters of a vessel, had been surprised when I told them 
that I was going to join a whaler at Marble Island. They 
said they had not expected a vessel there, but did expect 


one at Piki-ular (Depot Island), just off Whitney and 
Winchester Inlets. 

Repulse Bay, to the north, the favourite winter 
quarters of a good many whalers, was, I knew, regarded as 
too far north by the owners of the Francis Allyn. Cape 
Fullerton, a short distance to the north of Depot Island, 
was a likely place. Wager Inlet, to the north of Cape 
Fullerton, was a possible but not probable place at which 
to find the vessel. The final decision was to return without 
delay to the mouth of Chesterfield Inlet, and thence to take 
a run north to Depot Island if weather and time permitted. 
If not, then to return up the Inlet to Mawr-en-ik-yuak at 
the foot of Baker Lake, remain with the Huskies till the 
"freeze up," and then make the journey overland to Depot 
Island with dogs and sleighs. Failing to find the vessel 
at Depot Island I would go on to Cape Fullerton, and, 
if still unsuccessful, send a party of Huskies to search 
Wager Inlet and bring back word. If nothing could be 
seen or heard of the vessel, I should be obliged to abandon 
the projected journey and get the Huskies to take me 
down to Fort Churchill, the nearest post of the Hudson 
Bay Company. 

In any case, I wished to place my canoes in cache at the 
foot of Baker Lake, ready for a start thence to the Arctic 
coast in the early spring. If the vessel were found, all 
would be well and the canoes would be so far on the 
way. If nothing could be heard of the vessel, then the 
retreat would have to be sounded and our steps would be 
turned south toward Fort Churchill, with Winnipeg as our 
ultimate goal, and one more failure would have to be 
debited to my wanderings in the Great Barren North- 

But I am going too fast. In the event of failing to 
find the Francis Allyn, I still had another vessel to 
depend on, the whaling schooner Era belonging to the 
same owners. The captain of the Era had been 
instructed, I knew, by the owners, to treat my party 


" white " should we put in an appearance. This vessel 
probably would be able to supply immediate wants, and 
might even furnish us with enough provisions, ammunition, 
and other necessaries to prevent the abandonment of the 
expedition, but she certainly could not replace the carefully 
selected outfit which I had sent up in the Francis Allyn. 
However, enough to proceed on and carry through the 
journey to the Arctic coast would be thankfully accepted. 

We had left Fort Resolution on July 13, and the 
journey so far had taken two months and four days. Had 
we left two or three weeks earlier it might have been 
done in six weeks, for in the earlier part of the season the 
weather on the lakes is more settled. 

On September 18 we started on the return journey to 
the foot of Baker Lake. About two inches of snow had 
fallen during the night, and ice had formed on the small 
lakes. The long dark winter was fast approaching. 
There is but a short spell between the disappearance of ice 
in the spring and its re-appearance in the fall. On my 
journey in 1899 we travelled on the ice with dogs the last 
days of June, and were beset by ice on Schultz Lake on 
July 31. Now in the middle of September we had ice 
again, and it looked as if it had come to stay. We had not 
gone far when we were obliged, by the state of the weather, 
to put ashore and camp. The rest of the day was spent in 
repairing our tent, which had suffered considerably during 
the recent storm. 

In the evening I took the opportunity to acquaint 
Amer-or-yuak with the fact that, if we failed to find the 
vessel, I had nothing to give him. He, with his wife and 
son, had been with me since leaving Udi-ek-tellig. Amer 
was good about it, and if he experienced disappointment 
he certainly did not show it. He said that it was not my 
fault, that any small present or nothing at all would satisfy 
him, but that he was sorry for the white men, who were 
now without provisions. He said that it was right to 
return to Ma wr-en-ik-yuak, where he and the other Huskies 


would look after us, and keep us supplied with deer's meat. 
The Huskies, he said, would certainly be willing to take us 
with dogs and sleighs overland to search for the vessel, 
and that if we failed to find her, they would take the white 
men down to Fort Churchill in the winter. 

Next morning, September 19, the wind having mod- 
erated, we put out and resumed the journey. We were 
now dependent on the rifles and guns to keep the party 
alive. Deer's meat would be our only article of diet until 
we found the Francis Allyn or some other vessel. The 
Barren Northland has its drawbacks, but there, while 
rifles and ammunition last, one is pretty sure of a sub- 
sistence. The life is wild and rough, but so remarkably 
healthy that one can undergo hardship for which, in his 
own country, he would be quite unfit, and eat food which 
at home would be condemned as little better than poison. 
The commonest diet is deer's meat, often in a condition 
inadequately described as " high," and of this the hungry 
traveller not seldom bolts enormous quantities at a meal. 
Yet beyond the slight temporary inconvenience which is 
expected, there are no evil consequences. Fever is alto- 
gether unknown. 

But to continue. The recent fall of snow had rendered 
our supply of fuel somewhat precarious, for heaths and 
moss will only burn when dry, and of willows and dwarf 
birch there were none along the coast of the Bay. I 
happened to know of a Husky grave not far off, on which 
were piled the defunct one's worldly effects, consisting 
of the usual tent poles and the runners of his sleigh. I 
suggested to Amer that we should appropriate this wood ; 
for the man himself, or rather his body and bones, were 
gone, having been long since devoured by wolves and 
bears, if not by the Huskies themselves. Amer shook 
his head, saying, " Dead Husky wood very bad." 

I was rather surprised at this, for, on my former journey 
on this coast, Miluk, who then accompanied me, when once 
out of his own part of the country, distinguished himself 


as a rustler of wood, and would spy for signs of a grave as 
keenly as he did for deer. 

One cannot regard this respect for a dead man's worldly 
possessions as superstitious any more than the respect for 
head-stones in our own churchyards, and I well remember 
with what a look of horror a proposal to cut scythe stones 
from a neglected head-stone at one of the Hudson Bay 
Company's posts in the north was received. 

Proceeding up the coast to the mouth of Chesterfield 
Inlet we reached Baker's Foreland and camped. This part 
of the coast is characterised by long stony points project- 
ing into the sea. Shoal bars extend a long distance out 
from these points, so that even a canoe, with its light 
draught, has to keep well out to sea. At high tide it is 
possible to come closer in. On camping we observed 
that all small and some of the larger lakes were coated 
with ice, which already had attained a thickness of two 
inches. This was on September 19. It froze sharp in 
our tent at night, but we still slept comfortably enough 
without deerskin robes. 

We were here delayed by wind for a couple of days. 
Paddling against a head-wind, be it ever so light, is slow 
work ; against a steady breeze no headway at all can be 
made, and it is a waste of energy to attempt it. 

We resumed our journey on the 2ist. Putting ashore 
about noon to eat, under the lee of some rocks, we found 
two skulls and a number of human bones. Amer informed 
me that a few years ago a great many Huskies had died 
at this place. Being stricken by some kind of sickness 
they were unable to go out and hunt, and so perished 
from starvation. 

On my journey in 1899 I was much struck by the 
number of sites of old Husky camps along both the north 
and south shore of Chesterfield Inlet, and also inland 
wherever the hunting of deer used to take me. They were 
indicated by the circles of stones which had been used as 
weights to keep the deerskin tents down, and seemed to 


show either that the Huskies in former times were much 
more numerous than at present, or that they must have 
been great travellers. I am well aware that the process of 
decay is very slow in these parts, and that a circle of stones 
may remain in evidence indefinitely, but still this would 
not account for the number of old camping grounds which 
one comes across. 

I now questioned Amer on the subject, and he replied 
that long ago ("itchuk" was the Husky word he used, 
which exactly expresses our " long ago ") the Baker Lake 
and coast Huskies had been a very large tribe, but that 
they had been decreasing since then. It would be in- 
teresting to trace the beginning and cause of this decrease. 
It can scarcely be attributed to contact with white men, 
which is usually attended with disastrous results to the 
aboriginal races. The Huskies have never changed their 
mode of life. They live in deerskin tents and snow-houses 
as formerly. They wear the same kind of clothes now as of 
yore. The same animals, caribou and musk-oxen, roam 
the country, seals and fish are found in the sea and rivers 
to-day as in former times. The conditions seem not to 
have changed at all, and yet the Huskies have decreased 
until the families on Baker Lake cannot show more than 
a score of tents. 

Ducks, especially the eider, were very numerous along 
the coast and in Chesterfield Inlet. Deer were leaving 
the coast and travelling inland. Nearly all small birds 
had departed for the south, but snowbirds (buntings) still 

Canoeing was cold work, and our hands suffered con- 
siderably from being continually wet by the paddles. 

On the evening of September 23 we ran into a small 
bay which offered good shelter, and camped for the night. 
Next morning, the tide being dead low, we discovered that 
we could not get out again, and were obliged to lay by till 
half-tide. We were now close to the mouth of Chesterfield 
Inlet, and I decided to return direct to Mawr-en-ik-yuak. 


The cold weather was fast approaching, and the ice already 
three or four inches thick on the lakes. We might easily 
have run up to Depot Island or Cape Fullerton, but in 
the event of not finding the vessel the return journey 
might have presented difficulties in the shape of floating 
ice. It does not do to take chances at this time of year. 
A very small amount of drift ice is sufficient to stop a canoe. 

When the tide rose and released us from our rocky 
prison we had smooth water, and, rounding Spurrell Head, 
we made about twenty miles up the Inlet. The Huskies 
killed a white fox as it was swimming from a small island 
to the main shore. It only measured 36 inches from tip of 
nose to tail. 

A few white whales showed their backs, and numerous 
seals kept popping up their heads in all directions as we 
paddled along. The sea being dead calm I stopped, and 
we shot several of the seals, but only secured three. They 
sink directly the air leaves the body, so no time must be 
lost in securing one that is shot. These were the small 
bay seals, and a fair specimen' scaled 155 Ibs. The Huskies 
were delighted, and said that the blubber meant three 
months' oil for their lamps, and the skins would be useful, 
of course, for boots. 

There is a much larger seal found in the Hudson Bay, 
on which the natives set great prize. I do not know its 
scientific name, the Husky name is " ugyuk." The skin, 
which is very thick and tough, is used for the soles of 
boots, or is cut into lines for dog harness, traces, and other 
purposes. These lines are almost unbreakable. 

We were favoured with glorious weather on our return 
up Chesterfield Inlet. One would have been inclined to 
laugh at any person who suggested that the winter was 
close upon us, and that we should soon be unable to 
navigate these waters. But here the weather changes with 
surprising rapidity. The wind chops round towards the 
north, threatening clouds roll up, the thermometer drops, 
and the change from summer to winter is complete. 



I measured the rise and fall of the tide about half-waj 
up the inlet. It was 12 feet between ordinary high anc 
low tides, but it decreases as the inlet is ascended. 

Numerous large flocks of ptarmigan were seen flighting 
across the inlet. They pack, like grouse in Scotland, befon 
taking their flight to the woods in the south. 

Nell-yuk-yuak, a Husky camp about half-way up the 
southern outlet from Baker Lake, was reached on Sep- 
tember 28. Here I was met by Uttungerlah, an old Husk] 
friend of mine, and a great musk-ox hunter. He had just 
returned from Repulse Bay, whither he had gone in his 
whale-boat to find out the winter quarters of any xvhaler 
remaining in Hudson Bay. As I hoped and expected, he 
proudly handed me two letters, adding that he had been 
instructed by the captains of two vessels to cruise along 
the coast and search for a party of white men, with whor 
he was to return in his whale-boat. One of the letters was 
from Captain Santos, master of the Francis Allyn, inform- 
ing me that he was in winter quarters at Depot Island, 
giving his reasons for not carrying out his owner's instruc- 
tions and wintering at Marble Island, and expressing th< 
hope that I had not been put to much inconvenience b} 
the change of plans. The second envelope contained 
courteous note from Captain Comer, of the Era, who pro- 
mised that if I came up to Repulse Bay, he would do his 
utmost to further the ends I had in view. 

These two letters raised my spirits considerably, 
should not now be compelled to beat a retreat on Fort 
Churchill, and I thought with satisfaction of my provi- 
sions for a whole winter, and of ammunition, tobacco, 
and trade articles which would last for two winters with 
judicious economy. 

The season was already far advanced, and I had some 
doubts about the wisdom of undertaking the trip to Depot 
Island and back again. I had never intended to winter 01 
board the whaler, but had decided to live with the Huskie 
and hunt musk-oxen. Uttungerlah, however, felt confident 


Chesterfield Inlet would be open for another ten days 
yet ; so I decided to go to Depot Island in his whale-boat, 
obtain such provisions, ammunition, and Husky "trade" as 
were necessary, and return without delay to Mawr-en-ik- 
yuak, if the ice permitted us to get so far. 

The next morning, with a fair wind and ebbing tide, we 
set sail for Depot Island. Westerly winds prevail at this 
time of year, and these are fair for the run down Chester- 
field Inlet. With a free sheet we reached the mouth of 
the Inlet in two days. On rounding the north-east point at 
the mouth of the Inlet we were very close-hauled. The wind 
was strong, and although it blew fairly off shore a consider- 
able sea got up, and we shipped a lot of water. A whale- 
boat sails capitally off a wind, but when close-hauled does 
not make much headway, and if there is any lop of a sea 
on it takes in water. 

Depot Island is a small, low, rocky island lying oft" the 
west coast of Hudson Bay, about forty miles north from 
the mouth of Chesterfield Inlet. 

We reached the Francis Allyn on the evening of 
October 2, and Captain Santos, a Portuguese by birth, 
welcomed me heartily on board. He stated that he had 
felt uneasy in his mind, as he suspected that we had no 
provisions left. Neither had we, but the Barren North- 
land luckily furnishes a meat supply when provisions 
give out. 

Captain Santos gave his reasons for not wintering at 
Marble Island. He maintained that the water there pro- 
duced scurvy, and said that there was always danger and 
difficulty in crossing on the ice between Marble Island 
and the main shore. Depot Island had many advantages, 
he informed me, as the winter quarters of a vessel. At 
low tide it was almost land-locked by outlying reefs, and it 
was easy to get out of when the ice broke up in summer. 

We found that the crew had already been busily en- 
gaged in preparations for the winter. The quarter-deck 
had been boarded in and covered with old canvas, and 


made quite a comfortable house. I don't think any of us 
were sorry to step on board into comparative civilisation, 
to see and hear white men, and to sit down to a square 
meal of bread and butter and hot coffee with sugar, to 
which we had been strangers for over a month. 

The whole of my outfit was safe on board ; nothing 
had been forgotten. 

The next day was spent in opening the different casks 
and boxes in which my outfit had been securely packed. 
The " stuff " was then divided. Part of it was to remain 
on board until we returned, but I took the opportunity to 
remove as much as possible to the foot of Baker Lake in 
the whale-boat. It was easier to take it by water now 
than overland by dog-sleigh in the winter. 

The crew of the Francis Allyn was a large one for a 
vessel of 105 tons. There were twenty-four hands all 
told. They were of various nationalities (Portuguese, 
Negroes, English lads, Americans, Canadians), and they 
were from different paths of life. The captain, mates, 
and boat-steerers (harpooners) were all old hands at the 
whaling business, but the rest of the crew were novices. 
They had shipped in response to an advertisement in- 
serted in a Boston paper, some from a spirit of adven- 
ture, others because they were "broke," while a few 
thought that there was big money to be made out of it. 
They were all youngsters, and the experience would doubt- 
less be of benefit to them, if it only taught them to remain 
at home and stick to regular work. A long cruise on 
board a small whaler and the experience of an Arctic 
winter in confined quarters are convincing arguments, 
and do no one any harm. 

With so many men in so small a vessel it surprised me 
that more precautions were not taken against the dreaded 
scurvy, from which the crews of vessels wintering in Hud- 
son Bay invariably suffer. On the Francis Allyn there were 
but five gallons of lime juice, though the ship was to re- 
main nine months in winter quarters. But plenty of fresh 


air and outdoor exercise would go far towards the main- 
tenance of the general health. The diet, failing a supply 
of fresh deer's meat, could not be changed. Salt beef and 
pork figured prominently at every meal. Such things 
as dried or evaporated fruits, pickles, vinegar, desiccated 
potatoes were not included in the ship's stores, or, if they 
were, the quantities were so small as to be worthless. 

I allowed myself two days on board. The fast approach- 
ing cold weather made it imperative for us to return up 
the Inlet with as little delay as possible. Ice was already 
forming round the vessel and along the shores. 

I made arrangements to leave Sandy on board. I had 
seen that he found the travelling life somewhat tough. The 
absence of fire and the diet of meat " straight " were not to 
his taste, and, being a new-comer, he could not make up 
his mind to disregard hardships. Darrell was to return 
with me to hunt musk-oxen. 



ON October 5 I bade farewell to the captain and officers of 
the Francis Allyn, and we were soon under way in a fully- 
laden whale-boat for the south and west. 

The return journey was not very easily accomplished. 
Westerly winds prevailed, and we were obliged to lay by 
several days, the weather getting colder every day. The 
north-east point of land at the mouth of Chesterfield Inlet 
is a peninsula, only a low, narrow neck of stones about 
twenty yards wide connecting it with the mainland. The 
Huskies have cut a small canal, if one can so call it, across 
this miniature isthmus, by removing the stones and open- 
ing a narrow passage through which a whale-boat can be 
hauled at ordinary high tides. At spring tides there is 
plenty of water, and it is possible to run through all right. 

This passage saves a considerable distance, about twent 
miles I should judge. The charts do not mark the point 
as a peninsula. 

A phenomenon of these parts is the mirage, which is 
much more marked on some days than on others. It 
observed on the larger lakes and along the coast particu- 
larly. Land which is only a short distance away appears 
suspended in mid-air, and great distortion takes place. 
Captain Santos informed me that owing to this peculiarity 
it is impossible to get good sights at sea. 

The voyage up Chesterfield Inlet was slow and far froi 
pleasant ; the cold was severe, for although the thermomett 
never dropped even to zero, it was our first touch of winter 
cold, and was keenly felt. We had to sit still for tweh 

hours at a stretch, everything on board coated with i( 



and with a cutting wind in our teeth. The whale-boat 
leaked so badly that every night it had to be unloaded and 
in the morning loaded afresh. This necessitated wading. 
We all had long sealskin boots luckily, but these would 
freeze stiff directly we left the water. 

Our one comfort was the "primus" oil-stove, which, 
after the first few trials, worked admirably, and we were 
always able to have hot coffee or cocoa when we wanted it. 

On the morning of October 12 the Husky tents at 
Mawr-en-ik-yuak were sighted, and shortly afterwards we 
effected a landing through the heavy slob ice, which had 
already formed at the foot of Baker Lake. We were back 
just in time, for next day the river was frozen solid. The 
Huskies, now all assembled at this place, soon emerged 
from their tents and lent willing hands to land and carry 
up all the stuff. When I suggested to Uttungerlah that 
one of the Husky deerskin tents would be more comfort- 
able for us than our own canvas ones, he immediately 
acted on the suggestion, striking his own tent and pitch- 
ing it on fresh ground. 

Darrell and I were now fairly installed within the Husky 
camp, and became familiar with the every-day life of the 
Huskies. With the exception of four families inhabiting 
as many tents at Udi-ek-tellig, all the Baker Lake Huskies 
were now here, and we had altogether sixteen tents. The 
conditions of life were severe, as they always are here in 
the late fall. There was, as yet, no snow to speak of, and 
therefore snow-houses could not be built, while the tents 
afforded little shelter from the weather. The wind blew 
cold through rents and slits in the deerskin tents, and 
falling or drifting snow found easy entrance. The tem- 
perature rarely rose above 10 Fahr. New deerskin clothes 
were not yet made, for Husky superstition forbade the 
commencement of work on these till snow-houses had 
been built, and, besides, it was too cold for the women 
to sew in the tents. I had difficulty in writing up the few 

notes I kept. 



There were no deer within walking distance, and it was 
too early in the season to travel with dogs and sleighs to 
hunt. The supply of meat was not plentiful, and the Huskies 
had nothing better to live on than the meat which had 
been killed in summer and was now putrid. Discomfort 
and privation, however, did not suppress their cheerful- 
ness. On the first evening a deputation, headed by Uttun- 
gerlah and Amer, visited me for the purpose of ascertaining 
whether I had been satisfied with the journey to and from 
the whaler, and was now satisfied with the camping-ground 
and the tent. They regretted they had no deer's meat fit 
to give me, but they expected to be able to travel with dogs 
in a few days, and would then keep me well supplied. I 
replied in set terms that I was well satisfied with every- 
thing, and appreciated the attention they had shown me ; 
that I was pleased to come and live among them, and 
hoped they would all have a successful musk-ox hunt 
before long. These words delighted them, and they rushed 
off to hold a great dance in honour of the occasion. 

Here I may set down a few remarks about Husky 
fashions and Husky legends, jotted down at different times. 
Most of the grown-up Hudson Bay women are tattooed 
on the face, a thick paste of charcoal and water being 
rubbed in after the application of a needle. The most 
popular ornament among them is a brass band, about 
half or three-quarters of an inch in width, placed across 
the forehead and extending behind the ears. The material 
for these is no doubt obtained from empty cartridge-cases 
and other pieces of metal given by the whaling crews. 
Other ornamental appendages are cylindrical pieces of 
wood, about sixteen inches in length, which, covered with 
beaded cloth, hang from the ends of their tresses, and 
end in a tassel or tuft of false hair. The men are almost 
as fond of beads as the women, and a long-tailed deerskin 
coat covered with beads excites admiration and envy. 
White beads were in fashion at the time of my visit, but 
possibly Husky fashions change as ours do. 




The deerskins for their fancy garments are first cleared 
of the hair and then made soft, pliable, and beautifully 
white by being scraped with a blunt instrument. I have 
never seen Huskies rub skins with brain or liver as the 
Indians do, and they never put them through the process 
of smoking. This process, the Indians assert, keeps the 
hide from becoming hard after being wet, but I could 
never detect any difference between an unsmoked skin 
and one that had gone through the orthodox process. 

A few finger-rings are worn, but as these have been 
supplied direct by the whalers, they are of no interest. 
The principal toys of the children are models of men and 
women, and of dogs, kyaks, pipes, lamps, kettles, &c. 

In smoking, the Huskies are very careful of their 
tobacco, mixing it with the leaf of the cranberry vine. 
The mixture makes rather pleasant smoking, but is no 
saving on tobacco. The bowls of their pipes are of 
stone ; the stems consist of two pieces of wood hollowed 
out and then fitted together. When the stem gets saturated 
with tobacco juice, a new stem is made and the old one 
carefully laid by till the sad times when the tobacco supply 
is exhausted ; then the old stems are cut up and smoked 
instead of tobacco. 

The chief musical instrument, if musical it may be 
called, is the drum, which is indispensable at their dances. 
They have also small flutes, like penny whistles, made of 
wood. Drums and flutes are their own instruments, but 
they receive Jews'-harps from the traders, and, if a Husky 
is rich enough to purchase an accordion, his happiness is 
complete. They are really very fond of music. On my 
journey in 1899 I had with me two graphophones, which 
afforded endless amusement. For the Huskies on the 
coast the one attraction which the church provides is 
the harmonium. 

Among them there is no knowledge and no idea of a 
Supreme Being or of a future state, so far as I could dis- 
cover. One whom I questioned said, " Husky die, no more 


Husky." They have no account of the creation of the 
world, and their story of the origin of the human race 
is incoherent. They told me (through George Oman, the 
interpreter at Churchill) that long ago, in an island far to 
the north, there was a woman, the only woman in exist- 
ence. This woman had a father, and he gave her to be 
the wife of a dog, so that she became the mother of a litter 
of pups. When her father went in a kyak with food for 
them, the woman told the pups to lick the blood off the 
kyak and then capsize it. They did so, and the father was 
drowned. Then the woman, dividing her progeny into 
three groups, told them that from them three races would 
spring, two of which would be at enmity and war with one 
another for ever, while the third would be at peace with 
all. The first group she sent inland to the west, and from 
them sprang the Indians ; the second sailed away to the 
east in a boat, and of them came the white men ; while the 
third were sent north and became Eskimo. I was told 
also of another woman who was said to have made the 
caribou, the large seal (ugyuk), and the common seal. 
This woman was one day chopping wood when the wind 
was high, and the chips which were blown into the water 
became fish. There was also some belief that bears, 
foxes, and other animals had been at one time human 

One superstition with respect to deerskin clothing has 
been already mentioned ; but further, they affirmed that 
blindness would befall any one doing needlework in spring 
on the skins of newly-killed deer, though repairs to old 
garments then are permitted. The marrow bones of deer 
must not be broken with anything but a stone. 

When a woman has given birth to a child she is not 
allowed to leave the place where she is lying for a whole 
moon. If the tribe happens to be travelling at the time, 
she must get along as best she can, but must on no account 
follow in the track of the party. She must keep at a safe 
distance on one side. If one woman gives birth to a boy 


at the time when another gives birth to a girl, the boy must 
become the husband of the girl. Relations nearer than 
cousins never marry. 

It is customary for the men to have only one wife, but 
some have two, and Sahk-pi, whom I have already men- 
tioned, had three. When a second wife is desired, the 
reason is generally to be found in the domestic arrange- 
ments of the Husky. When he goes in winter to hunt the 
musk-ox he takes his wife with him. She helps to build 
the iglu or snow-house, prepares the food, collects moss 
for fuel, and keeps his clothes and foot-gear in repair. 
She is almost indispensable on such expeditions. But 
naturally her services are not always available, and hence 
arises the wish for a second wife. A double matrimonial 
arrangement does not disturb the domestic harmony. The 
two wives show no jealousy ; they smoke the same pipe, 
rub noses (their form of kissing), eat together, and sleep 
together in tranquillity. There are no marriage rites among 
the Huskies. Their notions of conjugal fidelity are dif- 
ferent from ours, free love is universal, but there are no 
divorces. It is very rarely that a husband sends his wife 
away. I was not acquainted with a single case, but was 
told that on one or two occasions, a wife had been turned 
away for gross neglect of her children. The husbands are 
fond of their wives and children, and treat them well. 
Girls are given in marriage very young, matters being 
arranged by their parents. A girl seven years of age, 
belonging to my party, was already bestowed on a man 
of thirty. 

Baker Lake was now (October 15) covered with ice, 
which along the shore was thick, so that the travelling 
was good. Having had a couple of days' rest, all the 
Husky men went off to hunt deer. During their absence 
we amused ourselves and passed the time as best we could. 
We used to go and fish through the ice on a lake about 
three miles distant. The fish (trout) did not appear to be 
hungry, and the result was generally nil ; but the old 


women, by exercising a wonderful degree of patience, 
were more successful. 

The men returned after a few days. Some of them had 
gone as far as the Kazan River, more than half-way up 
Baker Lake. Most of them had killed deer, and the bulk 
of the meat had been left in cache under rocks till such 
time as the snow fell, when it could be hauled by dogs. 
They each brought back a small load, which they at once 
offered to us, evidently thinking that the white men who 
were their guests must not want for meat. 

The dogs, which had found a scanty living by gnawing 
the old hoofs and bones of deer, had now got their winter 
coats, and looked well. 

The days passed slowly. We spent an enormous time 
in sleep. The English newspapers and some old magazines 
which I had received on board the Francis Allyn helped to 
pass away many a weary hour. It is astonishing what 
rubbish a man will read when he is hard put to it. The 
most stupid and puerile story is eagerly devoured. All the 
advertisements are scanned through again and again, till 
patent medicines, soaps, and permanent youth blooms 
disturb one's dreams at night. 

We were one and all longing for the snow, but the 
wind persistently remained in the north-west quarter, and 
the prospect of snow appeared remote. At length, on 
October 22, there came a change ; the wind chopped 
round, the temperature rapidly rose, and a small amount 
of snow fell, which, in places, formed deep drifts. Next 
morning the Huskies were all busy tramping down snow 
in order to pack it. It would then freeze into a compact 
mass, from which could be cut the blocks required for the 
construction of a snow-house. 

Still there was not sufficient snow for our purposes, 
and we had to wait. The Huskies spent the evenings in 
dancing, which was their favourite amusement. They 
assembled in one of the large tents, and the performance 
began with the pounding of the drum, a piece of deerskin 


stretched over a wooden hoop. The women broke out 
into a shrill, monotonous chant, which they kept up in- 
cessantly. A man then advanced into the middle of the 
tent, holding the drum in one hand and pounding it with 
the other. Slowly turning round, he kept time with his 
feet to the beating of the drum, every now and again 
emitting a most diabolical yell. 

This he kept up until he got tired, his efforts on the 
drum became feebler, his yells lost their frequency and 
force, and he finally sank exhausted to the ground. His 
place was taken by a fresh dancer, and the performance 
was repeated, the dance being sometimes kept up the 
whole night. 

I had expressed a desire to witness the great " antikut," 
or conjuring performance, of the wise men. The favourite 
trick is the production of a small pair of walrus tusks in a 
man's mouth. The man's head was covered with a deer- 
skin robe. After some delay the robe was partly with- 
drawn, so as to show his face, and then from his mouth 
there protruded two small walrus tusks, which he was 
plainly holding there with his hand. There was apparently 
little or no attempt at deception, and I could not think 
that the older and more sensible men believed in it, but 
the women implicitly believed it all. The men neverthe- 
less assured me that the tusks had grown in the man's 
mouth. They said that there were no walrus tusks in the 
camp, so they must have grown, for this man was a great 
medicine man. 

The camp was out of meat. Half the Huskies were 
starving and the other half were living on putrid carrion, 
yet still they were all content to wait. I resolved to set 
them a good example, and, on October 26, set out with 
two young men, Ilartnark and Pitzeolah, the adopted sons 
of Uttungerlah and Amer respectively, on a hunting ex- 
pedition up Baker Lake. We took one small sleigh and 
six dogs, and we intended to go westwards for about 
twenty miles. 


The going was bad, as the recent snow had not packed 
hard, so our progress was slow, the two Huskies being 
without snow-shoes. 

We arrived after dark at a couple of miniature snow- 
houses, which had been built by the deer-hunters the week 
before. Into these we crawled, and spent the first night 
with scarcely room enough to move hand or foot. 

Next morning, leaving Pitzeolah to build me a larger 
snow-house and feed the dogs from a meat cache close 
by, I set out accompanied by Ilartnark. There was more 
snow here than at Mawr-en-ik-yuak, and the going was 
heavy. I was wearing snow-shoes, and Ilartnark had 
difficulty in keeping up with me. 

Deer were sighted in the afternoon, and two were shot 
by the Husky, who nearly exhausted his supply of cart- 
ridges. In the evening I found that Pitzeolah had erected 
a new snow-house, in which I had plenty of room. Shortly 
after dark the wind changed to the east, and snow com- 
menced to fall and drift. I felt comfortable enough in my 
snow-house, and listened with pleasure to the howling 
blizzard which was by this time raging outside, as I lay 
snugly rolled in my " Jaeger " blankets. 

In the middle of the night I was awakened by a small 
snow-storm inside the house. I had been told that a snow- 
house would stand any wind, but the snow which had been 
used in the construction of this one was freshly fallen and 
loose, and it was being gradually blown away. My blankets 
and everything inside the house were, in a moment, covered 
deep with the snow-drift. 

An attempt to plug the hole with a deerskin only re- 
sulted in the collapse of half the wall. When I turned out 
I could not see a yard for the flying scud. 

The snow-house in which the two Huskies slept almost 
adjoined mine, and after much shouting I managed to 
arouse them. They turned out, and eventually contrived 
to rebuild the broken side. They then retired with the 
consoling remark that it would probably break again, as 


the snow was not yet fit for building houses. I crawled 
back, and rolling myself in snow and blankets, lay down 
to wait for morning. The heat of my body melted the 
snow on the blankets, and when morning broke I was 
soaking wet. However, the weather had moderated, and 
the air was quite warm. The thermometer registered 36. 

On looking out I could see deer in thousands away 
to the west. They seemed like small black stones in the 
distance, but with the glass their movements could be 
distinctly seen. 

It was now the height of the rutting season, and many 
fierce combats were taking place between the old bulls. 

I despatched Pitzeolah (whom I shall henceforth call 
" Pitz ") at once back to Mawr-en-ik-yuak to tell the other 
Huskies. Ilartnark and I started off in the meanwhile 
to shoot a few of them. Such an array of deer was un- 
expected, and only a small number of cartridges had been 
brought. The Husky had but three remaining. With 
these he did good execution, and killed three. Getting in 
amongst them I shot eight. The deer kept so much on 
the move that most shots had to be taken walking or trot- 
ting, and although they did not move from the ground and 
go right off, they would not permit an approach within 
100 yards. Our supply of cartridges being exhausted, we 
returned to our camp to pass another anxious night in 
the snow-houses, which, owing to the high temperature, 
threatened to collapse at any moment. 

Our supply of oil for the " primus " stove was exhausted, 
and, as we had not time to collect dwarf birch, which was 
abundant enough, we had no fire, and had to eat the meat 
raw. I have never yet got accustomed to eating meat raw, 
and I have to be very hungry to do it. The Huskies eat it 
raw and frozen, and may possibly appreciate it, but I know 
very well that they do not prefer raw meat to cooked. To 
me it is almost tasteless, or rather, when fresh, has a kind 
of flabby taste, though that way of expressing it may not be 
very intelligible. When frozen it is too cold on the teeth. 


The snow-houses held up well during the night, but 
they settled a good deal, and in the morning I could just 
sit in mine. 

The mild weather continued and made travelling most 
disagreeable. Everything we had was wet. Footgear be- 
came soggy at once, for the snow was almost in a state 
of slush. 

I shot a large bull in the morning. We were not 
shooting bulls, for they were not fit to eat, but this one 
happened to be close to camp and would make a good 
feed for the dogs. This animal had evidently been engaged 
in combat and had received a most terrible wound, several 
inches deep, right behind the shoulder, so that we could 
see the ribs. Caribou are impervious to cold I know, and 
they appear to be almost insensible to pain. This beast 
did not even walk lame from the wound. 

Early in the afternoon the Huskies from the main camp 
were descried coming along the lake. The enormous bands 
of deer had moved, and were now right in their way. 
When the party got close, the men ran ahead of the dogs 
and sleighs, and the shooting continued till darkness 
afforded the animals protection. Some of the Huskies 
came to our camp ; others remained out to cut up and 
cache the deer they had killed, and to prosecute the hunt 
on the following morning. 

During the night the weather took a decided change. 
The wind veered round to north-west, and the thermometer 
fell to twenty degrees. Then the wind rose and the snow 
commenced to drift. We were in for a blizzard. 

Next morning I decided to return to the main camp 
at Mawr-en-ik-yuak. I had no deerskin clothes, and the 
Huskies did not wish me to start, as the blizzard was in 
full force. However, we had got to face it, so I started. 
The going was good, the pace fast, and we arrived at the 
main camp early in the afternoon of November i. 

Some of the Huskies had built snow-houses during my 
absence, but most of these had collapsed, and tents had 


been erected again. Amer had built the walls only of his 
house, or "iglu," as I shall now call the snow-hut, deer- 
skin being used for the roof. The walls had bulged con- 
siderably, but still stood. 

This is a common experience. The Huskies are 
naturally anxious to change from the tents into iglus, 
so these are built at the first opportunity, only to be 
demolished by the spell of mild weather which is almost 
certain to come before the winter cold settles down in 

The weather being good and cold, Amer, who was my 
host, commenced the reconstruction of our iglu. The 
walls were strengthened, and it was then roofed in. 

In the construction of an iglu the Husky shows much 
ingenuity. The bricks of snow are cut about 2^ feet in 
length, i to 2 feet in height, and 6 to 10 inches thick. 
Either long-bladed knives, similar to butchers' knives, or 
else snow-dags are used for this purpose. A dag (so 
called by whaling crews) is a flat, double-edged, and 
pointed piece of steel, about 8 inches in length and 3 
inches wide. It is attached to a handle about ij feet in 

The long-bladed knives are in favour with some. The 
snow-dags with others. Both are in great demand. 

All the snow-bricks for the construction of the iglu 
are cut from the snow on the ground on which the iglu 
is to be built, or from what may be called the floor of 
the house. Two Huskies work together, one cutting the 
bricks of snow, the other placing them in position. The 
bricks are laid in an endless coil, which, as it increases 
in height, decreases in breadth. The walls are thus 
gradually drawn in towards each other, until finally only 
a small hole remains at the top in the centre of the 
roof. Into this a circular or square plug of snow is 
inserted, and the edifice is complete. The iglu is circular 
in shape, and the roof, when built by experts, forms 
a perfect dome. All the work is done from the inside, 


and when the iglu is finished the two workmen are still 

They cut a hole, crawl to the outside, and then close 
up this hole with a snow-brick. Next, snow-bricks are 
cut for a distance of some 10 feet outwards from the snow- 
house, and are laid close against each other in two lines 
so as to form a passage, the bricks being piled higher 
on the windward side. Through the side of the iglu a 
square hole for a permanent doorway is then cut on a level 
with the floor of the passage. The two builders now re- 
enter and inspect the result of their labour. Some of the 
bricks are seen not to fit closely, light appears in the inter- 
stices. These are carefully gone over and plastered with 
loose snow. There still remain a considerable number of 
bricks in the interior, for the area of the floor has furnished 
more bricks than were required for building up the walls 
and roof. These spare bricks are now used to form 
benches, one on either side. On these snow benches the 
inmates sleep and sit. Only a narrow passage is left 
between them. While the Husky men complete the iglu, 
the women shovel snow against its sides and on the roof 
to ensure perfect freedom from draughts of cold air. 

When the house is completed, inside and out, the women 
enter with the deerskin robes and the rest of their "stuff." 
Mats made of dwarf birch are laid on the snow benches on 
either side. The deerskins are laid on these, and the iglu 
is ready for occupation. 

At Churchill I had been told a good deal about life in 
an iglu. The heat inside had been described as intense, a 
large hole in the roof had to be kept open day and night 
to prevent the house from melting away. The Huskies 
had been represented as panting with heat, tearing off their 
skin clothes, and calling loudly for long draughts of ice 
water. In many books about the Arctic Regions one reads 
about the filth, squalor, vermin, and stench with which 
life in an iglu is associated. I have lived for eight months 
with Huskies in their iglus, and have visited some hundreds 




of other iglus inhabited by the different parties we met, 
and it seems to me that the authors of such statements 
have been singularly unfortunate in their experiences. I 
have found no such condition of things. 

I took the temperatures of different iglus all through 
the winter. For the first day of its occupation a newly- 
built iglu remains cold. When the thermometer outside 
registers any temperature from 20 to 50 Fahr., the 
temperature inside is only about 10 higher ; sometimes 
not so much. Next day, however, when the iglu has 
settled somewhat, and more snow has been thrown on 
the roof, the temperature is brought to about 24 or 26 
(i.e. 6 or 8 of frost), and here it remains, the temperature 
outside having little or no effect on that inside. To a 
person sitting still in a newly-erected iglu with the ther- 
mometer at 10 (or from 20 to 25 of frost), the temperature 
appears to be cool, rather too cool for perfect comfort, 
but not cold. When the thermometer registers 24 to 26 
(or about 7 of frost) the temperature seems perfect, and 
any kind of work with the hands and fingers can be done. 
Deerskin clothes need not be, but usually are, worn. The 
temperature is quite right, and corresponds to our 60. 

If the temperature is raised higher than 27, either by 
the presence of a crowd or the use of a seal-oil lamp, the 
difference is at once perceptible. When it rises to 28 
(or 4 of frost) it is decidedly unpleasant, and should it 
rise to 30, ventilation must be provided. This is easily 
done by shoving a pole through the roof, and the holes 
are filled up again when the temperature has fallen. If 
seal-oil lamps are in use, as they are everywhere along the 
coast, the temperature varies with the size of the lamp 
used. My remarks as to temperature apply only to iglus 
inland, where lamps are not in use. 

As to the filthy condition of the iglus and their occu- 
pants, I have seen nothing of it. When seal-oil lamps are 
used, there is, of course, the smell of seal-oil. This is not 
more unpleasant than the smell of cod-liver oil. The 


principal objection to the use of seal-oil is that it makes 
everything greasy to a certain extent, and the smoke from 
the lamp blackens the sides and roof of the iglu, but I fail 
to perceive filth in this. 

Of vermin on the persons or garments of the Huskies 
there is almost none. They do not wear underclothing at 
all corresponding with ours. Their deerskin garments are 
reversible, being put on sometimes with the hair next the 
skin, sometimes with the hair outside, and this reversing 
process in these latitudes leaves no hope for small parasites. 
The statement as to foul air and stench in the iglus are 
grossly exaggerated. There is no more smell in an ordi- 
nary iglu than in a public room in a large building. When 
a number of men, women, children, and babies crowd into 
one iglu, all clad in deerskin clothes, then the smell is one 
of overheated humanity plus deerskin. 


<z, raised benches of snow on which Huskies live and sleep ; i>, passages 
down middle ; c, meat-safe or cellar ; d, fireplace in kitchen flat 
stones laid on raised snow-bench ; e, kitchen ; /, outhouses for 
storing stuff, shelter for the dogs, &c. ; g, doorways, about z\ feet 
high ; h, passage to outside ; *, walls of snow for protection from 
wind and drift. 

When the iglu has been completed, it is customary to 
build a kitchen adjoining. This is only another small 
snow-house, a hole in the roof answering the purpose of 
a chimney. Flat stones are used for the fireplace. In 


>ermanent camps a line of very small snow-houses is very 
>ften built, connecting one with the other to the kitchen, and 
le kitchen connects with the main iglu, so that when you 
rawl through the doorway you find yourself in the kitchen, 
the exit from which is by another hole to the first out- 
house, and from that to the next, and so on. It is neces- 
sary to crawl on the hands and knees. The out-houses 
afford shelter for the dogs, and are also used to store such 
things as the dogs will not devour. 

I often wondered that the Indians, Yellow Knives and 
Dog Ribs, who make two trips annually after musk-oxen 
on the " Barren Ground," have never learnt to build snow- 
houses. In the small tepee which they take they nearly 
freeze to death. The dogs tear holes in it, and at the end 
of the trip it affords little or no protection from the storms. 
They are without fire, for they have not yet discovered that 
the moss underneath the snow is quite dry and furnishes 
an excellent fuel. They carry no ice-chisel for making 
holes through the ice to procure water. When the small 
stock of wood which they carry comes to an end, they are 
without fire, and cannot even melt snow and ice for drink- 
ing-water. They have then to eat snow or suck ice the 
whole day long, in order temporarily to satisfy the un- 
assuageable thirst with which one is consumed when 
travelling fast in very cold weather. I had this experience 
when I accompanied them in 1896, and found it the worst 
feature of the whole journey. 

It is possible to travel with perfect comfort the whole 
of the winter over any part of the barren Northland, if 
accompanied by Huskies. 



THE time was now approaching for a start to the musk-ox 
ground. On November 10 a council of war was held, and 
it was decided to start on the i3th. The party was to con- 
sist of four Darrell and myself, Amer and Uttungerlah: 
One sleigh, 25 feet in length, was to be taken. 

The sleighs used by the Huskies are usually long and 
narrow, 36 feet being no unusual length. The runners are 
shod with hard wood, or whalebone (the ribs), or mud. 
This last is by far the best It slides over the crushed 
snow in intensely cold weather more smoothly than any- 
thing else. It is easily knocked off, however, if it happens 
to come in contact with rocks, and cannot be used in the 
spring and early summer when the weather gets mild. 
Metal in any form under the runners is quite useless in 
cold weather. 

The mudding of the runners of a sleigh entails con- 
siderable trouble. The mud or peat bog has to be dug 
out of the frozen ground, brought to the iglu, and 
thawed out. 

It is mixed with sufficient water to bring it to a stiff 
paste, and then plastered on the runners to a thickness 
of about two inches. It takes but a short time to freeze 
it hard as rock. It is then planed quite smooth, and 
water is poured on it, which forms a thin sheet of ice 
on the bottom. It is not the frozen mud which slides 
so easily over the crushed snow, but this thin layer 
of ice. On a journey the ice layer is renewed every 

We had glorious weather at this time. The skies were 



clear, and there was little or no wind. The days were 
pleasant and the nights cold. We lived in our iglu in 
perfect comfort. 

The Huskies informed me one evening that an im- 
portant " antikut," or conjuring performance, was to take 
place that night, and the presence of the white men was 
requested. The summons came about nine o'clock, and 
we were conducted to one of the larger iglus, in which 
were assembled all the Baker Lake Huskies then living 
at Mawr-en-ik-yuak. The atmosphere in the interior was 
somewhat thick. After a couple of songs, with the usual 
drum accompaniment, and the shrill " hah-yah-yah's " of 
the chorus sung by the women, a move was made, and 
several Huskies went outside. Then there was a short 
delay, and I was requested to go outside and listen. The 
night was clear and the stars bright ; everything was still, 
no sound could be heard. The arrangements were evi- 
dently not complete ; there was a hitch somewhere, so 
back we returned to the iglu. After a short interval I 
was requested to crawl out of the door a second time. 
I listened intently. A single shot broke the stillness 
of the night, and I was hustled back into the iglu to 
wait events. 

Presently a line was pushed through the doorway, and 
was immediately laid hold of by some half-dozen Huskies, 
who commenced pulling vigorously. Then the stiff body 
of a Husky, dragged by the neck, was brought into view. 
A long knife was produced, and handled so as to suggest 
that it was plunged to the hilt several times in the man's 
body ; but the performance was so clumsy that a child 
could see that the blade was buried each time in the 
snow beneath the man's body. After a great many groans 
and simulated efforts to rise, the man appeared to come 
to life again, and, walking slowly round, shook hands with 
every one. 

The explanation of all this was that the man, being 
under a spell, was invulnerable. He had been shot by 



the rifle of which I had heard the report when I was sum- 
moned outside ; he had been stabbed after being hauled 
into the iglu ; nothing could harm him. We were not 
sorry when the performance was over. 

November 12 was spent in getting everything ready for 
a start next day. Winter clothes were tried on and altered 
where necessary ; a good supply of extra foot-gear was 
packed up ; and our blankets, with a young deerskin robe 
sewn on the inside, were made into sleeping-bags, sewn 
up half-way only. 

The ordinary winter dress of the Husky is an inner 
deerskin coat (u-u-pak), worn hair inside, and a thicker 
deerskin coat (kul-ik-tak) over this, with the hair outside. 
His nether garments are a pair of loose, short pants, open 
below the knee, worn with the hair inside, and an outer 
pair with the hair outside. These garments, however, as 
has been already stated, are often reversed. On the feet 
are young deerskin socks, hair inside, and, over these, long 
leggings with feet attached, also of young deerskin, with 
hair worn outside. Moccasins, or short deerskin shoes, are 
pulled over the feet. Mits, made of deerskin from the legs, 
protect the hands. 

A butcher's knife suspended round the neck hangs 
down inside the u-u-pak. A small telescope, a rifle, a 
small bag (for ammunition, pipe, tobacco, and matches) 
slung over the shoulder, and the long snow-knife, with- 
out which the Husky never travels, complete the outfit. 
Head-gear the Huskies do not wear, but both the inner 
and outer deerskin coats are provided with hoods, which 
are pulled up in bad weather. 

The Husky mits and footgear cannot be excelled. 
White men who go north would do well to copy them. 

On November 13 we set out, but as the interest of this 
expedition did not lie in successful hunting, I shall now 
pass rapidly over the ground. 

We went up Baker Lake for a short distance, and then 
struck in a north-westerly direction. It was the intention 


of the Huskies to hunt the country between Baker Lake 
and Pelly Lake on Back's River. No white man had ever 
been over this country. Following up a small river which 
flows into Baker Lake, we made our first camp on a small 
lake. " Rugged " is the word which best describes this 
kind of country. The rock was of the granitic formation, 
with which every one who has travelled much in the 
Northland of Canada is familiar. In travelling there in 
winter, when snow is on the ground, the geological for- 
mation can always be studied. Nearly every exposure of 
rock is drifted clear of snow. 

Our two Huskies, Amer and Uttungerlah, proved them- 
selves experts in the quick construction of an iglu. It 
used to take them about an hour to build our temporary 
shelters. Darrell used to shovel snow on the top, and my 
job was to cut a water-hole through the ice with the ice- 

We delayed next morning to fish through the ice in the 
small lake on which we had camped. We caught two 
salmon and several large trout. 

The weather continued perfect, clear and cold. Deer 
were plentiful, and appeared in small scattered bands. 
The required amount of meat for ourselves and the dogs 
was generally procured without much trouble as we tra- 
velled along. We made a few caches of meat to be ready 
in the event of our returning the same way. 

About noon on November 21 we struck a large lake, 
and, after travelling on it for seven miles, we camped. 

This was Ti-her-yuak-lug-yuak Lake. It is twenty-eight 
miles in length, and lies about north-north-west and south- 
south-east. Like all other lakes in these parts, it is irregular 
in shape. 

The water from it flows east, and unites with the 
Quoich River, which discharges into the head of Chester- 
field Inlet. 

The going on the lake was splendid, and we made over 
five miles an hour. But we did not travel every day, for 


deer at times were scarce, and we had to halt for hunting. 
On these occasions the Huskies would start off long before 
daylight without any breakfast. They would take nothing 
with them in the shape of food, trusting to procure that 
with their rifles. Snow-knives, of course, were not for- 
gotten. When unsuccessful, one or both of them would 
remain out the whole night and continue the hunt the 
following morning, and if still unsuccessful, would not 
return till the middle of the night. "Nawk," uttered in 
a lugubrious voice as they crawled into the iglu, an- 
nounced that no deer had been killed. They would go 
without food of any kind for forty or forty-eight hours, 
and think nothing of it. 

When they went long distances to hunt I followed the 
chase in the vicinity of the camp, where Darrell remained 
to look after our stuff, and see that the dogs did not destroy 

Every evening when we camped, as soon as the iglu 
was completed, the Huskies cut large slabs or bricks of 
snow, and arranged them in two piles four or five feet high. 
On these supports the sleigh was placed, and our surplus 
"stuff " deposited on the top. It was fairly safe there from 
the curiosity of the dogs, which as a rule did not give 
trouble by eating skin lines, harness, &c., but could not 
quite be trusted. 

Deer appeared to be more plentiful towards the head of 
Ti-her-yuak-lug-yuak, but the country was very open and 
flat, and close approaches to them could not be made. I 
kept the party supplied with meat by long-range shooting 
with the Mannlicher carbines. To be of use here rifles 
should be sighted, and shoot accurately, up to 800 yards. 
Not many deer are killed at this extreme range, but a large 
number have to be shot at distances of from 300 to 500 
yards. At such distances deer were beyond the range of 
the Winchesters 44 to 40, or 38 Remingtons carried by the 
Huskies, but I was able to do good execution with my 
Mannlicher. Shooting at ranges of 700 to 800 yards is 


only practised should the party be starving and the deer 

Occasionally, in fact very often, deer in the Northland 
behave like mad animals. Sometimes when travelling 
on large lakes, and on very open flat country, where 
an attempt to stalk an animal would be waste of time, 
a band of deer will approach as soon as they see the 
dogs and sleigh. They will come right up within easy 
range, and even after several have been killed, the others 
will continue to run round and round the sleigh, and keep 
the party company the whole afternoon. Very often it is 
wiser to continue travelling, on the off-chance of deer be- 
having in this manner, rather than to go after them and 
attempt an approach on hopelessly open ground. 

On the " Barren Ground " the charge of cruelty cannot 
be brought against the practice of long-range shooting. A 
wounded beast need never be lost, for he will at once leave 
the rest, and, after going a very short distance, will lie 
down. An approach can then be made and the animal 
despatched, or, if that is not possible, a couple of dogs 
can be loosed, and they will soon account for a deer with 
a broken hind leg. Should the foreleg only be injured 
the dogs will have a chase, but they will get him. 

The nights were cold about this time, 32, 38, and 
40 were registered as minima. 

On November 23 I remained in camp. The tempera- 
ture in the iglu did not rise above 8 all day. 

On November 24 we crossed a divide and arrived at 
another largish lake, Ti-her-yuak-rar-yu. We had now left 
the waters of Lake Ti-her-yuak-lug-yuak, which flow east 
into the Quoich River. 

We saw a few ptarmigan as we travelled along. Only a 
very few of these birds remain through the winter on the 
" Barren Ground." They nearly all migrate south to the 
woods at the first approach of the very cold weather. 

Wolves and their tracks became more numerous, a 
certain sign that we were on or near musk-ox ground. 



Though unable to kill the full-grown animals, they are 
always on the look-out for small stray ones. 

In the evening when we camped the Huskies warne( 
us not to make any noise. They would not even permit 
the beating of the deerskins. Snow and ice accumulate on 
the deerskins, which are used as mattresses in the iglu, and 
they are beaten at night with a short stick carried for thi< 

November 25 was spent in scouting the country ahead, 
for we did not wish to run unexpectedly on musk-oxen. 
However, all was clear before us, and next day we con- 
tinued our journey north-north-west. 

On November 27 the wind, which had been west-north- 
west for many days, changed to the south-east. Th< 
weather became quite mild, and snow commenced to fall. 
It was no sort of day on which to look for musk-oxen 01 
their signs, for one could not see any distance through the 
snow-storm. However, the Huskies said they would just 
go a short distance and then return. Darrell and I re- 
mained in camp, and were busy fixing one of the rifles 
when the snow door was burst in, and Amer's head am 
shoulders appeared. Sweat was pouring down his face 
and neck. He had evidently returned in great haste. 
" Quick, quick, the dogs," he said ; adding, " I am afraic 
the musk-oxen have already smelt the iglu." 

We were out and away in a moment, each leading two 
dogs. A run of about three miles without snow-shoes, over 
broken and rocky ground, brought us, badly winded anc 
bathed in perspiration, to the spot where Uttungerlah 
awaited us. 

The musk-oxen (eight of them) had gone, of course. 
They had not got wind of the snow-house, but they hac 
smelt and seen the wretched Huskies, who had deliberately 
hunted down wind. This might have been excusable in 
flat and open country on a clear day, but it was a mad 
act of folly to commit when the weather was thick anc 
the ground much broken. 


The Huskies stood solemnly staring at the tracks and 
dung, all that now remained of the small band of musk- 
oxen. I returned to camp at once, and they followed at 
a short distance very shamefaced. 

Musk-oxen when disturbed leave for another part of 
the country. It is hopeless to follow them. 

That evening I remarked: "The next time we hunt 
musk-oxen we will go up, not down, wind;" and the 
subject was not again referred to, for I knew the Huskies 
were feeling very sore about it. Thermometer, 35 at 

We were now but a short distance from Pelly Lake 
on Back's River, which could be seen from a highish 
hill to the north of the camp. There is a large ex- 
posure of white or grey quartzite at this spot, very 
similar to that found on Marble Island. Fragmentary 
rocks were granitic. The quartzite, I believe, is classi- 
fied as Huronian. 

November 28 and 29 were spent in cruising the country 
far and wide in quest of musk-ox tracks, but none were 
seen. The weather was glorious, clear blue skies and cold. 
It was a pleasure to be out and travelling. Sometimes one 
would walk the whole day without seeing a living thing, or 
hearing a sound of any kind. 

This silence was very impressive, but I never found 
it in the least degree oppressive. In the climate of the 
north the feelings never become depressed. This is the 
only reason that I have been able to find to account for 
the wonderful spirits, the happy and cheerful dispositions 
of the Huskies. 

On November 30 a council of war was held in the early 
morning. The Huskies were anxious to return to Mawr- 
en-ik-yuak, fearing that their wives and families might be 
running short of meat. 

Uttungerlah proposed that Amer, Darrell, and myself 
should return with the dogs, and that he should take a 
small hand-sleigh and prosecute the hunt after musk-oxen. 


He said that he would not return without my " bones." I 
was anxious to secure a complete skeleton of a musk-ox, 
but I did not wish him to go off alone on a hunt and haul 
the bones the whole way back to Mawr-en-ik-yuak. He 
would have had a terribly tough time of it ; so this was 
rejected, and I proposed that one more day should be 
devoted to looking for tracks, and if we failed to find any, 
we should then bear up for home. This was finally carried. 
Next day, December i, we were unsuccessful, so it was 
decided to set out for the main camp at the foot of Baker 
Lake on the day following. 

Uttungerlah, who had been the guide of the party, was 
now out of his country. Since leaving Ti-her-yuak-lug- 
yuak Lake we had travelled over unknown ground. He 
proposed to travel about south-east and strike the east end 
of Ti-her-yuak-lug-yuak Lake, where we would find the 
outlet forming the head of the river, which would bring us 
to the Quoich River. 

On December 2 the return journey commenced. It was 
impossible to hold a very straight course, as the country 
was very rugged, but by following dips, hollows, and small 
lakes we were able to avoid most of the rocky ridges. The 
dogs were starving, for we had failed to get near any of 
the few deer seen. 

We struck the big Lake Ti-her-yuak-lug-yuak at 3 in 
the afternoon of December 4, and camped shortly after- 
wards. Our hours of daylight were very short. The sun 
rose at 10, and set at 2.30. 

Travelling across the east end of the lake we sighted 
the vapour rising from the open water at the outlet. The 
river takes a bend, so we kept on a straight course, intend- 
ing to strike it further down. 

We were in a bad way for meat now. We had none 
left, and the dogs had starved three nights already. Deer 
had been seen almost every day, but, in the calm weather, 
owing to the crusted condition of the snow, it was useless 
to attempt to approach them. In hunting, the man ahead, 


having sighted deer, at once signals to the others by raising 
his arms. I have invariably found that deer are more 
easily frightened by the sound than the sight of a strange 
object, and we were hoping for a high wind. On Decem- 
ber 7 it was blowing and drifting. No deer were seen until 
the afternoon, when one of the Huskies killed a female 
and calf. This was a godsend for the wretched dogs, 
which had not been fed for five days, and we camped 
at once. The Huskies appeared to think nothing of the 
dogs having wanted food so long. They said that they 
might be unfed for ten days and still be able to haul, 
and that they would not die of starvation for a long 

The river from Ti-her-yuak-lug-yuak, on which we were 
travelling, varied in breadth from forty to sixty yards in 
some places to between a quarter and half-a-mile at others. 
It appeared to be navigable for canoes, but one cannot 
judge of a river in the winter time. 

On December 8 the thermometer dropped to 40. 
Two wolves came close to camp, but were off before the 
rifles could be got out. 

It had often been a puzzle to me to account for the 
number of wolves which died of starvation during the 
winter, in a country where deer were so plentiful. I 
questioned the Huskies about this, and they replied that 
wolves had great difficulty in running down a deer. The 
safety of the deer, no doubt, lies in their number. If 
one is singled out and pursued, it does not go far before 
it joins another band, and the wolf, or pack of wolves, 
change their quarry a great many times. The deer seem 
to possess considerable staying power, as well as speed, 
and when once a wolf becomes weak his career is at 
an end. 

December n broke calm and cold. The minimum 
thermometer registered 48; in the afternoon, when we 
camped, the mercury in the maximum thermometer still 
remained a solid ball in the bulb. 


As long as there is no wind it is delightful to travel 
when the temperature is low. It is possible to travel fast 
without getting sweated, and when going slowly one does 
not get cold. When the wind begins to stir the change 
is at once noticeable. 

The Ti-her-yuak-lug-yuak River, on which we were 
travelling, was very crooked, and we must have gone 
fifteen miles to make seven in a straight line. On Decem- 
ber 13 we reached the spot w r here it joined the Quoich 
in its southerly course. The Quoich River appeared to 
be very much the smaller of the two, this being evidently 
one of its main tributaries. 

The following day we went east-south-east for eight 
miles down the Quoich River, and then struck due south 
overland, on a direct course for Mawr-en-ik-yuak. 

The weather continued cold. The maximum readings 
gave 33 and 35; the minimum 38 and 42. 

The country, after we left the Quoich River, became 
flat and prairie-like, with small scattered lakes. A few 
deer were killed, for we wished to take along a supply 
of meat in case the Huskies at the main camp had run 

The country remained flat and open, and the going 
was excellent until within a few miles of the shores of 
Baker Lake. It then became very rough and broken, 
almost mountainous, but the mountains were not high. 
We were obliged to pick and choose our way between the 
rocky ridges as best we could. Being compelled to leave 
our direct course, we struck Baker Lake too far west on 
December 16 at two in the afternoon. 

The going on Baker Lake was splendid, and as the 
Huskies said we should be able to reach the main camp 
that day we continued travelling. It was after six o'clock 
in the evening when the steam from the open water at the 
outlet loomed up like a column of smoke through the semi- 
darkness. It can never be called dark in the north, even 
in the dead of winter. 



Shortly afterwards the lights from the iglus blinked 
through the mist, the dogs set up their customary howl, 
and men, women, and children rushed out to welcome 
us. Thus ended the musk-ox hunt. Though unsuccessful 
in killing musk-oxen, we had enlivened the long winter 
by a pleasant expedition, and had kept ourselves in perfect 

We found the Huskies at Mawr-en-ik-yuak hard put 
to it for meat as usual. Deer had been killed and promptly 
eaten. No stock or store had been laid up. Nevertheless, 
of all the stuff which I had left in Amer's iglu, including 
biscuit, sugar, pork, and tobacco, nothing had been touched. 
Even two hind-quarters of meat, which I had told Amer's 
wife to eat if supplies ran short, had not been touched, 
Ithough she had starved. She said that she had been 
ifraid that if the white men failed to kill deer, they would 
>e hungry when they arrived. 



THE next day, a day of rest, was spent in talking about the 
musk-ox hunt, and in much smoking. 

I had now been both with Indians and with Huskies 
on a musk-ox hunt, and could compare notes. I had been 
successful with the former and unsuccessful with the latter, 
but that was the chance of war. With the Huskies we did 
not have a repetition of the hardships I had endured 
among the Indians. There was no suffering from thirst, 
from cold, or from sleeping cramped up under a heap 
of fighting dogs. With the Huskies we travelled with ease 
and slept in our iglus with perfect comfort. We did not 
suffer from hunger, and we were free from the annoyance 
of swarms of lice. 

I intended to return to Depot Island, and spend a few 
weeks in preparing to set out in the early part of February 
for the Arctic Coast. 

Four Huskies had already left Mawr-en-ik-yuak for the 
vessel, and as none of the others knew the way we were 
left without a guide. However, we hoped to be able to 
follow their sleigh tracks, for, on the packed and crusted 
snow, tracks do not become obliterated for a long time. 
In journeying over the Northland in the winter the services 
of a guide are not strictly necessary, but a man who is well 
acquainted with the country can be helpful to the traveller. 
He can take him along streams and small lakes so as to 
avoid the stony and rocky ground, which knocks the mud 
off the sleigh-runners, and causes much delay. 

I decided to take Amer and Uttungerlah to the Francis 



Allyn. The latter's son, Ilartnark, was told off to follow 
later with a sleigh, and as many dogs as he could rustle up. 
Both Amer and Uttungerlah had agreed to accompany 
me to the end of my long journey, or until I did not require 
their services any longer, but, as they had not the faintest 
idea where I was going, some explanation was necessary. 
They had easily learnt to read a chart. They could always 
point out our position and the different places in their own 
part of the country, which were laid down. 

I now laid out the chart and showed the proposed line 
of travel. I indicated Cape Barrow on the west side of 
Bathurst Inlet as the spot from which they could return. 
At the same time I gave them some sort of an idea of the 
distance, and a fairly correct estimate of the time it would 
take. I pointed out that we could either follow the route 
>n which we had travelled out to the musk-ox ground, and 
strike Pelly Lake on Back's River, or could go up Baker, 

Jchultz, and Aberdeen Lakes, and then strike north from 

^i-bi-elik Lake. I did not know if we would find deer in 
sufficient numbers along the latter route, and I wished 

lem to give me information on this head. According 
to this information I would decide as to the route. For 
the success of every long journey over the Northland, 
either in winter or summer, depends on the presence of 
deer in sufficient numbers along the route. Uttungerlah 
had already spent a winter on Ti-bi-elik Lake, and he said 
that in that neighbourhood there were fair numbers of 

leer, but none further west. He had heard that bull 
caribou remained all winter along Back's River. I knew 
that in March and April, when we should be travelling 
north, deer also would be going north, so I anticipated no 
scarcity, and decided to go up the lakes and strike north 
from Ti-bi-elik Lake. 

I had strongly objected to the women and children 
accompanying the party, for the journey would be long, 
the weather cold, and there would probably be times of 
scarcity, but on this point the Huskies remained obdurate, 


replying that they could not accompany me without their 
families, who would starve during their absence. But they 
promised to leave the women and children at Pelly Lake, 
under the care of Ilartnark, and with this arrangement I 
had to be content. 

I settled some details as to dogs, sleighs, and outfit, 
and arranged everything for an early start. There were 
many risks to be considered, one of them being that 
of an early spring. There is never much snow on the 
"Barren Ground," and a few warm days suffice to lay 
the country bare. If spring overtook us far inland on 
rough ground, we should have an almost impossible march 
over bare ground to the Arctic Coast. I therefore decided 
to begin that long journey not later than February 15. 

Before setting out for the whaler we had to put the two 
canoes in cache to be ready for our return. 

We carried them to an open sandy spot, which had 
drifted clear of snow, placed them bottom upwards, and 
laid beneath them the surplus stuff which was to be left 
behind. Loose, dry sand was then piled on them arM 
round the gunwales, and on this were thrown buckets of 
water, so that the canoes were frozen firmly to the ground, 
and the stuff was safe from the depredations of wolverines, 
the greatest robbers of the north. 

The weather continued perfect, cloudless skies and 
gentle breezes. Minimum readings for December 23, 24, 
and 25 were 39, 41, and 40, with maxima of 36, 
37, and 35. The cold was not felt, for there was little 
or no wind. 

On December 26 we set out for the Francis Allyn along 
the southern outlet from Baker Lake, and we camped for 
the night at the head of Chesterfield Inlet. 

The next day was quite mild. The dogs kept up a 
smart trot, and running proved hot work. Darrell and I 
first stripped off our deerskin coats, then our coats, and 
then mits and headgear were discarded. Bare-headed and 
bare-handed, and with coats off, we jogged along behind 




the sleigh. In the afternoon Amer shot a large bull, which 
had already dropped his horns. We then left the Inlet and 
struck north-east overland. The distance from the head 
of Chesterfield Inlet overland, in a direct line to Depot 
Island, is about 140 miles, but it is not possible to travel 
straight owing to the nature of the country. We even- 
tually covered more than 180 miles before reaching the 
vessel, but we went a great deal too far north. As we 
travelled, typical rugged country changed to undulating 
and flat prairie-like stretches. In places small lakes and 
streams were so numerous as to remind us of the Irish- 
man's remark "that all the land is water." Deer were 
numerous till within sixty miles of the coast ; there were 
none beyond. Very often they behaved in the foolish 
manner already described, and we could have shot them 
down by the dozen. At other times they appeared to be 
wary, and were difficult to approach. All the large bulls 
had by this time dropped their horns. We met with a few 
wolves, and occasionally shot one ; we killed also a white 
fox, but foxes appeared to be scarce. 

On January 5 we reached a moderate-sized lake called 
Ti-hlt-yuak. The river from this lake flows into Chester- 
field Inlet near Lake Harbour. Both river and lake were 
resorted to by the Huskies in days gone by. Leaving 
Ti-hlt-yuak Lake we crossed a small divide, and struck a 
river which flowed east. Here we found the sleigh tracks 
of the Huskies who had left Mawr-en-ik-yuak some days 
before us. We continued to follow this river, which was 
taking us direct to the coast, the land becoming lower, and 
the small lakes very numerous. 

We sighted the vessel soon after starting on the morn- 
ing of January 10, 1902, and about two o'clock in the 
afternoon we drove up at a smart trot. Dogs, which have 
hardly been able to keep up a slow walk, on approaching 
a vessel or a camp forget all about the heavy load and put 
on their best trot. We had spent sixteen days in travelling 
180 miles, an average of under twelve miles a day, and this 


may be taken as an ordinary rate. Huskies do not travel 
fast; they take numerous and long "spells" for smoking; 
they have often to spend a day or more in hunting, and 
sometimes are delayed by having to renew the mud on 
the runners of the sleigh. 

We found the crew of the whaler in good health and 
free from scurvy ; but an English lad had died from a 
night's exposure. He and a companion had been caught 
by a blizzard at some distance from the ship, and being 
unable to find the way back he had at once given in, 
while the other had kept his courage up. The companion 
had carried him as far as he could, and, when obliged to 
leave him, had continued walking about till found by a 
search-party in the morning. The English lad was found 
alive, but too far gone for recovery, and he died on board 
ship. His companion was none the worse for his night's 

The crew were out of fresh meat, though deer were 
plentiful only sixty miles from the vessel. 

Several iglus had been built close by ; in these lived 
the Huskies who formed the crews of one of the whale- 
boats. It speaks well for their smartness and daring that 
they are trusted for this work. 

When the whaling schooners bear up for home, it 
is customary to leave one or more of the whale-boats, 
together with the whaling - gear, such as darting - guns, 
harpoons, and lances, in charge of the natives, who pro- 
secute the whaling until the same vessel, or another be- 
longing to the same owners, returns. 

Life on board ship, though somewhat slow, passed plea- 
santly enough. Every day, weather permitting, I used to 
accompany the Huskies to the "flaw" to shoot seals. The 
"flaw" is the place where the open water commences. 
For a certain distance out from the shore the ice remains 
solid all winter, being kept in its place by the rocks and 
shallows. Beyond this is the open water or "flaw." 
When the wind, however, is from the east or south-east, 


large pieces of ice are brought in from the bay, and, if the 
weather is calm and cold, these become frozen to the shore 
ice, so as to form one compact sheet. There is then no 
open water for several miles. 

We used to drive to the " flaw " with dogs and sleigh, 
hauling a small skiff. 

We took up our position along the edge, and waited for 
seals to put up their heads. When one was shot, the skiff 
was instantly launched, and the seal brought on the ice. 
Clad in deerskins as we were, this was not the cold opera- 
tion that might be imagined. If the wind was not excessive 
we could remain for hours at this watching game, but it 
was very monotonous and not very productive. 

Eider-duck and one or two species of small divers were 
numerous, and some of the forecastle lads occasionally did 
fair execution among them with the scatter-gun. The 
captain was always willing to lend either rifles or guns to 
any of the crew. In this he was wise, for it induced them 
to remain out for air and exercise. 

When the main body of ice from the bay was penned 
in against the shore ice, the " flaw " was miles away and 
too far to reach. 

The Huskies used then to search along the ice for the 
blow-holes of seals and ugyuk (the large seal). When a 
blow-hole was found, the native would take up his position 
over it, and there await with poised harpoon the advent 
of the seal. In this they showed the greatest patience, and 
would remain for hours on the watch. A fair number of 
ugyuk were killed in this manner. 

When an ugyuk is harpooned several men unite in 
hauling it on the ice. All the Huskies who are out on 
the ice then gather round, and each touches the animal 
on the nose, implying that he has been in at the death. 
He may have been a spectator only ; but he is supposed 
to have assisted, and comes in for his share or strip of the 
skin. Walrus were sometimes hunted, but they were only 
to be found far out on the floe-ice. I only saw one at 



the "flaw." An eider-duck had been shot, and had fallen 
into the water about thirty yards from the spot where I 
stood. A walrus instantly appeared, and tried for several 
minutes to get its tusks over the duck, and so take it down. 
Whether this was in play, or whether it intended to eat the 
duck, I cannot say. A Husky eventually got a rifle, and 
shot but did not kill the animal. 

A few tracks of polar bear were seen occasionally, and 
one day, when we were on our way to the " flaw," a large 
bear was sighted. He was making his way across the ice 
at a great pace. The dogs were instantly loosed, and we 
all gave chase ; but the bear was too smart, and gained 
the open water before the dogs came up. 

The weather remained cold, but the skies were cloud- 
less, and we had sunshine every day. Although the days 
were short, we were blessed with a larger number of hours 
of sunshine during the month of January than I have ever 
seen in January in England. 

We lived in comfort on board. The deck-house, which 
was provided with a stove, was comfortable both day and 
night, and I used to sleep there in my sleeping-bag. The 
fare was good enough, but I missed the fresh deer-meat 
to which I had been accustomed. The captain said it was 
useless to send his Huskies out for deer, for they invari- 
ably returned empty-handed, having fired away all their 
ammunition and eaten all the deer they killed. I therefore 
determined to send Amer and Uttungerlah. The captain 
furnished a bag of biscuits and a can of molasses, and on 
January 19 they made a start for Ti-hlt-yuak Lake, the 
nearest point to the coast, where we knew that deer were 
in fair numbers. Two of the captain's Huskies decided at 
the last moment to accompany them. 

The deck-house over the quarter-deck was used as a 
general workshop, and on days when the weather was bad, 
and all hands were obliged to remain on board, it pre- 
sented a busy appearance. Harpoons and lances were 
ground and sharpened ; darting-guns were fixed ; in fact, 


all the whaling gear was overhauled and got ready for 
the spring, or early summer, whaling, which is carried 
on in the whale-boats for the first two months, or until 
such time as the vessel gets free from the ice. Some of 
the forecastle lads found occupation in making models of 
ships or small ornaments out of walrus tusks or whales' 

Literature was scarce on board, for the usual supply 
provided by the owners had been forgotten. 

However, there was endless entertainment in listening 
to the tales of adventures encountered in pursuit of the 
monsters of the deep, related by the captain and his 
officers. We had whales at breakfast, lunch, and supper, 
and all the hours between. If the subject of " whaling it " 
commenced, it continued the whole day. The captain 
would get fast to a whale long before breakfast, and would 
not kill it until that meal was finished. Then the mate 
would start in with a sperm and fighting whale, which, 
after killing all the men and smashing all the boats, was 
at length despatched, and ultimately gave the record 
number of barrels of oil. Now it was the second mate's 
turn. One could see that he had been holding himself 
in readiness. His experience had been with a bow-head 
which, after getting itself and the boats hopelessly tangled 
up in icebergs, was finally slain by the intrepidity of one 
of the men, who died shortly afterwards, as the wonderful 
men usually did. The third mate, who had been with 
difficulty restrained from breaking in with his experience, 
now got a show, but he had hardly got his boat clear 
of the vessel when some one else was fast to another 
whale, which yielded the record amount of bone. And 
so it continued, yarn after yarn, the stock of whales being 

January 25 was our coldest day on board (or, in fact, 
the whole winter), a minimum of 57 and maximum of 
37 being recorded. It was blizzarding at the time, and 
the weather not fit for travelling. Amer and Uttungerlah 


told me about this day on their return from the deer-hunt. 
In the morning they had managed to kill deer close to 
their iglu, but were obliged to remain inside the rest of 
the day. With the exception of a few days such as this, 
travelling in the Northland can be kept up the whole winter 
through, and with perfect comfort, if Huskies are included 
in the party. 

The deer-hunters returned on January 27 with a welcome 
supply of fresh meat. Uttungerlah had accounted for five 
deer, Amer for three, and the two Huskies from the ship 
had slain one apiece. 

I was getting a few things made by the Husky women, 
such as sealskin boots, deerskin moccasins, &c. Some of 
the women had their iglus close to the vessel on the ice ; 
others on the main shore. According to their tradition 
it is not lawful to sew and cut sealskin on land, or to 
perform any work on deerskins on the ice. If this un- 
written law be transgressed, a failure of the deer or seal 
hunt will inevitably be the result. This custom proved 
a great nuisance sometimes when we were travelling. The 
Huskies near the vessel overcame the difficulty by keeping 
some of the women on the shore busy on deerskins all 
winter, while others had iglus on the ice and worked on 
sealskins. In this manner the law was observed. 

On February 2, Amer and Uttungerlah, who had gone 
to the "flaw" in the morning, did not return, and I felt 
considerable anxiety about them. The main body of ice 
from the bay was right in, and the "flaw" was con- 
sequently a long way off. The ice was hummocky, the 
wind rose, and the snow drifted so that the men could not 
see to travel. They, however, made an iglu in which they 
spent the night, and next day they returned in safety. 
At such times, however, accidents may happen. While 
the men are a long distance out on the ice the wind may 
change and blow strong off shore. The main body of ice 
then breaks off, and is carried out to sea with the un- 
fortunate men on it who have not had time to return. 


Some years ago this happened. A party of Huskies, 
with their dogs and sleighs, and two whale-boats which 
had been hauled down fully equipped ready for the spring 
whaling, were all swept out to sea. They were given up 
for lost, and their wives went nearly frantic. Several days 
afterwards a weary and forlorn-looking Husky made his 
way on board. He spoke a little English. "My God, 
captain," he broke out, "both whale-boats and all the 
gear gone." The captain naturally was delighted to see 
a survivor, and replied : " Never mind the whale-boats ; 
where are the others ? " But this poor fellow could only 
think about the boats. " Huskies all right coming ; but 
the whale-boats and all the gear my God, captain all 
gone ; not our fault." The rest of the party dropped in 
one by one. They had been carried out on the ice, and 
drifted about for several days. They had built snow or 
ice-houses, and lived on their dogs. On the wind changing, 
the main body of drift ice was penned in against the shore 
ice, and they were enabled to reach land. This was near 
Marble Island, and they had walked for five days without 
eating and without resting. 

February 7 was a red-letter day, two large ugyuk and 
three seals having been harpooned at their blow-holes. 
One of the ugyuks was an enormous beast, almost as large 
as a walrus. Within it I found a large quantity of small 
smelts, besides prawns, shrimps, and a few small crabs. 
There must be splendid food in this bay, for all the seals 
and eider-duck (which are bottom feeders) are wonder- 
fully fat. 

The weather got slightly warmer about this time. The 
minimum and maximum readings taken for the days and 
nights gave a mean of 30.5 for the month of January. 

There was already a marked difference in the hours of 
daylight, especially noticeable in the morning. 

On February 14, a positive reading of two degrees was 
registered as a maximum. One felt inclined to rejoice 
that the backbone of the winter was broken at last, but 


I knew the cold weather is never over until the geese 
arrive. When one is properly clad, and living in an iglu, 
he can afford to laugh at the cold ; but, when travelling 
with dogs and sleighs, it is otherwise. 

The snow then becomes so powdery that it acts like 
sand on the runners, and makes hauling terribly heavy. 
I generally found the hauling heavy for the dogs when 
the thermometer stood below ten degrees. 

Uttungerlah's son, Ilartnark, had arrived with a sleigh, 
a wife, and four dogs. I was now informed that, in 
addition to Amer's wife and Pitzeolah, and Uttungerlah's 
two wives and family, I had to receive Ilartnark's two 
wives into my party. My Husky family was increasing 
by leaps and bounds. However, all the women and 
children, with Ilartnark in charge, were to be left at 
Back's River. They could fish and hunt during the 
summer, and the others would pick them up on their 
return. This was their own arrangement. They had 
evidently discussed the matter among themselves. 

The party was now in number sixteen human beings ; 
it included one of Uttungerlah's wives, who had a baby 
at the breast. " It " was to come along to help explore 
part of the bleak Northland. 



)N Sunday, February 16, 1902, we bade farewell to the 
captain and crew of the Francis Allyn, and were soon 
under way for the shore. The ice was smooth and the 
pace fair, considering the loads that were piled high on 
the two sleighs. 

I had managed to secure a few more dogs at the last 
moment, bringing the number up to eighteen, nine to each 
sleigh. We took along about 400 Ibs. hard tack, 160 Ibs. 
sugar, 40 Ibs. coffee, 150 Ibs. fat pork, 25 Ibs. gunpowder, 
60 Ibs. lead, about 80 Ibs. plug tobacco, 3 cans (15 gallons) 
kerosene oil for the "primus" stove, and a general assort- 
ment of trade articles for the Eskimo, whom we expected 
to meet along the Arctic Coast. This list of supplies seems 
a fairly large one, but we would be a large party before 
finally leaving Ti-bi-elik Lake, which was to be our starting- 
point for the north. 

At this time our company consisted of Amer-or-yuak 
and his wife Nanou, Ilartnark and his two young wives, and 
Uttungerlah, besides Darrell, Sandy, and myself. 

Uttungerlah's two wives and families we were to pick 
up at the head of Chesterfield Inlet. Pitzeolah, Amer's 
adopted son, we would pick up at Iglor-yu-ullig, where he 
had been sent to fish, and if possible to lay down a cache 
of fish for our dogs. He had been supplied with nets for 
this purpose. 

We could not have had a more favourable day for a 
start. The weather was bright, clear, and frosty, with a 
gentle north-west breeze. The going over the land was 


good, for the snow was packed hard. The dogs went a 
good three and a half miles an hour. 

We followed nearly the route by which we had come to 
the ship, and made fifteen miles by camp time. I was 
particularly anxious to reach Ti-hlt-yuak Lake in order to 
kill deer for the dogs. The only food supply we had for 
our dogs was a sealskinful of oil and blubber. Eskimo 
dogs will not eat biscuit unless they have been trained 
to do so. 

The next morning, after travelling for an hour, we 
struck Armit-or-yuak Lake. On this lake we travelled west 
about eleven miles. It is long, narrow, and irregularly 
shaped, with arms, bays, and inlets running in every 
direction. In the evening we came on a few fresh deer- 
tracks, a welcome and unexpected sight, apparently show- 
ing that some of the deer were already working their way 
towards the coast, and there was a chance of our falling in 
with a band at any moment. We made twenty miles by 
account before we camped. 

The next day, in beautiful weather, we knocked off 
another twenty miles, and camped within two miles of 
Ti-hlt-yuak Lake, which we reached next morning. 

On February 19 we had to face a strong north-west 
wind, and our faces suffered severely. The minimum 
thermometer in the night had registered 42, and the 
maximum during the day was 30. 

It is always cold travelling against any wind, however 
light, when the thermometer stands at or below 20. I 
did not happen to be wearing deerskin pants, and my legs 
became almost benumbed by the cold. Deerskins are the 
only clothes that afford protection against the Arctic cold. 
Woollen garments, no matter how thick they may be, are 
not suitable. As everybody knows, it is the layer of air 
within one's garments that keeps the warmth necessary for 
comfort. Skin clothes retain this layer of warm air better 
than anything else, and on that account form the most 
suitable clothing. 


Many people who ought to know better think that the 
Huskies do not suffer from cold. The only foundation for 
this supposition lies in the fact that the sufferers do not 
complain. Strong men and women are alike susceptible 
to frost, and their hands, feet, cheeks, neck, nose, and ears 
get frozen if not properly protected. On the other hand, 
they do not render themselves unnaturally sensitive to cold 
by indulging in fireside comforts, for they show no desire 
for a fire. 

The following day, February 20, we did not travel, as 
the sleighs required fresh mud on the runners. Amer 
went to hunt deer, but failed to sight any. He met a 
Husky, however, who was on his way from the head of 
Chesterfield Inlet, and reported plenty of deer within two 
days' journey. I was surprised to find no deer where they 

ad been numerous just six weeks before. But the deer 

f the Northland of Canada are for ever on the move, and 
about their habits, distribution, and migration it is very 
difficult to speak with certainty. I shall have something to 

y on this head later. 

On February 21, in going thirteen miles, we saw deer 
in four different places, and were able to give a square 

eal to the dogs, the first they had got since leaving the 


The weather continued cold at this time, the maximum 
reading during the day being always about 30, and we 

Iways had the prevailing west wind more or less in our 
aces. Next day was spent in hunting, but only one animal 
was killed, and that a small one. On February 23, at the 
usual hour, 8 A.M., we were once more moving slowly 
westwards. After travelling seven miles, which took us 
three hours, we struck a largish lake called Pung-ak-hi- 
or-wik, which means "The place where many large bull 
caribou were seen," " pung-ak " being the Husky name for 
\ a full-grown bull. We were now to the south of the route 
ky which we had travelled to the ship. Next day the 
minimum thermometer registered 42, and the maximum 


35, and with a strong north-west wind the snow was 
drifting thick. This was one of the few days on which it 
was too cold to travel against the wind. 

Uttungerlah went out to hunt, and shot three deer. 
All the tracks pointed to the west, so I was wrong when I 
wrote on February 17 that the deer appeared to be work- 
ing their way back towards the coast. 

On February 25 it was still blizzarding, but not so cold. 
Ilartnark started off with dogs and sleigh to haul the three 
deer killed by Uttungerlah, but he failed to find the cache 
owing to the thick drifting snow. On his way back, how- 
ever, he killed a deer, which he brought with him, so the 
dogs were fed. 

Next day, after travelling ten miles, we struck a smallish 
lake " Kummen-au-wet-yuak." Since leaving Ti-hlt-yuak 
Lake we had travelled over a flat or rolling prairie-like 
expanse, with no rocks and but few stones ; but, as we 
approached the coast of the Inlet, the country became 
broken and rocky. In travelling eighteen miles to the 
Inlet, on February 27, Amer was successful in killing four 
out of a band of six deer. The Huskies are good shots up 
to a distance of about 120 yards, and they take infinite 
pains in stalking a beast, invariably getting as close to it 
as possible, but they often spoil the whole show by attempt- 
ing to get too close. Next day Amer went to haul his deer, 
and shot a wolf on the way. When a Husky has killed 
and skinned a wolf he cuts off the forelegs, so that, if 
the animal should come to life again, he may not be able 
to run away. 

Here Uttungerlah went off to fetch his two wives and 
families, who were camped at a place called "Tiki-rar- 
yuak," on the south shore of the Inlet. He had intended 
to join us at Mawr-en-ik-yuak, but next day, March i, he 
sent a party on sleighs to request me to visit his camp. 
When we met his messengers we were near the south 
shore, and had only to cross a point of land to reach 
Tiki-rar-yuak, where we found several Huskies in camp 


>esides Uttungerlah's wives and families. There had been 
no scarcity amongst them, for deer had been and still were 

)lentiful in the vicinity. 

March 2 was a busy day at this place. Uttungerlah 
had to collect his own possessions, and the miscellaneous 
goods and chattels belonging to his two wives had to be 
looked through. He had a large box in which was stored a 
collection of rubbish, including a pair of old leather boots, 

)ld silk neckties, railway maps, and scraps of coloured 

;loth and paper, ornamented in various childish fashions. 
It goes to a Husky's heart to part with anything that has 
once belonged to a white man. I endeavoured to impress 
on Uttungerlah the uselessness of encumbering himself 
with anything not absolutely necessary for the journey. 
I explained that I wished to travel as light as possible, and 
that whatever he carried now would have to be brought 
back from the Arctic Coast. 

He replied that I was quite right, that he would take 
along nothing, but that it was very hard to leave things 
behind. With great difficulty did I prevail on him to leave 
behind the fashionable old pair of English boots which he 
had brought back after a visit to Winnipeg. He insisted 
that they would be good to wear in the summer time when 
the moss was wet, though knowing well that he would 
never wear them for fear of spoiling them. The desire 
on the part of attendants to collect and keep useless odds 
and ends is not peculiar to Huskies, but causes incon- 
venience to the traveller almost anywhere. I suggested 
that a cache of everything which was to be left behind 
should be made at Mawr-en-ik-yuak, but was told that this 
would not do, for the Kazan River Huskies, who often 
visited the place, would soon discover the cache and annex 

Although the Huskies preserve a sacred respect for a 
white man's belongings left in their charge, they do not 
appear scrupulous with regard to the possessions of their 
own people. Taking things from one another is not 


reckoned stealing. A Husky girl on board the schooner 
Francis Allyn, when I remarked that she was in possession 
of a certain article which I knew to belong to another of 
her tribe, replied, " I did not steal it, I just took it." 

Our projected journey was discussed again, but the 
original programme was adhered to. We were to travel 
up Baker, Schultz, and Aberdeen Lakes to Ti-bi-elik Lake, 
whence we would take a northerly course for Back's River 
and the Arctic Coast. All the women and children, with 
the exception of Nanau (Amer's wife), were to be left on 
Back's River for the summer, in charge of Ilartnark, who 
would be supplied by me with ammunition, lead, nets, 
and a few articles of trade. Nanau was to accompany 
us farther in order to keep our clothes and footgear in 

We still had about a week's supplies of biscuit, sugar, 
pork, &c. These were to be held in reserve in case of 
emergency, and we were to depend henceforth on caribou 
or musk-oxen over the long stretch of country which lay 
between us and Fort Norman, the Hudson Bay post on 
the Mackenzie River, which was our ultimate goal. 

I confess that I had considerable anxiety about our 
probable food-supply as far as Ti-bi-elik Lake ; but about 
the first week in April, when we should turn due north, the 
female deer would have started on their migration towards 
the Arctic Coast, near which they drop their young. 

In undertaking a journey without carrying sufficient 
supplies to keep the party alive, one assumes a great risk, 
especially if the journey is in winter. In summer one's 
nets usually provide an abundant supply of salmon, white- 
fish, and trout. There is then also a good deal of small 
game in the country, and the dogs require but little food 
during the warm weather. Nevertheless, it is exceedingly 
difficult to travel over the barren ground in summer if 
deer are scarce ; and in winter, or rather, during the cold 
months, it is impossible. 

On March 4 we left Tiki-rar-yuak, and next day reached 


lawr-en-ik-yuak, our old camp at the foot of Baker 

The weather was cold, minimum readings for March 4, 
and 6 being 41, 43, and 52, and for March 5 
e maximum 40. 

The two sleighs with which we had travelled from the 
jssel were already loaded high, and could carry no more, 
[owever, I had arranged for another sleigh and a few 
lore dogs, and I had also brought two planks from the 
Brands Allyn, for a cradle on the sleigh, on which it was 
>roposed to fit the two canoes. Amer-or-yuak proved 
ihnself a skilful carpenter, and we had no difficulty in 
laking the cradle, placing the canoes "nested" upon it, 
id fitting the whole upon the spare sleigh. There were 
jw things that Amer could not make. With his primitive 
)ls he could fashion a tobacco pipe, or build a sleigh, or 
up a broken rifle. 

We had a great quantity of stuff to find room for. 
Besides the indispensable articles, there were women's 
belongings, things which they said they would require 
next winter. These were contained in innumerable boxes 
and bags, and, if we could have carried more, still more 
would have been produced. 

In order to reduce the weight and bulk of the loads, 
I decided to give Uttungerlah and Amer, before starting, 
all the presents I intended to give them for past and future 

If I had not had complete confidence in these two men, 
I could not have done this. They could not possibly run 
away, Indian fashion, for their wives and children would 
be with us ; but, besides, I knew they would not plead sick- 
ness as an excuse for wishing to return. 

On March 8 the presents were equally divided between 
Amer and Uttungerlah, who subdivided them with others, 
when Ilartnark and Pitzeolah came in for a share. I had 
about 1 8 Ibs. of beads still remaining, and these I gave 
to the women. The sight of so many beads sent the 


fair ones nearly crazy with delight. The division, and 
a good deal of swapping which went on afterwards, was 
most amicably conducted. I now had only sufficient trade 
articles to pay our way among the natives along the Arctic 

A few more dogs were obtained, but a wolf took one 
of the best I had. The wolf was shot early next morning, 
and the remains of the dog, hair and all, were found 

On March 9, at half-past eight in the morning, we set 
out along Baker Lake with twenty dogs for the three 
sleighs, seven for one sleigh, eight for another, and five 
for the canoe sleigh. When travelling with dogs and 
sleighs it is customary with the Huskies to assist the dogs 
by hauling on a line. This is all very well when the loads 
are excessive, or the snow very stiff, or the way up-hill, 
but it is a bad practice to keep up continually. The dogs 
very soon understand the matter, and then the more you 
help the less they haul. 

The women and children all walked, and walked well. 

Cuckoo, Uttungerlah's wife, had an infant at the breast, 
but did not seem to mind this load. The youngster was 
carried naked in the hood of her deerskin coat. When the 
mother wished to feed the baby, she reached back over her 
shoulder and jerked the youngster out, sometimes setting 
it on the snow, which, though the thermometer was any- 
where between 30 and 50, it did not appear to 

There was a great difference in the length of the days 
now, and we could have travelled fast had we not been 
accompanied by the women and children. The going on 
the lake was excellent. 

On March 12 we passed the mouth of the Kazan River 
and camped on an island called Ok-pi-tu-yok, which means 
" The island where deer's horns, seen in the distance, were 
mistaken for willows." There are four islands close to- 
gether at this place, two of which are considered to be 


unlucky islands, and the Huskies give them a wide berth. 
To camp, or even to set foot on any one of them, would 
be followed by misfortune and death, according to Eskimo 
tradition. One may laugh at these childish superstitions, 
but do not superstitions as absurd linger among our own 
countrymen ? 

Deer were fairly plentiful along the south shore of 
Baker Lake, and our dogs were well fed. 

On March 13 we camped near the head of Baker Lake, 
about eight miles to the east of an Eskimo summer camp 
called King-ak, which means simply " Hill." 

The southern shores of the lake are very low. A range 
or ridge of hills runs parallel with the coast at a distance 
of about two miles. This range, commencing close to the 
Kazan River, extends almost to the head of the lake. A 
hill called No-a-shak stands about half-way between the 
Kazan River and the lake head, and eight or ten miles 
south from the shore of the lake. Circumstances did 
not permit me to visit it, but it is such a conspicuous 
landmark that I have marked its approximate position 
on the map. 

We were delayed on March 14 by a blizzard, when 
the thermometer stood at about 30. It was too cold 
for the children to face the icy blast from the north- 

Some of the Huskies went to fish through the ice, 
and caught eight trout, scaling about 7 or 8 Ibs. apiece. 
It must have been cold work ; but they built shelters with 
blocks of snow, and did not appear to mind the wind 
and drift. 

On March 15 we had a minimum reading of 51, 
and maximum 36. However, the wind had moderated 
and we set out ; but it was too cold for the mother and 
baby to travel, and they remained behind. We camped 
close to King-ak, at the head of the small bay which lies 
to the south of the inlet from Schultz Lake. I have not 
seen this bay marked on any map yet published. 


On my journey in 1899 we ran into this bay by mis- 
take. For once by going wrong we had gone right, for 
we met the Huskies at their summer camp, at King-ak ; 
they at once informed us that this was their route, and 
that they always made the portage from the head of 
this bay to the main river connecting Schultz and Baker 

A very small creek comes in at the head of this bay, 
which is certainly not navigable even for canoes. 

It is probable that this is the stream to which Captain 
Christopher makes reference in his remarks on his chart : 
" A small river, full of falls and shoals, not water for a 
boat." Captain Christopher, in 1761, was sent from 
Churchill, in the sloop Churchill, to examine Chesterfield 
Inlet and ascertain the possibility of a north-west passage 
in this direction. He ascended the inlet to a large fresh- 
water lake (Baker Lake), at the west end of which he 
saw the small river referred to. He then returned, and 
it would appear that he never saw the main river from 
the west. 

From King-ak we struck straight overland for the south- 
east bay of Schultz Lake, a distance of about thirty miles. 
This was the usual Husky winter route. We passed three 
lakes, and the country was fairly flat. Our course would 
have been straighter and shorter if we had made for the 
south-east bay of Aberdeen Lake and avoided Schultz Lake 
altogether, but we were obliged to go to Iglor-yu-ullig, a 
Husky encampment between Schultz and Aberdeen Lakes, 
in order to pick up Pitzeolah. 

We had now been just four weeks since leaving Depot 
Island, and we had travelled 230 miles by account. Delays 
had been frequent, caused by the necessity of hunting deer 
along the route, and also by the intensely cold weather 
and blizzards which we had experienced. With warmer 
weather, which would make easier hauling for the dogs, 
we expected to travel faster. We still had two months in 
which to cross the intervening country between Ti-bi-elik 


Lake and the Arctic coast. There had been no sickness 
either amongst ourselves or the dogs. 

On March 15, 16, and 17 we had minimum readings 
of 51, 51, and 49, which seemed low for the middle 
of March. 

We left King-ak on March 16 and reached Kunga- 
klwar-yu, as the south-east bay of Schultz Lake is called, 
on the I9th. Deer were seen in large numbers, and as 
many were killed as were required to keep the party in 
meat, but the country was very flat, and a close approach 
quite out of the question. The long-range rifles proved 

On March 22 and 23 we travelled slowly along the 
south shore of Schultz Lake. The weather was now much 
warmer. On these two nights minima were 1 and o 

The ice, which was six feet thick on the lake, presented 
a smooth and unbroken surface, and with the rise in 
temperature the sleighs slipped along easily. 

We could have made long journeys every day, but 
so numerous were the "spells" for smoking and talking, 
that we rarely made more than twelve miles. There was 
no necessity to hurry, deer were plentiful, and the dogs 
were faring well. Every one appeared to be enjoying 
the trip. 

One day I made the unwelcome discovery that our two 
remaining cans of kerosene oil for the "primus" stove 
were both leaking. Small cracks which could scarcely 
be detected by the naked eye, and which were too small 
to plug with anything, had opened, and through these our 
precious stock of fuel was leaking at a rate that promised 
to empty the cans in a couple of days or so. This was 
something new and unexpected. I had never before 
travelled with kerosene oil in tin cans in the very cold 
weather. The cracks were caused, I fancy, partly by the 
intense cold, and partly by the jolting of the sleigh. 

On March 25 we arrived at Kunga-kluk, near the foot 



of Aberdeen Lake. We had passed Iglor-yu-ullig, which 
lay a short distance to the north of us, but I had sent 
a man to fetch Pitzeolah, and he arrived in the evening. 
Pitz had arranged to get married, but his girl had gone 
off with the Kazan River Huskies. He was not breaking 
his heart about this, however. He said any other woman 
would do as well, and he did not want any woman until 
his return from the Arctic coast. 

For the last day or two we had walked without our 
deerskin coats, and sometimes the weather was so warm 
that life in a snow-house was decidedly unpleasant. The 
backbone of the winter had been broken. 

On March 26 all the Huskies who had been in camp 
at Kunga-kluk and Iglor-yu-ullig came to pay their respects. 
They brought what they had to give us, which was not 
very much ; but one man supplied enough fish to give 
all our dogs a good feed, and another presented some 

Of course they were out of tobacco, ammunition, and 
everything else. Primers (Winchester) for reloading their 
cartridges were always in demand. 

To run short of ammunition is a very serious matter 
for the Hudson Bay Huskies, for, when they became accus- 
tomed to the use of the firearms supplied by the traders, 
they entirely discarded bows and arrows. In winter, how- 
ever, they trapped caribou, and at this place I had an 
opportunity of inspecting their pitfalls, or " kud-gi-tak," 
as they call them. 

In a deep snow-drift they dig an oblong pit about 
six feet deep, and then with blocks of snow build up 
walls about four feet high, so that for the deer there 
is a fall of about ten feet. An easy slope leads up 
to the very thin roof of snow, and the structure has a 
natural appearance. The deer are very fond of lick- 
ing the snow on which dogs have deposited their urine, 
probably on account of the salt it contains, and of this 
queer taste the Huskies take advantage in laying down a 


bait, so that large numbers of deer are captured. Deer, 
however, must be numerous for a fair chance of success, 
and the pitfalls must be closely watched ; for, as soon as 
a beast falls into a pit, he commences to fight and worry, 
and if he dies from exhaustion, as he soon does, the flesh 
is almost uneatable. 

Iglor-yu-ullig has a wide reputation among the Huskies 
as a fishing place. There must be springs in the river 
here, for even during the most severe winters the ice never 
attains a thickness of more than two or three inches. I 
had given Pitzeolah nets, but he had not been successful, 
not knowing how to set them underneath the ice. White- 
fish and toolabies cannot be taken with a hook, but in 
winter they are speared in this manner : Through a longish 
hole cut in the ice the skin of a fish is passed down into 
the water, head up stream. This skin, being distended 
with water so as to have a natural appearance, acts as 
a decoy, and, when live fish approach, down comes the 
Husky's spear. 

For two days the weather was so warm that it \vas not 
advisable to travel, lest we should have trouble with the 
mud on the sleigh runners ; but on March 28 it was a little 
cooler, and we resumed our journey, accompanied by 
several Husky families from Kunga-kluk, who were bound 
for Ti-bi-elik Lake to get drift-wood for the construction 
of their kyaks the following summer. Among us we had 
over forty dogs, and I forget how many men, women, and 
children. Large numbers of deer stopped us soon after 
midday, when we had only travelled twelve miles, for it 
was necessary to procure meat. There was no cover either 
on the land or on the lake for making an approach. By 
running at the bands of deer, we managed to get within 
long range and killed three, but this sort of shooting runs 
away with ammunition. 

Next day we camped half-way up Aberdeen Lake. 
Deer were very numerous, nearly all females ; but our 
Husky friends were badly armed, and all we killed fell 


to the Mannlicher carbine, and to Amer's and Uttun- 
gerlah's Remingtons. 

On March 30 we did not travel. This was the first day 
when it was possible to dry our socks and moccasins by 
the heat of the sun. All through the long winter they had 
had to be dried by the heat of our bodies every night, 
causing tedious and unpleasant but unavoidable work. 

On March 31 we camped close to the head of Aberdeen 
Lake, where we found plenty of small drift-wood, which 
had, of course, come from the Ark-i-llnik River, and next 
day reached Kek-ek-tellig, the name of which in the Husky 
language means "There is an Island." This is an impor- 
tant place for spearing deer in the summer time. 

We had been starting at an early hour and camping 
late, and would by this time easily have reached Ti-bi-elik 
Lake but for the spells for smoking, which were frequent 
and lengthy. When I remarked to the Huskies on the 
amount of time this wasted, they exploded with laughter, 
and seemed to think it an excellent joke. Smoking ap- 
peared to be the most important affair in a day's journey. 

Deer were numerous at the head of Aberdeen Lake, and 
now there were more bulls than cows. The horns of the 
bulls were just commencing to show in the shape of two 
small soft knobs about one inch in length. The growth of 
the deers' horns is carefully watched by the Huskies, for 
by it they think they know all about the coming weather. 
They now assured me that it wou<Id be a late spring, and 
that there would be plenty of snow and good hauling 
for another two months, or until the deer's horns were 
one foot high. 

Next day, April 2, the Huskies requested me to camp 
early, as they were hungry for fish, and we were passing 
a good fishing place. One trout weighing 26 Ibs. was 
hauled up through a hole in the ice by hook and line. I 
shot two large bulls in the evening, and as drift-wood 
along the shores was plentiful, meat was boiled for all 


The next day, April 3, saw us in camp on Ti-bi-elik 
Lake, whence our course was to be north instead of west. 
We remained at Ti-bi-elik Lake for a day in order to get 
tent-poles for Ilartnark, and for our own tent. I boiled 
three thermometers, and they all registered 211.4 Fahr. 
(as corrected). The altitude of Ti-bi-elik Lake was about 
313 feet. The temperature at ni^ht continued low; mini- 
mum readings showed 31, 35, 33, and 31. 

On April 5 we turned northwards towards the Arctic 
Coast. It was my intention to follow as nearly as I could 
by dead reckoning the meridian of 101 west long. 

Ti-bi-elik Lake is about six miles across, as nearly as I 
could judge. I was carefully pacing the distance, when a 
sudden and unexpected north wind sprang up, and in a 
few minutes it was blowing a blizzard. We were com- 
pelled to make the north shore as best we could, and then 
all hands went to work at once to construct snow-houses. 
It was not very cold, but it was necessary to camp, for 
we could not see a yard ahead, and we were now on 
strange ground. 

The building of snow-houses in a blizzard is not plea- 
sant work, but the labour is fully paid for by the comfort 
and quiet enjoyed inside them. 

Travelling northwards for nine miles next day, we 
passed over flat and undulating country, with a few low 
ridges and knolls here and there, these last being almost 
clear of snow. There were no rocks in situ, but red 
sandstone debris was in evidence wherever the ground 
was free from snow. 

It was exceedingly difficult to keep accurate reckoning 
of distance travelled, and even of direction. The bare 
patches of ground obliged us to keep constantly winding 
in and out, and as hunting had to be carried on, I was 
often obliged to leave the sleighs, and not return till the 
evening. This was the driest part of the Northland of 
Canada that I had been over ; we only found one small 
lake, and on this we camped. 


Next day, April 7, we made fifteen miles, travelling in 
the forenoon over similar country, but in the afternoon 
the sandstone debris gave place to granite fragments and 
boulders. I boiled two thermometers, which registered 
211 Fahr. The temperature of air was at 28, and the alti- 
tude, therefore, about 515 feet above sea-level. 

Hunting delayed us again, deer being numerous, mostly 
cows and small bulls. They did not appear to be going 
north, but were feeding^ travelling in any direction. They 
were absurdly wild, and, as there was no wind and the 
land was flat, several attempts were unsuccessful, but Amer 
at length killed one, which provided the dogs with a scanty 

On April 8, after crossing two little lakes, we came to 
a small ridge, which I took to be the divide between the 
waters flowing south into Ti-bi-elik Lake and those flowing 
north into Back's River. The land was still flat for stretches, 
then rising into small, low ridges and sand hillocks. 

Deer were numerous, bulls, cows, and calves (last year's, 
of course), but attempts to procure meat failed till Uttun- 
gerlah succeeded in killing a bull. 

Stones on the tops of knolls, which we observed in 
the evening, had evidently been placed there by the Back's 
River Eskimo, and seemed to indicate that we were now 
over the divide. 

Next day, after travelling about four miles, we struck a 
river flowing north. This I knew would lead us to Back's 
River, and might be either the McKinley or the Buchanan 
River, or possibly a tributary further west. It was decided 
to follow it, for although most rivers in the Northland are 
very crooked, still it is always easier hauling on the ice than 
over the land. 

We could see deer in every direction, and shot four 
large bulls, one of which weighed 280 Ibs. (live weight) ; the 
horns were still only i-inch knobs. Four musk-ox tracks 
had been seen the day before, so that we had no cause for 
anxiety at present about our meat supply. 


The river we followed turned out eventually to be the 
Buchanan River. In its upper course it was small, con- 
fined by banks generally low and sloping, but high in 
places. The land on either side consisted of small, sandy 
hills. The ice on the river was seven feet thick. 

On April 10 we journeyed fifteen miles north, and 
reached a lake, on which we camped. 

On the west side of this lake we saw a flat-topped gravel 
hill, about 120 feet high. It appeared to be almost an 
island, with steeply sloping banks on one side and cut 
banks on the other. It had no special interest, except as 
a very conspicuous landmark in a country where very few 
landmarks exist. 

I regretted exceedingly at this time that I was without 
the means of ascertaining my longitude, especially as there 
is a large discrepancy, as to longitude, between the maps 
and the charts, which I might have been able to correct. 

Hitherto I had failed to use my half chronometer 
watches with satisfactory results. This may have been due 
to my carelessness, but, in my opinion, the conditions of 
travel in the north are much too rough to permit one to 
carry Greenwich time. 

I had with me a map by J. B. Tyrrell, of the Canadian 
Geological Survey Department, but as he had never visited 
Back's River, it is to be presumed that this part of his map 
was copied from one of the older maps, or possibly from 
Back's own survey. I also had with me the latest Admiralty 
charts. The discrepancies were : (i) On Tyrrell's map, the 
longitude of the west end of Baker Lake was given as 97 W., 
and on the charts as nearly 99 W. ; (2) On Tyrrell's map 
the mouth of the Buchanan River was put at 102 10' W., 
and on the charts at 103 10' W. 

There was splendid feeding for the deer, which were 
numerous all along the river, the ground being covered 
with moss and lichens. 

There is a good deal of misconception respecting the 
migratory habits of the caribou. Thus, Mr. J. B. Tyrrell, 


in his Geological Report on the Doobaunt and Kazan 
Rivers, says with reference to the " Barren Ground " cari- 
bou : " A better knowledge of the habits and distribution 
of this animal would have saved us much suffering, but 
that knowledge was not then available." My experience 
convinces me that such knowledge respecting this animal 
is at no time available. 

There is no doubt that caribou migrate. They go 
south in large herds in autumn, and north in spring. They 
cross the country east of Great Slave Lake, round Artillery 
Lake, and some distance east of it. They do not appear 
on the main Ark-i-llnik River, but between Aberdeen and 
Schultz Lakes they pass with some regularity. The migra- 
tion takes place on such a large scale, and over such a 
wide tract of country, that it has been assumed that all 
caribou migrate. The fact seems to be that the majority 
of the animals remain in the north throughout the year. 
I have myself shot caribou in winter along the west coast 
of Hudson Bay, and inland from the Bay ; along the north 
and south coasts of Chesterfield Inlet ; in the country 
north of the head of the Inlet as far as Garry Lake on 
Back's River, and along Back's River. I have also killed 
them to the north and south of Baker, Aberdeen, and 
Schultz Lakes in winter, and I know others who have 
killed them in winter in the country about Wager River 
and Repulse Bay. On the Arctic Coast, at White Bear 
Point, and on Kent Peninsula, and at other places which 
will be mentioned later, caribou are always to be found 
during the winter. Thus, I think it may be held as proved 
that very great numbers of caribou do not migrate. In 
fact, if deer left the north in winter, the Eskimo on Back's 
River and southwards would have to leave it also, for their 
food is mostly deer's meat, the little musk-ox meat, seal, 
and fish they eat being scarcely worth considering. It is 
quite true that the animals which remain in the north 
frequently change their ground. They wander about ; but 
their movements are not migratory. 


The third point to be noticed is, that while many deer 
migrate, the course they will take cannot be predicted. 
The Yellow Knife and Dog Rib Indians and the Eskimo 
are careful observers of their movements, since their living 
mostly depends on the passing herds. They often state 
with confidence beforehand when and where deer will be 
found, but the information they give turns out wrong as 
frequently as right, and when they are shown to have been 
mistaken, they can only say that they have never known 
it so before. The fact that famine befalls both Indians and 
Eskimo through failure of deer shows that they do not know 
the habits of these animals. If the natives are intimately 
acquainted with the habits and movements of these animals, 
why are they in some years unable to hit off the migrating 
bands ? Why do those who depend on deer's meat for a 
living periodically starve, when the woful cry of " et-then- 
ule " (a Chipewyan word, meaning " no-deer ") comes 
floating into the nearest Hudson Bay fort, to be shortly 
followed by a ragged, broken-down and starving band of 
men and women, children and dogs, a truly deplorable 
sight ? 

Deer used to be abundant on the Mackenzie River, at 
Fort Simpson and Fort Providence, but for many years 
none have passed that way. The migrating herds one year 
may pass close to the east end of Great Slave Lake, and the 
next year so far to the east as to be inaccessible to the 
Yellow Knives and Dog Ribs. In the fall of 1896 the 
Indians with whom I was hunting musk-oxen told me, that 
on our return to Fond-du-lac we should find no deer, but 
when we reached Artillery Lake we found the country 
swarming with deer, a moving mass, and the bands ex- 
tended westwards along Great Slave Lake to within a 
hundred miles of Fort Resolution. The Indians could only 
say that they had never seen it so before. 

It would appear that information respecting the migratory 
habits of the caribou cannot be obtained, because, beyond 
the broad facts of the annual movements, the animals 


do not have settled habits. They have no definite routes, 
and seem not to remember the crossing-places. Though 
holding generally in a northerly or southerly direction, 
they appear to wander aimlessly, for they will strike 
a large lake, like Aberdeen or Baker Lake, in the middle 
of the shore, and then follow it till they find a channel 
which they can swim. One day I saw a large bull 
speared while swimming across Chesterfield Inlet. Why 
was he swimming there if he knew of the crossing- 
places ? 

On April n we continued down the Buchanan River, 
which took us a very straight northerly course, though 
occasionally it would swing off north-north-east, or north- 
north-west. It maintained a varying breadth of from 300 
to 600 yards, and flowed with a very slow current over a 
wide shoal sandy or gravel bed with occasional boulders. 
There were no rapids. The land on either side was flat 
or undulating and prairie-like ; it was covered with moss 
or grass. 

Towards camping-time the land became more broken 
and hilly, a sure indication, as I took it, that we were 
approaching Back's River. 

We had trouble that evening in getting water, for 
nowhere could we find a greater depth than six feet, 
and to that depth the river was solid ice. 

The next day, April 12, as we travelled, expecting soon 
to come on Back's River, Darrell spied a Husky in the 
distance. Sending two of our men to intercept his retreat 
and bring him to me, we continued down the river until we 
met. This native's name was It-ke-lek, and he belonged to 
Back's River. He was armed with bow and arrow, and 
carried the copper snow-knife, which is never left behind. 
His iglu was but a short distance away, and, at his invita- 
tion, we steered for it and camped alongside. The language 
or dialect he spoke differed considerably from that spoken 
by my natives, but they appeared to have little difficulty in 
conversing freely together. He invited us into his snow- 


house, set before us a large hind-quarter of caribou, raw, 
and entertained us in the best way he could. 

It-ke-lek was a typical Husky in build ; sturdy, large- 
boned, and strong, with a very pronounced hook nose, 
which is by no means uncommon among the Huskies. 
His wife was a wonderfully active, strong woman about 
middle age. She had four children with her and three 
were away, the largest Husky family that I have come 
across, but probably three or four of them were adopted 

Their iglu was clean and tidy. They possessed nothing 
made by white men except three short knife-blades fitted 
into bone handles, the three having evidently been made 
from one large blade. A present of a butcher's knife, a 
file, and some needles delighted them, and the man pro- 
mised to accompany us a short distance on our journey 

We only now discovered where we actually were, and 
that it was the Buchanan River we had been following. 
We were within a very short distance of its junction with 
Back's River (Henning-ei-yok), but, instead of following 
its curve to the west, we were to take a straight cut 
across country to the spot where Back's River flowed 
into Pelly Lake. 

It-ke-lek stated that there were only nine families of 
Huskies on Back's River altogether, and that his was the 
only one in the vicinity. They lived a good deal by 
fishing. In the winter they depended mainly on their 
kud-gi-tak (the pitfalls for deer already referred to) to 
supply them with deer's meat. He had just found two 
deer in his traps when we met him. In summer they 
speared deer at the crossing-places. 

Questioned about Back's journey, he said that his 
father had told him that, long ago, two large boats (Back 
had only one) and about twenty white men (Back had 
about half that number) had come down Back's River 
and returned again the same summer. He was a small 


boy at the time and did not remember it. Back descended 
and ascended the river in 1834. This man could not be 
more than forty years of age, and his statement could 
not possibly be correct. I asked him if he was sure it 
was not his father who was the small boy when Back 
passed, but he adhered to his original statement. 

We were the first white men that he had seen. 

He informed us that the Huskies along the Arctic 
coast were numerous, and that shortly they would be 
leaving the coast to come inland and hunt deer. Musk- 
oxen he reported scarce, both to the north and south of 
Back's River. 

Red bears (Ursus arctus richardsoni) were also stated 
to be very scarce. It-ke-lek had never seen a live one 
himself. Salmon occasionally ascended as far as the 
Buchanan River. White - fish, toolabies, and trout 
abounded in the lakes and rivers. The Back's River 
Huskies seldom starved, for deer remained all winter in 
large numbers. No copper was to be found on Back's 



ON April 13 we were detained by a strong north-west wind 
which raised considerable drift, but next day we resumed 
our journey. After following the Buchanan River a short 
distance down we struck north-east for five miles across the 
land, and reached the south-west shore of Pelly Lake. A 
run of six miles in the same direction over the lake brought 
us to its north shore. 

One of our dogs, " PQka," became ill during the day, 
foaming and bleeding at the mouth, and shaking all over. 
The Huskies informed me that this dog would certainly die, 
and that all the others would probably take the sickness, 
which was common at this time of year, and die. In the 
evening, however, they said that sometimes only one or 
two of the dogs took the sickness and died. I should have 
shot the sick dog at once, but at their request waited. He 
died two days later. We were not yet half-way to the 
Arctic coast, and to be left without dogs was not pleasant 
to think of. 

The following day, April 15, we did not travel, as Uttun- 
gerlah decided to leave the women and children at this 
spot, with Ilartnark in charge. I gave them powder, lead, 
primers, matches, tobacco, and a small stock of " trade," 
sufficient to last them until Amer and Uttungerlah 

During the afternoon Uttungerlah presented himself, 
and implored me to take along his wife Panning-ei-yak and 
her two children. This was strictly against the terms of 
our contract, and I told him so. He replied that he under- 
stood this, and that though he could not make up his mind 



to leave them behind, he would do whatever I told him. I 
pointed out that he would be very foolish to take them 
along ; that they were already a long way from their own 
country, and that in the event of sickness or starvation they 
would be better off where they were. He replied, that of 
course I was right, that his mind was now made up, and that 
they would remain behind. He changed his mind twice 
after this. In the evening he said that unless I absolutely 
refused he would like to take them, as they wished very 
much to come. I told him that it was a matter of indiffer- 
ence to me, but that he was very foolish. He promised to 
think it over during the night. Eventually the woman and 
her two children came along. Such is Husky indecision. 

The company of the women and children is at times a 
great nuisance, but the Husky himself is much better satis- 
fied by having them, and there is no chance of his dream- 
ing of a sick wife or child, and on that account wishing to 
turn back. 

Our plans again came up for discussion. I laid out my 
charts, and explained to my Husky friends their best way 
back from the Arctic coast ; how from Cape Barrow they 
could travel south to the head of Bathurst Inlet, whence 
the portage over to Back's River could be made ; they 
could then descend the river in the canoe which I had 
promised to give them, or, if too late in the year for that, 
they could wait for the "freeze up," and travel down on 
the river ice to Pelly Lake, and meet those left behind. 

Our own plans depended a good deal on the season, 
and on what we should hear from the Arctic Coast 
Huskies. The original programme would probably be 
adhered to, but alternative routes were discussed. We 
could return from the Arctic coast by portaging from 
the head of Bathurst Inlet to Back's River. We could 
then ascend Back's River and so reach Aylmer Lake, 
whence it is an easy canoe journey to Great Slave Lake ; 
or we could make the portage to the Ark-i-llnik River, 
and return the same way we had come. Either of these 


routes offered good prospects of reaching Fort Resolution 
on Great Slave Lake by September i, and then Edmonton 
and civilisation could be reached before the " freeze up." 

Here I boiled two thermometers and both read 211 5', 
the temperature of the air being 30 Fahr. This gives the 
altitude of Pelly Lake as 260 feet above sea-level. The 
distance we had travelled since leaving the Francis Allyn 
two months before we roughly estimated at 560 miles. 

The following day, April 16, we bade farewell to Hart- 
nark and his two wives, Cuckoo and her baby, and another 
little girl who had accompanied us, and proceeded on our 
journey. We searched for the mouth of a small river, 
which, according to information supplied by It-ke-lek, 
flows into the north-west part of Pelly Lake from the 
north, but when we had gone a short distance the weather 
became thick, and we were obliged to camp. Next day 
it was still thick, and we remained in camp, but in the 
afternoon the hunters shot three female deer, all being 
with calf. 

I anxiously watched our dogs at this time, but all ap- 
peared lively enough, and if a readiness to fight was a sign 
of health, they were all right. 

On April 18 we resumed our journey on Pelly Lake, 
following an arm or narrow bay running in a northerly 

Just before camping-time a large band of bull caribou 
came trotting up towards us in the foolish manner I have 
already described, and would not be driven away. I shot 
two, all we wanted. The Huskies luckily did not happen 
to have any cartridges handy, or there would have been 
slaughter. The bulls' horns were still only small knobs, 
and the Huskies prophesied much cold weather yet. They 
said that even when the horns had attained the length of 
a man's arm there would still be good hauling on the 

It would be interesting to ascertain whether prolonged 
cold weather in the spring of the year has the effect of 


retarding the growth of the deer's horns. This is the 
supposition on which the Huskies base their theory. A 
very sudden change from a late winter to an early summer, 
which is by no means uncommon, would upset this theory. 
Their answer would then be " that it had never happened 

We had another day of rest on April 19 on account 
of thick weather. 

In this form I used to keep track of our direction 
and distance travelled. 

N. z\ miles on arm of Pelly Lake. 

N. 2 miles on a winding course up small stream. 

N.W. 3 miles 

N.N.W. z\ miles travelled on small lakes and land. 

N.N.W. 3! miles 

N. \\ miles ,, 

Total, 15 miles. 

On April 20, after travelling about T.\ miles, we came 
to a place where the Arctic coast Huskies had made 
caches of meat the preceding fall, so we knew that we 
were on the right track, but we still failed to strike the 
small river described by It-ke-lek. 

The Huskies, when out of their own country, complain 
incessantly that they are lost. They are greatly afraid of 
taking their white masters wrong, and being blamed for 
it. On my former journey Miluk, the Husky who then 
accompanied me, flatly refused to go ahead of the dogs 
when we got north of Marble Island, and he was out of 
his own country. We did not now find the proper track, 
but this was not a bad country to get lost in ; it contained 
plenty of deer, and plenty of moss and heaths to cook the 
meat with ; an abundant supply of good water, and any 
amount of snow for house-building purposes. The land 
was low and undulating with occasional gravel knolls 
and ridges, but became very rugged where granite rocks 


The weather was now getting considerably warmer, and 
for two days we had maximum readings well above 32. 

On April 21 an observation of meridian altitude of the 
sun placed us in latitude 66 25' 26" N. 

In camp I boiled two thermometers and they both 
read 211.2. The temperature of the air being 29, the 
altitude was about 414 feet above sea-level. 

The country was now very flat, one vast expanse of 
snow as far as the eye could reach, broken only by an 
occasional granite boulder. I was expecting to reach a 
largish lake called Ti-her-yuak, the existence of which 
had been reported to us by It-ke-lek. From this lake 
a river flowed direct to the Arctic Ocean, and this was 
the route usually followed by the Arctic Huskies when 
they journeyed to the Ark-i-lmik River to procure wood 
for their sleighs. 

The name Ti-her-yuak appears to be a common or 
general name for a lake. Kummenik is used in much 
the same way for a large lake, such as Pelly Lake. 

Deer were seen in large bands in the evening. They 
now appeared to be moving north, for all the tracks were 
heading in that direction. 

I was much surprised at the absence of all signs of 
musk-oxen in country which I thought was the very centre 
of the musk-ox land. This was afterwards accounted 
for by the Arctic Huskies, who explained that on their 
route to the Ark-i-linik River all the musk-oxen had been 
either killed or driven off ; but that if we had travelled for 
a day, either due east or due west, we would have come 
on them. 

In spite of the warm weather the mud on the runners 
of the sleighs still stuck on, but the Huskies took great pre- 
cautions. Every time we " spelled " snow was immediately 
shovelled over the runners to keep off the heat of the sun. 

These "spells," or intervals for rest, originated with the 
idea of giving the dogs a few moments to regain their wind. 
They had now been turned into long intervals, during 



which all the dogs fell sound asleep stretched out full 
length on the snow, and the Huskies, after they had smoked 
tobacco, slept and snored. The children very often played 
at a game of baseball, which they had picked up from the 
American whalers. 

On April 22, after travelling only two miles, we struck 
Ti-her-yuak Lake. We had not followed the precise route 
taken by the Arctic Huskies, for we struck the lake, not at 
its head, but about half-way down. According to It-ke-lek 
this lake is of considerable size ; he had said we would 
travel on it for a whole day, thus indicating a distance of 
about fifteen or sixteen miles. We reached its foot after 
travelling only eight and a half miles. The lake extended 
away to the south as far as we could see. 

Like other lakes in the Northland it is very irregular in 
shape, full of rocky or stony islands, and confined by low 
rocky shores. On arriving at the foot of the lake we had 
difficulty in finding the outlet, so an early camp was made, 
and several of the party went out in different directions 
to search for it. Next day it was discovered a short dis- 
tance to the west of our camp. As we expected, it was 
well marked with stones "up-ended." 

The out-flowing river is about forty yards broad, and 
has moderately high and well-defined banks. We travelled 
about two miles on it, and then, at a place where it must 
have taken a sharp bend, we lost it ; but, continuing on 
our northerly course across the land, we found it again. 
We had considerable difficulty in following this river, for 
it spread out in places over a wide shoal bed, and at times 
it was impossible to say with certainty whether we were 
on small lakes, a moss swamp, or on a broad part of the 
river. After travelling fourteen and a half miles we came 
in the afternoon to a group of old snow-houses, where 
Arctic Eskimo had evidently been a few months before. 
Many deer had been killed at or near this place ; large 
numbers of horns were scattered about, and there were 
piles of bones. An observation at noon gave our latitude 


66 42' N. Ogden Bay, the nearest point on the Arctic 
coast, being in latitude 67 36' N., we were about fifty- 
four geographical miles (in an air-line) from the coast. 

Deer were again very numerous, and behaved in their 
foolish manner. It was amusing to watch them, and the 
dogs got into a state of great excitement. At these times 
they forgot all about the weight of the loads they were 
hauling, and it was difficult to restrain them from running 
away with the sleigh. 

With long swinging trot a band of deer would approach 
to within three hundred yards or so, and would then stand 
stupidly staring at us as we passed. Then with an im- 
pudent snort, toss of the head, and jump in the air, they 
would be off. But their curiosity had been aroused not 
satisfied, and with a dancing trot they would now advance 
to within a hundred yards of the sleighs, and then com- 
mence to cross our front, backwards and forwards, until 
their tongues lolled out, and they appeared to have had 
enough of the game. The Huskies showed a laudable 
amount of self-restraint on these occasions. 

All the rocks were now granitic. Felspar being so much 
in the ascendant that it gave a pinkish appearance to the 
whole formation. The surface of the rock was smooth, but 
no striae were observed. 

On April 24 we did not travel, for having again lost the 
river we were obliged to search for it. Uttungerlah dis- 
covered it, and he also killed three bull caribou. 

On the following night the minimum thermometer 
registered 29, but at this time of year a low temperature 
like this lasted only for an hour or so. 

The next day, April 25, we made fourteen miles, tra- 
velling chiefly on the river, and meeting with an occasional 
small lake. On one of these we camped. Although this 
lake was of no great size, it had a name, which we only 
ascertained after meeting with the Arctic coast Huskies. 
It was called In-ni-uk-tau-wik. 

The river we were following was not very straight, but 


it held a general northerly course, spreading out in places 
over a shoal sandy bed. At camp time we failed to strike 
water, the ice being solid right down to the sandy bottom. 
The coast Huskies informed' us afterwards that we could 
have found water had we known where to look for it. 

The country we were now in might well be termed 
" barren." It was the most barren part of the Northland 
that I had as yet come across. Even moss and lichens were 
conspicuous by their absence, the rocks being quite bare. 
Still when one thing played out something else generally 
turned up to take its place. We now fell back on a species 
of heather (Cassiope tetragona, L.) for fuel for purposes 
of cooking. This was plentiful in some places but very 
scarce in others, and it was not easy to loosen from the 
frozen ground. The collecting of enough to boil our 
evening pot of meat was laborious, and required patience 
and time. Our stock of kerosene oil had long since leaked 
away, so we were obliged either to gather this heather or 
eat our meat raw. The Husky name for it is I-klu-ti; 
in the summer time it bears a pretty white flower, not 
unlike our bell heather. 

It looked ominous at this time that the deer were 
becoming scarcer as we proceeded north ; we appeared to 
be running through them. 

In the night we had a minimum reading of 41, which 
seemed almost incredible at this season. The maximum 
reading of the following day was only 11. 

We camped on April 26 after travelling only eight 
miles, because we ' were running out of all sign of deer. 
There was not a single fresh track to be seen, though there 
had been large numbers here during the winter. The deer 
wander about and shift their ground in such a manner 
that it is quite impossible to gain a knowledge of their 
habits and distribution. Their habits and movements being 
quite uncertain, it is always possible that one might strike a 
stretch of country containing not a single hoof, but this 
would not necessarily imply that the deer had migrated 


from it to the south, but rather that they had shifted their 
round, and would still be found in the north, perhaps 
me hundred miles east or west. 

I believe it was with the migrating deer from the south 
that we had been travelling at this time, but it is difficult 
to say with any certainty. We now appeared to be in 
idvance of them, for, on account of the prolonged cold 
/eather, the deer were travelling very slowly. It was 
:ertainly neither my desire nor intention to reach the 
Lrctic coast before them. We should get plenty of seals 
ilong the coast, I knew, if we fell in with the Arctic 
Eskimo, but, for my own part, I have no special hankering 
fter seal's meat, though the flippers and tail parts of a 
/oung seal are not to be despised. My party was not 
equipped for hunting seals, for it was much too early in 
the year to expect to find them lying on the ice. We 
were about a month too soon, but this was decidedly 
better than a month too late. 

Sandy made a remark in the evening to the effect that 
he found deer's meat most unpalatable and tasteless, and 
I hinted to him that possibly in a few days the taste of the 
meat would not trouble him, for there was no sign of deer 
to be found. He listened to my remark in silence. 

Darrell, who had been for a long walk, returned late 
and announced that he had seen a band of over twenty 
deer, all females. This raised my spirits considerably, for 
now there seemed but a remote chance of our having to 
turn back to find deer. If there was one band in front of 
us, there were probably others. 

On April 27 and 28 we were confined within our snow- 
houses by a blizzard. 

On the morning of the twenty-ninth the blizzard 
moderated, and the evening turned out beautifully fine. 
As we were getting very short of meat, we lost no time in 
setting out to hunt deer. Amer and I killed four females, 
all with unborn calves. The majority of the cow caribou 
had by this date shed their horns. On my former trip 


Miluk had informed me that the cows shed their horns 
at the time they drop their calves. He was not very far 

On our return from hunting we came across the fresh 
tracks of three different bands, which were travelling 
north. Uttungerlah returned late, having slain three deer, 
so for the present there was no cause for anxiety about the 
food supply. 

On April 30 the weather was again unsettled, and the 
day was devoted to hauling the deer shot the previous day. 
Darrell, while taking a walk in the afternoon, came on a 
pack of sixteen wolves. It is unusual for them to hunt 
in packs like this ; they generally hunt singly, or in twos 
and threes. 

On May i we resumed our journey, and travelled 
nineteen miles on the river and occasional small lakes. 
In the last mile we found several rapids still, of course, 
frozen solid. They had a considerable fall, and any one 
attempting the ascent or descent of this river by open 
water, in canoes, would most certainly have to portage at 
these places. Land in the forenoon was low and flat, but, 
about the rapids, it became very broken and rugged, and 
the river was confined by rocky and steep banks about 
twenty feet in height. 

We again had difficulty in obtaining water. We tried 
at several places with the ice chisel, and it was no easy job. 
After cutting through seven or eight feet of ice, it was a 
great disappointment to strike the dry, sandy bottom. The 
fact is that these rivers carry off the whole of the water 
which results from the melting of the snow during the 
summer and fall. Then they dwindle down to small 
creeks, so that it is hopeless to expect water except in 
deep pools. These appeared to be scarce, but on this 
occasion we eventually struck water at a deep pool, after 
cutting through nine feet of solid ice. The nine feet of ice 
was not the result of repeated overflows, but had been 
formed on nearly still water. 


On May 2 we halted, for I was afraid of getting ahead 
>f the deer again. I sent Amer and Uttungerlah ahead to 
>ok for signs of them. Amer returned early and reported 
10 fresh tracks and very few old ones. Uttungerlah turned 
ip in the night, having killed and cached five cows, but 
icse were all he saw. We were evidently in advance of 
deer, so another delay was decided upon. 
On May 5 we moved on fifteen and a half miles. 
It took us a long time in the evening to find water, but 
/entually discoloured and not very palatable water was 
struck seven and a half feet below the surface of the ice. 

The reader may wonder why, with plenty of ice and 
snow around, it was thought necessary at the cost of so 
mch trouble to find water. The answer is that fuel in 
ic shape of i-klu-ti, the heather before mentioned, was 
;ry scarce ; the melting of ice over a heather fire is a slow 
rocess, and there were many thirsty souls in our party, 
e Huskies want to drink iced water constantly. 
Here a snow-bird (bunting) was seen, the first har- 
iger of spring or summer that had as yet come our 
way. Snow-birds are invariably the first arrivals from 
the south, but their advent must not be looked upon as 
a sure sign of the approach of spring. So far there was 
no change in the face of the country, and these small 
birds that had pushed ahead must have had a hard time 
for the first few weeks. 

On May 6, accompanied by the faithful Amer and 
Uttungerlah, I set out north to hunt deer, but, finding 
none nor any sign of them, we decided to hunt south- 
wards the next day. One wolf, one white fox, and one 
raven were seen. 

The raven, Arctic owl, and an occasional ptarmigan 
are the only representatives of the bird tribe which 
remain throughout the winter in the Northland. The 
ravens pick up a living off the carcases of deer which 
have been killed by wolves. 

The next day it was blizzarcling so that hunting was 


out of the question. We were confined inside the iglu 
the whole day with nothing to do and nothing to read. 
On days such as these I have compassion on the man 
who does not smoke. Whatever may be urged for or 
against the indulgence in tobacco, one fact cannot be 
gainsaid it does help to pass the time. 

On May 8 we all went hunting except Darrell and 
Sandy, who collected heather for fuel. Amer and I killed 
two Arctic hares (a variety of the mountain hare, Lepus 
timidus, of Northern Europe), but saw no deer. Uttunger- 
lah saw nothing. Pitzeolah saw two lots of deer and 
killed one small beast. About eight miles to the west, 
Amer and I struck a river flowing north, parallel with the 
river we were following. The intervening country was 
very rugged, particularly near the newly-discovered river. 

It was here we shot the hares. These animals must 
be looked for in rugged country; the rockier the ground 
the better chance of finding the Arctic hare. 

In the evening I boiled three thermometers, since our 
altitude would give us some idea as to our proximity to 
the coast. They boiled at 212, 212, and 212.1 respec- 
tively (corrected readings). The temperature of air was 
19, so that if the thermometers could be trusted we were 
about the sea-level. 

On May 9 five deer were killed, all cows ; in fact, for 
the last two weeks no bulls had been killed. The deer 
appeared to be moving in a north-easterly rather than in 
a northerly direction. 

The following day I sent Amer and Uttungerlah with 
a sleigh and the pick of the dogs northwards to prospect. 

Their orders were to proceed to the coast to search 
for Arctic Huskies, and, if possible, to bring a couple of 
them when they came back. I gave them a few presents 
for distribution amongst the coast natives in order to 
promote good feeling, and as an earnest of the friendliness 
of my party towards them. 

As I was not sure of our longitude, I did not know 


ic exact part of the Arctic coast we were heading for. 
Ln observation for latitude, taken on May 2, showed that 
/e were then in latitude 67 18' N. We had since travelled 
statute miles on a rather winding northerly course, 
which may be put down at ten geographical miles north, 
placing us in about latitude 67 26' N. Ogden Bay is in 67 
36' N., and we were therefore within ten geographical miles 
of the most southerly point of the Arctic Ocean, provided, 
of course, we had been heading direct for this particular 
point (Ogden Bay), about which I could not be certain. 

In the absence of Amer and Uttungerlah, Pitzeolah 
and I had to undertake the duty of keeping the pot boiling. 
We set out and travelled a long way from camp, about 
twelve miles south-east, before we fell in with a band of 
deer. The land was here almost flat, and a close approach 
out of the question. I killed four at long range, but it 
was hopeless for Pitzeolah to fire. 

The deer at this time of the year are infested with the 
maggots of the warble-fly. These maggots are large, and 
are esteemed a great delicacy by the natives, who pluck 
them off the hides and greedily devour them. I daresay 
they are excellent ; one never knows until one tries, but I 
never had the courage or curiosity to sample them. 

Next day, May n, the four deer were hauled. About 
six o'clock in the evening Uttungerlah and Amer returned, 
accompanied by two of the Arctic coast Huskies. 

The strangers were tall, strong fellows of quiet de- 
meanour. In appearance, features, build and colour they 
differed but little from the Eskimo of the Hudson Bay. 
Their clothes had a different cut, however. The outer 
deerskin coat only came down to the waist. It was cut 
away right round in this fashion, with the exception of two 
very small swallow-tails about a foot long, which were 
allowed to hang down behind. The sewing had necessarily 
been done with large clumsy copper needles, and was of 
course rough. 

These natives appeared to be rather timid at first, but 


presents of a knife and a file seemed to give them a little 
confidence. Information was forthcoming very slowly, 
but I did not wish to ply them with too many questions 
on first acquaintance. They volunteered some statements, 
most of which they contradicted next day. The following, 
however, proved to be quite correct. 1 copy from my 
diary : 

"The copper deposits, which I had been informed were 
to be found along Dease Strait, now appear to be located 
on some islands in Bathurst Inlet. 

"The islands in Bathurst Inlet are the source of their 
supply of this metal. 

" Driftwood is plentiful to the west of Cape Barrow. 

" Musk-oxen are to be found to the east and west of 
our present camp." 

On the following day we did not travel, as 1 wished to 
gain what information I could from our Arctic friends. 
Hun-ll-yak and Pun-uk-tuk were their names. The latter 
also went by the name of Pl-tek-chi, which means a " bow." 

It was no easy matter to gather information from them, 
they had themselves so much to say, and imperfectly under- 
stood Amer and Uttungerlah. It was difficult to get them 
to give direct answers, and they seemed not to adhere to 
their original statements, probably because we had not 
correctly understood them. 

I could only make out a few of their words ; but Amer, 
Uttungerlah, and they conversed freely, and spoke so fast 
that they seemed to understand one another perfectly. 
This was not the case, however, as I afterwards discovered. 
There was much talking ; but little of it was intelligible to 
either party. 

I copy from my diary a few items which were of great 
interest to us at the time : 

"The river we have been following from Ti-her-yuak 
Lake is called Arm-ark-tuk, and the river running parallel 
with it, where Amer and I shot the hares, is the Pi-tok-kek 


" There is no open water or ' flaw ' during the winter 
time on the inland Arctic Sea, between say 99 and 105 W. 
longitude and 68 and 69 N. latitude. 

"The ice in this part does not wholly disappear before 
the middle of September. 

" Whales must frequent this part of the ocean, for the 
bones of stranded ones are found along the coast. Wavey 
geese (Chen rossi) pass over this part of the coast in June. 

" Caribou are found on Kent Peninsula, at Cape Bar- 
row, and near the coast on Victoria Land all through the 
winter ; but there are none to be found in winter between 
Cape Barrow and the mouth of the Coppermine River, nor 
in the vicinity of Ogden Bay. 

"Musk-oxen are to be found to the east and to the 
west of Arm-ark-tuk River. 

" Kent Peninsula is reported to be almost an island, for 
they say that we shall cross from salt water to salt water in 
an easy day's travel. 

" In making the traverse from Cape Croker on the east 
side of Bathurst Inlet over to Cape Barrow on the west 
side, we shall pass the islands where the copper deposits 

"There is no open water in Coronation Gulf during 
the winter, but Dolphin and Union Strait is kept open all 
winter by a very strong tide. 

" Polar bears are reported scarce in this part, but they 
are numerous in Coronation Gulf later in the season. 

" Lind Island, about seventy miles north from Ogden 
Bay, is indicated as a very favourite resort of bears, but 
whether in winter or summer I failed to discover. It is 
most unlikely that polar bears would remain all winter 
where there is no open water. 

" Barren Ground bears ( Ursus arctus richardsoni) are 
reported to be scattered all along the Arctic coast, but 
they do not emerge from their winter quarters till June. 
They are not numerous. 

"We shall have plenty cold weather yet, shall be able 


to haul across Kent Peninsula on the snow, and the ice 
will still be good on Bathurst Inlet, so that we shall easily 
reach Cape Barrow with dogs and sleighs if we so desire." 

This was about all, and most of it was welcome news 
to us. 

Our visitors were not old enough to remember Collinson 
wintering in Cambridge Bay in 1852, but they had been 
told about it by their fathers. 

These two natives had travelled considerably. Pun-uk- 
tuk had visited the Coppermine River, but had not been 
to the mouth of it. Hiin-ll-yak had journeyed along the 
coast of Wollaston Land and Victoria Land and had been 
to Cambridge Bay. He mentioned that salmon were very 
numerous at this place, a fact which I see indicated on 
the chart. 

On my questioning them about their plans for the 
summer, they replied that they intended to journey to the 
Ark-i-llnik River to procure wood for their sleighs. They 
would take their dogs but not their kyaks. During the 
summer they intended to construct their sleighs and would 
then wait for the "freeze up," when the return journey 
would be made with dogs and sleighs. 

I at once suggested that as driftwood was plentiful west 
of Cape Barrow, and as the distance was not greater than 
to the Ark-i-llnik River, they should accompany us along 
the Arctic coast. They understood what I said perfectly, 
considered for a moment, and then without hesitation 
Hun-ll-yak stated that he was willing to come, but that of 
course he would have to bring his wife and family. Pun- 
iik-tuk was not far behind in expressing his willingness to 
accompany us. Of course he also possessed a wife and 
family that would have to come along. The whole affair 
was arranged in a very few minutes. I then produced a 
few presents, which were supposed to clinch the bargain, 
and do duty for the signing of a contract. 

An observation for latitude placed us in 67 29' N., a 
little to the south of Ogden Bay. 



The next day, May 13, we started north again and made 
fourteen miles by account, but not on a very straight 
course. We still followed the Arm-ark-tuk River, which 
took many small turns. Land was low, which I took to 
indicate the proximity of the coast. At camp-time our 
guides, as I may now call Hiin-ll-yak and Pun-uk-tuk, 
stated that we were half-way to their iglus, which were out 
on the ice. 

On May 14 we travelled ten and a half miles by account 
and struck the coast ice. Another seven miles brought us 
to the Husky camp. 

The river widened considerably, and the land got very 
low as we approached the coast. 

I tried but failed to obtain an observation for latitude. 
Even now I did not know exactly where we had struck the 
coast. Since the observation taken on May 12, we had 
travelled, but not in a direct line, fourteen miles on May 13, 
and ten and a half on May 14, coming out on to the coast. 
By dead reckoning this would give our present position as 
67 44' N. This latitude, however, answered equally well 
for several places on the coast between Johnson Point and 
Blackwood Point. 

The camp consisted of two iglus and three deerskin 
tents, which were pitched on snow foundations and so 
raised. There were five families and some visitors, about 
forty-five persons altogether at the camp. 

They appeared to be the same strong, hardy-looking, 
good-natured and happy people that I had met in other 
parts of the Northland. They differed very little except in 
the cut of their clothes, and in the dialect they spoke, from 
the Huskies of my own party. 

I was able to understand them to a certain extent ; but 
they had a habit which caused a difficulty in our learning 
their language. They appeared to have a sort of slang of 
their own, which they spoke only amongst themselves. 
This habit is common among Huskies generally, and I 
picked up many words from hearing my Husky companions 


talking together, which, when I employed them in conver- 
sation, I was told were wrong. " That word," they would 
say, " we only use amongst ourselves ; it is not right ; so- 
and-so is the correct word for the white master to use." 
The fact is they do not wish you to learn or understand 
their own jargon. 

A great dance was held in the evening to celebrate our 



MAY 15 was spent in talking with the natives, photo- 
graphing them, trading a few articles, and generally taking 
it easy. 

These Arctic coast natives were very friendly, although 
this was their first meeting with white men. I took the 
measurements of several men and women, and the process 
seemed to afford great amusement. They did not exhibit 
the slightest hesitation in posing for the camera. There 
was no sign of any sickness amongst them. The Eskimo 
as a race enjoy the best of health, and this in a great 
measure accounts for the exuberance of their spirits, which 
even starvation and intense cold do not suppress. 

They informed me that they lived on the ice during 
the greater part of the winter and spring, spearing seals 
through their blow-holes. Just before the ice breaks up 
they go inland, where they remain during July, August, 
September, October, November, and December, killing and 
spearing deer at the crossing-places. In the latter part 
of December, they return to the coast and remain there 
till the following June, seal's meat and blubber being their 
sole sustenance. 

The older women were tattooed on the face in the 
manner common amongst all the Huskies I have come 
in contact with. They were also tattooed on the hands, 
wrists, and the lower part of the arm in a manner that I 
had not seen before. 

The men wore their hair either cropped very short, 
convict fashion, or it was left long with only a small, 



circular, closely-cropped patch on the crown. In this they 
do not differ from the Huskies of Hudson Bay. The 
men all had large stomachs, but this is characteristic of 
the whole of the Eskimo tribes, and probably results from 
their eating enormous quantities of meat at one time. 

With the exception of a few strings of beads, traded on 
one of their journeys on the Ark-i-llnik River, the women 
wore no articles of personal adornment, but their deer- 
skin clothes were ornamented with strips of white deer- 
skin worked in between that of a darker colour. Sealskin 
appeared to be used only for making footgear. 

Tattooed hand and arm. 

Their habitations, both iglus and deerskin tents, were 
clean and well looked after. One naturally expected the 
usual strong smell of the seal-oil lamp, which is kept 
burning day and night to melt ice for drinking-water. 

Bows and arrows, and spears tipped with native copper, 
were their weapons in hunting deer. A special kind of 
spear was used for harpooning seals. Stone kettles and 
stone lamps were their only cooking utensils. At this 
time, being out of seal meat, they were living on oil and 
blubber, a diet that evidently agreed well with them. 

Ki-li-nek-meut was the name of this tribe. 

Another tribe, further east, near King William's Land, 
I fancy, was known by the name of Net-ti-ling-meut. 
About this latter tribe I was told terrible tales. They 
were reported to be very bad men, and very savage ; but 
this I do not credit. I was informed that in the previous 
winter, food being very scarce, murder and cannibalism 


had been the order of the day. Such horrors had never 
occurred amongst the Ki-li-nek-meut. But it is always so ; 
the Huskies one happens to be amongst invariably tell 
horrible stories about another tribe, but always deny 
having participated in the orgies they describe. 

It is significant that one rarely meets with an old man or 
an old woman. With the poor Huskies the struggle for exist- 
ence must be very keen, and old age is of short duration. 

The presents I gave delighted them, and they jumped 
about for joy. In return they seemed eager to present me 
with everything they possessed. It was a pleasure to give 
to them, for though in want of the first necessaries of life, 
no matter what they saw or how much they needed or 
desired anything they saw, they never begged. I wished 
to make a favourable impression on them, in order that the 
way might be smooth for any future wanderer in their 
land, but I was not reckless in giving. 

In order to remove any misconception as to this matter, 
I append the list of what I gave and what I received. 

Given. Received. 

2 snow-knives. 2 pairs deerskin pants men's. 

4 butcher-knives. i pair deerskin pants woman's. 

2 pocket knives. 6 pairs sealskin moccasins. 

3 files. 2 deerskin coats. 

1 axe. 3 large sealskins, undressed. 

4 packages needles. 3 large sealskins, dressed. 

2 thimbles. 300 Ibs. blubber. 

2 pairs scissors. 2 bows and quivers complete, 

i small iron plane. 2 seal spears. 

i copper snow-knife, and some 

copper needles and other 


Business was not concluded till late. We then held 
a council of war, when it was decided to start the fol- 
lowing day. 

The guides, Hun-il-yak and Pun-uk-tuk, whose names 



I really must shorten to Hun and Pun, informed me that 
we would have to travel west along the coast for four nights 
before we could expect to find deer, and it would take us 
ten nights to reach Kent Peninsula, where we would again 
come on deer. 

A good observation of meridian altitude of the sun 
our latitude as 67 50' 25" N. 

We had struck the coast in the latitude 67 44' 
reckoned from the observation taken on May 12, anc 
we had travelled seven and a half miles by account north- 
north-west on the ice after striking the coast. Thus our 
reckoning was almost correct. 

Still I could not place our position in longitude. A 
glance at the map will explain the difficulty. Any spot on 
the coast between Blackwood Point and Johnson Point 
would have suited our latitude, 67 50' 25" N. 

Our supplies of biscuit, pork, and sugar had some time 
since come to an end, but we still had nine pounds of the 
very best tea and enough tobacco. To run out of tobacco 
in the north causes general discontent in the party. It is 
always possible to take along a sufficient supply of this most 
necessary article as long as one is travelling with dogs and 
sleighs or by canoe. When it comes to packing on one's 
back, then let every man look out for himself. 

We still had a large reserve of ammunition and plenty 
nets, on both of which we depended to furnish us a living 
until we should reach Fort Norman on the Mackenzie 

On May 16 we set out at a late hour on our journey to 
the west. Our party consisted of twenty-one persons, of 
whom eighteen were Huskies, as follows : Uttungerlah, 
his wife and two daughters ; Amer and his wife ; Pitzeolah, 
who had no encumbrances ; Hun-il-yak, with wife and 
four children ; Pun-uk-tuk and his wife and three children. 
We now had twenty-six dogs, for Hun and Pun each had 
a sleigh and a few dogs. This was a large party to keep 
supplied with meat. However, there were deer reported 


ahead, and the seals would soon be discovered on the ice. 
For the present, Hun and Pun brought along enormous 
sealskin bags filled with blubber. 

The nights were now so light that we found difficulty 
in sleeping. We often lay awake the whole night, and 
dropped off to sleep when it was about time to be 

Going due west for fifteen miles, we passed numerous 
small, rocky islands quite destitute of vegetation. The 
distant mainland was just visible as a continuous, low, 
undulating ridge of rocks. Next day we made thirteen 
miles, still due west. The going was excellent, the thawing 
snow presented a surface like grease. 

We camped at a group of rocky islands over which the 
ice sheet had evidently moved in a northerly direction. 
Deep grooves had been scooped out of the rock, which 
to the north was broken off abruptly. 

On May 18 the minimum temperature was 2, and the 
maximum 36 Fahr. The weather was cloudless, with a 
moderate south-south-east wind. We made fifteen miles, 
and camped close to a rocky island. The ice was still 
smooth and the going splendid. Here I at last puzzled 
out our position in longitude. We had struck the Arctic 
coast a little to the west of McTavish Point. We saw one 
seal on the ice, and an Arctic owl. At camp-time we spied 
Husky tents in the distance to the west on our course. 

May 19 was warm, and we began to have trouble with 
the runners of the sleighs, from which the mud came off in 
large chunks. 

At noon when we approached the Husky tents, Hun 
ran ahead waving his arms, apparently making signs, and 
then holding them above his head, "hands up" fashion. 
This was the custom when approaching strangers, being a 
sign of peace, and evidence of being without arms. Amer 
and Uttungerlah were requested to do likewise, and Darrell 
and I conformed to the custom. In this fashion we 
advanced slowly, the strangers remaining grouped together 


near their tents. As we drew near, they all advanced to 
meet us, and we soon established friendly relations. 

We then had a long talk, the subject of course being 
the visit of the white men, of whom they had heard. They 
were very inquisitive as to the names of the Hudson Bay 
Huskies in my party. They informed us that, the day 
before, one deer had been killed on the mainland, and 
musk-oxen and their tracks had been seen inland. 

I got the strangers grouped for a photo, to which they 
did not show the slightest objection, and they proved good 
subjects, remaining absolutely still in whatever position 
they were placed. 

These Huskies bore a marked resemblance to the 
Mongolian type, seldom seen among those of Hudson 
Bay. Although they appeared to be friendly enough, they 
did not invite any of our party into their tents. We were a 
very strong party and well armed, but I should not care to 
ask for a night's lodging from them, if alone and unarmed 
in the dead of winter, during a period of starvation. I 
distributed amongst them a few knives, files, awls, needles, 
fish-hooks, &c., and they were delighted. In return they 
presented me with a few copper implements, and some 
much-needed fuel in the shape of driftwood which they 
had collected along the coast. 

There were six men and six women with their families 
in their camp, and, as usual, there was not a single old man 
or old woman amongst them, though there were plenty of 
youngsters of various ages. There was only one explanation 
of this fact. 

Bidding farewell to the strangers, we continued on our 
course, making straight for a point of land about north- 
west, and after going twelve miles reached White Bear 
Point (Au-let-ti-wig-yuak), where we camped. Here the 
land was low, with numerous stony and rocky knolls, 
between which were stretches of flat ground. 

Hun and Pun proved themselves able and willing 
workers. They used to pitch their tents in a few minutes 


and then come and assist in the building of our snow- 
houses. Their wives in the meantime would have the 
oil lamps employed in the long and tedious process of 
melting ice and snow for drinking-water. Taking a stroll, 
while the iglus were in course of construction, I noticed 
plenty of fresh deer tracks, and a little later I spied four 
of the animals. It was decided to hunt next day, but 
rain and sleet spoiled the sport and no deer were killed. 
In the night our snow-houses caused much anxiety. The 
weather was warm; the sides of the house commenced 
to bulge inwards in a very threatening manner, and many 
supports were required to prevent a total collapse. 

The following morning it was still blizzarding, but 
cleared up in the afternoon, and Amer and I together 
shot eight deer out of a band of twelve, the only band 
we saw. 

It was a great pleasure to hunt with Eskimo. I have 
shot in many lands, but of my many happy recollections 
I think the happiest are of caribou hunts with the Huskies. 
On unfavourable ground, and when deer are difficult to 
approach, they hold much consultation, and prepare deeply 
thought-out plans for the circumvention of the animals. 
An Eskimo, who is a good hunter, can always be depended 
upon to do the right thing, and he never shows the least 
jealousy. One fact gives much interest to shooting in 
the Great Northland, and that is that every pound of 
meat is absolutely required. Our large party with twenty- 
six dogs this day depended entirely on the rifles of Amer 
and myself. 

Some ptarmigan that we came across had already 
commenced to assume their summer plumage. 

The snow was drifting again on May 22, but we hauled 
the deer we had killed, and thus had a supply of meat 
sufficient, we hoped, to last us to It-ib-ler-yuak, the lake 
on the portage across Kent Peninsula. 

I obtained a good observation for latitude, which placed 
us at 68 5' N. This was, of course, where we expected to be. 


On May 23 we did not travel. The weather was not 
favourable, and we were in no great hurry. All the mud 
fell off the runners of the sleighs, but they still had 
whalebone. Hun and Pun's sleighs were shod with short 
pieces of deer-horn, cut flat and riveted on with bone. 

Our cooking was now done over seal-oil lamps, for 
there was no fuel of any kind on White Bear Point. It 
used to take three hours to boil our kettle of meat. 

Next day we cut across White Bear Point, holding a 
course about north-west, but travelled only eight miles, 
for the going was very bad, the recent rain and sleet 
having been formed into a slippery crust on which the 
dogs could not get footing. In the afternoon three Husky 
tents were spied to the south, and I detached a couple 
of men to pay them a visit and to procure some wood 
if possible. 

It was easy to take the bearing by prismatic compass, 
for we always made either for a point of land or an island 
which was visible at the start. 

During the night three Husky men and one woman 
arrived. They had all been in the Husky camp I had 
found on the Ark-i-llnik River on my journey in 1899. 
I could only recall the face of one of them, but they all 
remembered me. They gave us a little wood and a few 
copper implements. I presented them with a knife, a file, 
a thimble, a mirror, and a few needles. Needless to say 
they were delighted. 

On May 25, shortly after starting, we spied four Huskies 
out on the ice with their dogs. Two of them came towards 
us, but were evidently afraid to come close. After the 
" hands up " performance had been gone through several 
times on their part and on ours, they came up and we had 
a talk. They were out hunting seals. The dogs wei 
employed to discover the seals' houses, and, in the event 
success, for hauling the seals back to camp. During the 
winter the seals inhabit small houses scooped out of the 
snow over their blow-holes. In walking on the snow- 


covered ice, it is possible to pass right over these without 
discovering them. The seal takes alarm very easily, and 
beats a safe and hasty retreat down his blow-hole. In the 
late spring the heat of the sun begins to have some effect, 
and ultimately it melts the seal's house away and the animal 
lies exposed to view. On Hudson Bay the seal-hunting 
Husky, by very patient crawling, and by imitating the 
movements of a seal, approaches inch by inch until he is 
within ten or fifteen yards. Beyond this range he does not 
care to risk a shot, for the seal must be at once killed stone 
dead. One flip of its tail is sufficient to send it down its 
blow-hole. The Arctic coast Huskies, having no firearms, 
are obliged to crawl up close enough to throw a harpoon 
with some chance of success, and they suffer many dis- 
appointments. Very often, just as they are about to throw, 
down pops the seal, and the fun is over. 

This was the first day that could really be called a 
spring day. The snow which, under the powerful rays 
of the sun, was turning into slush, made heavy hauling for 
the dogs. 

We camped on one of the Fitzgerald Islands, where we 
could easily recognise the coast-line from the chart, which 
appeared to be quite accurate. I have already remarked on 
the importance of adhering to the local names of places. 
In this case, had I found on the chart the Husky name for 
White Bear Point, Au-lit-ti-wig-yuak, I should at once have 
been able to fix our position in longitude. 

Shortly before we reached our camping-ground, we met 
other Eskimo belonging to the same tribe. Among them 
was one oldish man who remembered Collinson wintering 
in Cambridge Bay in 1852. These natives appeared to be 
very friendly and exhibited not the least fear. One man 
possessed a musket, which he had traded from another 
Husky whom he had met on the Ark-i-llnik River. He had 
no powder, nor caps, nor lead, and did not know how to 
fire the thing off, still he was quite proud of it, and packed 
it along wherever he went. 


I obtained a good many copper articles from them, such 
as snow-dags, ice-chisels, &c. They appeared to be rich in 
copper implements. They stated that some of their copper 
had been obtained in Victoria Land, and some from the 
islands to the north. 

One man had a polar bear's skull and a large hide. The 
bear had been speared during the winter with the aid of 
dogs. They corroborated the statement made by Hun and 
Pun about the polar bears on Lind Island, and they stated 
that they were numerous all through the winter. 

I was surprised at the honesty of these natives. " Stuff " 
(which in Canadian parlance means everything that we 
possessed) lay scattered about outside our snow-house, but, 
though they handled and examined things with much 
curiosity, they took nothing. 

Several of these natives accompanied us when we re- 
sumed our journey next day, May 27. 

Although the maximum readings of the thermometer 
in the shade at this date were generally below 32, in the 
sunshine it was very warm. We usually managed to 
obtain enough drinking water from cavities in the rocks 
close to our camps, and were thus saved the tedious opera- 
tion of thawing ice and snow over the seal-oil lamps every 

We camped on the west side of the portage across 
Brown Point, and here the tent was pitched for the first 
time. Although we had hitherto been able to build snow- 
houses, we had been obliged for the last fortnight to build 
them of special construction. The sides were made almost 
perpendicular and only about five feet high, waterproof 
sheets and the tent being then thrown over the top to 
answer the purpose of a roof. Four deer were seen soon 
after we camped. 

We were favoured with the most glorious weather at 
this time ; cloudless skies, gentle breezes, and bright hot sun 
during the day, though the nights were cool, even cold. 
The minimum thermometer read 2 on the night of May 27. 


The following morning an early start was made, for I 
was determined, if possible, to make half-way to the portage 
across Kent Peninsula, where we were promised plenty of 
bull caribou by our guides Hun and Pun. 

Passing Dease Point, we camped at some island rocks 
a short distance to the west. 

A native who came to pay us a visit in the morning, 
accompanied us on our journey for a short distance, and 
lent a willing hand in helping the sleigh along. He took a 
notion to depart in rather sudden fashion I thought, when 
I discovered that he had taken one of my snow-knives, but 
in its place he had kindly left his copper one. This was 
the first case of theft that I had come across, and even this 
thief had been conscientious enough to leave his own 
copper snow-knife in place of my steel one, which he 
appeared to prefer. We camped at some rocky islands a 
short distance to the west of Dease Point. Here we saw 
many female deer, but shot none, for we were anxious to 
push on and reach Kent Peninsula. On this night we saw 
the midnight sun for the first time. Had we had a good 
horizon, however, I fancy it would have been visible some 
nights before. 

The mainland to the south appeared to be high and 
very rocky. The land on Melbourne Island, which we had 
raised soon after passing the Fitzgerald Islands, appeared 
as a long low streak to the north. 

On May 29, after travelling about ten miles, I obtained 
an observation for latitude which gave 68 29' N. 
Three miles more brought us to the east coast of Kent 
Peninsula, or rather to a small inlet of the coast, where 
several Huskies were fishing with their copper fish-hooks 
through holes in the ice. 

In the evening they brought me seven of the fish they 
had caught, which proved to be codling, the same in 
appearance and size as those we have around the coast of 
Great Britain. I was surprised to see these fish, for the 
Hudson Bay Huskies had always denied the existence of 


any sort of cod in the Hudson Bay. The Arctic Husky 
name for these codling was u-wuk, and they were reported 
to be very plentiful all along the coast at this time of year. 

Numerous deer tracks were seen as we approached the 
shore, and in the evening a large bull was shot. 

The weather was now almost like summer. The sun- 
shine during the noonday hours came blazing down. 
Already a great change was observable on the land, bare 
patches of ground appearing here and there. Pools of 
water and a few seals were to be seen on the ice. Snow- 
birds were increasing in numbers. In the evening Pun 
killed a ground squirrel. When these small hibernating 
animals appear it is a sure sign of summer, for they feed 
on grass. I may not be quite right in saying this, however, 
for on my last trip I observed them to burrow up through 
a foot of snow. But that was an exceptionally late spring, 
and, going back to sleep, they did not reappear till two 
weeks later. They are queer little brown animals, with 
much the same habits as the marmot. When caught at 
some distance from their burrows, they are easily taken by 
the hand and do not appear to be at all alarmed. They 
form the chief food of the wolverene or glutton during the 
summer months. 

The following day, May 30, it was decided to halt in 
order to hunt deer, and the Huskies started at an early 
hour with dogs and sleigh on which to bring back the 
spoils. Early in the afternoon they returned with four 
large bulls, the horns of which were one foot high. I 
remained at the camp busy with photographic and geo- 
logical matters. 

Fuel, in the shape of moss and heaths, which had been 
so very scarce since leaving Pelly Lake on Back's River, 
was now more abundant. Several species of heaths were 
procurable, even a few stunted willows could be gathered, 
but the dwarf birch was still absent, although our guides 
had promised a plentiful supply at this place. 

In the evening a council of war was held to decide 




future plans. I was particularly anxious to gain informa- 
tion about the climate, and about the state of the ice in 
these regions during the summer months. The statements 
of the guides, Hun and Pun, appeared to be of a very 
contradictory nature. It was evident that we would soon 
be compelled to delay somewhere to allow time for the 
slush and water to clear off the ice. It would be necessary 
also to kill seals and give the women time to make sealskin 
boots for all hands, or rather feet. To travel with sleighs 
through deep slush is not possible ; the runners sink so 
that the load breasts the slush, and the sleigh becomes 
hopelessly stuck. After the slush comes the water stage, 
which also is impracticable. 

It was proposed to delay somewhere in the vicinity of 
Cape Croker, on the east side of Bathurst Inlet. We hoped, 
however, to be able to continue travelling on the ice across 
Bathurst Inlet to Cape Barrow, and possibly also to the 
mouth of the Coppermine River. In that case we would 
be able to reach Fort Norman on the Mackenzie River, 
our objective, by September 5. 

Hun and Pun, on being questioned as to how late in 
the season travelling on the ice could be carried on with 
safety, replied " always till August loth, and very often 
till the last week in that month." These dates are easily 
set down on paper, but they were only reached after much 
trouble and many references to the growth of the deer's 
coats and the appearance of their horns, for the Arctic 
coast Huskies have no names for months, as far as I could 

With my Eskimo from the Hudson Bay I never had 
my difficulty in making myself intelligible in this respect, 
for they have a name for each of their thirteen moons, 
iach name has a meaning ; thus " mun-it " (eggs) is their 
lame for June, the month in which the birds lay their 
;ggs. Then the month can be divided into quarters or 
;eeks, and that is near enough for general purposes in 


Starting from Labyrinth Bay from the head of the 
small inlet which, although its size scarcely justifies a 
name, I have called Portage Inlet, we travelled one mile 
overland, and reached a fresh-water lake about six miles 
in length. We travelled to the foot of this lake, which is 
called It-ib-ler-yuak, and camped. From this lake a 
stream flowed to the head of an inlet from Warrender 
Bay on the west side of Kent Peninsula. This arm or 
inlet from Warrender Bay, which is not marked on any 
map or chart, is called I-lu by the natives. 

Kent Peninsula is thus almost an island. It-ib-ler-yuak 
Lake, the stream, and the I-lu Inlet form a complete water- 
way, except for the one mile overland between the lake 
and the head of Portage Inlet. There is thus a first-rate 
canoe route, shorter and better sheltered than that round 
the north shore of Kent Peninsula. 

The country near It-ib-ler-yuak Lake is very rocky, 
and in places hilly. About a mile to the south-south-west 
of our camp, at the foot of the lake, stood a hill of basaltic 
formation, precipitously cut on the east and south. 

Shortly before camping we met an aged Husky and 
his wife fishing through the ice on the lake. They accom- 
panied us and camped alongside. The woman well re- 
membered Collinson wintering in Cambridge Bay. The 
appearance of old folk, alone and far away from their 
tribe, may explain what I have already hinted at. When 
the old are unable to hunt, travel, and keep up with those 
of the younger generation, they are left behind in an iglu 
to starve and freeze to death during the winter. However, 
this old couple had "toughed" through the winter by 
fishing. Though decrepid they were in wonderful spirits, 
and healthy in appearance. 

One hawk was seen in the evening. 

On the morning of June i I told off three hunters to 
procure meat. They returned early with seven bull 
caribou, so Hun and Pun's information about the bull 
caribou being plentiful in Kent Peninsula was now fully 

confirmed. I sent the old man to fish in the lake, and 
in the evening he returned with five good-sized trout, one 
of which scaled ten pounds. 

The day being perfect and the sun hot, advantage was 
taken to empty all the bags and boxes and lay the contents 
out to dry. 

In the afternoon of June 2 Darrell and I ascended the 
hill not far from our camp, to which I have already 
referred. By Watkin aneroid I made the altitude 360 
feet, which is certainly not very high, but this hill, Har- 
li-ar-li (precipitous), is the most prominent landmark for 
miles round. From the summit we obtained a magnificent 
view. To the west lay I-lu, the long inlet from Warrender 
Bay, which was just visible beyond. Turning to the north 
and east we could see the whole of It-ib-ler-yuak Lake, 
Portage Inlet, and Labyrinth Bay. I scanned the ice on 
I-lu eagerly with my binoculars for seals lying on the ice, 
but there was no sign of any. No seals meant no boots 
for our party. 

Large patches of bare ground were now appearing in 
all directions ; the snow was fast disappearing from the 
flat country, but it still lay in deep drifts in sheltered spots 
and in gulches ; some of the latter we should have had 
difficulty in crossing had we not brought our snow-shoes. 

Many summer birds, mostly of the lark species, and 
another hawk were seen. In the evening two wavey geese 
(Chen rossi] passed overhead, bound for the north. The 
summer, long delayed, had at last arrived, for there is 
little or no spring in these regions. 

On June 3 the weather was so hot that large pools 
quickly formed on the ice, threatening to flood us out ; 
so it was decided to strike camp on the following day. 

I happened to have with me the diaries kept during 
my journey of 1899, and it was interesting to compare 
meteorological notes, and such incidents as the arrival 
of the different summer birds. It seemed to me that the 
present summer was a few days in advance of that which 


I had experienced on Chesterfield Inlet in 1899, though 
we were now five degrees of latitude further north. But 
the spring of 1899 was exceptionally late, and this fact must 
be taken into consideration. I did not possess sufficient 
data to form a just comparison. However, I think I am 
correct in saying that in these regions a considerable 
difference in latitude makes little or no difference in the 
seasons. The winter is invariably prolonged, and when 
summer comes it comes with a rush. 

In many parts of the northland there occur beds of 
marine shells in elevated places such as the tops of hills 
and ridges, &c. Such beds were very noticeable in the 
neighbourhood of It-ib-ler-yuak Lake. 

Lyell (" Students' Geology," page 168) gives the following 
explanation of such formations : 

"The occurrence of patches and beds of marine shells 
at altitudes varying from a few feet to 500 feet is probably 
due, i.e. their present elevated condition, to the action of 
great glaciers or ice sheets, pushing up portions of the 
sea-floor possibly in a frozen condition to the hill-slopes 
on which they are now to be found." 

At an early hour on June 4 we broke camp and 
moved south-westwards for three miles, passing over one 
small lake three-quarters of a mile in length, and reaching 
the head of the inlet from Warren der Bay. I shall adhere 
to the Husky name, I-lu, for this inlet. It is one of the 
few short Eskimo names that I have heard. 

The scarcity of seals on I-lu made it advisable to push 
on the next day. Starting at an early hour, we travelled 
nearly eighteen miles south-west and camped about a 
mile beyond a hill called U-wei-yu-iillu, situated in a small 
bay on the south shore. The weather having cooled 
considerably, the travelling was good. It did not thaw 
all day. 

Amer succeeded in killing the first seal of the season. 
A few deer were seen and three Huskies were detached in 
pursuit, for we wanted meat badly. One swan was seen at 





camp-time. The deer hunters returned during the night, 
each man carrying the meat of one deer on his back. 

On June 6, after travelling three miles in cool weather, 
we passed another hill, very similar in size and shape to 
U-wei-yu-ullu, precipitous nearly all round. Although the 
altitude of either of these hills does not exceed six hundred 
feet, they form prominent landmarks. 

Twelve miles south-west was our day's travel. 

I-lu, which at its widest part I should judge to be 
about twelve miles across, now narrowed to one and a half 
miles at the spot where we camped, and I at once jumped 
to the conclusion that we were approaching Warrender 
Bay. In these parts it is exceedingly difficult to know if 
one is on the open sea or an inlet only. Rocky islands 
abound which are not marked on the chart ; they appear 
in the distance as continuous land, and are easily mistaken 
for the mainland. 

We found an abundance of willows at camp-time, but 
they were not dry and did not burn well. 

The following day, after travelling eight miles, we 
reached Warrender Bay. The entrance to I-lu is hidden 
from view by islands overlapping one another. This fact 
readily accounts for the surveyors of Melville Sound 
having passed it unnoticed. 

Crossing Hope Bay we directed our course nearly 
south-west to the south shore of Melville Sound. 

The ice was smooth, the hauling good, and we 
accomplished twenty-two miles. This was a very good 
day's journey, for with the Eskimo quite half the day is 
generally wasted in smoking and talking. Having travelled 
with Eskimo several thousand miles, I call ten miles an 
average day, fifteen miles a good day, and twenty miles 
splendid work. 

Six seals were seen on the ice, the first flock of ducks 
was observed, four bands of deer were spied. Pun killed 
five Arctic hares with his bow and arrow. 


The land on the south coast of Melville Sound is 
rocky and mountainous in character. 

As soon as we had camped the Huskies started off to 
hunt. They returned during the night, having killed three 
bulls, and each man carried a heavy load of meat. 

Whatever may be said about the Huskies' rate of 
travelling, the charge of laziness cannot be brought against 
them in hunting. All the Eskimo are good packers, 
i.e. carrying loads on their backs. They think nothing 
of packing two hundred pounds, which is what the body, 
head and legs of a large bull caribou weigh. A Husky may 
be lazy during the day while travelling, but then he is 
willing to work all night, and very often, during the 
summer months, he will go for days without desiring to 
take a good "turn in." The horns of two of the bulls 
killed measured two feet. The animals were fat inside, and 
the backfats were already commencing to form. 

On June 8 we moved a short distance westwards, along 
the coast of Melville Sound, and camped at a river, or 
rather a small creek, called Sarker-wark-tuk, where there 
was a Husky camping-ground, to which perhaps the name 
properly belonged. Here I decided to remain till the 
slush cleared away. 



I HAD expected to see a large river at Sarker-wark-tuk, for 
the Huskies had been talking about it for days, but the 
river was nothing but the little creek which flowed into the 
small bay on which we had camped. The place was evi- 
dently a favourite camping-ground of the Huskies, and 
between it and Cape Croker there were several other Husky 

The maximum readings of the thermometers were now 
above 32, but it still froze at night, in spite of the midnight 
sun. The ice had been already broken away at the mouth 
of the small creek. 

During the days we spent here we killed some deer, but 
they were not very plentiful. No seals were seen on the 
ice in our neighbourhood, but, as we required sealskin for 
footgear, we arranged expeditions in search of them. 
Amer and Uttungerlah set out armed with rifles, and Hun 
and Pun accompanied them with harpoons. One day 
(June 10) they returned with three common seals, and 
another day with two ugyuk or large seals. Darrell shot a 
female Arctic hare which, in a fortnight, would have given 
birth to five leverets. We saw birds of a considerable 
number of species, geese, ducks, gulls, &c. On the evening 
of June 9 I noticed a sandpiper which behaved as if it 
had its nest close by. Cranes, uttering their peculiar cry, 
were numerous and were always paired, but I never found 
their nests. On June 12 Amer shot three eider-ducks, 
one of which, a male, weighed 4^ Ibs., and the other 
two, females, 3! Ibs. each. They were all very handsome 



and in perfect plumage. It has often occurred to me that 
the Huskies might be encouraged to collect eider-down, at 
least on Hudson Bay, where, on the rocky islands, the 
birds nest in thousands. This industry is carried on in 
Norway with, it may be presumed, advantage to those who 
follow it. If Norwegians can make anything by it, Huskies 
would find it highly profitable, for starvation wages to a 
European would mean vast wealth to the native of Hudson 
Bay. Could not the missionaries take the matter up ? 

Ptarmigan were common and so tame that they could 
be knocked over with a stone. Hun and Pun killed a few 
with their bows and arrows, but I could not compliment 
them on the accuracy of their aim. At one bird ten arrows 
were shot, at distances varying from six to ten yards, but it 
flew away unharmed. On June 14 I saw one loon (great 
northern diver) passing overhead, the first of the season. 

The Huskies fished for u-wuk or codling, and were very 
successful. They brought back a big sleigh-load of hun- 
dreds, perhaps thousands, some of them weighing as much 
as two pounds. 

We observed salmon (June 14) ascending the Sarker- 
wark-tuk River, which flows from a lake not far off. 

Flies, spiders, and other insects were noticed on June 10. 
Fuel was abundant in the shape of dwarf birch, but n< 
plants had as yet shown any sign of growth. I spent some 
time in examining the rocks in the region, and found thei 
marked in an interesting manner by ice action. One after- 
noon I took the altitude of a longish hill or ridge over- 
looking our camp, and found it 840 feet high. 

One day I had a long talk with Hun and Pun witl 
whose dialect I was now fairly familiar. They told me, an< 
this information was corroborated by others afterwards 
that the wavey goose nests in large numbers on Kent 
Peninsula, and across Dease Strait on Victoria Land, but 
none are found to the west of Cape Croker. I write this 
because the nesting habits of the wavey goose are mucl 
discussed. It is a common belief among the traders of th< 




north that the wavey nests beyond the limit of human 
beings, and that an egg has never been found. 

I was desirous of visiting the Barry Islands in the 
southern portion of Bathurst Inlet where copper was 
reported to be plentiful, and, as the last few days had made 
a great difference in the snow, I arranged to set out on 
June 15. 

I took two companions, Uttungerlah and Hun, who 
acted as guides. Riding on the sleigh and driving the pick 
of our dogs, we travelled for seven hours, but it was diffi- 
cult to say how far we went. There was much slush and 
water on the ice, and the dogs' pace was variable. When 
we camped we were half-way to Barry Island, our guide 

Cape Croker is an island, a narrow gut of from half-a- 
mile to one mile wide separating it from the mainland. 

We met some Huskies about camping time, so we made 
for their camp, where we found five tents. 

These natives were most friendly ; they helped to pitch 
our tent, and they brought fuel, while one of them started 
off to catch u-wuk to feed our dogs. 

Most of them belonged to the same tribe as Hun, but 
two belonged to the War-li-ark-i-yuk, the tribe on the west 
side of the Coppermine River. The tribe, of which only 
a few now exist, between Cape Barrow and the Copper- 
mine, is called Ku-yak-i-yuak. 

Deer in this vicinity were reported to be scarce. 

Uttungerlah informed me in the evening that both 
Amer and he wished to accompany me to Fort Norman 
on the Mackenzie River, if I would give them a canoe in 
which to return. 

I ascertained that we were camped five miles north of 
Everitt Point, called Uming-muktor by the natives. 

We travelled seven hours the following day, but it was 
again difficult to say how far we went. The ice was fair 
in places, but at times the slush lay deep. However, we 
reached the north part of Barry Island. During the day 


Hun informed me that copper on Barry Island was not 
nearly so plentiful as at another place, indicating a spot 
near Fowler Bay. At this place a block of pure copper, 
weighing one or more tons, was reported to be lying on 
the shore. If we had gone to this place I felt quite con- 
vinced that Hun would have said it was at some other 
place that copper was really plentiful, so I did not think 
it worth while to alter our course. 

Along the north shore of Barry Island we picked up 
some drift sticks which evidently must have come from 
Hood River. 

Two small fragments of copper were picked up by 
Uttungerlah in the evening. 

One small flowering plant was already in blossom. 

Among other things Hun had promised us were 
abundance of dwarf birch, and a large number of deer 
on Barry Island. The drift sticks provided a fire, but 
the absence of deer suggested that we should have to 
beat a hasty retreat. 

The next day we devoted to examining the rock forma- 
tion and searching for copper. As the occurrence of this 
native copper, 1 and a full description of the formation in 
which it is found, has been written by an eminent specialist 
from my notes and specimens, there is no occasion for me 
to say any more on the subject. 

We were successful in finding the copper, which 
appears to be abundant and widely distributed. Whether 
it would ever be worth working is another matter, and one 
on which I am not competent to give an opinion. 

W T e saw one deer ; I shot an Arctic hare, and Hun 
caught some u-wuk, which served for supper. Grass was 
observed to have begun growing at the roots. The ice 
was becoming very blue, most of the snow having dis- 

Barry Island is called Iglor-yu-ulling. The island on 
which the block of copper was reported is called Kun-u-yuk. 

1 See Appendix. 


On the shore I noticed a chip of wood, which had 
evidently been chopped off with a sharp axe. It must 
have come down Hood River, to which the Indians doubt- 
less resort in the summer time. 

Next morning, June 18, we started on our return 
journey. We made for the nearest land on the eastern 
shore of Bathurst Inlet, distant from our camp about 
twelve miles. Hun and I then took to the land to hunt 
deer. There was still considerable snow in places, but 
it was melting fast, and the whole country was running 
with water. The land was high and very rocky, almost 
mountainous. We must have ascended 1500 feet or more. 
Small grass flats lay between the hills and ridges, and in 
these hollows we carefully spied for deer. But it was 
difficult to distinguish them with a glass for they were 
commencing to shed their coats. If they were standing 
,or feeding one could make them out, but if they were 
lying down the colour of their coats, a dirty white, har- 
monised so perfectly with the surrounding rocks and 
boulders and discoloured patches of snow, that it was 
very easy to pass them over. 

Eventually we spied seven bulls, but we had bad luck. 
I got within range after making a long circuit, and had 
a long but absolutely steady shot. They were all lying 
down. I took the nearest, which happened to have his 
head so turned round that his horns covered his body. 
The bullet knocked off one horn close to the skull. They 
all jumped up and made off at a great pace, never giving 
an opportunity for a second shot. The stunned beast 
staggered along in a very drunken fashion, and several 
times ran against his mates, nearly knocking them over, 
but he recovered completely after going a short dis- 

We camped again with our Husky friends at LJming- 
muktor. I do not know what the last syllable means, but 
uming-muk is Husky for musk-ox, which used to be and 
still are fairly numerous here. They are to be found a 


day's journey from the coast. I measured the ice at a 
crack and found 5 ft. 6 in. of solid ice still. 

Leaving the Huskies' camp at nine o'clock on the 
morning of June 19, we reached our main camp at Sarker- 
wark-tuk at 5 P.M. 

During our absence only two seals and one deer had 
been killed. A few salmon had been taken by the net. 

Before starting in the morning, I had a long talk with 
a native who was reported to be familiar with the coast 
between Cape Barrow and the mouth of the Coppermine 
River. I again endeavoured to elicit some definite infor- 
mation as to how late in the season we should probably 
be able to travel on the ice. After much talk in reference 
to the condition of the deer's coats, length of hair and 
horns, and the appearance and disappearance of the mos- 
quito, I understood that, in ordinary years, travelling on 
the ice was good till August 20, but that this was an early 

I was now more than ever determined to reach the 
Coppermine River on the ice. If we waited at Cape Bar- 
row for open water, as was at one time proposed, we should 
have to wait till September. We might expect to meet 
with stormy weather then, when coasting along in our 
small craft. Difficulties and possible accidents in ascending 
the Coppermine River, and again in crossing over the divide 
to Great Bear Lake had to be taken into consideration. 
Should we delay at Cape Barrow for open water, we might 
possibly not reach the shores of Great Bear Lake until it 
was too late in the season to navigate with canoes. In any 
case I was anxious to reach Fort Norman with as little 
delay as possible. 

Should we be fortunate enough to reach the mouth of 
the Coppermine on the ice, it would be possible to reach 
Fort Norman some time before the ice commenced to run 
in the Mackenzie River. We should then be able to ac- 
complish part of the long return journey up the Mackenzie 
River by open water. It is a long and tedious journey 




with dogs and sleighs from Norman to Edmonton, a dis- 
tance considerably over 1000 miles. We hoped that with 
luck we might reach Fort Mackay on the Athabasca River 
before the "freeze up." We should then be within 400 
miles of railhead. 

June 20 was devoted to a general refit ; cartridges were 
reloaded, bullets cast, and the women were kept busy 
making sealskin boots. I was occupied in changing photo- 
graphic plates, and then in overhauling all the " stuff." I 
found that I still had more than sufficient trade articles and 
also tobacco. 

In the afternoon I had a grand bath, an old kerosene 
can serving the purpose of a tub. It is not often that the 
traveller in the Northland has an opportunity of indulging 
in this luxury. (Jn winter it is too cold, and in the summer 
the mosquitoes are on the warpath, so that one seldom or 
never washes even his face on a journey through the North- 
land of Canada. This may possibly sound very dirty to 
people who stay at home, but habit is a second nature ; 
one soon forgets about washing. It is a long time be- 
tween tubs. 

In the afternoon I issued thin summer clothes to all 
hands ; I had sent these up on board the whaler. It was 
a great relief to get out of the deerskins which had now 
become oppressively warm. 

June is the one perfect month in the Northland. The 
temperature is just right ; there is not a fly or mosquito to 
trouble one. The land is clear of snow, with the excep- 
tion of a few deep drifts and banks, and the walking is 
good, for the land dries with wonderful rapidity. The ice 
is still good to travel over. 

Plenty of salmon were now running. 

Pun, who had started off in the early hours to hunt 
deer with his bow and arrow, returned in the evening with 
a small bull. This was the first occasion (while with me) 
on which he had drawn the blood of a deer, and feeling 
correspondingly proud, he brought the whole animal to me. 


I had made no promises of payment either to Hun or 
Pun. They came along of their own free will, but they 
did whatever they were told and worked hard, as did 
their wives. 

In the afternoon I had a long talk with my Hudson Bay 
Huskies about their plans, and I asked their intentions. 
Uttungerlah, who acted as spokesman, replied that he, 
Amer and Pitz wished to accompany me to Fort Norman, 
but that the women and children would be left at some 
place west of Cape Barrow, with Hun in charge to look 
after them. Hun had been taught to shoot with a muzzle- 
loader, and was now quite a good shot at short ranges. 
He was to have the use of a gun while in charge. Pun 
expressed a desire to accompany me. 

The Arctic coast Huskies informed me that cow 
caribou came right to the coast at and east of Ellice 
River, but only bulls were to be found east of the river. 
The southern coast of Bathurst Inlet, however, was an 
exception ; there cow caribou were to be found in the 
summer months. 

The grass was now rushing up, and what is termed the 
"Barren Ground" looked fresh and green, a welcome 
change from the vast expanse of snow. It was a great 
relief to the eyes. 

Several flowering plants were already in blossom, birds 
were singing day and night. Fond as I am of the cold 
weather and winter travel in the north, I confess to a keen 
sense of appreciation of the first glimpse of summer. It 
was a welcome change and a great relief from the 
monotony of the apparently never-ending dark days, 
on which the sun at noon had just showed clear of the 
southern horizon. 

We did not now experience any difficulty in sleeping, 
but, though sound sleepers, we were early risers. 

We fed but twice during the twenty-four hours. This 
was from choice, not on account of scarcity of meat and 
fish, of which we had abundance. The net was very 


successful during the night, and early in the morning 
(June 21) the Huskies brought twelve salmon. 
I give their weights and measurements : 


Ibs. ins. ins. 

8* . . 2 9 : 

4 25 

7 ... 29 ... 

4 ... 26 ... 

5* 26 

4i 24 

4 23 

7 2 9 i 

5f 2 9 "i 

5* 27^ . nf 

7 2 9 i . 13^ 

7* 2 9 | . 13 

These salmon were bright and silvery on the belly ; on 
the back they were of a greenish colour ; the sides were 
sparsely speckled with circular pink spots, varying from the 
size of a small pea to nearly the size of a threepenny bit ; 
with one exception they all had the grilse tail. They were 
not shapely fish, having no depth through the shoulders. 
They proved most excellent eating, but a diet of salmon 
" straight," as we found on my former journey, is rather 
rich and apt to disagree, indigestion usually following. I 
could see no difference between these salmon and those I 
had caught in Hudson Bay. Our nets were of five-inch 
mesh. This was about the right size for the larger fish, but 
it allowed fish of from one to tfyree pounds to pass freely 
through, and there were many of this size. 

It was decided to start for the west the following day, 
and in the morning (June 22) we were early astir. The 
women were so slow in packing up the endless rubbish 
which they insisted on taking along, that we were four and 
a half hours in getting under way, and it was half-past 


eight before we finally bade farewell to our Sarker-wark- 
tuk Husky friends and set out for the west 

Having travelled for ten hours, including " spells," we 
made eighteen miles, and camped on the west side of 
Cape Croker. 

Amer and I hunted on the land back from the shore, 
but we saw no deer. There must be many on this ground 
in winter, for the shed horns are to be found in con- 
siderable numbers. 

I was surprised to see so few small birds. Apparently 
the majority of birds that migrate to the north do not 
come so far as the Arctic coast to nest. Golden and 
gray plover and the waders, locally known as yellow- 
legs, were absent, and only a very few sandpipers were 
to be seen, though all these birds are very numerous along 
the Hudson Bay coast in the summer. 

We were out of deer's meat, but had a small store of 
salmon, which we were taking along packed in ice. The 
Huskies were living on seal's meat and blubber. We 
found sufficient driftwood at camp-time to boil our 

The next morning we continued our journey west. 
We were now crossing Bathurst Inlet. After travelling 
some distance we approached a flat-topped precipitous 
island, which in the distance very much resembled a kopje, 
On nearing it a different formation of rock was at once 
noticeable. A bed of limestone, fifteen feet thick, underlay 
the basalt, which was precipitous and columnar. 

This Limestone Island, as I called it, .is one of the many 
Porden Islands between Cape Croker and Lewes Island. 

Directly we camped, Amer started off to hunt. He 
met with success, and killed three large bulls, which were 
badly wanted and came rather as a surprise. Hun and 
Pun informed me later, that bull caribou are numerous 
on these islands in winter. This was proved to be correct 
the next day, for we found the shed horns numerous. 

It was decided to halt next day. The three deer had 


to be fetched, and I was anxious to examine the limestone 
and search for fossils. 

We had fairly good travelling on the ice, but shortly 
before we reached Limestone Island the water lay in 
deep pools in many places. These had to be waded or 
splashed through, and we now felt the benefit of our long 
sealskin boots, which the women had made, for the water 
at this time of the year is terribly cold. The Hudson 
Bay Husky women are excellent needlewomen. If they 
choose to take the trouble, they can make sealskin boots 
which reach to the hips, absolutely watertight. 

On June 24 we halted. I examined the limestone bed, 
which I found to be in places as much as sixty feet thick. 
Fossils were diligently searched for, both by myself and 
by Darrell, but we could find no traces of any. 

Uttungerlah killed one seal. Amer, Pitz, and Sandy 
went for the meat killed the day before. Hun and Pun 
went to inspect the ice ahead and to collect drift-wood, 
for we expected to have deep water to travel through the 
following day. The wood was to be placed on the sleighs 
underneath the loads. 

Deer were seen travelling on the ice, but all hands 
were busy. 

To illustrate the strange customs of the Huskies, a 
performance which I witnessed in the evening is worth 

Nanau, Amer's wife, was troubled by a small white 
speck or growth on one of her eyeballs. Hun's wife, 
Hlmiak, was operating on it. She had caught a head-louse, 
about which there was no great difficulty. It was tied or 
hitched on to a long hair, but was allowed the full use 
of its legs and arms, for this was essential. It was then 
dropped on to the eyeball and the lid of the eye was 
drawn over it. In its efforts to escape the louse kept 
scraping and scratching the surface of the eyeball. The 
idea, which seemed novel, was of course to loosen and 
remove the offending white speck. I cannot say that the 


operation was very successful, but the woman affirmed 
that she felt considerably better after it. 

On June 25 our journey was resumed. We did not 
meet with such deep water on the ice as we expected, for 
we were fortunate in striking a long crack running west. 
By keeping close to this we avoided most of the deep 
pools. Such cracks drain the water off the ice for some 
distance on either side, but, on account of the small rise 
and fall of the tide, which in the Arctic Ocean does not 
exceed one foot, they were not very numerous. Later we 
came across too many of them, and experienced great 
difficulty on occasions in effecting a crossing. 

Pun informed me in the evening that the ice beyond 
Cape Barrow was usually very hummocky, and that we 
should probably not be able to travel over it. Reaching 
an island where copper was reported, I decided to halt for 
a day. 

Young birds were found already hatched out in the nests. 
The small birds lose no time in getting to work. They 
well know the shortness of the summer season in these 
regions. It seemed only the other day when the first 
summer arrival was noticed. 

Next day, June 26, with Pun as guide, we walked about 
eight miles across the island to the south-west shore. The 
formation appeared to be the same as that of Barry 
Island. We did not find very much copper, for we had but 
a short time in which to search, but the green stains on the 
rock bespoke the presence of the metal in considerable 
quantities. We went to the part of the island where Pun 
stated he knew of a large chunk or slab of copper about 
three feet long and three inches thick. There happened to 
be too much snow and ice at this spot to let us have a 
chance of finding it, but I have no doubt of its existence. 

On this island we shot three bull caribou, so we were all 
right for meat. 

Sandpipers' and larks' eggs which we found were all 
hard set. The first butterflies were seen here. 


We started again at 7.30 A.M. on June 27. After hugging 
the north shore of Lewes Island we passed along the south 
shore of Chapman Island, and camped at an island marked 
on the chart, just at the south-west point of Chapman 

At the north-west point of Lewes Island we stopped to 
smoke. The formation of rock being similar to that on 
Barry Island we commenced to search for copper, which 
proved to be very plentiful. First of all only a few flakes 
could be found, but the longer we searched the more 
plentiful did the copper become. Finally it got too com- 
mon and we resumed our journey. The metal occurred in 
flakes and small chunks, the former were wedged in the 
rock always vertically. The rock was easily knocked to 
pieces by a light tap with the axe, the cleavage being both 
vertical and horizontal. 

Between two and three pounds of this native copper 
were picked up in the course of half or three-quarters of an 
hour, while we rested. 

Travelling on the ice was good. We made fifteen geo- 
graphical miles in a straight line as measured on the chart, 
which is about right. Our estimated distance was twenty 
statute miles, and we were unable to hold an absolutely 
straight course. 

Plenty of butterflies were now to be seen, and I com- 
menced to collect specimens. 

I also commenced making a botanical collection of the 
flowering plants, several of which were now in blossom. I 
saw a mosquito in the evening ; it was very small and 
black. These creatures always appear to me to look very 
smart and well dressed when they first appear. As they 
attain maturity and commence to age, they become brown 
in colour. When they are full grown and become very 
brown their time is almost up. Their attacks then become 
very feeble, and a few days later they disappear altogether, 
when another and far worse tormentor, in the form of the 
black fly, makes its unwelcome presence felt. I do not now 


refer to the coast. On the Hudson Bay coast black flies 
are not known. 

We killed one caribou, one ugyuk, and one seal, 
while travelling along the shores of Lewes and Chapman 

The next day, June 28, we continued our journey across 
Bathurst Inlet. 

The going on the ice was excellent. Most of the water 
had by this time disappeared, and we were fortunate in 
meeting with no large cracks. These cracks, when too 
wide to span or straddle with the long sleigh, were a great 
nuisance. It was necessary then to follow them until a 
suitable crossing-place, where they pinched in, could be 
found, and, on occasions, this took us several miles out of 
our way. 

The traverse across from the island on which we had 
camped to Cape Barrow was fifteen geographical miles, and 
there were no islands. 

The scare about the hummocky ice beyond Cape Barrow 
seemed to be mere moonshine, as far as we could judge 
from our camp, and I expected to have good travelling on 
the ice for another month. In this opinion I was supported 
by Amer. Uttungerlah stated that, in ordinary years, the 
ice on the coast of Hudson Bay was good to travel over for 
sixteen nights beyond our present date. 

The formation of the islands lying off Cape Barrow is 
similar to that observed at Limestone Island, precipitous 
columnar basalt. Inland from the coast at Cape Barrow 
the land is very rugged. Pun informed me that deer were 
very scarce. 

We proceeded on our journey the next day. Following 
the coast we travelled six miles. This brought us to a 
place called Ut-ku-shik Karluk. 

Ut-ku-shik is the Husky name for a kettle. At this 
place was a deposit of the peculiar soft stone out of which 
they make their kettles. As I was anxious to examine this 
rock, it was decided to halt on the following day. 


' The coast along which we had travelled was very rocky 
and barren ; there was little or no soil anywhere. 

Deer were seen, one seal shot. Up to this date ten 
seals and four ugyuk had been killed. 

We had heavy rain during the night, but the morning of 
June 30 was fine enough, and we started at an early hour to 
inspect the " kettlestone," as I called it. We walked five 
miles due south from our camp, Hun and Pun acting as 

The peculiarity of this rock, which was quite soft and 
easily cut with an axe or knife, is that it occurs among 
granitic rocks. There was just this one spot or patch of it. 
It appeared to be in situ, but it was difficult to say. It did 
not give one the impression that it extended to any great 
depth. In appearance it was grey and powdery looking. 
To the touch it had a peculiar soft feel. Its origin is not 
very apparent. 

Mosquitoes were getting very thick in the middle of the 

On July i we started at 7 A.M., and did not camp till 
7 P.M., but we only made twenty-two statute miles in a 
straight line. 

We were much troubled by long and broad cracks in the 
ice, which were now opening in every direction. We must 
have travelled considerably over thirty miles, for the 
" spells " for smoking and fooling had by common consent 
been relinquished. The Huskies having made up their 
minds to accompany me to Fort Norman, on the Mackenzie 
River, were as anxious to get forward as I was. 

We were now making for a river called Unl-a-lik, which 
had a reputation for salmon-fishing. We failed to reach 
the river, and camped a short distance east of it. Here in 
Gray's Bay there was a noticeable difference in the state of 
the ice. In many places it was getting very rotten, and we 
observed many holes. Along the shore, except at certain 
places, there was already a strip of open water about thirty 
feet broad. Our prospects of reaching the mouth of the 


Coppermine did not look so bright as they had done a few 
days previously. 

It was out of our course to go into Gray's Bay, but it had 
previously been decided to leave the women and children 
with Hun in charge at the LFni-a-lik River, where both fish 
and deer were procurable. 




ON July 2, after travelling but a short distance, we reached 
the Oni-a-lik River, which, with a volume of water great 
enough to deserve the name of "river," flows into the 
head of Gray's Bay. 

We experienced considerable difficulty in effecting a 
landing. Between the ice and the shore there was a strip 
or lane of open water, about thirty yards broad, and to 
get our stuff across this it was necessary to launch one of 
the canoes. The dogs swam and the sleighs were towed. 

Here we found three Husky families in camp. These 
natives belonged to the Ku-yak-i-yuak tribe, who frequent 
the country between the Coppermine River and Cape 
Barrow. They reported deer in fair numbers and musk- 
oxen plentiful a short distance inland ; they had seen a 
few salmon in the Oni-a-lik River. They said that the ice 
to the west was very hummocky and broken by many 
broad cracks or lanes of water, so that it would not be 
possible to proceed to the mouth of the Coppermine River 
on it. 

They also reported a total absence of deer, musk-oxen, 
and fish. To corroborate this statement they said that 
none of their tribe ever frequented that portion of the 
coast lying between Hepburn Island and the mouth of the 
Coppermine River. 

They strongly urged me to remain with them at the 
Cni-a-lik River, where fish, deer, and musk-oxen were 
procurable, and to proceed at a later date by open water. 
This all sounded reasonable enough, but I was not satis- 
fied. Whatever was to be decided upon, I could not help 

177 M 


feeling somewhat elated that we had accomplished so great 
a distance on the ice. We had been extremely fortunate, 
for had we encountered hummocky ice directly we struck 
the Arctic coast, it would have been impossible to proceed 
any distance. Of hummocky ice I had had experience 
enough on my former journey. That alone is sufficient to 
stop the best equipped party, although some progress may 
be made for a time. We had been favoured with smooth 
ice from the start, and though we had certainly had some 
difficulty in crossing, or avoiding by long detours, broad 
cracks or lanes of water in the ice, these were troubles 
that could be surmounted. Except for a few days we had 
had but little trouble with deep water lying on the ice. 
We had also been singularly fortunate in coming across 
deer, and we had not starved a single night. Neither had 
we been without fire of some kind for cooking purposes, 
but for this I had chiefly to thank Hun and Pun's wives 
for the use of their seal-oil lamps. 

Looking back on the journey along the Arctic coast 
we had good reason, I thought, to congratulate ourselves 
on our good luck. 

It was certainly a disappointment to be now told that 
our attempt to reach the mouth of the Coppermine River 
on the ice would have to be abandoned, but about this 
information I was somewhat sceptical, and determined to 
satisfy myself the following day. 

At an early hour on July 3 I started with Pun as com- 
panion to inspect the condition of the ice to the west. 
Paddling across the mouth of the IJni-a-lik River which 
had broken away the ice for some distance from its mouth, 
but was too deep for wading, we landed on the east shore 
of the peninsula, which extends in a north-easterly direc- 
tion towards Hepburn Island. This peninsula or pro- 
montory goes by the name of Ugi-uk among the natives of 
the Arctic coast. At one place it is quite narrow. From 
its western side we obtained a splendid view of the ice to 
the west. From what I could make of it, looking through 




my powerful deer-stalking telescope, there was nothing to 
be feared. Smooth ice, uninterrupted by any bad cracks, 
extended away in the distance as far as the eye could 

Pun immediately exclaimed that when the Huskies had 
spoken of hummocky ice, they did not refer to the ice at 
the west at all, but to that on the north side of Hepburn 
Island, on which they had been encamped during the 
winter. There had evidently been some stupid or inten- 
tional lying on some one's part, but the guilty parties I 
did not discover till later. 

I returned to camp at once, fully determined to proceed 
west with as little delay as possible, but it was necessary 
to wait for a day or so in order to procure a supply of 
salmon sufficient to enable us to reach the Coppermine 
without having to hunt or fish on the way. 

I argued in this manner. Suppose that we delayed for 
open water, which would at first only be a narrow lane 
between the main body of the ice and the shore, the dis- 
tance which we would have to travel to the mouth of the 
Coppermine River would be about two hundred and fifty 
miles, for we should necessarily be obliged to hug the 
shore, going round all the bays and inlets, and we would 
in all probability have to make portages at places where 
the ice was still fast to the shore. On the other hand, 
the distance to be travelled in a direct line was only about 
ninety-five geographical miles, which could easily be ac- 
complished in five days, barring bad cracks in the ice, of 
which at present there was no sign. 

There was another side of the question of course. If 
we proceeded and only managed to get half or part of 
the distance to the Coppermine, and if the Eskimo's 
information about the absence of deer, musk-oxen, and 
fish should prove true, then our situation would be 
critical indeed, for we should be in a starving country, 
unable to proceed either on the ice or by water, and 
equally unable to retrace our steps. 


Many flowers were now in blossom. Uttungerlah shot 
an ugyuk, and I shot a wolf and a seal. Seven salmon 
and a flounder were taken out of the nets in the evening. 
Two of the salmon weighed n Ibs. and 9 Ibs. respectively. 

Late in the evening my Hudson Bay Huskies came to 
interview me, and told me they could not make up their 
minds to accompany me further. They repeatedly asked 
the distance to the Coppermine River. I referred them 
to the chart which, I remarked, had, along the Arctic 
coast, proved to be quite correct, with the exception, of 
course, of the inlet from Warrender Bay into Kent Penin- 
sula, and about this they readily understood why the 
white men had failed to observe the entrance to I-lu. I 
also told them that the decision as to accompanying me 
further west rested with themselves, but that I did not 
intend to delay, and that their women would have to set 
to work at once to make socks for the dogs, as the ice 
had now become very splintery, and was very hard on 
the dogs' feet in consequence. 

Next morning, July 4, Uttungerlah, Amer, and Pitz 
being still undecided, I determined to leave them behind 
and proceed with Darrell and Sandy, taking only one 
sleigh, which was all the three of us could manage. Spare 
dog-harness and footgear were procured from the natives, 
for I intended the journey to the Coppermine to be a short 
and a quick, if not a very merry, one. 

About noon Uttungerlah appeared to announce that 
on reconsideration they thought that they had decided 
to accompany me. These natives were the veriest children 
to deal with ; they appeared to be quite unable to continue 
in the same mind for two minutes. 

It was necessary for two of them to accompany me as 
far as the mouth of the Coppermine in order to bring the 
dogs and sleigh back, and I proceeded to make them a 
speech, endeavouring to make it quite clear to them 
that, in having accompanied me from Depot Island in 
the Hudson Bay to Cape Barrow on the Arctic coast, 


they had fulfilled their part of the contract, that they 
were now their own masters again, free to go where and 
when they pleased. I told them I was very well satisfied 
with their conduct and the services they had rendered me, 
and I reminded them that they had received all the pay 
which was due to them at Mawr-en-ik-yuak before starting. 
This, it may be remembered, had been done in order to 
lighten the loads on the sleighs. I then went on to say 
that ammunition for the return journey would be given 
out, also some nets, for these had been promised. The 
dogs, sleigh, and canoe would be handed over when I 
had no further use for them. All this was according to 

They appeared to be under some foolish delusion that 
I intended to make them a present of the remaining 
tobacco, and of the articles which had been brought 
solely for purposes of trade with the Arctic Eskimo. I 
gave them to understand that I should be very pleased 
to give them more presents in " trade " and tobacco, but 
that more pay meant more work first, and that they would 
have to help me to pack our " stuff " across the divide from 
the Coppermine to Great Bear Lake. 

This was rather a long-winded oration for me to make 
in the Eskimo language, and I paused to take breath and 
observe the effect of my remarks. 

The emotions of the Huskies are very sudden and 
short-lived. Uproariously happy one moment, they are 
almost crying the next ; their faces now wreathed in 
smiles, now pictures of woe. The transition is remark- 
able in its rapidity. A hanging underlip and a peculiar 
low moaning or humming, which they affect, give these 
children of the north away at once. They are angry then 
and feel injured, but it is quite impossible to discover the 
grievance, which generally is purely imaginary. In this 
instance they had behaved just like children who cry 
when a cake in a shop window, through which they have 
been gazing, is suddenly and unexpectedly removed. 


The Huskies had seen the " trade " that I carried for so 
many months that they regarded it as their own, and as we 
were not likely to meet with any more Arctic coast natives, 
they jumped to the conclusion that the happy moment had 
now arrived when they would be put in formal possession. 
I held other views, however, and at length they understood 
and realised how foolish they had been, and how well they 
had been treated. 

I bade them bear in mind that I, on my part, had 
fulfilled every promise made to them on board the 
schooner Francis Allyn in October ; that the journey had 
been of the length agreed on ; that, as arranged, they had 
had their wives and families with them; and, as to payment, 
they had received twice the amount promised. I made 
them distinctly understand that white men always kept 
their promises with natives, a statement which I regret to 
admit is not strictly true. The only reason I could think 
of why they were not satisfied was, that they had received 
everything beforehand ; but I wished to hear from them- 
selves what their grievance was. They looked to one 
another ; their faces lit up, and they replied that I had 
given them "angikuni mai" (much much), and that they 
were all now agreed to accompany me and assist in 
packing our stuff over the portages across the divide to 
Great Bear Lake, as they felt sure that the white masters 
would find it tough work alone. I promised them a keg of 
tobacco, and so much of the " trade " as I did not wish to 
keep in reserve for dealings with the Indians I expected 
to meet on Great Bear Lake. So peace and happiness 
reigned once more in camp, and we spent a merry 
evening in getting everything in readiness for a start the 
following day. 

I cannot stand a sulky temper, and the Huskies, 
unfortunately, have something of this very objectionable 
trait in their character. They appeared always to be afraid 
to come and tell me of a grievance which, if by chance 
discovered and inquired into, always turned out to be 



purely imaginary. They seemed to find satisfaction in 
nursing a grievance, and preferred this to having matters 
set straight. On the other hand, I have never yet seen an 
exhibition of violent temper, either amongst the natives of 
the Hudson Bay or of the Arctic coast. I do not for one 
moment presume that cases of violence never occur, but I 
should say that they are rare. The Husky character is 
naturally easy-going, happy and content. 

To counterbalance an occasional display of sulks the 
Husky has many good, even noble, qualities. The good 
Husky knows no fear and never gets excited, either on land 
or on water, in attacking a polar bear with spear or ancient 
musket, or in standing out to sea in a whale-boat in a gale 
of wind. 

Only one salmon was taken out of the nets in the 
evening. There were plenty of fish running, but the water 
at the mouth of the Uni-a-lik River was not of a suitable 
depth for the nets. 

A theft of an axe was committed in the evening. Of 
course one of the Uni-a-lik natives was the guilty person, 
and, as I failed to discover him, they were all forbidden to 
approach our camp. This was quite a severe punishment 
to people so overburdened with curiosity. 

It was arranged to leave all the women and children at 
this river with Hun in charge. I gave out fishing-nets and 
some trade articles, Hun being put in temporary possession 
of a muzzle-loader. With seals, musk-oxen, deer, and 
salmon plentiful I felt no anxiety about the women and 

On July 5 we were delayed at the start by having to 
carry all the stuff to the ice by canoe across the intervening 
lane of water. 

The ice in Gray's Bay was getting very rotten, and I was 
relieved from anxiety when we got well outside. 

We ought not to have gone into the bay at all, but should 
have kept right on our westerly course. It was only to 
deposit the women and children that we entered it. When 


we got out beyond the point of the promontory Ugi-uk, the 
ice was firm and solid, and we made good progress. We 
travelled fifteen miles, in the course of which we met with 
but one crack, which, luckily, the long sleigh was just able 
to span. Using this as a bridge we carried all the stuff 
across, and were delayed only forty minutes. We camped 
close to Tree River Bay. 

In the evening I discovered the true cause of the recent 
exhibition of sulks on the part of my Huskies, and the 
reason of their difficulty in making up their minds to 
accompany me. All the Huskies at the Uni-a-lik River had 
told them, that it was the same distance from the Uni-a-lik 
River to the mouth of the Coppermine as it was to the 
Arm-ark-tuk River, where we had struck the Arctic coast, 
and they had spoken of the route as through a starving 
country where we should all die. The exact distance is 
one quarter. I was now quite able to understand the 
hesitation shown by my Husky friends, and they had my 
sympathy. Now it was all changed. I showed them the 
chart again. They already understood that I could find 
my position in latitude by sextant. They now said that 
white men knew and could do everything, and that they 
were always right, but that the Huskies were liars and knew 
nothing. Good-humour and laughter prevailed in spite of 
their having to starve. 

Salmon-fishing at the Uni-a-lik River had proved a 
failure, the water being too deep for the nets, and we 
certainly could not afford to delay. A very fine specimen 
of the great northern diver, however, had been taken out of 
one of the nets when they were lifted in the early morning. 

The canoe had to be used for landing ourselves and 
stuff at camp-time. In taking back the empty canoe for 
the balance of the stuff Sandy succeeded in capsizing it. 
He was pulled out gasping, but beyond a very cold wetting 
received no harm. There was a cairn at the place where 
we camped. It was about fifteen feet high and looked like 
the work of white men. 


Pun, who had made a great boast in the early morning 
of how he was going to act as guide to the Coppermine, 
did not turn up in the evening. His heart had failed him, 
and he could be seen with the glass, slowly wending his 
way back to the tents at the Uni-a-lik River. 

On July 6 the minimum thermometer reading was 30 
and the maximum 48 Fahr. The weather was cloudless 
with a light westerly wind. 

We started at an early hour, but a broad crack stopped 
us before we had travelled a mile. 

As cracks in the ice occasionally extended only a short 
distance, it was our custom to send two men in opposite 
directions to discover either the end of the crack or a 
suitable place for crossing. Waving the arms was the 
signal of success. 

A photograph will show how we crossed them better 
than written words. 

We put in a hard day's travel, but only made fourteen 
geographical miles during the twelve hours we were on 
the ice. We did not stop once, either to eat or smoke. 
Eating was out of the question, for we had nothing 
to eat. 

We camped two miles east of Epworth Point, and I 
immediately sent Amer off to hunt. He killed and packed 
back a large bull caribou late at night. This meat was 
a godsend, for we had completely run out of supplies. 

The land here was very barren and rocky, the rocks 
being much smoothed and striated by glacial action. I 
have not made a record of the direction of glacial striae 
at every point where they were noticed ; it was hardly 
worth while. The general direction in which the ice 
sheet moved was south-east, as is generally admitted. 
Occasionally, very often I may say, the direction of the 
striae was contradictory, for, naturally, there was lateral and 
retrogade movement due to pressure at certain points. 
The whole of the Northland of Canada gives one the 
impression that a mould has been pressed on the surface 


of the land, so striking is the smooth and flattened 
appearance of the rocks. 

The next day, walking on the land in order to hunt 
deer, I was obliged to go round the large bay just west 
of Epworth Point. Close to the shore I observed numerous 
salmon in the clear water. They were feeding on minute 
flies on the surface, and were swimming along in large 
schools. I fancy that a net at this time of year would 
be successful if set anywhere along the shore, provided 
the depth of water were suitable. At Port Churchill, I 
remember, the nets were set straight out from the shore. 
With the flood tide came the salmon ; at the ebb they 
were taken out by men on foot, for the nets were staked 
up and the salmon left suspended. 

During the day I had the men and sleighs in view the 
whole time, and noticed that they were having considerable 
trouble on the ice. Following the shore I travelled over 
thirty miles, but saw no sign of deer. This looked bad. 
I added several specimens to my butterfly and botanical 

In the evening when I arrived in camp I heard very 
bad reports of the ice, which was described as much 
honeycombed and very rotten. My men had come a 
distance of fourteen geographical miles, but had all been 
through several times, and at one place the large sleigh 
had almost fallen through. 

Ascending the rocks at the back of our camp I obtained 
a good view of the ice to the west. There were many 
islands, and between them I could see no ice at all, but 
open water everywhere. By keeping outside all the islands 
it might be possible to travel on the ice, but in what con- 
dition we should find it close to the shore, where we might 
wish to land, was difficult to say. If it should be too rotten 
to permit us to land, we should be obliged to camp on the 
ice and make for our former camp on the following day, 
by which time, judging from the warm weather prevailing, 
the ice would in all probability be too rotten to permit 




us to effect a landing, and we should then be in what is 
vulgarly but expressively called a " mess." 

Moreover, both Darrell and Sandy were suffering from 
snow blindness, and another day on the ice would probably 
put them hors de combat. They had worn spectacles of a 
talcose substance of an inferior make, which had by mis- 
take been sent with the supplies on board the schooner. 
Their surface paint had peeled off and left the eyes ex- 
posed to the glare of the snow. I wore Eskimo wooden 
spectacles with narrow, horizontal slits, and they were 
perfectly satisfactory. Glass spectacles become dim with 
moisture from the face and require frequent wiping. 

With much regret we abandoned all hope of reaching 
the mouth of the Coppermine on the ice ; we were now 
distant from it only about fifty-five geographical miles. 

Young birds were now fully fledged and well able 
to fly. 

To be stopped here was specially disagreeable, as there 
appeared to be no deer along the coast. Even ptarmigan, 
which are numerous and widely distributed over the North- 
land, appeared to be absent. During the summer months, 
however, in the north, absolute starvation need not be 
feared, provided one has a plentiful supply of ammunition, 
for gulls, loons, hawks, and small birds can be shot, and 
ground squirrels are plentiful in many places. 

The following day, July 8, we moved our stuff a short 
distance along the coast to a small river, where we hoped 
to be able to set our nets with some chance of success. 
Fish were observed here, but they did not look like 
salmon. Uttungerlah was sent to hunt, but returned 
without having seen anything. One ptarmigan was killed. 
Mosquitoes were getting thick, but I had taken the pre- 
caution to bring along a plentiful supply of netting for 

On July 9 we had the large canoe washed and laid out 
to dry, preparatory to being varnished and white-leaded. 
Anxious to lose no time in reaching the Coppermine 


River, I determined to start by canoe on the first oppor- 
tunity. If the main body of ice broke up, the prevailing 
north wind would drive the whole of it in against the 
shore, and we should then be completely cut off as long 
as the wind continued to blow from the same quarter. 

The three nets took two salmon and eight white-fish, 
the latter species appearing to be fairly plentiful. I had 
brought a fishing-rod and a few flies from England for 
the express purpose of ascertaining if these Arctic salmon 
or salmon trout could be taken with a fly. I had been 
too busy to put the rod up, so far, but here was my 
opportunity. I failed to get even a rise, but there might 
have been no salmon in the river at the time. They 
appeared to come along in schools. They ran into the 
mouths of all the rivers and creeks. The majority of 
these they were unable to ascend, and they then passed 
right along. 

On July 10 Amer and Uttungerlah were sent off at an 
early hour to hunt. I and Sandy were busy with the canoes. 
I had brought along both varnish and whitelead for fixing 
them, but the latter would not harden. Whitelead always 
must be carried mixed with turpentine and ready for use. 
In the afternoon I went through the whole of our stuff, and 
divided it into suitable loads for lifting in and out of the 
canoes. Loads ought not to exceed 60 Ibs. This weight 
can be handled with ease, and in portaging a couple or 
three of these " pieces," as they are called, can be taken at 
a time. Amer returned in the evening without having seen 
any deer or tracks of them. Uttungerlah did not return. 
The nets only took two white-fish and one salmon. 

On July ii Uttungerlah returned in the early morning 
with a bull caribou, which he had killed about fourteen miles 
inland. There appeared to be no deer near the coast, but 
I expected to find them when mosquitoes became so 
numerous as to drive them towards us. The nets took 
four salmon and four white-fish. 

In the evening I went to inspect the ice along the coast. 


It was quite calm, and we paddled along the strip of water 
between the main body of the ice and the shore for over a 
mile, and we could have continued ; so we decided to make 
an attempt to proceed the following day. 

The country now looked very picturesque, decked gay 
with pretty wild flowers of various hues. 

In the morning at 8.30 we made a start. I had discarded 
everything that was not absolutely necessary. The balance 
of the "trade" was given out to the Huskies, who left it in 
cache at this place until their return. 

Here we left all the dogs behind, with the exception of 
Uttungerlah's favourite dog and one bitch with her little 
pup. As this proceeding has been criticised and described 
as cruel by people whose experience of travel has been 
confined to railway journeys in England, I simply state 
that we had either to abandon or to shoot the dogs. I am 
always loth to shoot dogs. I would rather give them a 
chance of their life, and in this instance their chances of 
surviving until the return of my Huskies was good, for 
ground squirrels were very numerous, and on these the 
dogs could get a living. 

We made good paddling for several hours, the ice being 
sufficiently broken up to permit us to paddle in and out 
among the loose sheets. When we had gone about twelve 
miles by account the tide turned and an east wind sprang 
up, which brought the ice against the shore, and most 
effectually put a stop to our paddling. By much winding 
in and out, and by shoving the large pans of ice to one 
side, we managed to push on for another mile and a half, 
and then camped. 

I immediately went ahead to examine the ice, and dis- 
covered that we had camped close to two fair-sized rivers. 
I returned at once to order a start, but found the tents 
already pitched and all hands busy cooking, so we had 
supper. After passing Cape Barrow we had always found 
an abundance of driftwood along the shore. 

Supper concluded, we struck camp and proceeded to 


a spot on the more westerly of the two rivers, which gave 
good promise as a fishing station. 

When deer are plentiful one can camp where he pleases, 
but at this time our fish and meat supply was from hand to 
mouth and most uncertain, and our camping ground had 
to be carefully chosen. 

We found some signs of Huskies on the banks. A fire 
had been made and a deer killed. 

The country here was very beautiful. The water in the 
river was quite clear, and the shores were sand and gravel. 
Inland a long, grassy, gently-rising slope stretched away 
in the distance. Vegetation was very luxuriant, and the 
ground showed a profusion of blossom. The miniature 
rhododendron with its mass of red blossom, the white 
blossom of our old friend the i-klu-ti, the heather which had 
served us for fuel for so many days on the Arm-ark-tuk 
River, and a white anemone were the most conspicuous. 
With my telescope I could sweep the whole of the country 
for miles around. The ground looked suitable for deer, 
but with the exception of some old dung there was not a 
sign of a beast. It was difficult to account for this. 

From our camp Bloody Fall on the Coppermine River 
could be easily reached in two days' paddling, provided we 
had open water. 

Slate of good quality was observed along the shore. 

The weather turned bad in the evening, and we pitched 
our tent just in time to escape a deluge of rain. Very 
heavy rain fell at intervals during the night. During a fine 
spell, mosquitoes came forth in clouds. We had scarcely 
noticed them before, but now the vast army seemed to 
spring into existence as if by magic. 

With a light north-west wind and fairly open water, 
we set out next morning at 7.30. The appearance of the 
ice and the state of the weather gave every promise of our 
being able to make a long day's travel west, but unfor- 
tunately we were stopped after paddling only six miles. The 
wind suddenly changed to the north-east, and, with a flood- 


ing tide, brought the ice in a compact mass right against 
the shore, completely choking a bay we were just about to 
cross. With some little difficulty we effected a landing by 
getting on to the pans of ice and pushing them aside. Great 
care must be taken of canoes among ice, for they are easily 
damaged. Ice appears to have a particularly tearing effect, 
even more so than rocks. 

The wind blew moderately from the same quarter the 
whole day, and kept us on shore. Late in the evening, 
when the tide had turned and the wind had dropped, I 
walked hopefully along the coast, but found that the ice 
had been packed and jammed against the shore, so as to 
present a hopelessly impenetrable barrier to our progress 
west. It would have required an "ice-crusher" to make 
any impression on it. This was just what I had all along 
been afraid of. We were prisoners for as long as the wind 
should blow from the same quarter, and we had an oppor- 
tunity of exercising that most necessary of qualities in a 
traveller patience. 

Having left our river we now had no place to set our 
nets. We would have returned the six miles we had come 
had we been able to do so, but the ice made retreat as im- 
possible as advance. A few deer tracks were noticed in 
the afternoon, and these inspired hope. Ever since leaving 
the Uni-a-lik River we had been on short rations, but were 
able to get along well enough. Now I began to fear a 
starving time, and I knew that my Huskies shared my 

The following day, July 14, we were still unable to 

Amer and Uttungerlah set out early in the morning to 
hunt. Amer returned unsuccessful. Uttungerlah returned 
during the night with a large bull caribou, the only one he 
had seen, though he had walked a long distance. I should 
not have objected to being delayed in this manner, if we 
could have employed our time in putting up a supply of 
dried meat or salmon, which would have saved delay 


further on, but that was quite out of the question where we 
now were. Till now we had not wanted a single meal, but 
had been on short rations, insufficient to satisfy our appe- 
tites. The behaviour of all, however, was quite correct, 
and no remarks were made. 

On July 15 I was awakened at one o'clock in the morn- 
ing by the flapping of the tent ; a bulge in the canvas on 
the south side showed the direction of the wind. We had 
been waiting for a south wind, and I soon had the men up ; 
it took but a few moments to dress, and we then com- 
menced to pack up and load the canoes. The ice had 
already commenced to move off the shore, and it seemed 
just possible that we were to have a free passage right 
to the Coppermine River. 

The southerly wind, however, was merely a local puff 
and lasted but a short time. After we had paddled four 
miles it fell dead calm, and the flooding tide brought back 
the drift-ice, which forced us to put ashore again and camp. 

Shortly afterwards a deer came quite close to us, but 
gave no chance for a shot, as it was half mad from the 
attentions of the warble-fly and soon vanished in the dis- 
tance. I spent most of the day adding to my botanical 
collection. Darrell collected butterflies for me. It did not 
appear as if I should be able to add largely to either collec- 
tion, for both butterflies and flowers seemed to be nearly 
over. A blue Lupin (Lupinus nootkatensis), which is very 
common in the Northland, was still in flower. 

The object of the journey had now been attained. We 
had explored the land between the head of Chesterfield 
Inlet and the Arctic coast; we had visited several of the 
copper deposits on the Arctic coast, and our collections, 
entomological, botanical, and geological, were as complete 
as it was possible to make them. Mosquito time was now 
in progress, when but few photographs could be taken. 
We really had nothing further to do in the north, except 
to get out of the country, and that at present was not 
possible on account of the barrier of ice. 

The hills on the west side of the Coppermine were 
clearly seen from the rising ground behind our camp, and 
appeared but a short distance away. 

Signs of former Husky camps were plentiful. The tribe 
of the Ku-yak-i-yuak must have been numerous in former 
times, but had now all gone, except the three families 
encamped at the Uni-a-lik River. 

The rise and fall of the tide was just one foot. The 
water in the Arctic Ocean (on the surface at least) appears 
to be but very slightly saline. We used to drink it straight 
out of the sea. 

On July 16 we were still icebound, and there appeared 
to be but a remote chance of getting further west for some 

The ice loosened somewhat with the ebbing tide, but 
not sufficiently to permit of the canoe being launched. The 
flood-tide, I knew, would immediately pack it in on the 
shore again. 

After a slim supper I decided to spend the night in 
hunting, for we were still very short of meat. 

Before starting I gave my men instructions to keep a 
sharp look-out on the ice, and if, owing to a favourable 
change of wind, there was a possibility of moving forwards, 
to lose no time in striking camp and proceeding. I expected 
to keep the movements of the men in view from the high 
land where I proposed to hunt deer. 

As I ascended the rising ground to the south mosquitoes 
were in clouds, their incessant buzzing amounting to a 
roar which was most annoying. It was on account of this 
plague that I decided to hunt on the heights, where it was 
cooler and where mosquitoes were fewer. After four hours' 
walking I sighted a female, which, after considerable diffi- 
culty, I was successful in shooting. The difficulty was to 
make an approach, as, owing to the plague of mosquitoes, 
she was continually on the move. When I did arrive 
within reasonable distance and raised my veil, I was 
assailed by such a swarm that I could not distinguish the 



sights on the carbine. The bullet was effective, more by 
good luck than steady shooting. 

The deer were now shedding their winter coats. Be- 
tween the old white hair, which still hung in bunches from 
their sides, patches of new black hair was showing. When 
an animal was at rest, these black patches on the grey and 
white looked exactly like a piece of black moss on a grey 
rock, and it was exceedingly difficult to pick up a beast with 
the glass. 

After starting a smudge fire with wet moss to keep the 
insects in check, I skinned and cut up the beast. This 
wretched animal was one mass of mosquitoes, and its coat 
was specked with tiny beads of blood from each puncture. 
Consequently, it was in very poor condition. 

Packing back the quarters, loins, shoulders, and tongue, 
I made for the nearest part of the coast, for in the event 
of the men having been able to move forward, I should 
have cut them off. In pursuing this deer I had lost sight 
of our camp. 

On arriving at the coast, I found the ice along the shore 
still set hard and fast, and at once concluded that my men 
were in camp and unable to move. Knowing that they 
were almost without meat, I decided to pack my load of 
meat to camp rather than leave it in cache on the shore, 
but, on arriving at the camping-ground, I found that the 
men and canoes had departed. There was only one con- 
clusion to be drawn from this fact, and that was that 
while I was hunting the ice had loosened ("gone abroad" 
is the correct expression) and given them a clear passage 
of which they had not been slow to take advantage, and 
that, shortly after they passed, the ice had closed in 

As they had received instructions to pay no attention to 
me, but to push right on to the mouth of the Coppermine 
River if possible, I cached my back load of meat and made 
haste either to catch them up or meet them at the Copper- 
mine, a longish walk on the top of my night's hunt. 






I walked for three hours, and found them in camp at 
a point distant ten miles from our last camp. The three 
Huskies had gone off to hunt, fresh deer tracks having 
been seen. 

Having been on my feet for thirteen hours, part of 
which time I had been packing a heavy back-load of meat 
amidst myriads of tormentors, it was a welcome relief to 
get inside the tent, stretch out my weary limbs at full length 
on the ground, and indulge in a pipe without interruption 
from the infernal mosquitoes. 

This was July 17, and I reckoned we were now only 
eighteen geographical miles from the mouth of the Copper- 
mine so near and yet so far, so long as the ice barred the 

In the evening at the turn of the tide we made two 
unsuccessful attempts to get through the ice, and were 
eventually obliged to relinquish our efforts and to camp 
having only advanced half a mile. It was useless to 
attempt to force our way through the ice. We might 
perhaps have done more chopping with the axes, and then 
hauled the canoes through or over the heavy floe-ice ; but we 
should probably have damaged the canoes beyond repair 
in so doing. Our patience was again called upon. 

Amer killed a very large bull caribou, which was in 
fairly good order, so for the present our minds were 
relieved from anxiety about starvation. 

Next day I discovered that the small peninsula or 
point of land on which we had camped was almost 
bisected by two small salt-water lakes, connected by a small 
tidal stream. One short portage would have brought us 
to these lakes ; the small tidal stream was deep, and would 
have offered a waterway to the next bay, which happened 
to be clear of ice. It is invariably a wise plan to have 
a good look ahead before deciding where to camp. One 
may be within a short distance of a good river for fishing, 
and not discover it till after the camp is pitched and 
everything unpacked. This, it may be remembered, 
happened in our case on July 12. 


After making a short portage we launched the canoes 
and paddled across a small bay, on the west side of which 
we landed. Then by making another portage, we avoided 
the next point of land. It was always against these points 
of land that the ice rested compact. The small bays re- 
mained fairly clear of drift-ice. 

The latter portage was 620 paces, the ground being 
hard and level. It took two and a half trips without the 
canoes to carry all our stuff over. The small bay we thus 
reached was quite clear of ice, but the next bay and the 
point of land beyond were set fast with drift-ice. 

The tide was now on the turn, and the weather 
threatening, so we cooked supper and took a rest, hoping 
that after a short delay the state of affairs would be more 
favourable. We were in luck, for from the heavy thunder- 
clouds which had been gathering in the south-west sprang 
a steady breeze, accompanied by rain. When the rain 
stopped, the ice had drifted clear of the point. From a 
small rise in the ground I could see that the next point, 
and also the point beyond, were clear, and my fear of 
being penned in for an indefinite time was dispelled, but, 
to show that my anxiety was not groundless, I may remark 
that Back was detained by drift-ice near Montreal Island 
at the mouth of Back's River at the end of July 1834. 

We lost no time in launching the canoes and getting 
under way. The further we proceeded the less drift-ice did 
we encounter. It was all open water ahead, and we hastened 
along the free passage towards the mouth of the Copper- 
mine River. 

We passed the mouths of two rivers, which appeared 
to be outlets of the Coppermine. Thinking that by 
ascending either of them we might escape Bloody Fall, 
we paddled close inshore, but the river mouths were very 
shoal, and moreover, we had no wish to explore further. 
I knew from the chart the exact position of the main 
outlet of the Coppermine, so we pushed on. 

We had a stroke of luck in bagging a large bull 


caribou which I shot at long range, and which the Huskies 
skinned, cut up, and stowed in the canoes within ten 
minutes. When deer were scarce, as they had been since 
we had left the LJni-a-lik River, the killing of a caribou 
meant so much to us that it always found a place in my 

A couple of small grey geese (barnacle) were shot by 
Darrell as we approached the mouth of the Coppermine 
River. We were getting into a country where food supplies 
promised to be more plentiful. 

After passing the last two small islands marked on the 
chart, we sighted what I took to be Mackenzie Point and 
Cape Kendall ; but, owing to the mirage, we could not 
with certainty distinguish between islands and points on 
the mainland. 

The land on the shore along which we paddled 
consisted of gently-rising, grassy slopes, dotted with 
occasional very green willow-beds ; and small outcrops of 
dark rock here and there gave the whole a very picturesque 
appearance in the early morning light. Altogether the 
country left a favourable impression on my mind. 

The mouth of the Coppermine River seemed a little 
further west than I expected, but the chart in my possession 
was on such a reduced scale that it was difficult at times 
to recognise headlands, bays, or islands. The eastern 
branch was plainly visible a long distance off, and for this 
our small crafts were headed. This was not the main 
outlet, however, as we discovered when the canoes 
grounded on a sand-bar which extended right across. 
This channel was wide and shallow, but there was evidence 
that at some former time, if it was not the main outlet, 
it had at all events carried a considerable volume of water. 

We had been nine hours at the paddles when, at four 
o'clock in the morning of July 19, we put ashore to 
breakfast on the bull caribou and then go to sleep. 



WHEN we first landed on the low-cut bank outside the bar, 
it seemed that, to reach the western and main outlet, it 
would be easier to portage the distance of about six 
hundred and fifty yards than to paddle round the coast ; 
but when we awoke we found that, the tide having risen, 
there was just enough water to float the canoes, fully 
loaded, up the eastern channel. All of us waded till we 
reached the junction a few hundred yards up, and then 
we jumped into the canoes and paddled. 

The Coppermine River is about a mile wide a short 
distance from its mouth, but soon contracts to about half 
that width. It flowed with a steady, sluggish current, 
which became somewhat stronger as we ascended. The 
water was remarkably clear. On either side steeply sloppg 
and cut alluvial banks confined the channel, which was 
very straight. 

We reached Bloody Fall after paddling three and a 
half hours. I put its distance from the coast at nine 
statute miles. 

Bloody Fall has an interest of its own in the history 
of the exploration of this region. It was here that the 
Chipewyan Indians (a horde of uncontrolled savages), 
who accompanied Hearne on his journey in 1771, 
massacred a peaceful and unsuspecting party of Eskimo. 
I found that the cruel tragedy had not been forgotten by 
the Arctic Huskies. 

The Fall itself was a disappointment to me ; in fact, it 

has the character of a rapid rather than a fall. 





We camped at the foot of the Fall on the east side. 
Immediately on landing we discovered a large cache of 
salmon, besides salmon-spears, bows and arrows, and other 
gear, all showing that the Huskies of the region were not 
far off and intended to return. 

My Huskies discovered and brought me a large bone, 
which could only have belonged to a very large bear, 
probably a grizzly. There are "Barren Ground" bears 
all along the Arctic coast, from Kent Peninsula to the 
Coppermine, but they are not numerous. At several 
places I came across their "hooking" for roots, occasion- 
ally quite fresh, but none of the party happened to get a 
sight of a live bear. 

Having discovered that portaging would be easier on 
the west side, we, on the morning of July 20, crossed the 
river and began to make the portage, which was about half 
a mile in length, the walking being fairly good, but through 
thick willows in places. The weather was fine in the early 
morning, but clouded up later, and there were thunder- 
showers in the afternoon. We discovered that the coast 
Huskies had been in camp on this side only the day 
before ; in fact, we must have surprised them. They had 
slipped off in a great hurry and very quietly, leaving their 
stone kettles full of half-boiled salmon. They apparently 
had just had time to haul down their tents, throw their 
half-dried salmon in a heap, and decamp. Spears, bows 
and arrows, cooking-pots, clothes, &c., lay around just as 
they had hurriedly left them. They had evidently been 
very successful in obtaining salmon, thousands of which 
had been killed with a very long-handled spear, with double 
prongs made of native copper. I had not seen such spears 
before, and I took one for a specimen. I also took a supply 
of their dried salmon, leaving in exchange some knives, 
files, needles, awls, a looking-glass, and a pair of scissors. 

These natives must have belonged to the War-li-ark-i- 
yuk tribe, who frequent the coast to the north and west of 
the Coppermine. 


Above the Fall we encountered a long stretch of rapid 
and shoal water, where the river spread out over a wide, 
stony bed in many different channels. Tracking was here 
out of the question ; the water was too swift for poling, and 
we were obliged to walk the canoes up. The water in 
some places was too shoal for the canoes ; in others, almost 
too deep to wade against. It was generally about thigh 
deep, but very often it took us up to our waists, and at 
these places it was with difficulty that we kept our feet. It 
was excessively tiring work, walking against this heavy 
water. Though it was continued all day, we made only 
five miles. By the evening the outlook had not improved, 
and it was evident that we were in for a tough time. 
There was silence in camp that night, due possibly to 
fatigue, but no doubt also to depression of spirits. 

It was fortunate that we had taken time by the forelock 
and had pushed ahead, for, at this time of year, the water 
was of an agreeable temperature for wading. Had we 
been a month or six weeks later, we should probably have 
been unable to withstand its temperature. With a good 
head of water in the early summer the river would be easy 
to run, but it proved most difficult to ascend. 

The country was flat or undulating and grass-covered, 
with willow beds on either side. The river wound between 
low banks or in places without banks. 

Deer tracks were seen as we camped on the east side. 

The morning of July 21 broke dull and threatening, 
but it soon cleared up and a start was ordered. We crossed 
the river at once, and then waded and walked the canoes 
up as we had done the day before. However, we were 
soon able to put out track lines, and after three miles of 
uninterrupted tracking we reached the second rapid about 
two o'clock in the afternoon. I did not understand why 
this was marked on the chart as a "rapid." There was 
only rough water, which could be very easily run at any 
stage of water and in any kind of craft. At a high stage 
of water it would probably be not even rough. It ap- 


peared at first that we might manage to track up this piece 
of water, but a cut bank, below which there was no place 
for the trackers to walk, effectually put a stop to this opera- 
tion. We were obliged to make the portage, and for this 
we took the east side of the river. The distance was about 
a thousand yards, and the going was good. This occupied 
the rest of the afternoon, and we camped when all the 
stuff was across. 

After supper I walked about three miles up the river to 
examine ahead. It appeared that tracking might be pos- 
sible for a short distance, after which another portage 
would have to be made. 

At our camp here we saw stunted spruce for the first 
time in this region. Vegetation of every kind was becom- 
ing more luxuriant. 

I saw a large bear's track and fresh dung. 

Next day, July 22, a very thick mist, accompanied by 
rain, obscured everything, so that we could neither travel 
nor hunt, and we lay in tent the whole day. I was getting 
anxious about food, for we had only one full day's supply 
in camp. The signs of deer that we had seen were old. 
Bears are always a doubtful quantity. They appear diffi- 
cult to find in every country except perhaps Kashmir and 
a few other places in the Himalayas. The river so far was 
unsuitable for net-fishing. 

The following morning the weather was still bad, and 
it was with some hesitation that I ordered a start. Our 
tent was soaking wet and very heavy, as was most of our 
other stuff, and I knew that we had to make a portage a 
short distance ahead. However, our present camp was 
in a bad position, and there appeared to be no deer. 

Following the eastern side of the river, we were enabled 
to pass a line underneath the first cut bank. It required 
five men to handle a single canoe at this place, and there- 
fore only one could be taken up at a time. We accom- 
plished a mile, partly by tracking and partly by wading, 
and then another cut bank stopped us. 


When, in ascending a river too swift to paddle against 
and too deep for poling the canoe, one encounters a steep 
and high cut bank which is too high to track from and 
which leaves no footing beneath for the trackers, one of 
two alternatives has to be chosen. One is to cross the 
river, for it is rare to find cut banks precipitous on both 
sides. When on account of rough water it is not possible 
to cross, then the other alternative must be adopted, that 
of making a portage on the side of the river where one 
happens to be. In the circumstances I am describing not 
even portaging is possible until a suitable place has been 
found for getting the stuff and the canoes up the bank. 
One has, in short, to go back and look for a slope where 
a landslip has occurred, or a stream has cut through the 
rock. The place which we chose for scrambling up the 
bank, though it was the best we could find, was not an 
easy one, and it took all six of us to handle one canoe. 
We had, in fact, to climb the steep ascent, and I was in fear 
and trepidation for the safety of our canoe, for one bad 
slip would have meant ruin ; the men and the canoe would 
in an instant have been at the bottom of the cliff. 

The Huskies were excellent at this work strong, care- 
ful, and patient and so were my own men, Darrell and 
Sandy, but they would hardly wish their excellent services 
to be mentioned. The portage accomplished, we had fair 
tracking for about a mile, after which we camped at the 
foot of the first real bluff of spruce that we had as yet 
seen. This was on the west side of the river. 

We saw very few deer tracks, and these were all very 
old. Signs of bear were plentiful. We could only make 
two more meals out of the remnants of the now putrid 
salmon found in the native camp at Bloody Fall. We 
ought to have spent a day in hunting, but I was anxious 
to push on and reach the Sandstone Rapids. I had an 
idea that there would be a better chance of coming on 
deer and bear further south. Below the Sandstone Rapids 
we might be able to set our nets. 




We resumed our journey at seven o'clock in the 
morning next day, July 24. 

The river was very crooked, the water being shoal in 
some places, rough in others. We were a man short in 
each canoe. To track a canoe up swift water four men 
are necessary. Two are required on the track line, one 
should be at the bow with a pole, and one acts as steers- 
man. The man in the bow ought to have a knife ready 
to cut the track line should the canoe broach to. For if 
a canoe gets broadside on to the current, and the trackers 
continue to haul on the line, they will pull it over. 

We were now on sandstone formation, and although 
we had precipitously cut banks to deal with, there gener- 
ally was a ledge of rock on which the trackers could find 

At one place Sandy, when tracking, was jerked off a 
ledge of rock without serious injury. I was in the bow 
of the canoe with pole, and Darrell was steersman. In 
such cases it is foolish to attempt to turn the canoe. A 
Peterboro' canoe is very nearly of the same shape in the 
bow and in the stern, so in taking a run downstream the 
men's places are reversed, the bowsman acting as steers- 
man. One word of advice, which should be remembered 
by those who canoe in dangerous waters, is, " Do not get 

We had very swift water the whole day. Since leaving 
Bloody Fall we had only found half a mile of placid water 
where the paddles could be used, and there we had seen 
numbers of white-fish. During the day we observed one 
duck and two loons. I was surprised that we came across 
no geese. I was delighted to observe a number of fresh 
deer tracks along the shore in places where there was 
sand or gravel. My mind was relieved of a great anxiety, 
for should we have been without food I could not have 
expected my Huskies to remain with us, and without their 
assistance, owing to the unexpected difficulties, I should 
not have known how to manage. It is not possible to 


make four men out of three, and it required four men 
to a canoe at every place where the water was very rapid. 

We made about fifteen miles, which I considered a very 
good day's work. We were now not far from the Sand- 
stone Rapids. One of the canoes having sustained damage 
on a rock, it was decided to halt the following day in order 
to repair it, and also to dry everything. 

Mosquitoes had given us but little trouble, and we had 
not as yet had occasion to erect our mosquito bars. The 
mosquito plague is regulated by the weather. During a 
cold and wet summer there are scarcely any. 

On July 25 Amer, Uttungerlah, Pitz, and Darrell 
sallied forth to the chase ; Sandy busied himself fixing 
the canoe with spruce gum, which could now be obtained 
from the stunted spruce trees ; and, as the day was perfect, 
I took the opportunity of laying everything out to dry in 
the blazing sun. 

I boiled three thermometers which read 211.5. Tem- 
perature of the air, 74. Corrected altitude, 273 feet above 

The meridian altitude of the sun gave our latitude as 
67 30' 28" N. ; we were therefore within a few miles of 
the Sandstone Rapids. 

Amer returned at five in the afternoon, having killed 
a large bull caribou. The hunters' return was anxiously 
awaited, for we had absolutely nothing to eat. Uttungerlah 
returned later, having also been successful. Darrell an- 
nounced that he had seen the Sandstone Rapids, which he 
said were about five miles distant. 

The following day, July 26, we were obliged, owing to 
rough water or cut banks, to make four portages, varying 
from a quarter to half a mile in length, and, in the evening, 
we camped opposite the south end of the large island, 
which is marked on the chart close to the Sandstone 

We had come very near to having a disastrous canoe 
accident at a dangerous "chute." Considering what a 


canoe accident would have meant for us, I realised the 
fact that we had taken a foolish risk merely to save time 
and trouble, and I decided to take no such risks in the 
future. If we had lost everything, we should have been 
obliged to return to the Eskimo at the Uni-a-lik River. 
For myself I would not have cared to tackle the long 
walk from the Coppermine River round Great Bear Lake 
to Fort Norman on the Mackenzie River, though I suppose 
it could have been accomplished. 

Resuming our journey in the early hours of July 27, 
we had a fair piece of tracking to begin with. The river, 
however, was still very crooked, and was here about 
one and a half miles wide. Owing to the position of two 
small stony islands, we were obliged to go considerably out 
of our way. Two large bull caribou were seen, but they 
had already got our wind, and were bound for other parts. 
It was pleasant to know that deer were not far off. We 
were surprised to find not a sign of musk-oxen. This was 
a place where they might have been expected ; they had 
not been killed out by Indians or Eskimo, and I could not 
account for their absence. 

We had passed the two small stony islands by noon. 
Here the sandstone formation ceased. We were soon 
obliged to make a portage of about 300 yards to avoid a 
rough piece of water, which, like most others, could have 
been easily run. In the afternoon the character of the 
river changed. The precipitously cut banks gave place to 
low, sloping, stony shores ; but the current was still swift. 
The walking on shore for the trackers was good, and our 
progress was fair. We travelled fifteen miles by account, 
and camped two miles north of a large bend which the 
river makes, first to the south-east and then to the 

Spruce were increasing in size and number, and when 
we camped, we were actually in the woods once more. 
Still they only amounted to a fringe on each bank, and did 
not extend any distance from the river. 


While tracking, Sandy was nearly tripped up by a chunk 
of native copper on the shore. It weighed about twelve 

My Huskies were commencing to show signs of im- 
patience at which I was not at all surprised. When making 
arrangements with them, I had told them the distance from 
the Uni-a-lik River to the Coppermine, and also the distance 
I proposed to ascend the latter river. I had given an 
estimate as to the number of days they would probably be 
absent from their womankind. This time limit had already 
been exceeded, owing, in the first place, to the unexpected 
and premature break up of the ice, and in the second, to 
the difficulties of navigation presented by the Coppermine 
River. I told them in the evening that I should only take 
them as far as the headwaters of the Dease River. 

The following day, July 28, we made better progress. 
The tracking was good, and there was no more sign of 
precipitously cut banks. Low sloping ground, covered 
with grass and provided with an edge of rounded stones 
close along the shore, afforded excellent footing for the 
trackers. The current was steady and swift, about five 
miles an hour, the river being about 300 to 400 yards 
across. We made eighteen statute miles by account, and 
camped opposite the small creek which is marked on the 
chart as coming in from a small lake on the west side. 

Deer tracks were numerous and fresh. I can hardly 
explain with what satisfaction I regarded the presence of 
deer in the neighbourhood. Darrell and Sandy apparently 
took the presence of deer as a matter of course, and 
seemed to trouble their heads but little about the food 
supply, but the whole journey had been an anxious one 
for me. I knew what a starving time would have meant. 
Temporary inconvenience and suffering do not count for 
much, but prolonged starvation now would have neces- 
sitated the abandonment of the greater part of our stuff, 
and we should have been compelled to escape from the 
country with nothing but our rifles, nets, and ammunition. 




Moreover, I could not have expected to retain the valuable 
services of my Huskies. 

All had gone admirably up to date in spite of the 
unexpected difficulties, and our anxiety about food was 
shelved for the moment, for we spied deer shortly after 
camping on the west side of the river. 

All the deer that we had seen lately were bulls. They 
were apparently travelling from the east side of the 
Coppermine to the west side and, then going in a south- 
westerly direction, probably to meet the migrating bands 
of deer from the north, but I have given up attempting to 
solve the mystery of the habits, range, and movements of 
the " Barren Ground " caribou. 

At 6.30 in the morning of July 29 we were under way 
again. The minimum of the thermometer was 31 ; the 
maximum, 65 ; the sky was cloudless ; we had a light 
westerly wind ; the weather was very enjoyable. 

The river held a south to north course and was fairly 
straight. The water was quiet, and the tracking along the 
shore excellent. After travelling five miles we came to an 
island which is marked on the chart to the north of Mouse 
River. This island is of considerable extent, and much 
larger than is indicated by the chart. Having passed it 
I kept on the look-out for the river (Simpson's Kendall 
River) coming in from the Dismal Lakes. There was no 
appearance of it. 

When we camped I sent Uttungerlah to explore. I 
went west and ascended a rising ground, thinking I might 
possibly get sight of the Dismal Lake or indications thereof. 
Uttungerlah returned and announced that he had dis- 
covered the river from Dismal Lake, about two miles 
further south. He reported that it appeared to be navi- 
gable for canoes, and also that at its mouth he had noticed 
an ancient Indian grave and old marks of chopping on 
the trees. I now had no doubt that we were on the right 
track towards the divide between the Coppermine and 
Great Bear Lake. 


Shortly after we started in the morning, I shot a large 
bull caribou on the banks of the river. Killing deer in 
this manner saved much time and hard work. This 
animal was in good order, and it was a simple matter to 
place it in the canoe and proceed. 

The woods were now continuous. Robins and other 
small birds which are strangers to the barren Northland 
were now plentiful. It was a lovely cool morning on 
July 30. There had been slight frost during the night (three 
degrees), and in the very early hours a heavy mist hung 
over the river, but this was quickly dispelled by the rising 
sun. After tracking along the western bank for about 
one and a half miles, we came to the mouth of Kendall 
River, which was a much larger stream than I had expected 
to find, and we left the Coppermine River without much 
regret. The latter is a difficult river to ascend, but would 
be splendid to run, so far as we travelled on it. There 
would only be one portage, that at Bloody Fall. We had 
been ten and a half days in ascending the river, which was 
very crooked. It is difficult to say how far we travelled ; 
probably over eighty miles. On one of the days we had 
not travelled. 

We had not experienced any starvation in the ascent. 
Although we saw fish in numbers at every suitable place, 
we never set the nets, for we did not happen to camp at 
these particular spots. 

The Kendall River was about thirty yards broad at its 
junction with the Coppermine. Its waters, which were 
beautifully clear, ran over a clean gravel bottom. 

We paddled up the first three hundred yards, but then 
this method of advance was stopped by a small canon and 
swift water. This at first looked a more serious obstacle 
than it actually was, for we were able to wade and walk the 
canoes up. 

Looking east across the Coppermine, I could see nothing 
of Mouse River, the mouth being probably hidden from 
view by an island. I inspected the Indian grave of which 


I had been told, and the marks of axes on the trees close 
by. The grave seemed that of a child and appeared to be 
very old, as did also the chopping marks. 

Kendall River proved to be very crooked, and we were 
obliged to make so many twists and turns, that I do not 
think that we made more than four miles in a straight line 
the whole day. It was confined by low banks, thickly 
grown with willows, which made it difficult for the trackers 
to walk, but we did not have to make a single portage. 
Land on either side of the river was low, and supported 
by a stunted growth of spruce trees. Deer tracks were 
plentiful, but we saw no animals. Ptarmigan were very 
numerous in the willow-beds. The young birds were about 
the size of " cheepers," but well able to fly. The old birds 
looked very handsome in their full summer plumage of 
rich brown. We saw two young wolves, which appeared 
almost as large as their parents. I collected a few butter- 
flies, but they were now hardly worth taking. They had 
'been much knocked about by wind and weather, and a 
large number of them could scarcely fly at all. 

Some delay was occasioned on the morning of July 31 
by my Huskies, who requested permission to leave at this 
place the canoe which I had promised them for their return 
journey to the Cni-a-lik River. I assented to their request, 
ind, when the canoe had been placed in cache, I took the 
opportunity to discard some superfluous stuff, including 
3ur mosquito bars, which we had carried the whole way 
rom Fort Resolution without ever having had occasion to 
;rect them. Mosquitoes were now on their last legs. Black 
lies had appeared, but up to date their attacks had been 
nild. Generally speaking, black flies cease their attacks 
vhen the sun goes down. 

The larger of our canoes easily held all our stuff. Two 
nen, a bowsman and a steersman, manned it ; two were 
)laced on the track line, while one was told off to keep the 
ine clear of bushes and snags. Five men in the place of 



three on a single canoe made a great difference, and I was 
free to go ahead to hunt. 

The river again proved very tortuous in its course. We 
certainly travelled over nine miles, but I do not think, that, 
in a straight line, we advanced more than five or possibly 
six miles. 

I noticed that large numbers of bull deer had already 
gone westwards. The tracks appeared to be about ten 
days old, and they were- all of the same age. Having 
sighted Dismal Lake from a small outcrop of limestone 
on the south side of the river, I waited for the canoe to 
come up, and then taking my shot-gun in place of the 
carbine, set out to shoot ptarmigan. While walking along 
the banks of the river, I perceived numerous fish in the 
pools. They were remarkably tame, and I shot fourteen of 
them as they rose to the surface to feed on small flies. 
They proved to be Arctic trout (Back's grayling) and 
excellent eating. 

The Arctic trout, which appears to be widely, but not 
universally, distributed throughout the Northland, is a 
handsome fish, dark in colour, and averaging in weight from 
i to i Ibs. The head is small and neat ; the scales are 
coarser than those of the ordinary trout ; the flesh is always 
white, so far as my own observation has gone. The pecu- 
liarity of this fish lies in its large dorsal fin, which is spotted, 
and, when seen upright in the water, is of a very pretty 
colour. The sides of the fish are also spotted, but, owing 
to the dark colour of the skin, the spots are not easily dis- 
cernible. When the canoe overtook me I decided to 
camp, as the water was very suitable for fishing. A single 
net which was set took three large lake-trout and several 
toolabies almost immediately; the trout weighed 17 Ibs., 
1 8 Ibs., and 20 Ibs., respectively. 

Blueberries, now commencing to ripen, promised an ad- 
dition to our food supply, though not a very important one. 
Far north these berries appear to be very watery. At Fort 
Churchill it was found impossible to make jam of them. 




On the last night of July I was haunted with unjust 
suspicions of the Huskies. One of the canoes and most of 
their stuff having been left behind in cache, what was to 
hinder them from running away before morning ? If they 
secured one hour's start and reached the canoe, no man on 
foot could catch them up. Once on the Coppermine they 
could run the eighty miles to the Bloody Fall in a single 
day easily ; there were no portages to stop them. I could 
have secured their rifles and so made sure of them, but 
this step would have been unwarranted by any act on their 
part, so I resolved to watch. They had left their canvas in 
cache and were now without a shelter of any kind, so I 
suggested to them to sleep in our tent ; but my proposal 
was instantly rejected, and I became more uncomfortable. 
They slept peacefully under the open sky, while I, guarding 
their slumbers through the night, became more and more 
ashamed of my suspicions. In the morning I felt humbled 
when the Huskies, ignorant of all that had been in my 
mind, set about their work as usual. The Husky is simple 
and manly, and the last thing he would think of would be 
to sneak off. If he wants to leave, he will inform you of 
the fact, and perhaps change his mind five minutes after- 

Starting at 6 A.M. on August i we continued up the 
Kendall River, which is a rather pretty stream to navigate. 
With a good head of water in the early summer, the whole 
distance from the Dismal Lake to the Coppermine could 
be run in a couple of hours. In ascending, we had not 
been obliged to make any complete portage, though at a 
good many places part of the load had had to be portaged. 
This was on account of the low stage of water. It was a 
great and a welcome surprise to me to find the river navi- 
gable at all. I fully expected to be obliged to portage the 
whole distance from the Coppermine to Dismal Lake, 
which would have meant packing our canoe and stuff at 
least twelve miles through the bush, although the charts 
indicate only five miles. 


After tracking about i\ miles further we entered the 
foot of Dismal Lake, where we coiled and stowed away 
the tracking lines and resorted to paddles. It was indeed 
a relief to get out on the open and quiet water of a lake. 
The ascent of a dangerous river, or rather, I should say, 
a river where continued caution is absolutely necessary to 
prevent an accident, is apt to " get on the nerves." Every 
day the attention is strained, and every night you are 
obliged to pitch camp close to the thunder and swish of the 
rough, heavy, and rapid water, which you know you will! 
have to tackle the following morning. Very old hands may 
not experience these feelings, and very young hands are 
ignorant of the real danger that awaits them in the event of 
a bad canoe accident. 

For my own part, I have not yet got hardened to risks 
which, from ample experience, I know to be serious. A 
canoe accident within reach of civilisation does not mean 
much. As a rule the crew get safely out with a wetting, 
and the loss of the stuff can always be partly made good at 
the nearest post. A canoe accident in the wilds, however, 
has a different meaning altogether. By the total loss of 
canoe and stuff death may stare the crew in the face, and 
an uncommonly unpleasant death ; for the party, having 
water to drink, would probably survive a long time to 
wander about, living on berries and pushing forward in 
the vain endeavour to circumvent some of the large lakes 
of the north in order to reach the nearest Hudson Bay 
post. Rifles, ammunition, axes, and everything of vital 
importance should be, but not always are, lashed to the 
thwarts, and the whole lot might go. A few years ago 
a white man went astray near Great Bear Lake in the early 
Fall. He was rescued by the Indians when death had 
almost claimed him. In the winter time it would not be 
so bad. One would soon freeze up. 

At the lower end of Dismal Lake a large creek comes 
in from the south-west. This has formed a shoal bar 
which extends across the foot of the lake. 




This no doubt was the place visited by Dr. Richardson 
on August 14, 1826, and described in the following passage 
of his report to Franklin : 

"In endeavouring to get round the south end of a small 
chain of lakes which lay in our route, we were stopped by a 
narrow stream about six feet deep, flowing from them to the 
Coppermine River, but, on sounding the lake a little way from 
the head of the stream we found it was for dab le without diffi- 
culty. We marched to a late hour in search of fuel to cook 
some deer's meat, which M'Leay had procured in the 
course of the day, and were fortunate in at length finding 
a wooded valley on the banks of a small stream that fell 
into the chain of lakes which we had crossed. It is pro- 
bably this river, and chain of lakes, that the Indians ascend 
from the Coppermine River in canoes to the height of land 
which they cross on their route to Bear Lake" (Frank- 
lin's "Narrative of a Second Expedition to the Shores of 
the Polar Sea," pp. 272, 273). 

The words in italics undoubtedly refer to the foot of 
Dismal Lake. I forded the lake at precisely the same spot. 
Richardson's latitude here was given as 67 10' N. At 
" the narrows," about eleven miles to the north-north-west, 
I found my latitude to be 67 21' N. These determinations 
agree so closely as to confirm and establish the identifi- 

In Richardson's time the chain of lakes was unnamed, 
and remained so until they were visited in March 1838 by 
Thomas Simpson. That traveller, in his report to the 
Hudson Bay Company, used the descriptive expression, 
"the dismal lakes," and in his book, published seven years 
later, the epithet " dismal," applicable in March, but cer- 
tainly not in August, was raised to the dignity of a name. 
The native name for the lakes, or rather lake, is Tesh-i-er-pi, 
a name to which I adhere. 

Amer and Pitz were told off to hunt along the shore. 
Uttungerlah, Darrell, Sandy and I, working the paddles, 
seemed to make the canoe fairly fly through the water, but 


our apparent speed was chiefly the result of so much very 
slow travelling previously. 

It was my intention to reach the head of the lake as 
quickly as possible, and then, taking Uttungerlah, to begin 
exploring possible routes to the west. The charts now 
proved quite useless. 

After paddling for three miles, we appeared to have 
reached the head of the lake. This was not the case, how- 
ever, as a little exploration showed. Our progress here 
was almost blocked by low, sandy, willow-grown islands, 
between which were shoal channels with considerable 
current in places. After a couple of shots at channels 
which proved too shoal for our canoe, we came out on the 
larger part of the lake, and then paddled seven miles north- 
north-west against a stiff head-breeze. Again I thought 
that we had reached the head of the lake, but on landing 
and ascending a knoll I saw an inlet to the west. 

On continuing up this bay or inlet we were all much 
surprised to observe three figures, which were undoubtedly 
those of human beings, and we discussed the question 
whether they were Indians or Eskimo. Not expecting to 
meet any more Eskimo, I naturally concluded that they 
were Redmen, but the glasses brought to bear on the 
strangers soon satisfied us that they were Eskimo, and a 
kyak lying on the shore soon put any doubt to rest. 

These natives appeared to be very timid and on the 
point of running away. Fearing a repetition of what 
had occurred at Bloody Fall, I told Uttungerlah to hold 
up his hands and shout that we were Huskies. This 
caused them to hesitate, but did not prevent their beating 
a hasty retreat inside their tents, which were pitched at the 
top of a small hill. We landed and pitched our tent, and 
while a kettle of trout was boiling I went up to pay them a 
formal visit. 

There were four tents, but only one man, a woman, 
and a youngster at home. The others were away hunting 
deer. The man told us his name was Ig-li-khi, and his 


fears were allayed by a few small presents. I was anxious 
to obtain some information about the country to the west, 
especially how far off and in which direction the divide 
lay. I gathered this much : Ig-li-khi had never met white 
men before ; neither had he met Indians, but he had seen 
the smoke from their camp-fires on the other side of the 
divide. His party belonged to a tribe who inhabit the 
islands of the Duke of York's Archipelago. This tribe 
was called the Nuggi-yuk-tuk, and comprised but five 
families. They had travelled hither with their dogs and 
sleighs in the spring, in order to fish and hunt deer during 
the summer and fall, for this was a place where the deer 
crossed. They intended to return to the Arctic coast in 
the winter. 

Ig-li-khi stated that he did not know the region very 
far west, but had heard that it was a long distance to the 
country where the water flowed in the other direction, 
i.e. west into Great Bear Lake. He knew that there were 
some small lakes on the far side of the divide, but could 
give no further information. He had heard of Great Bear 
Lake, however, which he described as an enormous stretch 
of water " ter-e-5k-te-met-nar " (like the sea). The lake 
we had just paddled up continued for some distance west. 
It was all one piece of water, and was called Teshi-er-pi. 
This is the Dismal Lakes of the chart. 

We were now camped at a place where the lake pinched 
in, what I have called "the narrows." 

On my questioning him whether some of the absent 
Huskies had not been over the divide and seen Great Bear 
Lake, he replied that they had ; his two sons were camped 
a day's journey to the north, where they were killing deer 
and drying the meat. One of these lads had not only seen 
the Great Lake, but had been to its shores and knew the 
way across the divide well. He had been forced to visit 
the Indian hunting-grounds during a starving period. This 
information was more promising. I suggested that he, 
Ig-li-khi, should start early the next morning to hunt up 


and bring back this son to act as our guide. The promise 
and exhibition of an axe, a knife, and a file caused him to 
give a ready assent to this proposition, and he undertook 
to leave at daybreak in his kyak and return without delay. 

Amer and Pitz turned up in the evening, having killed 
a bull deer and seen several others. Four female deer had 
been speared by Ig-li-khi at this crossing -place on the 
previous day. There were numberless large trout and 
toolabies where we were now encamped. In fact, we 
were on an ideal spot. There were deer in fair numbers 
quite close at hand ; the lake was stiff with fish ; musk- 
oxen were to be found not far off. 

We were at a considerable height above the sea, our 
altitude (according to the boiling-point thermometers) 
being 860 feet ; but this altitude must be taken as only 
approximate, as the thermometers were not absolutely 
trustworthy. At this elevation the hot weather now pre- 
vailing was tempered by a cool and pleasant breeze. 

We were now again on the " Barren Ground, i.e. in a 
country where there was a total absence of trees. These 
we had left behind when we entered on Teshi-er-pi Lake. 
We had, however, an abundance of dwarf birch, moss, 
heaths, and willows for cooking purposes. 

The surrounding country was flat or undulating (" roll- 
ing " perhaps best describes it), and gave promise of holding 
lakes, which, it was hoped, would give us an easy route 
over the divide. There were very few rocks visible. The 
country was mostly covered with grass. 



IGLIKHI made an early start on the morning of August 2 
in his kyak. We remained in camp, taking life easily- 
The net was most productive. Many large trout, Arctic 
trout, and toolabies were taken. The last named were 
very large ; six of them scaled just over five pounds apiece, 
and they proved most excellent eating, superior to any 
white-fish that I had ever tasted. This is most unusual. 
By many Indians the toolaby is considered a very inferior 
fish, and I have frequently seen them thrown away. All 
the fish we caught at " the narrows," and also in Kendall 
River, had that firmness of flesh which constitutes the 
difference between a first-rate fish and one that is not 
worth eating. 

At noon I took the meridian altitude of the sun, 
which gave our latitude 67 21' N. The observation was 

Iglikhi returned in the evening, having failed to find his 
son. He (the son) had left the place where he was 
supposed to be, and Iglikhi, having no proper footgear, 
did not care to prosecute the search on land. This was 
a disappointment. However, Iglikhi's wife volunteered 
to try her luck the following day. 

Iglikhi informed me later that his son had only been to 
Great Bear Lake with dogs and sleigh in the early spring, 
so I decided, even in the event of the son being found, not 
to employ him as a guide, since we were compelled to find 
a canoe route. 

Having failed to get any satisfactory information about 
the head-waters of Dease River, and not expecting any 


serviceable information from Iglikhi's son, I decided to 
search for a different route across the divide. We were 
already too far north, judging from the last observation. 
If we proceeded up Teshi-er-pi Lake, we should be 
travelling still farther north. How far we should then 
have to portage from the head of Teshi-er-pi Lake over 
to a point on Dease River whence it would be navigable 
for a canoe, was a very doubtful question, but it appeared 
that the farther north we proceeded, the longer a portage 
we might expect. I decided to move back about six miles 
down Teshi-er-pi Lake, and try to discover a route thence 
over the divide. From the charts there appeared to be a 
possible route, along which several small lakes which 
would be of the greatest service to us were indicated. 

Iglikhi promised his services on the portage for one 
day only, but he said that his wife and two sons would 
accompany us further and assist in packing our stuff 
across. How far, he did not state. We acted on the 
decision arrived at over night, and had everything packed 
and loaded in the canoe by an early hour on August 3 ; 
but Iglikhi, at the very last moment, gave me information 
which caused me to change all the plans at once. 

This information was to the effect that, during the 
previous summer, three Indian tepees had been seen on 
a lake about four miles (as nearly as I could guess) from 
the head of Teshi-er-pi Lake. This statement naturally 
led me to conclude that the Indians had a route over 
this way, and that probably the head-waters of Dease 
River were at no great distance from the head of Teshi- 
er-pi Lake. The Indians doubtless frequented the heac 
waters of Dease River at this time of year in order to spec 
deer. They would not be without their canoes when thi 
employed, and it seemed reasonable to suppose that Dea 
River was navigable more or less. 

Our canoe was accordingly unloaded and the t 
repitched. I proceeded up the lake in the canoe, ac 
companied by Amer, Pitz, and Iglikhi to explore. 


It was difficult to judge how much to believe of the 
information furnished by Iglikhi. Of one thing I was 
certain, my Huskies but very imperfectly understood the 
dialect he spoke. 

We walked along the shore in order to spy for deer, 
which were not numerous, and Iglikhi informed me that 
there was a portage of from three to four miles between 
the head of Teshi-er-pi Lake and a longish, narrow lake 
in a south-west direction. The water from this lake, he 
said, flowed south-west into Great Bear Lake. On this 
portage of three or four miles were either two, three, or 
four small lakes (Iglikhi could not give the exact number). 
These were at the height of land or right on the divide. 
It was on the longish, narrow lake before mentioned that 
the three Indian tepees had been seen. 

Darrell had been sent to explore the country to the 
south-west, but he reported it to be very rugged. He also 
reported having seen the smoke of a bush fire. I regarded 
this as probably the work of Indians on the other side of 
the divide. My Huskies did not take this view, but thought 
it more probably the work of one of the Husky deer 
hunters making a fire for signal purposes. 

Iglikhi's wife, who had started at a very early hour to 
hunt up and bring back her two sons, returned in the 
evening, having failed in her search. 

Now that the tough work of portaging was about to 
commence, it was natural to expect some one to fall sick. 
This is invariably the occasion chosen by Indians on which 
to plead sickness. Pains in the heart, lame backs and 
sprained ankles are common complaints. I always expect 
such, and in the present instance I was not disappointed. 

Uttungerlah's turn had come. He stated that he was 
sick unto death, and he lay groaning on the moss. I could 
not believe that he was shamming, for he was the last man 
to play such a low game ; but I remarked to him in jest 
that the time for portaging was always chosen by the 
Indians for placing themselves on the sick list. Poor 


Uttungerlah could not repress a smile. He replied that I 
ought to have known him better by this time, which of 
course I did. 

On August 4 we made a start for the head of Teshi-er-pi 
Lake, and Iglikhi accompanied us. I bade good-bye to 
Uttungerlah with much regret, and left him behind with 
Iglikhi's [wife to look after him. He was really very ill 
from a liver complaint to which he was subject, and from 
which he had almost died a few years before. He was a 
splendid specimen of an Eskimo, very powerfully built, and 
as strong as an ox. He was absolutely to be relied upon 
to carry out orders. He never could do too much work ; 
in fact, he had abused himself in this direction, both by 
carrying enormously heavy loads on his back, and by ex- 
posing himself and starving during the intense cold. He 
could not stand heat ; on the few fairly hot days we ex- 
perienced he was quite useless, and much ashamed of him- 
self in consequence ; but he made up for lost time when 
the weather cooled. 

We paddled eleven miles north-west, six miles west- 
south-west, and seven miles south-south-west to the head 
of Teshi-er-pi Lake, the upper portion of which thus 
makes a very considerable bend. I am quite satisfied that 
I did not over-estimate the distance travelled. We kept 
four paddles at work ; Pitz and Iglikhi were walking. 

In the afternoon, the wind being dead aft, the canoe 
was put under canvas. The breeze freshened very quickly, 
and we soon had all we could carry. The small craft 
appeared fairly to fly, but when close down to the water 
one gets a very exaggerated idea of the speed. 

Spruce we found to be fairly plentiful at the head of 
the lake. I had not expected to find any so high up. 
Indian tepee poles were also observed. 

On landing and taking a short walk, we saw from the 
numerous beaten paths that large bands of caribou had 
passed at this end of the lake, on their migration south, about 
ten days previously. Quantities of old musk-ox dung were 


noticed, and also fresh bear signs, so that there was promise 
of food supply in crossing the divide. Nevertheless, we all 
regretted leaving Teshi-er-pi or Dismal Lake. It certainly 
did not appear " dismal " to us, but quite the reverse. 

I do not remember ever having coming across a lake 
where fish were so numerous. Large trout, some of which 
ran up to twenty-five pounds, could be seen swimming in 
the clear water as we paddled along. The toolabies we 
caught averaged nearer five pounds than four pounds, and, 
as before ; remarked, were most excellent eating. Arctic 
trout were numberless. 

The lake is shoal in most places, with sand or gravel 
bottom. There must be grand feed in it, for all the fish 
taken were in splendid condition ; but what it consisted 
of we did not make out. The large trout fed exclusively 
on the Arctic trout, which is called Back's grayling by 

Altogether, at the narrows on Teshi-er-pi Lake we had 
passed a very pleasant time. The weather had been perfect. 
Deer had been shot as we required them. 

The total length of the lake I put at thirty-six miles. 
The distance could easily be paddled in one day. One 
ought to be able to track a canoe up Kendall River in two 
days, so that three days are sufficient for the journey from 
the Coppermine River to the head of Teshi-er-pi Lake. It 
would take less than two days the other way, for the entire 
length of Kendall River could be run in a few hours with a 
good head of water. 

There were many signs of Indians having of old resorted 
to this place to hunt. Tepee poles, both erect and lying 
on the ground, were to be seen. Several old pieces of 
birch bark, such as Indians always carry to mend their 
canoes, gave evidence that in former times they used to 
come to the head of Teshi-er-pi Lake in their canoes. 

We had the prospect of hard work within the next day 
or two, for our number was reduced to five, and our canoe 
and stuff had to be portaged to a navigable part of Dease 


River. I hoped, however, that the good fortune which had 
attended us hitherto would continue. We had had no sick- 
ness, except in the case of Uttungerlah ; we had not been 
without food for a meal on a single day, and we had always 
been able to light a fire for cooking. We could now have 
meat and fish diet varied, for there was a plentiful crop of 
berries of different sorts. 

On the morning of August 5 we decided to spend the 
day in searching for the shortest and best route. Pitz and 
Iglikhi were missing, and the delay would give them a 
chance to join us if they so wished. 

I sent Darrell and Sandy to explore to the south and 
east. Sandy's instructions were to search for the head- 
waters of Dease River, which he was to follow until the 
stream gave promise of being navigable for a canoe. 
Darrell was told off to find the long narrow lake marked 
on the chart on the north-west side of Dease River. 

Sandy returned at seven in the evening, having travelled 
a long distance to the south and east. On his way back to 
camp he had discovered the desired creek, one of the many 
head-streams of Dease River. He had followed this for about 
half a mile, and he now reported that, though very narrow, 
this stream was of fair depth and offered a waterway for 
some distance at least. The length of the portage which 
would have to be made from our present encampment, he 
put at about five miles. This was welcome news indeed. 
Since this stream could only be one of the many small 
head-streams of Dease River, I thought we had a good 
chance of finding fairly navigable water. Other streams 
would probably be adding their waters as we descended. 

I took Amer with me to hunt and to spy out the country 
with my long telescope. 

From the head-waters of Teshi-er-pi Lake a narrow 
swampy gulch ran south-south-west, bounded on either 
side by a high sloping bank, and along this gulch lay a 
small chain of lakes ; perhaps it would be more correct 
to describe them as shallow ponds. 


The divide between the waters flowing east into Copper- 
mine River and those flowing west into Great Bear Lake 
lay between two of these ponds. At the present dry stage 
there was no water perceptibly draining either way, but it 
was very easy to see that the water, during the wet season, 
did flow in both directions. 

The gulch or ravine ran in a fairly straight course for 
about three and a half miles, and we walked along the 
high sloping bank which confined it on the right hand side. 
Beyond its south-south-west extremity, where the high 
banks also came to an end, lay an extensive flat plain, 
dotted with lakes and ponds. I must rely on a rather 
poor photograph to give a better idea of the country than 
verbal description can supply. The whole of this flat was 
drained by the Dease River. It was mostly grass-covered, 
though sandy, and showing many small sandy knolls and 
ridges. The flatness of the country promised depth of 
water, and the absence of outcrops of rock led us to hope 
that the stream would be unbroken by rough water. 

From the high bank at the head of this ravine we 
obtained a splendid view of the region. The course of 
the main Dease River, as indicated by a continuous growth 
of spruce, could easily be followed with the aid of the 
telescope. Great Bear Lake was still a long way off, but 
I could locate it, although its waters were not visible. The 
creek discovered by Sandy which I may as well call 
Sandy Creek, both in honour of the discoverer and as 
indicating the character of its banks and bed could not 
be discerned from this spot, although we looked right 
down on its banks. 

Deer could be seen in large numbers making their way 
south across the plain. As there appeared to be none near 
us we decided to remove the camp, but, first of all, only 
to Sandy Creek. We had no meat, and only three fish 
remained for our breakfast. 

Darrell returned at six o'clock the next morning, 
August 6, but he had failed to discover the long narrow 


lake. However, he had shot four deer, which were badly 
wanted at the time, and had found fresh signs of musk- 

We then commenced to arrange our packs. I had 
decided to take four loads right across and pitch camp 
on Sandy Creek, but before we had gone half-way steady 
rain came down, so we pitched the tent and returned to 
our old camp for other loads of stuff. Darrell was 
despatched to fetch a big back-load of the meat he had 
killed and cached the previous day. Sandy, Amer, and 
I returned to our old camp at the head of Teshi-er-pi Lake 
for another load of stuff. On arrival, we found Pitz there ; 
he had gone a little astray. Iglikhi's leg had played out, 
so he had turned back. 

When it commenced to rain we pitched the tent at 
once, and camped a quarter of a mile short of the end 
of the ravine. As two of the ponds along this ravine were 
each about 300 or 400 yards in length, we decided to use 
these the following day. 

The next day, August 7, the canoe was taken right 
across to Sandy Creek. Several small ponds on which 
we were able to launch the canoe and paddle shoi 
stretches saved us some labour in portaging it. 

I hunted, for we were completely out of meat again, 
Going west, I travelled over the hills for about four mill 
and struck the small round lake, which is marked on thi 
chart as the source of the north-eastern branch of Deasi 
River. The stream flowing out of this lake proved t< 
be Sandy Creek. The lake appeared to be about thre 
miles long. 

Following the stream slowly down, and spying thi 
ground most carefully for deer, I brought my glass t( 
bear on an object such as I had not seen for man; 
months, an old musk-ox bull. He was lying absolutel; 
still on the bank of the stream, and it required a secom 
look to assure me that it was really a musk-ox and no 
a low bunch of scrub spruce. With good cover and 


steady wind I had no difficulty whatever in making an 
approach. As we were badly in want of meat, I took no 
risks, but fired eight bullets into him as fast as I could. 
Poor brute ! he could not make out what was up. He 
kept turning round as each bullet struck him, until he 
finally toppled over dead. He was a very large bull and 
in splendid condition ; in fact, he was the only really fat 
musk-ox I have ever seen killed. The old hair was already 
all shed, and his robe looked in good order. 

We were now assured of at least five or six days' supply 
of meat, by which time I hoped and expected to be some 
distance down Dease River. 

To skin and cut up a big bull musk-ox single-handed 
is no light task, and it is a slow one, except to a Husky. 
I commenced on this fellow, but got rather tired of the 
job and contented myself with " gralloching " the beast. 
The paunch contained nothing but willows. I packed 
some of the fat and meat, and on my way back I met 
Pitz, who returned at once to dress the carcase and place 
it where it would be safe from the wolves. 

When musk-oxen get away into a quiet secluded little 
place, it is extremely difficult to find them. This bull 
had been here the whole summer, and had not strayed 
half a mile. 

The deer appeared to have all passed. I did not come 
across a single fresh track. 

We had bad weather at this time, strong winds and much 
rain. The winds were always north-north-east or north- 
west. I could not help thinking where we now might have 
been had we not pushed forward from the Uni-a-lik River. 
These northerly winds would most certainly have brought 
the ice in against the coast, and so kept us prisoners for 
an indefinite period. 

The next day, August 8, the balance of the stuff was 
portaged early. Amer and Pitz then returned to the head 
of Sandy Creek for the remaining musk-ox meat. We 
procured about 60 Ibs. of fat from this animal, and I rather 



think that the Huskies ate their share. I did not blame 
them. We were all starving for fat. When a musk-ox is 
in really prime condition, layers of fat are to be found 
on the neck, which is then the best part of the animal to 
eat. Fat does not form on the back as it does with the 

The distance we portaged was about three and a half 
miles or about three miles straight in a south-westerly 
direction. Owing to bad travelling in places, it was not 
possible to keep a quite straight course. There were 
several lakes close to the route we followed, but these were 
not discovered till too late. It is no waste of time to 
explore and have a good look ahead, before commencing 
to make a portage, or even before pitching camp. It saves 
a deal of extra work in many instances, as we had already 

On arriving at Sandy Creek, we found it to be only 
about fifteen feet broad. However, it was deep, with 
scarcely any current, and it offered an excellent waterway 
as far as we could see. 

The water was most beautifully clear. Our camp was 
pitched on a good, hard, grass-covered spot with a thick 
clump of spruce for a background. It looked most 

This spot struck us as a most desirable one on which 
to spend a month or so. Musk-oxen were numerous, 
although we had only come on one. Bears likewise, 
although we had failed to come on any. The bull caribou 
were daily expected to arrive, and fish (Arctic trout) were 
plentiful in Sandy Creek. This was a sportsman's paradise, 
but too far distant for the majority of pleasure seekers. 
There were neither mosquitoes nor black flies to bother 

In the evening, I told Amer and Pitz that they could 
return the next day. We expected to have many portages 
still to make, but I had promised to allow them to return 
as soon as we struck the head-waters of Dease River. 




Their time was up, and I well knew their anxiety to go. 
It was most fortunate that we had been enabled to avail 
ourselves of their services for so long. We should have 
had a terribly tough time without their able assistance 
in making the ascent of the Coppermine. 

We had a large amount of rain during the night, and, 
on the morning of August 9, everything being soaking 
wet, a delay was decided upon, until the weather cleared 
and the tent and stuff got a chance to dry. 

We then packed up, loaded the canoes, and bade 
farewell to our faithful Huskies, Amer and Pitz. We 
parted with much regret on my part, and with, I may 
hope, a little on theirs. They had been in my service 
for a year, and had behaved like the manly fellows they 
were. They were now a long distance from their homes. 
After picking up the dogs and sleighs, women and children, 
they had planned to paddle their canoe to the head 
of Bathurst Inlet, and there to await the "freeze up," 
when they intended to start with dogs and sleighs across 
country to the Ark-i-llnik River, whence they would have 
no difficulty in finding their way back to the inhospitable 
region on the borders of Hudson Bay. 

I had made Uttungerlah a present of a couple of dupli- 
cate charts I possessed. He seemed to prize these more 
than anything else that I had given him. He was never 
tired of producing them and pointing out to the other 
Huskies our position and the different places marked. 

Sandy Creek was in places only six to nine feet in 
breadth. There was a sluggish current here and there ; 
in deep holes the water was quite dead. Where the water 
was of sufficient depth, we experienced no difficulty in 
spite of the many sharp crooks and turns, but where the 
small stream spread out over a sandy or gravel bed there 
was less than four inches of water. 

Our canoe was fairly heavily loaded, and at these shoal 
places, some of the stuff had to be taken out and portaged, 
until the water got deeper again. By the evening I reckoned 


that we had travelled eight miles by the stream, and had 
made but two and a half statute miles in a straight line, so 
erratic had been the course of Sandy Creek. Small as this 
stream was, it was of great assistance. Portaging is not only 
very hard work, but it takes much time. We were on the 
right road, anyhow, for marks of old Indian chopping were 
to be seen on some spruce stumps hard by. 

Sandy Creek took us in a south-west direction on to the 
large flat plain, which we had swept with the telescope a 
few days before. We were leaving the hills and the spruce 
woods, and our chances of getting musk-oxen on the open 
plain were nil. However, we still had a fair supply of fat 
musk-ox meat, and when that should be finished, well, we 
could only hope that something would turn up to take 
its place. 

The next day, August 10, we proceeded, but our trouble 
was now about to commence. 

Taking a pack in order to lighten the canoe a little, I 
walked ahead to see what was waiting us. Sandy Creek, 
which promised so well at the start, now commenced to 
lose its good character. Stuff had to be taken out at several 
places in order to lighten the canoe sufficiently to permit 
of its being dragged over shoal, sandy, and gravel stretches. 
We then encountered a succession of miniature rapids. The 
stream spread out over a stony bed, necessitating a portage 
of three-quarters of a mile, which we did not finish till 
noon. Further progress was made under similar condi- 
tions. The water in the stream would be good for a short 
distance, after which we would again come on shoal and 
stony places. 

I ascended some rising ground in the afternoon to obtain 
a view ahead. As far as I could see along the stream, there 
was shoal water flowing over a stony bed, and quite unnavi- 
gable. I could also see at the distance of about three miles 
the junction of Sandy Creek with the main branch of Dease 
River, which flows in from the north-east. This was con- 
spicuously marked by a small kopje-shaped hill, which 


had seen distinctly when spying from the high bank on 
the divide. 

I decided to portage the whole of this distance. It was 
mere waste of time taking all the stuff out of the canoe and 
reloading in order to travel a few dozen yards on the water. 
It being fairly early still, we portaged the stuff about one mile 
towards the junction of the streams and then camped. 

Altogether, in a straight line we had travelled three and 
a quarter miles south-south-east. We had, of course, actu- 
ally travelled very much farther. I reckoned that we were 
now twelve statute miles in an air-line from the head of 
Teshi-er-pi Lake. 

We were now about two miles from the junction of 
Sandy Creek with the main branch of Dease River. 

In the event of Dease River proving unsuitable for 
navigation, instead of portaging along the river it would 
be wiser to make a straight cut over to the long narrow 
lake which is marked on the chart to the north-west of 
Dease River. Our camp was distant from this lake about 
six or eight geographical miles, as measured on the chart. 

After supper, I gave Sandy instructions to proceed to 
the junction of the streams, then follow Dease River down 
for some distance and report on the navigation. 

Darrell and I were to hunt up the easiest and straightest 
route to the long narrow lake, which for present con- 
venience I shall call Long Lake. I should have named 
this lake, but that I felt certain that it bore an Indian name, 
though I failed to ascertain it on our arrival at Fort Nor- 
man, all the Indians who frequented the north-east end of 
Great Bear Lake being then absent. 

Large numbers of female deer were seen at camp time. 
They were feeding and travelling south-east. 

The next morning, August n, Sandy followed Sandy 
Creek down to its junction with the main branch of Dease 
River, and returned early, for it seemed there was no 
doubt that Dease River was navigable. Even Sandy 
Creek he reported to improve about a mile farther down, 


where it would be navigable for the canoe half loaded 
at least. 

Darrell and I, having struck south-west in search of 
Long Lake, travelled about five miles over very difficult 
ground, and then found ourselves in the vicinity of Dease 
River. It was a temptation to go and have a look at the 
river and know the worst, so we yielded and went. We 
were surprised and delighted to discover a river fully twenty 
yards wide. It appeared to be deep, but the water was 
very muddy. It flowed with a very sluggish current, which 
in places was imperceptible, between moderately high, 
alluvial, steeply sloping, and occasionally cut banks. 
Paddles could be used to good advantage. 

There being every appearance of the river maintaining 
this character for a long distance, we did not prosecute the 
search for Long Lake. We were hunting for a water- 
way to Great Bear Lake, and to all appearance Dease Rive 
promised this. The course of this river was very erratic 
but that did not matter, so long as we were spared makii 
portages. We were all in high spirits in the evening, foi 
there was every hope of having an easy journey to Great 
Bear Lake. 

Had we been compelled to make the portage direct to 
Long Lake, we should have had a very tough time, for the 
country, although fairly flat, was very lumpy in some places, 
swampy in others, and mostly covered with a strong growth 
of black birch reaching to the waist. Forcing one's way 
through this was most tiring work, even without a load. 
We should not have been able to hold a straight course, 
owing to small intervening lakes. The portage would 
probably have taken us ten days. One mile and a half a 
day would have been our limit. 

Deer, all cows and calves, were very numerous and 
quite tame. Not being in want of meat, we left them 
unmolested ; but it was decidedly comforting to kno\ 
that meat was around if we were in need of it. Bes 
tracks were seen, but they were not numerous. 


The following morning, August 12, at six o'clock, we 
commenced to portage. Taking the canoe first we carried 
it just one mile, to a place where there was sufficient water 
to float it rather more than half loaded. Returning, we 
portaged three loads to the canoe, and returning once 
more, we portaged three loads right to the junction of the 
streams. Sandy and Darrell then went back for a few 
remaining things, and, having loaded up, brought the 
canoe safely to the junction, where we camped. 

The flat-topped kopje before mentioned had a strong 
growth of stunted spruce on its summit. Although of no 
great height it is a conspicuous landmark. 

The country here was very pretty. A scattered growth 
of stunted spruce fringed the river on either side. 
" Stunted " is rather an ugly word, and possibly may 
leave a wrong impression. " Young " spruce gives a better 
idea of the growth. There were numerous small lakes a 
short distance from the river. An ever-present strong 
growth of black birch made walking laborious. 

In the afternoon I hunted for bull caribou and looked 
for musk-oxen, but without success. It seemed as if we 
should have to fall back on the wretchedly lean meat of 
the cow caribou, which, after the calves are dropped, is not 
worth eating. 

On August 12 my thoughts naturally turned to the land 
of the red grouse. I observed the young ptarmigan, of 
which there were large numbers. The young birds were 
strong on the wing in spite of the very short and late 
nesting season. They were fully as forward as young grouse 
in Scotland at this date, and would have afforded good sport, 
except for the fact that they were worthless to eat. The 
weather was warm, and black flies very troublesome. 

We started shortly after six the next morning, August 
13. The men paddled the canoe along while I went to 
hunt, as our fat musk-ox meat was almost finished. I shot 
a young bull caribou, packed most of the meat to the river 
bank, and there left it to be picked up by the canoemen 


as they passed. Cows, calves, and young bulls were 
numerous, but there was not a single old bull to be 
seen. It was evident that bulls did frequent this part 
of the country in the fall, for every spruce of about 6 ft. 
or 8 ft. in height showed marks where they had rubbed 
their horns. Bears must be scarce along Dease River, for 
I walked a long way, and spied over a very large extent of 
country, but found none, and but very little sign of them. 
Musk-ox sign was plentiful, but old. 

The men with the canoe got along splendidly in the 
morning in spite of the erratic course of the river. In 
the afternoon, however, shoal and rapid water was en- 
countered and but little progress could be made. By the 
evening they had reached a place where the river cut its 
way through a bed of rock, making a short portage 
necessary. It was too late to commence portaging, so 
they camped. 

I sighted Long Lake while hunting. 

Dease River carried but little water at this time. 
Where the water was deep and the current slow it had 
the character of a river, but where it widened and spread 
out over a bed of rock it was not worthy of a better name 
than a creek. 

By account we had come six miles, but it was difficult 
to keep reckoning of distance travelled. To look back 
and estimate the distance by the eye was the best plan. 

At camp time I shot a female wolverine as she was 
swimming across the river. She carried a ground squirrel in 
her mouth, which she evidently had intended for her family. 

We began portaging next morning, August 14, at an 
early hour ; the distance was only about 200 yards, and 
we soon had everything across. 

The men were obliged to wade and walk the canoe 
down for about half a mile. The river then took a sharp 
bend to the south. Here again a portage was necessary 
for a distance of 300 yards, and it had to be made on the 
south side of the river. 


Having given the men a hand at the portages, and 
having observed that the river improved further down, 
I went off to visit Long Lake and to kill deer. After 
walking a short distance I came on four old Indian camps 
which had been occupied the previous fall. Keeping 
north-west I soon discovered Long Lake, the outlet from 
which I found at its north-east end. The stream flowed 
east and then south, finally discharging into Dease River. 
It had a considerable volume of water. 

My men had received instructions to signal their posi- 
tion at noon by making smoke. I determined to stop 
them if they were not too far down the river, as I could 
now see that, a short distance below our second portage, 
there was a place where the portage to the foot of Long 
Lake should be made. It was quite evident, from signs 
which I saw at the foot of Long Lake, that the Indians 
used this route on their journeys from Great Bear Lake 
towards the divide. It also appeared that, having reached 
the foot of Long Lake, they had chosen their camping- 
ground as close to Dease River as possible, as if intending 
to return by the Dease River route. Anyhow this was the 
way in which I read " the writing on the wall." 

Noon came, and up went a dense column of smoke 
away down the river. It was too late now ; we had missed 
the short portage of about three miles between the foot of 
Long Lake and Dease River. 

At 3 P.M. another column of smoke showed that the 
men were making good headway ; at 5 P.M. they showed 
me that they had camped. Smoke signals' are very useful, 
and a number of things can be said by a good arrangement 
of them. 

Dease River was completely concealed by a heavy belt 
of spruce. We had run past the deer apparently. I only 
saw one young cow, which I shot. 1 observed a common 
snipe, a rare bird in these parts. The men had to make 
one portage during my absence. 

The weather next morning being very threatening we 


did not start early. After we were loaded up I left my 
men to get on as best they could. They had instructions 
to make smoke at noon, 3 P.M., and 5 P.M., and to set the I 
nets directly they camped, for we had nothing to eat 
Crossing the height of land between Dease River and 
Long Lake, I struck the latter about 2\ miles from its i 
head. From a high rock I obtained a good view of its 
whole length, which certainly did not appear more than j 
eight miles. The woods between Dease River and Long 
Lake were now continuous, but they were still sufficiently 
scattered for good shooting, although they rendered spying 
with the glass somewhat difficult. There was just an off 
chance of coming across a deer, bear, or musk-ox in such 
country. From the number of small trees which had 
recently been horned, I knew that there were musk-oxen 
around, for the deer had not yet commenced to rub their 
horns. Spying from every accessible point, I was lucky 
enough to sight a solitary musk-ox bull. The wind was 
blowing directly from me to him, and I cannot understand 
why he did not get my wind, for their sense of smell is 
very keen. I lost no time in getting after him. The 
woods here were fairly open, and I got a good chance 
at him at 300 yards. Closer I did not dare to go on 
account of the wind. While he was busily engaged in 
horning a small tree I fired five bullets into him, and, 
after galloping a couple of hundred yards, he rolled over 

A musk-ox being a large animal, there is no difficulty 
in hitting the beast, but, at the longer ranges, it is not 
easy to make sure of placing the shots well, on account 
of his shaggy coat. It was a lengthy and tedious job 
skinning and cutting him up. 

Black flies were in swarms, and they appeared rather to 
appreciate a smudge fire which I made. 

I made a pack of about 80 Ibs. of the meat and hung 
the rest on trees out of the way of wolves. I then went 
to Long Lake, which was but a short distance away, and 


cooked some choice pieces for lunch. Shouldering my 
pack, I then commenced to retrace my steps, and, an 
arriving at the height of land from which I commanded 
a view of the whole of the valley of Dease River, I sat 
down, lit my pipe, and awaited the hour of 5 P.M. for the 
smoke signal from my men. Smoke was to be seen to 
the north-east, about the place where we had camped the 
previous evening. To this I paid no attention. Punctually 
at 5 P.M. I could just discern a faint column rising through 
the spruce trees about the place where I judged the men 
ought to be. To this place, therefore, I bent my steps. 

On arriving at the river I was much surprised to find, 
instead of my men, two Indians on the opposite side seated 
beside a small fire. They appeared to be equally surprised 
to see a white man. They had no canoe, but the sight of 
my back-load of meat quickly made them decide to pay me 
a visit. They soon pushed some dry logs into the river, 
lashed them together, and paddled across. The few words 
of Yellow Knife language at my command appeared to be 
quite unintelligible to them. The only word of English 
which either of them knew was "yes," and this was their 
answer to everything I said. In vain I endeavoured to 
ascertain if they had seen my canoe pass. I drew a canoe 
with two men seated in it upon a piece of paper and 
pointed down the river. I got the inevitable " yes " in 
reply, but I could place no reliance on this answer. 
Having seen smoke to the north-east about the spot we 
had left in the morning, I concluded that, for some reason, 
the men had been delayed, and had not moved the camp, 
so I decided to camp and await their arrival the next day. 

We now had nights sufficiently cool to make a camp- 
fire agreeable, especially as I was without a blanket. The 
Indians acted as cooks and we had a grand feast, which 
lasted till a late hour, until they were filled up to the neck 
and could hold no more. They had had nothing of their 
own to eat. It was a case of the white man having plenty 
and the Indian starving in his own country. 


They informed me that several families were encamped 
some distance away. They had killed a band of twelve 
musk-oxen, and were busy drying the meat. So much 
I managed to understand. 

After breakfast next morning I bade my Indian friends 
farewell. They made tracks for their tepees, while I 
ascended the high ground on the north side of the river 
and there waited the signal of smoke which, in the event 
of my not turning up, my men had been instructed to 
make at 9 A.M. 

I sighted the signal and was pleased to find that they 
had made good travelling, and were a long way down the 
river. Their rapid progress, however, implied the loss of 
all the musk-ox meat, for to catch them up at their present 
rate I had to abandon what remained of my 80 Ibs. back- 
load. It was also quite out of the question to return and 
fetch the rest of the meat, which I had taken so much 
trouble to dress and hang up on the trees. I hastened 
to head my men off lower down the river. At noon I was 
passing through some fairly thick woods, and, the land 
being flat, I was unable to see the smoke signal of that 
hour. This was also the case at 3 P.M. I hurried along 
and, shortly after 4 P.M., reached higher ground, whence 
I at once sighted a dense column of smoke. I made 
straight for it, and found my men in camp just above 
a rapid, caused by the river entering a narrow gorge or 
defile, where portage was necessary. The sight of the 
camp was welcome enough, for I had been walking very 
fast over very dry ground. The sealskin boots I was 
wearing had dried up and become very hard, and my feet 
were in consequence badly rubbed ; in fact, I had had 
enough of it. 

The nets had been set the previous evening, and had 
been successful in taking many suckers, but only one white- 
fish. The sucker is the most worthless fish in the north, 
being soft, tasteless, and full of bones. The head is the only 
part worth eating. Sandy had killed a goose. Our pros- 


2 37 

pects in the way of food were not very encouraging at this 
time. We had left all the deer behind ; there were now no 
tracks, and it looked as if we would have to depend solely 
on our nets. I reckoned that we were now within ten 
miles of Great Bear Lake, a very short distance if we only 
had decent navigation, but ten miles of rapids meant a ten- 
mile portage, and in rapid water our nets could not be 
relied upon to take many fish. 



AT an early hour on the following morning, August 17, we 
made a portage of four hundred yards, which placed us 
below the small cascade at the gorge. Navigation on Dease 
River then became very bad, and remained so throughout 
the day. We found shoal and rapid water at every turn. 
No sooner were we in the canoe and using the paddles or 
poles, than we had to jump out, wade, and walk the canoe 
down. Fortunately the water was still of an agreeable 
temperature, but to be in the water all day takes it out of 
a man, and I have found that nothing will make one 
lose flesh so fast as continued wading on an empty 

I left the men and canoe shortly after we had finished 
portaging, in order to hunt, for we had nothing to eat. I 
came on fresh musk-ox sign at once, but failed to sight a 
beast. From a high bank on the north side of the river I 
saw Great Bear Lake, and a welcome sight it was. It did 
not appear to be very far distant in a straight line, but I 
could see only its eastern arm, which lay like a streak of 
silver between the dark spruce woods. 

Hunting was now very difficult; it is always so in 
woods, unless there is a skiff of snow, or the ground is 
favourable for tracking. In woods it is quite impossible 
to use the glasses. The limit of one's range in thick woods 
is s*o confined, that one may easily pass close to an animal 
without seeing it. The chances of meeting and killing 
game under these conditions are very small. Musk-oxen 
were numerous where I hunted, as evidenced by the 
number of small trees which had been recently horned. 



Had there been a skiff of snow, I could have killed an ox 
in a very short while, but without it, and with the ground 
as hard as a rock, the only plan was to quarter the ground 
systematically up wind, and keep on walking and peering 
through the bushes. My men put in a hard day with the 
canoe, and I put in a hard day's hunting without success. 
We went supperless to bed. This was the first day on 
which we had starved.' 

I decided to follow the river the next day and shoot 
ptarmigan, as the men required assistance at the portages. 
For musk-oxen I would have to travel some distance from 
the river. 

White birch and alder bushes put in a first appearance. 
On August 1 8 we did not make an early start. It had 
rained during the night, and the tent was soaking wet. 

Dease River continued to be very bad indeed. We made 
four portages and camped at the fifth. The length of these 
portages was half a mile, two hundred yards, four hundred 
yards, and three-quarters of a mile ; the fifth was one hun- 
dred yards. Over this we carried our stuff, but not the 
canoe, and then camped. To portage all our stuff and 
the canoe used to take four trips. The footing on the 
slimy stones along the shore was very bad in places, and 
I was fearful of some one slipping and the canoe receiving 
damage. We could not afford to delay. 

We camped early at a quiet stretch of water, where it 
was possible to set a net. We had starved the whole day, 
for I had been too busy at the portages to shoot any 

Moose tracks were seen along the shore, also one rabbit. 
We were now in a thickly wooded fur-bearing country. 
Many old "dead-falls" made by Indian trappers were to 
be seen. Our nets caught no fish, so I took a carbine and 
went ahead on the off-chance of coming on a moose or 
musk-ox, and also to examine the river. 

It was not easy to decide on the right course to take. 
We were starving, and there was every prospect of our 


starving until we reached Great Bear Lake. It was a 
momentous question whether we should continue travelling 
and starving, or call a halt in order to hunt. Had we 
been in open country, I should not have hesitated to call 
a halt and hunt, but in the thick timber the chances of 
success were small. A day's delay meant another day of 
starvation, in the event of getting nothing. I decided to 
push on. 

The next morning, August 19, when we lifted the nets, 
we took out a 4 Ib. pike, neither a large nor a very choice 
fish, but welcome nevertheless. It was soon boiled and 
greedily devoured ; that and a drink of tea, our last, made 
us feel considerably better. We then portaged the canoe, 
and as we proceeded the river improved. There were still 
numerous stretches of shoal and rapid water, however, 
down which the canoe had to be guided and pulled, the 
men wading, but there was only one portage, and that, 
being only about four yards, simply required the unloading 
and reloading of the canoe. We then had long quiet 
stretches of water, some of them a mile or more in length, 
where the paddles were used to good advantage. 

I hunted again, but still without success. I shot one 
rabbit, which unfortunately was blown to pieces by the 
expanding bullet. 

The mouth of Dease River was sighted at 2 P.M., and I 
think we all gave a sigh of relief. The portaging was 
over, and we had a clear course to the west end of Great 
Bear Lake. 

The journey had taken fourteen days from the head of 
Teshi-er-pi Lake, and twenty-one days altogether from the 
Coppermine, a long time to accomplish a distance of about 
fifty geographical miles, which is all that the charts make it. 
That distance in an air-line is probably about right, but of 
course we had travelled very much farther. It is not an 
easy canoe route by any means. Of course the low stage 
of water rendered it more difficult than it otherwise would 
have been. 


Shortly after noon we passed an Indian camp which 
the natives had just left. They had been catching and 
staging a large quantity of fish, but had taken them all 
away. At the mouth of Dease River we noticed several of 
their fishing places, and the temptation to camp and try 
our luck with the nets was great. About 3 P.M. we paddled 
clear of Dease River out on the clear quiet water of Great 
Bear Lake, through which the canoe seemed to us to glide 
at a great speed. One does not obtain a good view of 
Bear Lake from the mouth of Dease River, for a large 
island obstructs the view. 

We paddled to old Fort Confidence, Thomas Simpson's 
winter quarters in 1837-38. The distance from the mouth 
of Dease River is about six miles. I expected this to be a 
fishing place. Our two nets were at once set, and they 
were anxiously looked at before we turned in, but, alas ! 
there were no fish in them. We went supperless to bed, 
but in the best of spirits. It was some satisfaction to know 
that there was plenty of food in the lake, even if it could 
not be caught. Late at night we heard a shot close by, 
showing the presence of Indians, and we went to sleep with 
great hopes of falling in with them next day. 

Old Fort Confidence was partly in ruins, but the 
chimneys still remained perfect. 

In the morning two fair-sized trout were taken out of 
the nets, sufficient for breakfast ; and we set out at eight 
o'clock. We paddled round the first point, expecting to 
find the Indians in camp, for it was here the shot had 
been fired on the previous night. We found the camp fires, 
but the natives had departed at a very early hour. 

We continued on our course on perfectly calm water, 
and made about twenty-four miles, I possessed some 
trolls (spoons and minnows) which I had brought out from 
England, and two of these were kept out all the time. As 
a rule, when paddling in a canoe, one travels too fast for 
successful trolling. Two large trout, one of them a twenty- 
pounder, were hooked, but both were lost. The trolls 



(spoons) were much too light and fragile for these heavy 
fish. One requires a spoon about half a pound in weight 
with stout cod-hooks attached. The loss of these two fish 
meant no supper. After pitching the tent, we all went to 
eat blueberries, which were fairly plentiful, but it takes a 
long time to fill up on blueberries, and they are not sustain- 
ing. There was no sign of either deer or ptarmigan. 

The coast of Great Bear Lake was here very barren and 
rocky, and the spruce very stunted in growth. 

I remarked to Darrell and Sandy in the evening, that 
we were lucky to have a plentiful and wholesome supply 
of cold water to drink, but my remark did not appear to 
afford them any comfort. 

On August 21 the minimum thermometer reading was 
44. The weather was dull but fine, wind variable. 

The nets took one toolaby of 3 Ibs., which when cleaned 
and cooked gave us a light breakfast. With a light fair 
wind we left at 6.30 A.M. The wind soon gave out, how- 
ever, and we were obliged to ply the paddles. We kept 
steadily to them the whole day, never stopping except to 
light a pipe or take a drink of water. There was no occa- 
sion to land and go ashore ; for we had nothing to eat and 
no tea to drink. The trolling in the afternoon was suc- 
cessful. Although most of the large trout broke away, 
we brought three (13 Ibs., 7 Ibs., and 5 Ibs.) inside the 
canoe. This was quite sufficient for supper and a light 
breakfast. I also shot a loon and a gull, which all helped. 

The shore of Bear Lake was very straight and low, 
quite destitute of any growth of trees. The timber com- 
menced at a varying distance of from one to four miles 
from the shore. 

It was my intention to camp at the mouth of Haldane 
River, where the nets could be set in any weather. There 
being practically no bays or harbours along this shore the 
nets, even if down, could not be looked at in the event of 
a storm. We failed, however, to discover the mouth of the 
river. After paddling forty miles we landed and had suj 




per directly, for we were all ravenously hungry. We then 
pitched the tent and set the nets. No sooner had Darrell 
and Sandy finished setting the nets and come ashore, than 
they had to go out to them again. They took out fourteen 
white-fish and one large trout, two of the white-fish scaling 
almost 6 Ibs. apiece. This was capital, and meant a supply 
to take along with us. 

Fishing with nets in lakes to which one is a stranger is 
most uncertain work. It is only at particular places that 
white-fish can be caught. These fishing places are generally 
known to the natives, and therefore it is advisable to camp 
at old Indian camps. But we had evidently now struck 
a first-class fishing ground, which was unknown to the 
Indians, for there was no sign of any old camp. 

The high land at Scented Grass Hill was plainly 
visible from this place. Fresh bear-sign was seen on 
the land. 

Next morning, August 22, a heavy mist enshrouded 
the lake. We did not start till 8.30 A.M., as we had many 
fish to clean, for the nets had been successful during the 
night ; sixteen white-fish were taken out, some of them 
very large, 7 or 8 Ibs., none of them under 4 Ibs. This 
was the largest average of white-fish that I had ever 
heard of. In Great Slave Lake their average weight is 
3 Ibs. 

After eating what we wanted, we still had about 60 
Ibs. of cleaned fish to take along, so for the present our 
minds were relieved of anxiety on the score of the food 

We were fortunate in having the wind off the shore, and 
we paddled along on smooth water. We had the sail set 
for a couple of short spells. The act of hoisting sail on 
such occasions appears to have a fatal effect on the wind, 
which at once drops or else hauls ahead. 

We stopped at i P.M., as we now had fish to cook for 
dinner. Driftwood was abundant along the shore. 

Proceeding, we shortly afterwards met a large party of 


Indians, who were on their way to the head of the lake to 
spear deer and dry the meat. One of the party spoke a 
little unintelligible English, but I managed to understand 
that he advised us not to make the portage across the 
peninsula or cape at Scented Grass Hill, though there is a 
frequented route across. These Indians were starving, as 
Indians, when I meet them, generally are. There is no 
reason why they should starve, except such as may be 
found in their own folly. They were now travelling in 
a large band. They were well provided with nets, and 
must have caught large numbers of fish, but possibly not 
sufficient for the crowd of men, women, and children who 
composed the party. They had hunted without success. 

They invited us to camp with them, but if we had done 
so they would have devoured our reserve of fish at one 
meal. So we hastened away, and made twenty-eight miles 
before we camped. I estimated that we were now within 
twelve miles of the place where the traverse is made across 
Smith Bay. 

Next morning, August 23, it was blowing rather too 
hard to proceed. The shore being still quite straight, the 
difficulty was to load the canoe and get safely launched in 
the heavy lop which had got up. 

I hunted in the morning, but, with the exception of a 
few ptarmigan, I saw no sign of game. About 5 P.M., the 
wind having moderated, we loaded up and got away by 
5.30 P.M. We were now travelling along the north shore 
of Smith Bay. Two small islands lying off a deep bay 
mark the place from which to begin the traverse. 

The deep bay mentioned may be called Traverse Bay, 
and the eastern point of it Traverse Point. We paddled 
fourteen miles to Traverse Point, and then a little over a 
mile along Traverse Bay. We then camped. This part 
of the coast was entirely destitute of trees, and we had 
great difficulty in collecting sufficient drift sticks to boil 
our kettle. We did not pitch the tent, for we had no pole, 
and the timber line was a long way off. I had intended tc 


make the traverse that night, but the weather did not give 
us a chance. 

Next day, August 24, we were still delayed by the 
weather. It was not blowing hard by any means, but 
sufficiently so to make it prudent to remain on shore. We 
set the nets directly we had finished breakfast, and then 
paddled to the head of Traverse Bay for a supply of wood 
and a tent pole. Returning on foot, I noticed a little sign 
of bear, but there was neither new nor old sign of deer. I 
do not believe that this part of the coast is ever frequented 
by deer. A fine 15 Ib. trout was taken out of the nets when 
they were lifted. 

The wind moderated towards the evening, and at 
7.20 P.M. we started across the traverse to the Accanyo 
Islands, which lie a short distance off the south shore of 
Smith Bay. 

The night was cloudless and calm, a perfect night on 
which to make the traverse of fourteen miles. If the wind 
falls with the sun and the sky remains cloudless, one is 
almost assured of smooth water the whole night. We 
crossed in exactly four hours. The Accanyo Islands are 
very low, in fact only spits of sand. The night was dark 
and nothing could be seen of the land. Steering by a star, 
we paddled along in dead silence until the beating of the 
surf on the shores of the island was heard. We then 
swung off to ,the eastward, thus saving a few miles, and 
paddled steadily for five hours, after which we put ashore 
and cooked our 15 Ib. trout for breakfast. All our other 
fish had been consumed. 

Resuming our journey after the morning meal, we 
paddled for three hours, and came to an old Indian 
encampment. This place seemed to give promise of 
success in fishing, so we camped, the time then being 
9.30 A.M. 

We had paddled during the night forty-two miles in 
fourteen hours, including a two-hour spell for breakfast. 

The nets were set as usual directly we camped, and 


they took four trout by the evening, so we had supper and 
then turned in for a well-earned rest. 

The following morning, August 26, we were under 
way at 6.45. Three small trout were the result of the 
night's fishing. Our nets were of too small a mesh. One 
of them was only a herring net, and the other was of a 
mixed mesh. Great Bear Lake is famous for its herrings 
(so called), but these can only be caught near the foot of 
the lake and in Bear River. 

It was quite calm when we started, and we headed 
across a bay towards Gros Cap, which is the most easterly 
point of the peninsula at Scented Grass Hill. A head wind 
unfortunately sprang up, and it took us a very long time 
to cross the bay, a distance of ten miles. In fact we only 
just managed to reach the lee on the far side. 

In canoeing on large lakes which have straight shores, 
it is most unwise to hold on too long. At the first appear- 
ance of the wind rising, no time ought to be lost in putting 
ashore. Directly a lop gets up there is great danger of 
smashing the canoe when attempting to land. I refer to 
wind from the lake, not of course from off shore. 

We landed, set the nets, and waited for the wind to 
drop, intending to proceed by night again. 

The wind calmed down towards evening ; the nets 
were lifted and yielded one small trout only. We resumed 
our journey at 6.30 P.M. and paddled along towards Gros 
Cap. The water was smooth, although there was a heavy 
ground swell, which continued to roll the whole of the 
night and the next day. It had evidently been blowing 
hard out on the lake. 

The night was perfect. Light airs gently ruffled the 
surface of the lake ; the ground swell did not impede our 
progress. At ten o'clock, when the moon rose, we had 
rounded Gros Cap, and were running west along the south 
shore of the peninsula of Scented Grass Hill. We passed 
several fires, which we at first took to be Indian encamp- 
ments. Presently, however, the fires became too numerous; 


there were thousands of them ; there was a bush fire all 
along the coast. 

The first streak of dawn could be seen at 2 A.M. ; at 
four it was daylight. We then struck south-west across 
Deer Pass Bay. This traverse proved to be longer than I 
expected viz. fifteen miles. The weather was very settled, 
or I should not have ventured across by day. We landed 
at 8.30 A.M., having kept steadily to the paddles for fourteen 
hours, and travelled forty-six miles, a long way for men on 
one small meal a day, and we were all fairly weary. To 
sit in one position for so long a stretch is very fatiguing, 
harder even on the legs, which have nothing to do, than on 
the arms, which have all the work to do. 

After the nets were set and the tent pitched, our solitary 
small trout was cooked, equally divided and solemnly eaten. 
We filled up, or attempted to do so, with blueberries, and 
then turned in and slept soundly. 

As we had been living pretty toughly and working 
fairly hard for many days without luxury of any kind, even 
tea and salt, we were all fairly thin ; the work was beginning 
to tell. We were almost barefooted, and our clothes were 
in a most disgraceful state. It was high time to reach 
some depot of supplies, where we could refit. However, 
our goal, Fort Norman, was and had been in sight (so to 
speak) since we first struck Great Bear Lake, and it was 
now but a short distance away. 

Sandy's internals had been giving much trouble for 
some days, the inevitable result of eating too large a 
quantity of fish on the occasions when we happened to 
have a plentiful supply. When one who has been starving, 
or on short rations, abuses a time of plenty and overloads 
his stomach ever so little, the unfailing result is violent 
purging and severe indigestion. 

The temptation to fill up is great, I allow, for at the 
time the sensation produced by a square meal is eminently 
satisfactory, but prudence should be exercised. Men in 
such circumstances should resolve to rise from each meal 


but half satisfied, until they become quite accustomed to 
full rations again. 

There appeared to be a few moose along the western 
shore. One small trout was taken in the evening, which 
gave us a couple of mouthfuls each. 

On August 28 the minimum thermometer showed 32 
Fahr. The weather was cloudless and calm. It had been 
my intention to start at a very early hour, but the lifting 
of the nets delayed us, and it was 5 A.M. before we finally 
got under way. The nets provided breakfast in the shape 
of two fair-sized trout, one Arctic trout of the usual size, 
and one herring (so called), the first herring we had caught. 
We started with full stomachs, and paddling steadily the 
whole day, without a " spell " of any sort, till 6 P.M., we 
made about forty miles. A breeze from the north then 
sprang up, which did us good service, for it took us along 
another twelve miles. We camped after dark. It was too 
late to set the nets, so we starved for a change. 

I may say a word or two about sailing a canoe. A sail 
ought never to be set unless the wind is abaft the beam. 
On this account a square sail with a light yard is much 
to be preferred to a leg-of-mutton sail. The advantage 
of the square sail lies in the fact that there is no tempta- 
tion to set it unless the wind is really abaft the beam, for 
then only is it of service. The Indians invariably use the 
square sail, and I have never heard of their capsizing a canoe. 

We had a sharp frost during the night. 

We started next morning, August 29, at 2.30, for I was 
determined to reach the foot of the lake before the wind 
sprang up and stopped us. Breakfast did not cause delay, 
for we had none, and the nets had not been put down. 
Little could be seen in the early hours. About 5 A.M. I 
judged from the appearance of the land that we were 
passing old Fort Franklin. Shortly afterwards a heavy 
bank of mist to the south showed where the outlet of 
Bear River probably lay. Proceeding, we sighted many 
fish stages and old Indian camps on our right. 


It was my intention to push right on for Fort Norman. 
However, as we were starving, I thought it fair to let my 
men have a say in the matter. I told them that by 
pushing straight on we should probably reach Fort 
Norman, where supplies were a certainty, in about twelve 
hours, but on the other hand, the fishing stages indicated 
that fish could almost certainly be caught here, as the place 
was no doubt the fishing station resorted to by the men 
employed by the Hudson Bay Company. Sandy exclaimed 
that he was ravenously hungry and would like to try the 
nets for something to eat, so his wish ruled the day. 
Darrell said nothing. We paddled to the fishing depot, 
landed, pitched the tent, set the nets, and went to 

We had at last reached the foot of Great Bear Lake. 
No wind or bad weather could stop us now. For myself 
I did not care whether we reached Fort Norman a little 
sooner or later. The distance from the mouth of Dease 
River to the foot of Bear Lake is only about 180 statute 
miles on a direct course. Following the shore, as one 
is compelled to do in a canoe, we had travelled by account 
276 statute miles. The north and western shores of the 
lake are very easy to follow. There are but few islands, 
and there is no chance of running into blind bays and 
inlets, which cause frequent trouble to those who navigate 
many of the larger lakes in the Northland. We had been 
exceptionally fortunate in the way of weather, for on the 
larger lakes in the north, especially in the fall of the year, 
it is of common occurrence to be detained for days, even 
weeks, at a time by strong winds. 

Possibly we should not have wanted food at all had 
we possessed a good outfit of trolling gear and a couple 
of nets of 4 in. mesh, but of this I have some doubt, for 
the Indians we met were provided with the proper nets, 
yet they were starving. 

Deer had been conspicuous by their absence. A few 
ducks and geese had been seen, but none shot, for we had 


not thought it worth while to paddle long distances out of 
our course in pursuit. 

At noon I woke Darrell and we went to look at the 
nets, which had now been down six hours. There was 
not a fish, so we quickly pulled the nets and got ready 
to start. 

We left at 1.30 P.M. and headed for the mouth of Bear 
River. After paddling a short distance we saw smoke 
along the shore, and with the glasses I made out two 
Indian tepees and a newly erected log shack. 

As we felt very empty, and as there was, if not a 
certainty, at least a very good chance of our obtaining 
a supply of fish from these natives, we headed the canoe 
for their camp. 

The tepees were tenanted by two Indian families. The 
men were engaged in building the log shack. Not much 
work was being done, however, for measles had broken 
out, and they were all sick, some of them being in a very 
bad way. They at once asked me for medicine, but I had 
none to give them. They treated us well ; cooked us a 
good meal of dried and fresh fish, and then laid before 
us a large basket of blueberries for dessert. They even 
produced some tea, the last they had. What a comfort 
it was to put food into the empty stomach ! but caution 
had to be exercised. I presented our host with a knife, 
a file, and about i Ib. of tobacco, with which he seemed 
delighted. He then gave us some fish to take along for 
our evening meal. 

This native spoke a few words of French, and he gave 
me some information about rapid water on Bear River, 
and the side of the river which we ought to keep. 

We entered the river at 5.30 P.M. The current was 
strong, about five or six miles an hour. Paddling with 
the current we made good way, and camped at 9 P.M. 

Bear River is from 150 to 300 yards broad at the outlet. 
It is of varying depth, and confined by low sloping banks 
covered with a stunted and poor growth, chiefly of spruce 


and larch. A few poplars were to be seen. Large numbers 
of herring were seen jumping clear out of the water at the 

We were up betimes the next morning, August 30, but 
a heavy mist lay like a pall over the river. It was not 
possible to see more than a few yards ahead. As we 
expected to meet with some rough water, it was not 
advisable to start till the sun rose and dispelled the mist. 

We left shortly after 8 A.M. The current continued 
strong, and in two hours we reached the "rapids." The 
Indians whom we had met the day before had given me 
an exaggerated idea of these rapids. There is rough water 
only for about three or four miles. It is advisable to keep 
on the left hand side of the river. With ordinary care in 
steering between the protruding boulders, there is not the 
faintest chance of an accident. 

Below this rough water we came to smooth water with 
diminished current. A ridge of hills, through which the 
river at this place cuts its way, is of limestone formation. We 
were now more than half way to the Mackenzie River. The 
current improved a little lower down, and shortly afterwards 
we sighted Bear Rock, which lies in the northern angle 
formed by the junction of the Mackenzie and Bear Rivers. 
The banks of Bear River, which had been high and steeply 
sloping, became lower as we approached the valley of the 
Mackenzie River, behind which we saw the snow-capped 
peaks of the Rocky Mountains in the distance. A few 
miles farther, and we paddled out on the magnificent and 
broad waters of the Mackenzie. Fort Norman is situated 
on the high bank on its east side, a few hundred yards 
to the south of its junction with the Bear River. We 
reached Fort Norman shortly after 4 P.M., the passage of 
the Bear River, said to be about ninety miles, having taken 
us exactly eleven hours to accomplish. The Bear River is 
one of the few good rivers in Northern Canada. The Ark-i- 
llnik is another. The current in both is good, and there are 
no portages. 


Our long and latterly somewhat tedious and hungry 
journey had come to an end. We had at last reached our 
goal, civilisation, and supplies. For many months we had 
been keenly looking forward to hearing news from the out- 
side world. In this, however, we were somewhat disap- 
pointed. There had been a hitch in the forwarding of the 
mail, and Fort Norman had been many months without 
news. The assassination of President McKinley and the ter- 
mination of the war in South Africa were recent news to us. 

The Hudson Bay Company's representative, Mr. Timothy 
Gaudette, happened to be absent, but the keys of the store 
were produced by Mr. Spendlove, who represents the 
Church Missionary Society at this post. 

For the great kindness and attention shown to us by 
both Mr. and Mrs. Spendlove during our short stay at Fort 
Norman, I take this opportunity of expressing my hearty 

Abundant supplies were furnished by Mr. William 
Elliot, and a substantial meal of bacon, fish, potatoes, 
bread and butter, and coffee with milk and sugar, was laid 
before us. It was a novel sensation to sit on chairs again 
with our legs under a table, within doors, and with a roof 
over our heads. A pipe of good tobacco following the 
sumptuous repast completed our happiness. I make no 
pretence of being in love with hard and tough times. 
However, these do no harm, and they certainly enhance 
the appreciation of the good things of civilised life on 
one's return. 

It is remarkable how soon one can become accustomed 
to doing without things. To men unused to a "meat 
straight " diet, the absence of bread is at first keenly felt, 
but soon ceases to trouble. Even salt one does not miss 
after the first few days. 

Looking back on our long journey, I could not help 
congratulating myself on the exceedingly good fortune 
which had followed us throughout. The journey, as 
originally projected in England, had been carried out in 


2 53 

every detail. We had experienced no sickness or starvation, 
for we could well afford to forget the very few days on 
which we were without food while navigating on Great Bear 
Lake. They did not remain in our minds as a feature of 
the trip. In crossing the land from Ti-bi-elik Lake to the 
Arctic coast, I considered that we had been exceptionally 
fortunate in the way of food. Our dogs also had kept well 
and strong, though at one time the fatal dog sickness, 
prevalent at times in Huskyland, threatened to make a 
clean sweep of them. 

The collections made entomological, botanical, and 
geological and the photographs taken had been landed 
in safety. We had arrived at our destination at a sufficiently 
early date to permit of our accomplishing part, at least, 
of the journey to rail-head at Edmonton by open water, 
a distance of considerably over one thousand miles. 

In spite of our caution with respect to the amount of 
food we consumed, we all went down with severe attacks 
of indigestion. The stomach accustomed to a diet of fish 
or " meat straight " refuses at first to assimilate food to 
which it is unused. Bread, beans, potatoes, &c., remained 
>n our chests like lead, and when we left Fort Norman 
m September 2 we were all sick men, and it was fully 
week till we recovered our usual northern robust health. 
The journey from Fort Norman up the Mackenzie 
River to Fort Resolution on Great Slave Lake is usually 
lade in twenty-eight days. I was informed that it had 
)een accomplished in seventeen days. We reached Fort 
Resolution on September 28, having thus accomplished 
the journey in twenty-six days. We reached Fort Mackay 
on the Athabasca River on October 15, and there we were 
frozen in. After a month's delay, the homeward journey 
was resumed with dogs and sleighs. Early in December 
we reached the Hudson Bay Company's post at Lac-la- 
Biche, where we procured horses, and the journey thence 
to Edmonton, a distance of about one hundred and sixty 
miles, was easily accomplished in five days. 





THE vast region lying to the west of Hudson's Bay, and known as 
the Barren Lands of North America, was traversed in two journeys 
in 1893 and 1894 by Mr. J. Burr Tyrrell, M.A., on behalf of the 
Canadian Geological Survey, and the geological observations then 
made were published in the Report of the Survey for 1896. 

In the first of these explorations, in 1893, tne country to the west 
of Baker Lake and lying between west longitude 64 and 65 was 
reached. Further north the region extending to the Arctic Seas 
remained unexplored, and accordingly I determined to traverse it 
and the Arctic coast as far westwards as the Coppermine River to 
observe what I could of their geological features. 

The following notes on the physical features and the rocks of 
this region are given only as a record of my own observations in this 
far northern portion of his Majesty's dominions. 


On approaching Baker Lake from the west we passed over a 
generally rolling and undulating country, but rocky in places, and a 
few sand and gravel dunes were observed. 

The land forming the shores of Baker Lake itself was low. The 
rocks on the northern side have been ascertained to be Laurentian, 
while those on the southern shore are of Cambrian age. 

At a little distance from the south shore is a range of low 
hills running east and west between the mouth of the Kazan 
River and the head of the lake, and at a distance of about eight 
or ten miles from the shore there is a somewhat high hill called 

North of Baker Lake the Ti-her-yuak-lug-yuak River, varying from 
forty to sixty yards in width, flows towards the Quoich River along 
a very crooked course between banks which, in the west, are low 
and sloping, but, as the Quoich River is approached, become higher. 
Here the course of the river is straighter, the country on either side 

"57 R 


being much shut in. The rocks seen were granitic in appearance on 
both banks of the river. 

To the east of the Quoich River the country is generally level 
and prairie-like with a few small lakes, but near the east end of 
Baker Lake the surface is much broken and very rocky in places 
with occasional small lakes. 

The region between the Quoich River and Hudson Bay on the 
north side of Chesterfield Inlet may be said to be typical Barren 
Northland, as it is full of small lakes with but small areas of some- 
times rocky, sometimes grassy land between. Indeed, it is scarcely 
too much to say that most of the land is water, so much of the area 
is occupied by lakes ; so generally spread and disposed are they that 
a route in any direction will traverse what may be called a chain 
of lakes. East of Ti-her-yuak-lug-yuak Lake the country changes 
somewhat as it becomes very rocky, and there are typical glaciated 
crystalline rocks on either side of the river that flows from the lake 
into the head of Whitney Inlet. The river, with a straight course to 
the east, narrowing and widening between steep-sloping and rocky 
banks, has a rugged apparently granitic country on each side. 

As the coast of Hudson Bay is approached the level of the land 
lowers, but it is still rocky and full of small lakes. 

The small island near the shore of Hudson Bay, between 
Winchester Inlet and Whitney Inlet, known as Depot Island, con- 
sists of granitoid gneiss with the foliation very distinct; although 
the rocks are much smoother on this island, no glacial striae were 

It appears to me remarkable that the striations, which are so 
frequently seen on the rocks of this region, and attributed to the 
action of flints in the bottom of the great ice-sheet, especially those 
on the softer rocks such as sandstones, have not long since been 
worn away by erosion and denudation. 


I remained with the ship at Depot Island from Jan. 10 to 
Feb. 10, 1902, when I commenced my journey to the Arctic coast. 

The first section of the route was from the coast of Hudson 
Bay to the Ti-bi-elik Lake, lying to the west of Aberdeen Lake, so 
that we had to proceed due west and revisit Baker Lake, which is 
about midway. 

On the i yth of February we struck Armit-or-yuak Lake, which 
is narrow and has many arms and legs, so to speak. The river 
flowing into the lake has a decided fall, and comes from either the 
north-west or the west and not from Ti-hit-yuak Lake, while the 
fiver from the lake reaches the coast south of Whitney Inlet. The 
river we followed was confined by high rocky banks of red crystal- 
line rock. 


After passing Baker Lake we saw three lakes before reaching 
Schultz Lake. The sandstones, so conspicuous on the south side 
of Baker Lake, had given place to the red felspathic rocks of the 
Laurentian pre-Cambrians. 

For a long distance westwards the country was flat or slightly 

On the 1 8th we saw a hill of grey quartzite like the Huronian 
quartzite of Marble Island, and this rock was seen in numerous 
exposures on the 2oth also. The country continued generally flat, 
but it was rugged in places. 

On reaching the Ti-bi-elik Lake, which extends westward from 
the looth meridian of west longitude, we found an undulating 
country with a somewhat conspicuous flat-topped hill which is a 
useful landmark. 


On the 5th of April the exploration of the region to the north of 
that traversed by Tyrrell in 1893 was commenced. 

During three days' journey northwards from Ti-bi-elik Lake the 
country was generally level, but with some low flattish ridges and 
knolls giving it a somewhat undulating character. The surface was 
almost clear of snow, but largely covered with fragments of red 
sandstone, indicating the extension to this area of the Cambrian 
rocks of the southern side of Baker Lake. In this region there was, 
for the Barren Lands, remarkably little surface water, only one small 
lake being seen throughout the 6th of April, on which day we made 
nine miles. 

On the afternoon and evening of the following day, the abundance 
of granitic boulders on the surface and the absence of red sandstone 
1 fragments, although there was no rock seen in situ, showed that the 
geological structure had changed, and that we had now entered 
upon the great pre-Cambrian region of the northern Barren Lands. 
The surface configuration and general aspect were, however, very 
similar to those of the area we had previously traversed, but we 
were gradually attaining somewhat higher levels, and the altitude 
here was found to be 515 feet above sea-level. A short distance 
north of this point the surface water flowed northwards, from which 
it was evident that we had now reached the divide between the 
basin of the Ark-i-llnik River and that of Back's River. To the 
north-east of another small lake some sandy hillocks diversified 
the surface. 

Here, on the 8th, we found an exposure of grey quartzite re- 
sembling the Marble Island quartzite, and this may indicate the 
presence at this place of Huronian rocks. 


After another day's march, during which we crossed several 
lakes, we reached a small river flowing northwards between low- 
sloping and occasionally high-sloping banks, but without any rocks 
to be seei in situ. 

On the loth we reached a small lake with, on its western side, 
an island with a gravelly flat top rising 120 feet above the surface of 
the lake, with steeply-sloping and, in some places, precipitous sides. 

The river continued through an area slightly undulating, with 
an occasional dip or small ravine breaking the uniformity. With a 
width of from 300 to 600 yards the river now flowed over a shallow 
gravel and boulder-covered bed, the boulders consisting of a reddish 
granitic rock. It appeared to have a somewhat sluggish current, 
without rapids, but gradually the banks became more broken and 
the adjacent area more hilly and rocky, with exposures of granitic 
rocks in situ. 

Another day's journey brought us close to the mouth of the 
Buchanan River, and the south-west shore of Pelly Lake, into which 
flows Back's River. The region hereabouts is low and generally 
flat, but slightly hilly or undulating in places, with much of the 
fragmentary country rock scattered over the surface. 

The land on the northern side of the lake is very low, but stony 
in places, and the surface of the water was found to be only 260 feet 
above sea-level. We were now midway between Depot Island ir 
Hudson Bay and the mouth of the Coppermine River on the Arctic 
coast, about 650 miles from each station. 

North of Pelly Lake the country continued of the same low and 
slightly undulating character, but with much of the rock of the 
country exposed. This was still the same reddish crystalline rock 
smoothed but not striated by ice action. 

The lake with the native name of Ti-her-yuak is full of rock) 
islands, and its shores are formed of granitic rocks. 

The river flowing from the lake at its northern end has a width 
of about forty yards, but widens in places and encircles numerouj 
small rocky islands, while at others it is confined by sloping rock] 
banks of varying height, and sometimes, near the river, very rugged 

The rocks here appear to be gneissic in character, a specimer 
brought home proving to be a decomposed gneiss consisting o 
quartz, felspar and chlorite after biotite, and the rock shows signs o 
mechanical deformation. (See Description of Rock Specimens, A. 
The rock had on its exposed surface a reddish or pink colour, anc 
this is the prevailing colour of the rocks of this region. 

The river flowing to the north after leaving Ti-her-yuak Laki 
traverses a very sterile area which here justifies the name Barrel 
Lands. No vegetation is to be seen except a few blades of gras 
here and there, while rocks, both fragmentary and in si/u, are every 
where to be seen. Small shoal lakes with sandy bottoms are for 
by widenings of the river. 


On the ist of May we reached latitude 67 12 37", where the 
country was very low and flat, but it soon became rugged with rocky 
steeply-sloping banks of about twenty feet in height by the river- 
side, and here the river flowed over rapids. 

The rocks of the whole of this district were of the same general 
character as those seen previously, reddish granitic rocks with a 
large proportion of felspar, but at this place hornblende was a con- 
stituent mineral. 

The country traversed during the next few days was rugged in 
places, but there were small stretches of grassy land where there 
appeared to be a fair depth of soil. The rocks continued similar, 
and there was an entire absence of schistose rocks. 

The photographic views will best give an idea of the surface of 
this region, the main features of which are a succession of glaciated 
and smoothed rocky ridges trending north-west and south-east. 
Between these ridges are either shoal lakes, grassy swamps, or dry, 
flat stretches of soil generally circular in shape. These last have 
evidently been old lake areas. 

At one place there is a distinct terminal moraine, but of not 
more than 200 yards in extent, formed of loose rounded stones, 
apparently from the same rocks that form this region. The minia- 
ture valleys or gulches between the rocky ridges appear to be due to 
the denuding action of ice. 

On the 1 2th of May we found our latitude to be 67 28' 53", 
and on the following day another specimen of the country rock was 

This is described by Dr. Flett, after his microscopical examina- 
jtion, as a hypersthene biotite granulite, with apatite zircon and iron 
.oxides present. Unlike specimen No. i, it is not gneissose. (See 
Description of Rock Specimen, No. 2.) 

The land gradually became lower in elevation and the river 
| widened as the coast was approached, and on the i4th of May we 
I had the satisfaction of reaching the mouth of our river and the shore 
of the Arctic Sea at north latitude 67 50' 23". 


The coast-line near the mouth of the Ti-her-yuak River is 
formed of crystalline or metamorphosed rocks of the same general 
character as those of which so much was seen on the route north- 
wards from the Ti-her-yuak Lake. A single specimen was taken 
! -lose to the river mouth ; for if a hundred specimens were collected 
:hey would all differ slightly but immaterially, and one was sufficient 
to establish the important fact that the pre-Cambrian rocks of North 
America extend to the Arctic coast at this place. 


On commencing our journey westwards along the coast over the 
ice, and with the mainland shore to the south, we found that small 
rocky islands almost entirely destitute of vegetation were numerous, 
scattered at a little distance from the shore of the mainland, which 
appeared as a long, low, undulating ridge of rocks. 

There was much evidence of the great ice-sheet having moved in 
a northern direction here, as there were deep grooves scooped outi 
and the rock surfaces of the islands were much striated. Itjwas also, 
noticed that the rocks, similar to those on the mainland, were all 1 
abruptly broken off to the north. 

On the 1 8th of May, quartz rock and granitic or gneissose rocks 
with much quartz were conspicuously observable in bands and 
patches, with smoothings and deep striations. 

Continuing westwards to White Bear Point in latitude 68 5' 27", 
we found the coast-line very low but stony, with rocky knolls and 
intervening small flats. The rocks were smoothly glaciated, and) 
quantities of small loose stones and sand were seen. 

On the 2th three Eskimo met us with a few copper articles! 
and a lump of native copper about 2 Ibs. in weight This native' 
copper, from which needles and other domestic implements 
made, is obtained by the Eskimo from islands to the no 
Victoria Land, and other localities in higher latitudes. 

At the portage across Kent Peninsula we found the rocks still 
similar, but giving indications of change of surface level in very 
recent times, as beds of recent marine shells l occur at about ten feet 
above high-tide level. Similar patches of shells were seen until June 
loth, and some occur among the soil or gravel on hill- slopes as high 
as 500 feet above sea-level. 

On the 3ist of May we crossed the divide on the Kent Peninsula 
portage and found the country very hilly and rocky. There was one 
isolated hill of quite a precipitous character. Photographic views 
are given to show the features of this area. During our stay here, 
latitude 68 32' 46", on the 2nd of June, I ascended the precipitous 
hill, Har-li-ar-li, which is 360 feet high and has a flat top. The rock 
was a good deal broken on the surface, and showed no evidence of 
the passing of an ice-sheet. 

The rocks, however, had now changed in character, as the 
granitic or gneissic rocks that had characterised the region through 
which we had passed from the Ti-her-yuak Lake in latitude 66 had; 
given place to a decidedly igneous rock, which proves to be a coarse- 
grained ophitic dolerite. (See Description of Rock Specimens, 
No. 4.) There were, however, at this place transported boulders of 
the previously traversed rocks. 

On the 3rd of June, near a lake on the isthmus of the Kent 
Peninsula named It-ib-ler-yuak, many patches of marine shells were 
observed. The shells were similar to those seen on the 3oth of May 
1 Saxtcava artica and Cardium islandicum. 


at Portage Inlet. The occurrence of marine shells on coastal slopes 
may be accounted for otherwise than by coast elevation, for sheets 
of shore ice are capable of pushing up portions of the seashore in 
a frozen condition, and thus shells may be left on the land at 
considerable elevations above the sea-level. 

On June 5th we found the country rock like that at Mount Har- 
li-ar-li. It was here to be seen in a horizontal sheet and much jointed. 
At about four miles distance we again observed the pre-Cambrian 
gneissic rocks, which doubtless underlie the sheets of dolerites. 

At the mouth of the I-lu Inlet, where we arrived on June 6th, 
the land is low on the north, but high and precipitous in many 
places on the south shore. 

There are two unusually lofty hills on the south-western shore of 
I-lu Inlet, one named I-ta-wing and the other U-wei-u-ullig, the latter 
of which is the highest, having an elevation of about 600 feet, of 
which about 150 feet is formed by a perpendicular rock precipice. 

On the yth, in latitude 68 12' 07" the coastal land was high 
and rocky and even mountainous in character, and on the 8th we 
camped at a small bay, overlooked by a hill that I ascended on the 
9th, and found to be 840 feet above sea-level. 

A long slope of flat rock ascends to within 150 feet of the 
summit, and this is a flesh-coloured granitic mass dipping west at an 
angle of about 30. It is a felspathic grit containing much well- 
rounded quartz in grains with largely decomposed felspar and scaly 
secondary mica. (See Description of Rock Specimens, No. 5.) The 
surface of the rock is smoothed and grooved by ice action, but not 
striated. The crest or summit ridge of 150 feet is formed by 
a doleritic rock similar to No. 4 on Mount Har-li-ar-li and to that in 
the vicinity of It-Ib-ler-yuak Lake. The rock on this summit is 
a hornblende diabase. (See Description of Rock Specimens, No. 6.) 
It is also smoothed and grooved, but not striated. 

It is impossible to say in which direction the ice moved at this 
place. The rocks where precipitous have their faces to the east, 
west, south, and north-west. 

On the roth of June I examined a precipitously-cut hill about 
four miles from our camp. The cliffs faced due west, and were 
opposite to the face of the 840 feet hill that I had ascended the day 
before, and from which I had obtained the rock specimen No. 5. 
Between the two hills extends a valley of about three miles in width, 
containing two long narrow lakes, and through the valley the surface 
water flows northwards. The rock forming the valley bottom is a 
fine red sandstone consisting of rounded grains of quartz with a 
small amount of cementing material. (See Description of Rock 
Specimens, No. 7.) 

This sandstone rock is in places conglomeratic, and is there full of 
quartz pebbles. The felspathic grit (No. 5) and the red sandstone 
(No. 7) seem to pass into each other at a certain altitude, while the 
summit capping of the hill is the hornblendic diabase (No. 6). 


It appears to me that the valley between these two hills has been 
formed by ice-action, which has taken away nearly all the doleritic 
rock of the summit levels, leaving only the crests of the two hills, 
and No. 5 has been removed also, except where it remains between 
No. 7 and No. 6, while the sandstone rock, No. 7, remains to form 
the bottom of the valley. It is to be noted that the felspathic grit, 
No. 5, contains quartz pebbles as well as the sandstone. Briefly, it 
may be stated that the crests of the somewhat high hills in this area 
are composed of the volcanic doleritic rock, No. 6, while at lower 
levels is the grit, No. 5, and at the bottom of the valleys is the sand- 
stone, No. 7, though, it should be added, this last rock is not always 

I could not ascertain in which direction the ice-sheet had moved, 
but from the conspicuous smoothing and grooving, it is evident these 
hills have been covered by it ; and it seems to me remarkable that 
the whole of the uppermost rocks have not been removed by the 
powerful glacial action to which they were subjected. Possibly they 
were exposed before the ice-sheet made a general movement. 

The origin of the small, flat, generally circular, gravel terraces, 
which have been noted by every one who has visited the Barren North, 
Land, is not very apparent. I noticed and watched the debris, gravel/ 
grit, and sand that issue from a deep bank of snow. It ran down 
and was settling in and filling up a small circular hollow in the 
ground. One might say that a miniature moraine from a miniature 
glacier, the snow-bank, was terminating in this hollow. It now 
appeared to me that the ice-sheet had moved in a southerly direction 
over this area. 

On the 1 3th the land seen five miles to the south was very rugged 
and rocky, and it continued so on the isth, when we traversed the 
portage across Cape Croker, where we found a fine-grained granitic 
or gneissic rock. 

On the 1 6th we reached Barry Island, which one of my Eskimo 
had described as the best place for copper. He now said copper 
was more plentiful on an island six or eight miles north of Fowler 
Bay. However, two pieces of native copper were found in the 

The next day we searched for copper on the north-west shore of 
the island. 

The main rock of the island is a fine-grained basalt which 
Dr. Flett described as granular, holocrystalline, and non-porphyritic, 
and a good deal decomposed. (See Description of Rock Specimens, 
No. 10.) The rock, although hard, is easily broken in all directions 
by a tap of the hammer. The summit of the island is, however, 
formed of a rock of the character of No. 6, and is described as 
coarse-grained ophitic dolerite with plagioclase and augite, and 
perhaps a few grains of olivine. The ophitic structure is very 
perfect. (See Description of Rock Specimens, No. n.) 


The underlying basalt dips west at an angle of about 25, and it 
is in this rock that the native copper occurs. The copper is plentiful, 
for the quantity we obtained was found after but a brief search, and 
on a neighbouring island, Kun-nu-yuk, a mass of copper had just 
been found, so large that a man could hardly lift it. There also 
copper is often found in the tide-way. The whole of the lower 
levels on Barry Island are covered with debris from the basalt, and 
where the rock has been disintegrated by weathering, copper has 
fallen out, so that flakes of the metal may be found along the sea- 
shore. In many places, too, green patches indicate that nuggets or 
flakes of copper have recently fallen out from their matrix. 

The copper-bearing rock also contains crystalline quartz, some of 
which forms beautiful amethystine veins, of which some specimens 
were taken. There is here some further evidence of coastal eleva- 
tion in the occurrence of saucer-shaped lines of water-worn debris at 
from twenty to forty feet above the present level of high tides. 

The question whether it would ever pay to work the native 
copper of these regions remains for the consideration of experts. 
I have always understood that native copper occurring in small 
flakes or nuggets and sparsely distributed, is of but little practical 
value, and that copper can only, as a rule, be successfully worked 
from ores that are rich and easy of access. Much depends doubt- 
less on its abundance and regularity of distribution. This island, 
Barry Island or Iglor-yu-ullig, is several miles in length, and perhaps 
three or four miles across. The Island to the south-south-east, 
Kun-nu-yuk, is still larger, besides which there is an island to the 
south-west which has given much copper, and there are copper- 
yielding islands to the north. The copper-bearing formation holds 
good everywhere except on the summit cappings of the islands. 

On the 1 8th of June we reached the most easterly land of 
Bathurst Inlet, which is very hilly and rocky, some of the hills 
attaining an altitude of 1500 feet. Between the hills are grassy 
flats, but at present they were but swamps. 

On the 23rd, on our way across Bathurst Inlet, we approached 
a flat-topped precipitous island very much resembling a kopje. 
When near to it I noticed a change in its rock formation, and saw 
that there was a bed of limestone about fifteen feet thick under- 
lying a capping of igneous rock of about 20 feet thickness. 

On further examination I found the limestone which is thin- 
bedded and horizontal, in places 60 feet thick. The summit, 
igneous rock, is an ophitic dolerite similar to the cappings of 
the islands and hills previously seen. (See Description of Rock 
Specimen, No. 13.) 

Although fossils were diligently searched for, none were found in 
the limestone. 

The dolerite is columnar in places, and large masses and much 
smaller debris have fallen to the base of the precipitous cliffs formed 


by the limestone and the dolerite. Southwards from the island 
mass a long spit of the dolerite rock projects into the sea, and it 
is seen to be very much smoothed and grooved, and the striae, all 
trending to the south-south-east, are very numerous. 

About five miles beyond this limestone island we passed a small 
basaltic island on which two pieces of copper ore were picked up. 
It seems as if copper is to be found wherever this basalt occurs. 

On the 25th June we camped on the north point of Lewis Island. 

With the exception of some precipitously-cut rocks near our 
camp, this island is formed of the same partly-decomposed basalt 
as Barry Island. It is described as fine-grained, granular crystalline, 
decomposed basalt. (See Description of Rock Specimen, No. 15.) 

Although we did not find so much copper here, the green marks 
on the rocks were more numerous, but we did not spend an hour 
altogether in the search. One of our Eskimo knew of a large mass 
of copper on the south-west shore of the island, which he stated to 
be as much as five feet in length and three inches thick. It pro- 
truded from the rocks under the water, it was said, but there was too 
much ice for us to find the copper. A piece of quartz with copper 
ore and native copper was picked up on the seashore. Another 
specimen of the copper-bearing rock here is a decomposed basalt, 
fine-grained, and not unlike No. 1 5, but vesicular. (See Description 
of Rock Specimen, No. 17.) 

In the bays of this island a regular succession of apparently old 
shore-lines can be seen. There are as many as eight, and although 
there are no shells, the fragmentary debris gives evidence of being 

On the 27th we rested at the north-west point of Lewis Island, 
where we again found the copper-bearing basalt, and accordingly we 
commenced a search that resulted in our collecting about 2 Ibs. 
weight of copper. The metal appeared to be very persistent in it$ 
occurrence in the partly decomposed basalt of which all the islands 
we passed that day consisted. The flakes of copper seemed to be 
always vertical when in their rock matrix. The rocks of this island, 
where they are not disintegrated, are well smoothed by glacial 
action, and the striae are numerous and distinctly trend south and 

Cape Barrow was reached on the following day, and this pro- 
minent headland, pointing due north, we found to consist of the 
felspathic gneissic rock of which so much had been seen. It is 
here very red and handsome in appearance, and is rounded and 

The islands lying off the Cape are basaltic, and the rock appears 
to have a columnar structure, and I think it overlies a bed of lime- 
stone. The precipitous cliffs of these islands are very similar to 
those of the limestone island previously seen. The land behind the 
coast-line is here very rugged. 


On the sQth June we arrived at a place called Ut-kus-kik, where 
there is a remarkable rock from which the Huskies have for genera- 
tions made their kettles. The mass of this rock, which we may 
call kettle-rock, was situated about five miles from the site of our 
camp, and occurred as an enclosed mass in the red granitic-looking 
rock. It is so soft that it can be easily cut with an axe, and is of 
a greenish grey colour with a smooth steatitic feel. The rock is 
indeed a talc chlorite schist. (See Description of Rock Specimens, 
No. 18.) 

The country at this part of the coast is rocky in general appear- 
ance, but grassy valleys, now somewhat boggy, abound. 

On the 3rd July we encamped on the south-east side of Gray's 
Bay. The land forming the opposite and northern side of the bay 
is a promontory terminating in a point to the north-east, off which 
lies Hepburn Island. 

Our camp was on the pre-Cambrian gneissic rocks, but on the 
promontory across the bay four miles distant and four miles from 
the north-eastern termination, we found red sandstone underlying 
what resembled sheets of basaltic rocks which, with precipitous cliffs, 
prevailed at the surface both throughout the promontory and on 
Hepburn Island. The rock is described by Dr. Flett as fine- 
grained, well-foliated hornblende schist. (See Description of Rock 
Specimens, No. 19.) 

We found the land near Epworth Point on the 6th very rocky, 
but the rocks much smoothed and striated. 

Further west, precipitous basaltic rocks are seen overlying the 
felspathic granitic or gneissic rocks, and at two places we observed 
an occurrence of the talcose kettle-stone. 

On the 8th of July we reached a part of the coast about twenty- 
seven miles west of Epworth Point, where the coastal country may 
fairly be called beautiful, with long, grassy, gently-rising slopes ex- 
tending inland from sandy and gravelly shores that form the coast-line. 

The rocks seen were slates with good slaty cleavage, horizontally 
bedded and capped by basaltic rocks, of which large detached 
masses lay balanced on narrow ledges of the slate. 

On June i5th the hills on the other side of the Coppermine 
River were clearly visible from the rising ground at the back of our 
camp, and they did not appear to be very distant. 

Doleritic rocks again formed the summit levels, and consisted of 
coarse-grained ophitic dolerite with augite. (See Description of 
Rock Specimens, No. 21.) 

On the i gth of July we reached the mouth of the Coppermine 

The country we had seen along the coast for several days was 
of a very pleasing character in the Arctic summer, long, grassy slopes 
rising from the sea-shore, with occasional patches of willows that 
stood out conspicuously owing to their extreme greenness. 




1. A decomposed gneiss, consisting of quartz, felspar, and 
chlorite after biotite. The felspar is mostly orthoclase, but plagio- 
clase is also present, and decomposition of these two minerals has 
given rise to much secondary mica. Everywhere the rock shows 
abundant signs of mechanical deformation, and cataclastic structure 
is highly developed. The quartz is often crushed to powder, the 
felspars broken and torn up. Epidote and chlorite are frequent, 
probably both secondary after biotite. 

2. A peculiar rock which may perhaps be best described as a 
hypersthene biotite granulite. It consists, for the most part, of 
orthoclase, plagioclase, and quartz. The quartz was proved to be 
uniaxial and positive, and forms lenticular or elongated masses which 
give the rock an indistinct parallel structure. It is not gneissose, 
however, but looks massive in the hand specimen. In addition to 
the minerals named there is a small quantity of biotite and of hyper- 
sthene. The last-named mineral was recognised by its cleavage, 
straight extinction, dichroism, and polarisation. It shows the usual 
decomposition into bastite. It is not common in rocks of this kind. 
Apatite, zircon, and iron oxides are present as accessories. 

3. Decomposed, fine-grained olivine basalt or anamesite, con- 
sisting of lath-shaped plagioclase and small grains of augite with 
a small amount of olivine which has passed into dark brown 
serpentine. There is also a good deal of iron oxide and secondary 

4. Coarse-grained, perfectly ophitic dolerite, with large irregular 
plates of purplish-brown augite, enclosing many small elongated 
plagioclase felspars. It does not seem to have contained olivine, 
and is a very fine example of ophitic structure. 

5. Felspathic grit, containing much well-rounded quartz in grains 
which are sometimes 2 mm. in diameter, together with felspar, 
mostly somewhat decomposed. The quartz is granitic and not 

frequently sheared, and the cementing matrix between the grains 



is full of fine, scaly, secondary mica. There are a few fragments 
which seem to have been derived from a felsitic rock. 

6. Hornblendic diabase. Consists of plagioclase, felspar, and 
hornblende, which is partly uralitic, and probably after original 
augite, partly compact and apparently primary. There is also a 
little biotite and large plates of ilmenite, needles of apatite, &c. 
Most probably this was once an ophitic dolerite with augite and 
plagioclase, but if so the augite is entirely uralitised. See 1 3. 

7. Fine quartzose sandstone, composed of rounded grains of 
quartz, with a small quantity of cementing material. It contains 
also a few bits of felspar and grains of iron oxide. 

10. Fine-grained, granular, holocrystalline, non-porphyritic basalt, 
a good deal decomposed. The augite has all weathered into chlorite 
and other secondary products. The rock does not seem to have 
been ophitic. Not unlike specimen marked 3. 

1 1. Coarse-grained ophitic dolerite, with plagioclase, felspar, and 
augite, and perhaps a few grains of olivine. The ophitic structure 
is very perfect. In some ways this rock approaches gabbro, as the 
augite often has a diallage structure, but the ophitic character 
resembles rather that of the dolerites. It contains large irregular 
masses of ilmenite and a little biotite and apatite. 

13. Ophitic dolerite, similar to the preceding, but more decom- 
posed There is a little biotite in this rock, and dark green horn- 
blende, some of which is secondary after augite (uralite), but part is 
primary, and has formed on the surface of the original augite. 

14. Coarse-grained pegmatite, consisting of quartz, orthoclase, 
plagioclase, and chlorite. There is also some fresh dark brown 
biotite and a little muscovite. The rock has been sheared, and the 
quartz is often broken up ; in the hand specimen it has a somewhat 
gneissose character. 

15. Fine-grained, granular crystalline, decomposed basalt. It 
consists of plagioclase, felspar, and small grains of augite, and is 
neither porphyritic nor vesicular. It has probably contained a little 
olivine, though that mineral is no longer present in the unaltered 
condition, but is represented by pseudomorphs of brown serpentine. 
There is also a good deal of iron oxide, partly weathered to limonite. 

17. Decomposed basalt, fine grained and not unlike the pre- 
ceding, but vesicular. The vesicles are filled with chlorite, quartz, 
and secondary sphene (?) after ilmenite, and a peculiar feature of 
the rock is the occurrence of pale more felspathic zones around the 
vesicles. The rock has consisted originally of plagioclase and 
granular augite, but both these minerals are now much decomposed. 

P.S. The mineral referred to above as iron oxide is really a 
copper ore filling veins and cavities. It is dark red when fresh, but 
weathers into green malachite. (Soluble in HNO 3 , giving green 
solution, precipitated by NH 3 , and dissolves to form dark blue fluid 
on addition of excess.) 



1 8. Talc chlorite schist with scattered grains of iron oxide. 

19 Fine-grained, well-foliated hornblende schist, consisting of 
small crystals of hornblende, grains of felspar, and some epidote, 
and iron oxides. 

21. Coarse-grained ophitic dolerite, with augite, olivine, and 
plagioclase felspar. The structure is ophitic. There are large 
plates of ilmenite and some apatite. The augite is weathering to 
chlorite. Olivine is scarce, and is decomposing into serpentine. 



THE collection of which I give a list was made by Mr. David 
Hanbury, who has appended notes on the localities and habits 
of the insects, which give an exceptional value to it. 

Though small in number of species, it is the most interesting 
Arctic collection I have yet seen, and most of the specimens are 
in beautiful condition. The variation in some of the species is 

Considering the difficulties under which collecting is carried on 
in such a region, and that Mr. Hanbury had not previously any 
experience in collecting, this collection does him the highest credit. 

He has been good enough to present the greater part of it to 
the National Museum. 


i. Erebia fasciata. (See Plate, fig. n 6% 12 $ .) 

E. fasciata, Butler, Cat. Sat. B.M., p. 92, PI. II., fig. 8 

Several specimens in beautiful condition ; from Point Epworth, 
II, vii. ; Cape Barrow, 30, vi. ; Chapman Island, 27, vi. ; Gray's 
Bay, i, vii. These agree with the type in the British Museum 
: rom Cambridge Bay, and vary considerably in the amount of 
nfous in the fore-wing above, which in the females extends to the 
aase of the wing. 

The fringe in quite fresh specimens is grey. 

12. Erebia disa. 
Papilio disa, Thunberg, Diss. Ins. Suec. II., p. 37 (1791). 
Three males and a female from Point Epworth, 1 1, vii. These 
esemble specimens from Finland much more closely than they 
io specimens of the var. mancinus, Hew., from Alberta, in having 
he band of the hind- wing below well marked. 


3. Erebia rossii. 

Hipparchia rossii, Curtis, Ross' and Voy. App. Nat Hist, 
p. 67, PI. A, fig. 7 (1835). 

A pair from 140 W., 67 40' N., 14, vii., and one from Point 
Epworth, ii, vii., are perfectly fresh, and seem to show that this 
species is barely separable from the Asiatic form, era, Brem. Cf. 
Trans. Ent Soc., Lond., 1899, p. 347. 

I previously had only bad specimens from Hudson Bay for 
comparison. Recently I have received a fresh female taken by 
Mr. Sampson in Frobisher Bay, Baffin's Land, 14, vii., 02. 

The fringes of these three are all grey, which is not the case in 
any of my Altai specimens however fresh, though slightly evident 
in some from Transbaikalia. 

4. (Ends bore, var. taygetc. 

CE. taygete, Hiibner, Samml. Ex. Schmett (1816-1824). 

Several pairs in beautiful condition from Barren Grounds, Gray's 
Bay, and Point Epworth ; vary a good deal in the breadth, shape, 
and distinctness of the bands on hind-wing below. Two show the 
marginal row of whitish spots on hind-wing very distinctly, these 
are usually faint or absent in Labrador specimens. 

5. CEneis semidca, var. vel crambis, var. (See Plate, fig. 9 6* 

10 ?.) 

Hipparchia semidea, Say, Amer. Ent. III., PI. 50 (1828). 
Chionobas crambis, Freyer, Neuere Beitr. V., PL 440, figs. 

3-4 (1844). 

Five specimens from Barren Grounds and one from Point 
Epworth, fresh and in good order, must, I think, be referred to 
one of these species. I might call them peartia, Edw., or assimilis, 
Butl., but they are intermediate between the types of those two 
forms in the British Museum, being rather less conspicuously 
banded on the hind-wing below than the former, and rather more 
so than the latter. 

Some of them show more or less trace of the marginal row of 
grey spots on the hind-wing, which at first led me to think that they 
were crambis ; but in a fresh state they are much blacker than any 
of the faded specimens of crambis I have before me. Whether that 
species, which I only know certainly from Labrador, occurs also 
in Arctic America, and whether when we know it better it will be 
possible certainly to distinguish it from setnidca, are points which 
at. present remain obscure. 


6. Coznonympha tiphon, var. mixturata. 

C. tiphon, var. mixturata, Alpheraky, Rom. Mem. sur. 
Lep. IX., p. 326 (1897). 

Two males and a female from Dismal Creek, taken 30, vii., are 
in bad condition, but are sufficient to show that the form found here, 
like that from Alaska, is nearer to the Kamschatkan variety than 
to any other. 

7. Argynnis pales. 

Papilio pales, W. V., p. 177 (1776). 

Three males and a female from the Barren Grounds, taken 1 6 
and 1 8, vii., are the first specimens of this species I have yet seen 
or heard of from America, where I have long expected to hear of 
its discovery. 

The males are quite typical, and could not be distinguished 
from some Alpine specimens. 

The female is like some I have from Northern Siberia. 

8. Argynnis polaris. 

A. polaris, Boisduval, Ind. Meth., p. 15 (1829); id. Icones, 
PL XX., figs, i, 2 (1833). 

Specimens were taken in all the localities visited in the first 
half of July, and are quite typical. 

9. Argynnis chariclea. (See Plate, figs. 6, 7, 8.) 

Papilio chariclea, Schneider, Neuest. Mag. V., p. 588 (1794). 

The most extraordinary variation is shown by the specimens of 
this species, which occurs in all parts of Arctic America, and was 
taken by Mr. Hanbury at all the places where he collected. 

Among them a male from Chapman Island is almost black. 

Another from Dismal Creek is very small and pale, but a female 

from Point Epworth is a wonderful aberration, and I cannot say 

positively whether it is polaris or chariclea, though the size and 

' the shape of the wings indicate the latter species. 

10. Argynnis frigga, var. improba. 
Papilio frigga, Thunberg, /. c., p. 33. 

Argynnis improba, Butler, Ent. Mo. Mag. XIII., p. 206 

Several from the Barren Grounds and one from Point Epworth 
i are like the type, and show but little variation. 

1 1 . Lycana orbitulus, var. franklinii. 

Papilio orbitulus, Esper, Schmett. I., 2, PI. CXIL, fig. 4 

Lycana franklinii, Curtis, /. c., p. 69, PL A, figs. 8, 9. 

A pair from the Barren Grounds are not so distinct from the 



Arctic form found in Europe, van aquilina, Stgr., = aquilo, Bdv., 
as those from Labrador, and are perhaps nearer to those I have 
taken in the Rocky Mountains near Laggan. 

12. Colias hecla. 

C. hecla, Lefebvre, Ann. Soc. Ent. Fr., 1836, p. 383, PI. IX., 
B, figs. 3-6. 

Four males and three females from the Barren Grounds, 114 
W., 67 40' N., 13-16, vii. Agreeing well with other specimens 
from Arctic America, some of which were called glacialis by 

Staudinger now catalogues the Lapland form as var. sulitelma^ 
Auriv. The specimens in Mr. Hanbury's collection differ inter se 
to a remarkable extent in the colour of the borders and discal spots 
of the wings above. 

13. Colias boothii. (See Plate, figs. 1-4 6*. 5 ? ) 
C. boothii, Curtis, /. f., p. 65, PL A, figs. 3-5. 

This was represented by several fresh specimens, which enable 
me to confirm the opinion formed on very insufficient previous 
knowledge, that it is a species perfectly distinct from the last. The 
variation in this species is so great that I have had to figure five 
specimens to give a fair idea of it ; some of them would be supposed 
by their markings to be females, but though the abdomens are 
difficult to examine, owing to their hairy covering and being some- 
what compressed in packing, I can find only one undoubted female 
among them. None of the specimens sent are quite what Curtis 
figures as chione, in which the marginal band is faint or absent. 

The species seems to have been fairly common at Point Epworth, 
Gray's Bay, and on the Barren Grounds. 

14. Colias pelidne. 

C. pelidne, Boisduval, Icones, PL VIII., figs. 1-3. 

Three pairs from Point Epworth, Barren Grounds, and Disma 
Creek, of which the females differ inter se a good deal, one bein, 
white and two lemon-yellow. 

15. Colias nastes. 

C. nastes, Boisduval, /. c., figs. 4, 5. 

Four males and two females from Barren Grounds, all varying. 
These might be called rossii, Guen., or moina, Streck., by those who 
like to try and distinguish local forms, a very uncertain task in the 
case of Arctic insects. 

FIG. I. Colias boothii, Curtis, <J. Point Epworth. 
2. ,, ,, ,, (J . Barren Grounds. 

3- <J. 

4. ,, ,, ,, (J Gray's Bay. 

5- ,, ,. 9- 

6. Argynnis chariclea, Schn., ab. Point Epworth. 

7. ,, var. (J. Bathurst Inlet. 

8. ,, ,, <J. Dismal Creek. 

9. (F.neis semidea, Say, var. <J . Barren Grounds. 
.10. ,, ,, 9. Point Epworth. 

11. Erebiafasciaia,~>\tf\., $. Cape Barrow. 

12. ,, ,, 9. Point Epworth. 

Hora.ce Knight, del . 

Mirvkern-Bros. cKromo . 

Arctic Butterflies. 

LoTid.OTi.EcLwa.rd Arnold. . 




Hypsophila zetterstedti, Stgr., 114 67 40'. 


Aspilates wdferaria, Wlk., 114 67 40'. 
Cidaria, sp. 114 67 40'. 


gen. sp., Point Epworth. 


RIVER (ioo-ii5 W. LONG.) 


ANEMONE parviflora, Michx. 
Caltha palustris, L. 
Papaver alpinum, L. 
Parrya arctica, R. Br. 
Cheiranthus pygmaeus, Adams. 
(Hesperis Pallasii, Torr & 

Cardamine pratensis, L. 

digitata, Richardson. 
Draba alpina, L. variety with 

bright yellow flowers. 
Draba alpina, L., variety with 

pale yellow flowers. 
Draba incana, L. 
Erysimum lanceolatum, R. Br. 
Silene acaulis, L. 
Cerastium alpinum, L. 
Stellaria longipes, Goldie. 
Arenaria Rossii, R. Br. 
peploides, L. 
(Honkeneja peploides, 

Lupinus nootkatensis, Donn. 

(L. perennis, Hook., not of 


Astragalus aboriginum, Richard- 

(Phaca aboriginorum, 


Hedysarum boreale, Nutt. 
Astragalus sp. nova? 
Oxytropis campestris, L. 

nigrescens, Fisch. 
Dryas integrifolia, L. 
Potentilla biflora, Willd. 
,, nivea, L. 

*fruticosa, L. 
Saxifraga cernua, L. 
Hirculus, L. 
oppositifolia, L. 
tricuspidata, Rottb. 
Epilobium latifolium, L. 
Aster sibiricus, L. 
Matricaria inodora, L. 

(Pyrethrum inodorum, 

Arnica montana, L., var. a 


Senecio palustris, L. 
Taraxacum officinale, Wigg. 
Crepis nana, Richardson 
Cassiope tetragona, L. 
Andromeda polifolia, L. 

* Not included in Arctic North- Eastern America in Hooker's 
of Arctic Plants." 

' Distribut 



Ledum palustre, L. forma de- * Pedicularis capitata, Adams. 

Rhododendron lapponicum, L. 
Pyrola rotundifolia, L. 
* Primula farinosa, L. 
Armeria vulgaris, L. 
Mertensia maritima, S. F. Gray. 

hirsuta, L. 
,, sudetica, L. 

Pinguicula vulgaris, L. 
Oxyria reniformis, Hook. 
Woodsia glabella, R. Br. 

* Not included in Arctic North-Eastern America in Hooker's " Distribution 
of Arctic Plants." 

SEPT. 22, 1901 TO SEPT. 23, 1902. 


MAXIMUM and minimum thermometers were supplied by Gary, and 
were verified at Kew prior to starting. 

All readings are + unless marked - . 

When travelling, it was not always possible to observe a maximum 
reading ; and, as during the summer months we often travelled by 
night instead of by day, the same remark applies to some minumum 
readings which are missing. 

All maximum readings were taken in the shade, unless speciall) 
stated otherwise. 

Both maximum and minimum readings during the winter mont 
were taken about three feet from the ground, the thermometers beinj 
laid on a chunk of snow out of the way of the dogs. 

Remarks on the temperature, such as "cold," "warm," "cool," 
" hot," refer only to what we experienced ourselves, and have 
reference to the reading of the thermometer at the time. A l 
or high reading of the thermometer gives no idea of the cold 
individual may feel, so much depending on the force and directi< 
of the wind, the humidity of the atmosphere, &c. 

"Cloudless " does not mean absolutely cloudless in every case. 












N. fresh 

Fine, cool. 



N.N.W. fresh 






55 5> 




S.W. light 

cloudless sky. 





Overcast, snowstorm in afternoon. 




N.N.W. light 

Dull, wet skiff of snow. 




N.W. fresh 

Overcast, snow squalls. 




W.S.W. light 

but fine. 





Wet snow skiff. 





N.W. light 

Skiff of snow last night, fine day. 



N.N.W. fresh 

Snow skiffs at times, fine. 









5> 55 






Dull, snow in evening. 



N.W. strong 

Clear sky, cold winter. 





Overcast, snow at times. 




15 55 

Clear sky, cold. 








S. light 

Overcast, warmer. 





Snow squalls and drizzled 




Bright, sunny, cold (Baker Lake). 




N.E. strong 

55 55 55 





Cloudy, cold wind 




N.W. light 






55 5 




very light 





W.N.W. very 






N.W. light 




- 1 







snow last night 




E. then W. 

Cloudy, snow at times (at foot of 


Baker Lake). 




N.W. light 

Clear (at foot of Baker Lake). 






2 5 




snow at times (at foot of 

Baker Lake). 




N.W. light 

Clear, getting colder (at foot of 

Baker Lake). 













E. calm 

Clear, cold (at foot of Baker Lake). 




E. strong 

Blizzarding, snow drifting (at foot of 

Baker Lake). 




S.E. calm 

Hazy, snow wet (at foot of Baker 






Dead calm, cloudy, warm (at foot of 

Baker Lake). 




N.E. then N. 

Blizzarding, snow drifting (at foot 

of Baker Lake). 





W. strong 

Clear, drifting (at foot of Baker Lake). 





)> )> 




W. light 




- 12 

S W 
o. vv . 




S.W. calm 

Hazy, sunny at times (at foot of. 

Baker Lake). 




S.E. light 

Cloudy, a skiff of snow fell (at foot 

of Baker Lake). 



- 1 

N.E. strong 

Drifting (at foot of Baker Lake). 




N.W. mod. 

Cloudy, fine 





f> > 




W. light 





S.E. mod. 

Bright, clear, and cold (at foot of 

Baker Lake). 




N.W. light 

Clear, sunny (at foot of Baker Lake). 




and cold (at foot of Baker 





N.N.W. light 

Cloudless and cold (at foot of Baker 










S.E. light 

Cloudy, warmer, drifting in afternoon. 





warm, looks like snow. 




W.N.W. mod. 

Mild, snow in afternoon. 



W. strong 

Cloudless, snow drifting. 




W.N.W. strong 

Drifting thick. 




W. mod. 

Cloudless, cold. 




S.E. light 

Hazy, mild. 




N.W. strong 

Drifting, very cold. 









S.W. light 





Overcast and dull. 





Snowstorm, mild. 




N.W. mod. 

Cloudless, cold. 




N.W. light 



> > 














Cloudless, cold. 


S.E. light 



. .. 


N.W. strong 

Drifting, cold. 



S.E. light 

Cloudy, warm. 




N.E. very light 

Cloudless, cold. 



S.E. mod. 




S.E. strong 

Drifting thick. 


. .. 


W. mod. 

Cloudy, cold. 




very cold. 


r solid) 





Cloudless, cold. 



f solid 


coldest day as yet. 




N. light 

Cloudy, warmer. 



N. N.W. strong 

Drifting and cold. 




N.W. strong 







- 2 5 








very cold. 




W. mod. 





W. light 

Fine again. 









E. in A.M., 

Clear, colder. 

N.W. in P.M. 




W. light 

Cloudless, cold. 










55 55 

2 5 



E. very light 

Clear and cold. 



S.E. mod. 

Dull, drifting and not cold. 


- ii 

N. very light 

Cloudy, very warm travelling. 




" 55 

Foggy, mild. 




S.E. light 

Misty, warm. 





Warm, cloudy. 





55 55 





N. very light 

Clear, getting colder. Then - 30 at 

4 P.M. 



N.W. light 

Cloudless, cold. Then - 32 at 3 P.M. 




S.E. strong 

Snowing and drifting. Then 8 at 

4 P.M. 



N.W. mod. 

Cloudless, light snow last night. 




Fine morning, drifting in afternoon. 




S.E. light 

Cloudy, warm. 





Two in. snow last night. Then + 8 


at 3 P.M. 













N. very light 

Clear, warm. Then - 3 at 3 P.M. 




S.W. light 

Getting colder, cloudless. Then - 25 

at 3 P.M. 




N. light 

Cloudless, cold. 








wind S. in evening 

and drifting. 


- 12 



Fine, wind rising in evening. 





Cloudy, light snow. 




N.W. strong 

Blizzarding, snowing and drifting. 




N.W. light 

Cloudless, cold. 




N.W. in A.M., 

N.E. P.M. 




N.W. mod. 

light drift. 





Wind increasing in evening. 




N. strong 





W.N.W. mod. 

Cloudless, cold. 




N.W. light 





N.W. strong 

Coldest day yet. 




W. light 





N.W. strong 

Blizzarding, coldest day of the winter. 




N.W. mod. 

Drifting, thick. 




N. light 

Fine, clear. 














W. strong 

Blizzarding, very cold. 




N.N.W. light 

Fine, clear. 





N.N.E. light 





E. mod. 

Thick, clearing towards evening. 




N.N.E. light 





E. strong 

Blizzarding, warm. 






E. mod. 

Blizzard, moderating. 




N.W. light 





N.W. , 





N.W. , 






Light clouds. 




N.W. , 







1 3 



N.W. , 





N.W. , 


- 5 


N.W. , 




N.W. , 

Cloudy early, cleared later. 






















N.W. strong 

Drifting, cold. 

| 20 



N.W. mod. 

" ". 





Cloudless, wind falling. 




Variable, light 

Cloudy, sun at times ; maximum 

taken in sun. 




N.W. light 

Cloudless, cold. 




N.W. strong 

Drifting thick, cloudless above. 





Blizzarding, drifting thick. 




N.N.E. mod. 

Cloudless, drifting ; maximum taken 

in sun. 





Drifting a little. 




N.W. very light 

Cloudless, almost calm ; maximum 

taken in sun. 





N.W. very light 

Cloudless, almost calm. 


- 2 5 


N F 
IN .r,. 

Cloudless ; maximum taken in sun. 





Hazy in A.M., bright in afternoon ; 

maximum in sun. 




N.W. mod. 

Cloudless, drifting, cool. 



N.W. light 










E. in evening 

Calm, cloudless. 




N.W. light 




E.S.E. mod. 

Hazy, drifting. 








N. strong 

Light snow early, wind rose in after- 





N.W. light 

Blizzard last night, cloudless, cool day. 




Hazy, light snow in afternoon. 




N.W. strong 





W. mod. 

Cloudless, drifting, cold. 


-5 1 

W. light 





E. strong in 

Cloudless, calm early, blizzard in 






N.W. light 





W. very light 

Light clouds, fine. 




S.E. mod. 

Hazy, drifting. 





Cloudless, drifting. 



- 1 

S.E. strong 

Blizzarding, drifting thick. 



S.S.E. light 

Cloudy, very warm. 





Overcast, light snow at times. 




Cloudless, warm. 




Clear early, hazy and snow later ; 

maximum in sun. 




E. strong 

Blizzarding, wet snow flying. 




E. light 

Blizzard last night, fine day. 














N.N.E. light 

Light snow forenoon, cleared later. 




N.N.W. mod. 

Cloudless, drifting early, calming 





S.W. light 






W. light 

Cloudless forenoon, light snow in 
















N.W. light 






Cloudless early, strong N. wind, 

then N. 

drifting later. 




N.W. then S.E. 

Cloudless, clouded up in afternoon. 




Variable light 




E. light 




N.E. light 




E.N.E. light 




E. then S. light 

Cloudless forenoon, cloudy in after- 





N.W. light 





N.W. strong 

Cloudless and drifting. 



N.W. mod. 

a little. 




Variable light 





N. light 

Thick and snowing. 





Light snow till noon, then clear. 



N.W. light 

Thick foggy forenoon, cloudless 











N.W. then 
N. light 
N.W. light 

Cloudy, thick, snow wet. 

Cloudy, hazy, fog in evening. 
Fine, hazy at times, warm. 





Cloudy morning, cloudless afternoon. 







- ii 







N.W. strong 

Blizzarding, drifting thick. 









N.W. then 

moderating in afternoon. 

W. mod. 




N.W. mod. 

Unsettled, drifting at times. 





N.W. light 

Hazy, clear at times. 




N.W. light 

Overcast, clear at times. 


















^" j 

Fine and clear. 














M.W. strong 





N.W. light 















N.W. mod. 











Light snowfall forenoon, cleared 






N.W. light 

Overcast, clear in evening. 










Overcast in forenoon, cleared later. 




E. mod. 

Light clouds, fine. 




S.S.E. mod. 





S.S.E. light 

Cloudy, wind increasing in evening. 




S.E. light, then 

Rain and sleet forenoon, blizzard in 

N.E. strong 





W.strong, then 

Blizzarding forenoon, then clear and 





N.W. mod. 

Blizzarding at times. 




N.W. strong, 

Blizzarding forenoon, then calm. 

then calm 




N.W. mod. 

Cloudless, calm in evening. 




N.W. then 

Cloudless, light winds. 

S.W. light 





Cloudless forenoon, cloudy later 




N. light 









N.W. light 










Overcast, light snow at times. 











Cloudless, very warm all day. 




N.W. then 

Cloudless forenoon, cloudy later, 

N.E. light 

winds light. 




N.N.E. mod. 

Overcast, light snow. 










Overcast, snow squalls at times. 




N.E. light 

Squally, sunny at times. 










light snow at times. 





Cloudy but fine. 













N.W. light 

Cloudy but fine. 





2 in. snow forenoon, sleet in afternoon 





Cloudy but fine. 




Variable light 

Overcast, unsettled. 





N. mod. 





N.W. light 

Cloudless, hot. 










Cloudless, hot. 









S.S.E. to N. 






E. light 

Bright forenoon, rain-clouds in after- 






Cloudy but fine. 




S.S.E. mod. 





S.E. light 

Light clouds. 









S. mod. 




S.S.E. mod. 






Bright forenoon, clouds later. 




N.N.E. light 

Shower in night, overcast to-day. 




Rain in night, unsettled to-day. 





W. light 

Light clouds, fine. 


3 1 





N. variable 

Fine, one light shower. 




W. fresh 

Rain squalls, cleared late. 




W. light 























N.W. mod. 

Cloudless forenoon, cloudy later. 




W. light 

Cloudy, light shower, then cleared. 



Calm, then E. 

Overcast, calm early, strong E. wind 






E., S.W., N.E. 

Heavy rain in night, cloudless later. 




N.E. mod. 





S. strong, then 

Cloudless after strong puff from S. 





E light. 




Variable light 





S.E. light 

Unsettled, thunder-shower in after- 





Variable light 

Cloudless forenoon, cloudy later. 












Variable light 

Fine forenoon, thunder-shower in 




N. light 

Dull forenoon, cloudless later. 




N.W. light 

Thick mist and rain. 




Dull forenoon, clear later. 




N. light 








N.W. light 





Cloudy but fine. 




Dull forenoon, cloudless later. 















N. light 









Variable light 




N.N.E. strong 

Dull, cloudy. 



N. strong 

heavy clouds. 



Variable, calm 

raining after 10 A.M. 




N.E. mod. 

cloudy, mist on hills. 





light rain in afternoon. 



N. light 

Dull forenoon, cloudless later. 





)> 5> 


5 2 






Variable light 



S.E. light 





Cloudless day, light rain in evening. 




S.W. mod. 

Dull early, cleared later. 



N.W. light 

Sharp shower early, fine later. 





Clear forenoon, heavy clouds in after- 





W. light 

Rain in night, cloudless evening. 



3 2 





Cloudless, clouds and E.windat 8 P.M. 




Dull but fine. 



N.N.E. light 

Heavy mist early, cleared later. 




N.E. mod. 



N E 
iN.n.. ,, 









S.E. light 











N. light 




N.E. light 

Cloudless. Arrived at Fort Norman. 





Fine and clear. 














Dull and cloudy. 




S.E. mod. 

" " 




S. light 

Fine, clear. 









Rain all day. 



N. light 

Overcast, fog early. 









Fine at times, local showers. 




N. mod. 

Fine and clear. 




S. light 











Rain, cleared, rain again. 




N. mod. 




S. light 

Overcast, light snow. 




N. strong 

Cloudy (at Fort Simpson). 



N. light 





S. mod. 










N.W. light 











Fine and clear. 



N.E. then S. 




S.E. strong 

Rain squalls. 



Sheath knives 3 dozen. 

Jack 4 

i2-inch i 

Goggles 2 (assorted, some very dark 


Tin ovens 2 

Fish lines (33" thread) . . . . i Ib. 

hooks, 8/0 i gross. 

Hatchets (common) \ dozen. 

(shingling) . . . . i 

26-inch saws (cross-cut) ... 2. 

(splitting) .... 2. 

Thimbles 6 dozen (open top). 

Needles (ordinary) (i to 6) . . 2000. 

(glovers) (5 and 6) . . 3000. 

Scissors 2 dozen (6 inch). 

Buttons (assorted) 10 

Looking-glasses 2 (common). 

Buttons (fancy gilt) 20 

Combs 2 

Steels (sharpening) i 

Files (flat 10 inch) 4 

(3 cornered) 4 

Wood rasps 6 (12 inch). 

Axes (3 Ibs.) i dozen. 

Pants (overalls, 34 x 36) ... 8 pairs. 

Jumpers 8 (full size). 

Thread (cotton) \ dozen boxes, assorted sizes. 

(linen) 6 Ibs. 

Matches (Vulcan) 6 dozen. 

,, (Trade) i case. 

Traps (fox) 2 dozen (No. i). 

Shot i bag (No. 3). 

289 X 


Powder 3 (iz Ib. kegs), Dead she 

Dupont, 2 F. G. 

Lead 10 Ibs. 

Rifles 6 Remingtons (38 cal.). 

Loading tools 6 sets. 

Shells (loaded) 1000. 

Primers 1000 (4 boxes) not sufficient. 

Musket caps 1000. 

Beads (3/0 white), 10 Ibs. ... (7 and 8), 5 Ibs. of each. 

Tobacco-boxes 2 dozen. 

Match-boxes 2 

Spy-glasses 6 (assorted). 

Tent i (7 x 9). 

Webbing harness 100 yards. 

Burning glasses 2 dozen. 

Flint and steels Small bag ( i quart). 

Finger-rings 4 dozen boxes. 

Gimlets 4 assorted. 

Awls 6 without handles. 

Lead skillets i small. 

Pots and pans i dozen pots ; i dozen pans. 

Pipes (clay) i box (2 gross). 

,. (wooden) 2 dozen (cheap). 

Sheet-lead 5 feet 6 inches wide. 

Shawls for women (cheap) . . . i dozen. 

Cotton shirts (full size) . . . . 

Duffel for socks i pair best California blanket 

(largest size). 

White lead 6 i Ib. tins. 

Chocolate 50 Ibs. (eating-sweet). 

Ginger 5 Ibs. 


Tobacco-plug for self, 50 Ibs. 

natives, two i2-lb. caddies, 24 Ibs. 

Oatmeal (coarse), 100 Ibs. 
Sugar in whiskey barrel, 330 Ibs. 
Biscuit (hard tack), 26 inch cask full, 600 Ibs. 
Salt, three 10 Ib. boxes, 30 Ibs. 
Pepper (ground) in glass jars, 15 Ibs. 
Pork (clear), i barrel. 
Tea (best), 10 Ibs. 

Cocoa, Van Houten's (i Ib. tins), 25 Ibs. 
Coffee (ground) in soldered tins, 25 Ibs. 


Patent sperm candles, 30 Ibs. 
Kerosene (160 grade), 50 gals, case oil. 
Methylated spirits, 2 gallons (hermetically sealed). 
Frying-pans, three, one large, two small, steel. 
Butterine, in 10 Ib. pails, 100 Ibs. 
Mosquito netting, 6 pieces. 
Wire, brass and copper, half-dozen spools tacks. 
Varnish for canoes (Smith's), i| gallons and a brush. 


lodoform. Dental forceps. 
Mercurial ointment (extra strong) Mustard plasters. 

for protection from lice. Pyrethrium powder. Persian in- 
Adhesive plaster. sect powder and blower. 

Chlorodyne. Mennens' Borated Talcum. 

Opium. Vaseline. 

Laudanum. Lint. 

Cocaine. Absorbent cotton. 

Pills, purgative. Phenacetine, 5 grains. 

Ginger, Tincture of. Quinine, 3 to 5 grains. 

















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The following Eskimo words and phrases were taken down fror 
the dictation of the Hudson Bay Company's interpreter at Churchil 
and represent the Eskimo language as spoken in the immediate 
neighbourhood of the Bay. The vowel sounds are : 

a as in 

& ,, 



i as in 







The diphthong au represents the vowel sounds in how ; aw is 
be pronounced as in haw ; ch as in church, g hard, and y as in year , 
k at the end of a word is faint. A vowel immediately followed by 
consonant in the same syllable is to be pronounced short, unless 
is marked long. 


Man an-gut. 

Woman armuk. 

Father attar. 

Mother ana. 

Son er-ning-a. 

Daughter pannik. 

Infant nu-tara-lark-nark. 

Brother nuk-kuk. 

Sister . nei-yuk. 

Boy arn-nu-tik-nark. 

Girl arn-nak-nak. 

Young man i-nu-uk-tuk. 

Old man ut-tuk-kuk. 

My wife nul-yet. 

Twins mul-reit-mut. 

Eskimo (singular) Innuk. 

(plural) Innuit. 

Friend, partner kut-ti-me-ruptar. 

Trader ni-wa-kut-tau-huk-tuk. 

White man ....... kablu-nak. 



Living Creatures. 

Bear (polar) nun-nok. 

Caribou tuk-tu. 

Young buck caribou .... angu-hulluk. 

Older angu-hull-rah-ok. 

Full grown bull pung-yuk. 

Dog keit-mek. 

Bitch arn-a-luk. 

Fox ter-i-en-i-uk 

Hare (arctic) u-kullik 

Seal (small) net-chuk. 

Seal (large) ug-yuk. 

Walrus ai-vik. 

Whale (white) kul-er-lu-wik. 

Wolf a-mar-6k. 

Wolverine (glutton) .... kak-wi. 

Fish e-kul-lo. 

Salmon e-kul-up-pik. 

Red-fish (salmon out of 

season) hi-wi-terro. 

Trout ikh-ldr-ak. 

Whitefish keki-yuak-tuk. 

Mosquito kik-to-riak. 

House-fly kup-pel-rok. 

Bird ku-pen-wark. 

Duck kuk-klu-tu. 

Goose ting-mi-uk. 

Loon (diver) kark-kan (imitative). 

Ptarmigan iik-ked-juk. 

Swan kug-gi-yuk. 


I a-wonga. 

Mine a-wonga-unar. 

We u-war-ut. 

Ours u-ar-una. 

Thou or you Ig-bik. 

Yours il-bit-una. 

He, she, this, that ted-ba. 

That ta-kwa. 

They i-lip-shi. 

Theirs tap-kwa-una. 

Who . ki-tuk 

All, every humar-luk-tah. 



Any ti-tellig. 

Many or much a-mi-hut. 

Many kup-shin, or kup-shld. 

No naga. 

None nauk. 

Parts of the Body. 

Head ne-ak-uk. 

Hair nut-tset. 

Face ki-nut. 

Eye i-ik. 

Ear hi-u-tik. 

Nose king-ak. 

Mouth kun-nek. 

Teeth ti-u-ti. 

Neck kung-i-henuk. 

Arm telliik. 

Fingers . ud-gei-i. 

Hand ud-gei-i. 

Back pumme-luk. 

Chest huk-id-jet. 

Belly ah-ker-ruk. 

Finger-nails ku-tik. 

Leg ni-uk. 

Foot i-ti-reit. 

Toes keit-min-wak-i-nu-rak. 

Blood au. 

Body kut-dig-kar. 


The Eskimo have words for most numbers up to 100; but 
almost never use those beyond 10. In expressing numbers up to 
10 they seldom use words, but use their fingers. 

1. atau-jak. 

2. miil-ruk. 

3. ping-a-hut. 

4. chit-a-mtit. 

5. tel-i-mut. 

6. arro-e-gnid-git. 

7. mul-ruk arro-e-gmd-git. 

8. ping-a-hut arro-e-gnld-git. 

9. kuling luark-tut. 
10. kfllik. 


11. atd-kenid-git. 

12. miilrunik atd-kenid-git. 

13. ping-a-hut atd-kenid-git. 

14. chitamut atd-kenid-git. 

15. tel-i-mut atd-kenid-git. 

1 6. arro-e gnid-git atd-kenid-git. 

1 7. mul-ruk arro-e gnid-git atdkenid-git. 

1 8. ping-a-hut arro-e-gnid-git atdkenid-git. 

19. kuling luark-tut atd-kenid-git. 

20. mulruk adge-it. 
30. ping-a-hut adge-it. 

100. kulik adge-it. 


Geographical and other Natural Conditions and Objects. 

North wauk-nuk. 

South ping-nek-niik. 

East kim-nek-nik-neiyok. 

West wok-nei-rei-tuk. 

Land, earth nuna. 

Barren ground nut-tal-ik-nak. 

Sun hek-ken-nuk. 

Sunrise hek-ken-nuk-puk. 

Sunset - . . hek-niik-tellik-puk. 

Moon tet-kut. 

Star ub-blor-iak. 

Sky kei-luk. 

Wind un-orri. 

Cloud nu-yak. 

Fog, mist tekki-kuni. 

Rain ni-piil-luk. 

Snow up-put. 

Ice shi-ku. 

Frost kek-ki-kuni. 

Fire u-kar. 

Smoke i-shuk. 

A hill king-ak. 

Larger hill king-ak-yuak. 

Portage iki- wit-tut. 

Promontory nu-wuk. 

River kuk. 

River-mouth a-kok. 

Rapid in a river ko-nik-yu-ak. 

Kazan River kun-wet-nark. 

Stream ku-et-nak. 

Waterfalls kuk-nek-yuak. 


Rock kai-Sk-tuk. 

Stone wi-yerra. 

A large lake immuk-angi-kuni. 

Small lake immuk mik-i-kuni. 

Doobaunt Lake Tu-li-ma-lug-yuak. 

Yath Kyed Lake Heko-lig-yuak. 

Water immiik. 

The sea, or salt terri-6k. 

Flood-tide uling-u-yok. 

Ebb-tide tinning-u-yok. 

Bay or inlet kung-er-kluk. 

Shore hig-yuk. 

Island keki-ek-tak. 

Marble Island ...... Uk-shor-riak. 

Flower ud-gi-kak. 

Moss ting-au-yak. 

Green grass i-wik. 

Willows . ok-pi. 

Tree or wood ni-park-tuk. 

Feather mit-kawk. 

Implements, Weapons, Dress, Food, &e. 

Bow (for shooting) pi-tek-chi. 

Arrow ka-re-6k. 

Gun hek-kud-did-jut. 

Gunpowder ari-anig, or ariet. 

Gun-caps ik-nuk. 

Gun-cover pi-ti-ki-tuk. 

Small shot kar-i-6k-wau-yet. 

Rifle kar-i-o-tuk-tok. 

Bullet kar-i-6k. 

Fishing-net metsi-toti. 

Fishing-line ippi-utah. 

Fishing-hook karri-dk-kuk. 

Sheath-knife pil-laut. 

Pocket-knife u-ku-tuk. 

File ug-i-ak. 

Flint and steel ik-nyuk. 

Iron kettle, or iron hauik. 

Stone kettle ut-ku-shik. 

Spoon, dipper, ladle .... kei-yu-tuk. 

Axe, or spear i-pu. 

Needle mit-kut. 

Beads hung-au-yet. 

Snow-shoes ....... tug-glu-yark. 


Sleigh kamu-u-ti. 

Sail of boat ting-el-rau-tuk. 

Harness annu. 

Goggles ig-uk. 

Telescope ken-rok. 

Pipe pu-yu-let-chi. 

My pipe pu-yu-let-chi-tiga 

Tobacco tip-li-terrot. 

Matches ik-i-tit. 

Wooden house igloriah. 

Snow-house iglu. 

Camp, or tent .... . tu-pek. 

Pack nut-muk-uk. 

Cache (of supplies, &c. ) . . . per-o-yak. 

Meat nekki. 

Dried meat nip-ku. 

Frozen meat (junk) a- wit-tit. 

Marrow put-tuk. 

Heart u-mek. 

Meat of deer tuk-tu-nekki. 

Meat of musk-ox um-ming-muk-nekki. 

Tongue of deer u-kok. 

Deer's hair mit-kok. 

Deer's horns nug-yok. 

Deer's bone hau-nuk. 

Whalebone pll-rah. 

Grease pu-ner-nuk. 

Biscuit nuk-klus-wak. 

Gloves, mils por-luk. 

Deerskin coat (outer) .... ku-lik-tak. 

Deerskin coat (inner) .... ulu-pak. 

Trousers kar-lek. 

Deerskin socks, or leggings . . kum-mik-par. 

Sealskin boots ipper-au-chik. 

Moccasins kum-muk. 

Deerskin blanket kai-pik. 

Parchment, skin mit-ko-i-tuk. 

Iron hauik. 

Copper (red iron) au-pul-uk-tuk hauik. 

Mica keb-luk-keriak. 

Times and Seasons. 

Spring u-ping-kak. 

Summer u-ping-lak. 

Autumn '. au-yak. 




Winter uk-i-uk. 

To-day ub-lumi. 

Yesterday Ip-kwiik-kuk. 

Day before yesterday . . Ip-kwtik-karni. 

To-morrow uk-argo. 

Day after to-morrow . . uk-argo-argo. 

Very early in the morning . u-bla-kut. 

Dawn kau-yok. 

Morning ub-lark. 

Daylight kauk-met. 

Noon ub-lumi. 

Evening u-nuk-put. 

Late evening, dusk . . . u-nuk-puk. 

Night un-wak. 


Alive u-mei-yok. 

Bad pid-chuk-i-kuni. 

Black ter-nek-tuk. 

Blue tu-ok-tuk. 

Broken hek-a-mettuk. 

Chief u-shu-muttuk. 

Cold ikkij or nuk-kuni. 

Correct, all right .... tai-metna. 

Dirty erming-ik-tok. 

Dead tu-ku-kuni. 

Deep ikki. 

Enough nuk-muk-tuk. 

Far kan-nok, or unar-hek-kuni. 

Fast, quick pe-la-kuni. 

Fat (animal) tu-nuk. 

Fearless kup-pe-i-na-kuni. 

Good pid-chuk. 

Green u-kau-yak. 

Hot onar-kuni. 

Hungry ka-a-kuni. 

Lost tummuk-tuk. 

Plentiful mik-i-kuni. 

Long tukki. 

Red au-pul-uk-tuk. 

Right (on right hand) . . a-wu-ta-rut 

Large ang-gi-kuni. 

Shallow ik-ka-kuni. 

Sick, sore a-a. 

Sleepy sin-ni-tuk. 



Sleep sinni. 

Slow pe-lei-i-kuni. 

Small mik-i-kuni. 

Strong (of men) .... pid-gu-kuni. 

Strong (of materials) . . pin-ni-kuni. 

Thick ibi-u-kuni. 

Thin sa-kuni. 

Tired men-ro-tuk-na-pid, or men-wun-a- 


Weak (of men) .... pid-gu-i-kuni. 

Weak (of materials) . . . pinni-i-kuni. 

White kuk-ok-tuk. 

Yellow kunnu-huk. 

Verbs and Phrases. 

Arrive tik-ik-pu. 

When shall we arrive ? . . kaku ted-benni tik ik-pu. 

In two nights mulruk rhini-huli. 

Boil the kettle .... Ili-ler-a-li. 

Yes tauka. 

Bring keili, or lerig. 

To carry a pack on back . nut-muk-tutu-ak. 

Clean (imperative) . . . ulluk-terli. 

Come keili. 

I want you to come again . a-te-lu keili. 

I am glad that the Eskimo ka wenna kuni innuit-tik- 

have arrived .... ik-pu. 

To chop with an axe . . wulu-mak-tuk. 

Is it cold? or, Are you cold? ikki-kuni. 

To cry or weep .... ke-ai-yuk. 

To dance mu-mek-tuk. 

To drink immi-lerig. 

To eat neri-lerig. 

How far? (distance 

reckoned by time) . . kanok-o-a-hi-tik-po. 

To follow a person . . . king-u-hi-kummar. 

To fear kup-pe-na-kuni. 

To kindle a fire .... u-kar-hunnali. 

Fetch that . . . . . . uggi-a-rok. 

To finish work .... per-nik-tuk. 

Give (imperative) . . . keil-irrok. 

I will give (in bartering) . ei-tuk. 

Give me some . . . . ei-tunga. 

Go home pi-huk-tuk. 

Go ani-lawk-mi-langa-tuk. 

3 02 


Gone, departed .... au-lek-tuk. 

Go there ! (imperative) . . piika-tauli. 

Have you any ? . . . . tei-tuk mennar. 

Is that yours ? . . . . Il-bit-una. 

Who is this man ? . . . ki-nau-na. 

How long is the lake ? . . immuk kannok tukki klkko. 

How long is the river ? . . ko-kun-6k-tukki klkko. 

Killed pi-tuk-plt. 

To laugh ig-luk-tuk. 

Look ! tuk-koi. 

Look for some willows . . ok-pi-luni kenni lerig. 

Mend kurrio-tak-tok. 

Make haste tobi. 

Have you any matches ? . ik-i-tit hu-te-tuk. 

Are you ready ? . . . . at-ti. 

Yet huli. 

Are you ready yet? . . .),-, iy u - 

T 7 ,1 1 j > f huh-pennme-i-lahe. 

Is everything packed up ? . j 

Is it raining ? ni-pul-luk-kuni. 

Return (go back) . . . i-ter-rit 

Speak, say, tell .... uk-ak-tuk. 

Shoot hek-kok-tuk. 

Snore kum-nu-yok. 

Sing, or make a song . . pi-jek hunnali. 

Sleep khi-nik-tuk. 

See the next Eskimo . . nenni-eti-luk innuit-tuk-u-yu. 

Will it snow ? kunni-lik-na-le-rami. 

I am starting (setting out) . awonga-aulek-tuk. 

We are starting .... ar-wurro. 

Are you starting? . . . aulek-pahi. 

Let us start aule lek-tahai. 

When do you start ? . . kukka-wo-aular-o-mark-pahi. 

Stop, wait u-wot-chero 

Shall we see ? .... tukku-u-lu-bar. 

Shall we see deer ? . . . tukku-tukku-u-lu-bar. 

Sit down inni-tik, or appi. 

Stand up nikku-wi-ti. 

To smoke pu-yu-let-chi-yok. 

To steal tig-lik-met. 

To take, catch .... tig-u. 

Walk slow ! (imperative) . pe-la-ku-nuk-nuk. 

Walk faster pe-lei-i-kuni-to-bi. 

To walk pi-hu-la-erli. 

Where did I put it ? . . mammu-ping-i-yak. 

How do you do ? ... tai-ma. 

What is the name of this? . huna-ut-ka-una. 

This is . .... ted-ba. 



These are uk-kwa. 

Here ted-binm. 

Near kuni-kuni. 

On this side mik-kani. 

On the other side, or be- 
yond . . u-ut-tani. 

Over there mani. 

Is there open water ? . . . . i-mei-tuk-huli. 

Is there any wood ? (fuel) . . . kei-yuk-tuk menna. 

There is no wood kei-yuk-te-tuk. 

Where is my nau . . . 

Where is my pipe ? pu-yu-let-chi tlga nau. 

Where are my gloves ? . . . . por-luk-ker-nau. 

Are you thirsty ? immuk-rog-na-kuni. 

Where did you get this 

from? nuki-nuna. 

I don't know umme-er-huk. 

To tell lies hug-lu-au-wik. 

Work, make, do hun-e-yok. 

Want to, wish to pe-hwak-tuk. 

Tracks of deer tu-ming-mek-kwa. 

Here is a track medja-tu-mit. 

Sleigh track . in-nik. 

At once ted-ba-tid-ba. 

The following Eskimo words and phrases are in use among the 
itives of the Baker Lake region. 

Husband ......... u-i. 

Widow wi-gar-nak. 

Brother nuka. 

An Indian un-elik. 

Deer without horns kut-e-nek. 

Deer with broken leg .... nup-pi-yok. 

Black bear uk-lar. 

Polar bear nun-nok. 

Female deer no-kwei-lek. 

Birds ting-ml-ro-shuk. 

Wavey goose ....... kung-ak. 

Goose ting-ml-uk. 

Duck mit-tuk. 

Eider-duck mi-tiik. 

Crane ' . . . tet-ig-yuk. 

Arctic owl uk-plt-yuak. 

Gull nau-ya. 

Hawk kid-gau-wik. 

Hawk (another species) . . . i-hiung-nuk. 



Snow-bird ku-pen-wak. 

Lark um-mau-li-yuk. 

Lark (another species) . . ku-pen-wak-pa-yuk. 
Lark (red-poll) .... ok-pi-miu-tuk. 

Butterfly tuk-ul-li-ti-kat. 

Louse ku-muk. 

Lice ku-meit. 

Blackflies mel-u-giak. 

Foot (of man) .... ik-in-wrak. 

Feet ik-in-wrotik. 

Nose king-ak. 

Eye i-i. 

Ear hi-ut. 

Hair nu-yak. 

Leg ni-u. 

Arm tellek. 

North kunneng-nuk, or ta-wenni. 

South ping-ung-niik, or ta-renni. 

East ni-yek, or tau-nenni. 

West wawk-nuk, or tiik-par-ni. 

Weather hi-13.. 

Good weather .... hila kek-tuk. 

Bad weather pek-shi-kuni. 

Fog tuk-tu. 

Calm water ok-sho-a-kuni. 

Rough water at-ko-na-kuni. 

Swift current nug-gi-kuni. 

Snowing kun-nek-tuk. 

Drifting pek-sek-tuk. 

Kazan River Saka-wak-tuk. 

Schultz Lake Kummen-nik. 

Aberdeen Lake .... Kummen-nik. 

Baker Lake Kummen-nik-yuak. 

A small lake or pond . . tesh-ek. 

Deers' crossing-place . . ken-ra-len. 

A portage itti-wlt-tuk. 

A gulch It-ek-shiak. 

A hill ik-hwa-rok. 

A small hill ik-hwa-rok-nak. 

At the top of a hill . . . kud-ba-ro. 

At the foot of a hill . . . at-ba-ro. 

A divide, watershed . . . ut-ten-nek. 

Sand hior-uk. 

Gravel tu-a-puk. 

Mud makh-ga, or mag-kuk. 

Slush of snow .... immuk-tuk. 


Rough ice i-lau-yak. 

Crack in ice ei-yok-rak. 

Thaw au-ma-kuni. 

Against the wind . . . ud-got-it. 

Down the wind . ' . . . uku-miktut. 

A cairn in-nuk-shuk. 

Dwarf birch au-a-lek-e-ak. 

Grass i-wik. 

Boiling-point kid-juk-tuk, or tek-ti-tuk. 

Sea-shell tub-lu-yak. 

Kitchen (of snow-house) . i-gar. 

Door par. 

Tent-pole kun-iik. 

Deer-hide ummek. 

Birch twig layer for bed . ki-lek-tet. 

Skin for lying on ... ud-buk. 

Deerskin blanket . . . kei-pik. 

Stick for beating deer-skins ti-luk-tut. 

Babiche (deer-skin strips) . kuni-yok. 

Seal-skin kei-thik. 

Fuel kei-yu-it, or kei-yu-ik-tok. 

Frying-pan ip-o-elik. 

Cup iramo-shuk, or immo-hu-yak. 

Deerskin pail for water . . kut-tuk. 

Box kei-yok-kut. 

Large bag pu-er-ak. 

Small bag nuk-miik-tuk. 

Bag for pipe, &c. ... ik-nyiik-wi-uk. 

Shovel po-el-rik. 

Candle ikki-yuk. 

Oil lamp kul-ek. 

Lamp wick mun-nek. 

Scissors ti-bi-au-tuk. 

Thread (European) . . . u-e-lu 

Thimble tik-et. 

Nail, iron kki-yak. 

Lead a-kel-rok. 

Axe u-li-maut. 

Ice-scoop (long-handled) . i-laut. 

Ice-chisel tu-ok. 

Stick for sounding snow . sub-gut. 

Snow-knife, dag .... piinnar. 

Driftwood ti-bi-ok. 

A plane kai-ek-shau. 



Ribs of deer 

Sleigh runners .... 
Ground lashing of runners 
Upper lashing of runners . 
Saw (for cutting) .... 
Line (for hauling) . . . 





A smoothing-skin for wiping 
sleigh runners .... 

A pitfall 

Seal spear 

Map, or chart 


Deer-skin pants .... 
Deer-skin sock (inner) . . 
Clothes (of white men) 
Raw meat (frozen) . . . 
Raw meat (not frozen) . . 
Unfrozen meat .... 
Entrails of deer .... 

Loins of deer 

Rump of deer .... 



Cranberry leaf (for smoking) 

Long ago 

Some time ago .... 

Fall, autumn .... 

Last fall 

Next winter .... 
Two winters hence . . 
Three winters hence 
Year after next . . . 
Three years hence . . 
Four years hence . . 
Five years hence . . 


Quick, or soon . . . . 
By-and-by, or wait a little 
All the time, always 
Every day 










po-tik, or pau-tik. 












in-el-yu-ark, or ark-i-ar-6k. 




immelli (Eskimo form of Eng- 
lish word). 



kung-er-shuk, or tem-na, or 







pi ng-a-y u-ung-ni . 



shu-keli, or ubli-yuk. 







The Eskimo seasons and months are : Ukiok, or winter, 
consisting of four months ; Ug-lik-nak-tuk (Dec. 10 to Jan. 10), Au- 
wut-ni-wik (to Feb. 10), Net-ti-yet (to March 10), the seal month, 
Terrig-lu-It (to April 10). 

U-ping-lark-ak, or spring, consisting of two months : Tet-ki-nuk 
(to May 10), Au-wik-tuk (to June 10). 

U-ping-lark, or summer, consisting of two and a half months : 
Munnit (June, or the egg month), Tu-we-yak-wik (July), and half 
of Heg-ye-ei-wik. 

Au-yak, or autumn, consisting of two and a half months : viz. 
half of Heg-ye-ei-wik, and the months Aku-lek-korgwik and Amer- 

Uki-ek-shark, a season with which we have none corresponding, 
consists of the month called Shik-u-wik, or ice month. 

Uki-yak, which also has no corresponding season here, consists 
of the month called Kettuk-rak-rib-wik. 

Few Eskimo know the names of all their months. 

The same, or similar . . i-liig-i. 

Different ...... iil-lug-i. 

The other one .... iglua, or eiponga. 

Good pich-ak. 

Better pich-au-kuni. 

Best pich-et-yu-ak. 

Narrow tu-a-kuni. 

Narrower tu-art-tuk. 

Narrowest tu-art-tut-yuak. 

Long tuk-ki-kuni. 

Longer uk-u-let. 

Longest tukki-yor-yuak. 

Light kau-mar-kuni. 

Dark ta-kuni. 

Deep it-i-kuni. 

Shallow it-ka-kuni. 

Broad hil-i-kuni, or ik-ek-tu-kuni. 

Narrow ....... tu-a-kuni. 

Heavy oka-mei-i-kuni. 

Light okei-kuni. 

Short nei-kuni. 

Soft a-ki-kuni. 

Hard shit-ti-kuni. 

In, or on, the ground . . nuna-mi. 

On, or in, the water . . . im-muk-immane. 

In, or on, the ice ... shi-ku-immane. 

Up hill ku-barro. 

3 o8 


Down hill at-barro. 

Precipitous un-nuk. 

Straight tik-ok-tuk. 

Crooked tik-u-i-kuni. 

In front hi-wul-it. 

Behind king-rik-tuk, or tau-nenni. 

Opposite tu-ki-lerig. 

Old u-tok-kuk. 

Young innu-huk-tuk. 

Full . . tet-tet-tuk. 

Empty tet-ten-ni-tuk. 

All right tai-met-nak, or hwo-o-nlt. 

Supple, pliant .... kei-tu-kuni. 

Stiff ke-rat-te-yok. 

Broken niip-pi-yok. 

Forgotten po-i-yok-tuk. 

Very near, close at hand . kun-nit-na-mit. 

Approaching kei-yut. 

Going away wawk-wawk-tuk. 

Lost ne-lu-na-kuni. 

Hidden from view . . . tel-!k-tuk. 

Finished (food) . . . ... nung-u-yuk. 

Lazy sher-pek-tuk. 

Angry ung-gu-ti-I-yok. 

Half ko-puk. 

Half way igli-huk-tuk, or keit-ka. 

Halfway ked-jer-rei-yok. 

Between uk-I-nek. 

Together illuit-keit. 

Alone ted-bet-yuak 

Both tum-ma-miit. 

Only one ke-himi. 

Outside hi-la-mi. 

Flat (land) mun-i-kuni. 

Slow hullau-hu-kuni. 

My (clothes) ker 

Wet ken-ni-pa-kuni. 

Pulled tight akut. 

Wounded in the paunch . ner-ruk-kuk. 

Nearly boiling .... ai-pai-yok. 

More ut-ti-lo. 

Some, or part of . . . . i-lung-er. 

To camp (in snow-houses) tiing-mark-tuk. 

To stay in camp .... u-bli-yuk. 

To boil (water) .... tek-i-tuk. 

To boil meat i-gulli. 


To cook u-yok. 

To chop with an axe . . u-li-mak-tuk. 

To open with a knife . . pi-luk-glu. 

To tie up kei-pi-li. 

Tie it ! (imperative) . . kei-pig-li. 

To unfasten i-go-milll. 

To take ting-u-yuk. 

Where are you going ? . . huli-ak-petlk. 

Where is he going ? . . . huli-a-rumna. 

To hunt kei-nek-tuk. 

To go to meet a deer . . nar-yu-tok-tuk. 

To follow a deer .... mul-lig-tuk. 

To follow a man .... u-lek-tuk. 
To go in front of dogs and 

sleigh hi-wul-ek-tuk. 

To go behind dogs and 

sleigh king-u-hik-tuk. 

Behind (other things) . . hi-wul-it. 

In front of (other things) . king-ul-it. 

To accompany .... pukka-tau-li. 

Accompanied .... piikka-tau-yuk. 

To follow a river or shore . ut-tok-tuk. 

To follow tracks .... ut-tum-nid-tuk. 

Fresh tracks nu-tak-tu-mit. 

To go downstream . . . shi-ti-yuk. 

To go upstream .... mei-yu-rak-tuk. 

Where do you come from ? men-nlp-p'hi. 
Where does it (or, do they) 

come from ? . . . . nukki-nimna-pi-yuk. 

Where ? nau-wimna, or nenni. 

To forget poi'-yu-rama. 

Forgotten poi'-yok-tuk. 

I will look tek-uli. 

Will look, or see .... tukko-hwa-petkar. 

I want to see one thing . tukko-hwak-parar. 

I want to see many things tukko-hwak-putkar. 
I will take a walk to look 

at the ice awonga-pi-huk-tuk shi-ku-tekuli. 

To be able to see far . . mp-tet-ket-tuk. 

Not to be able to see far . mp-te-tuk. 

To want pl-lug-o, or pi-hwa-rup-ko. 

Not to want pi-hwung-nl-nupku. 

To want pit-a-ka-kuni. 

What do you want? . . . huma-gu-6k. 

To bring ug-gi-ak-tuk. 

Fetch that ug-gi-yuk. 



Go and get (implying a 

journey) ai-klik-tuk 

Go and bring (a small article) hi-aw-wik. 

Find, or found .... niin-i-yuk. 

Will find nun-i-yuk-mak 

To give pi-yuk. 

To take away ushi-wawk-li. 

To take away nukka-tuk. 

To take along .... nuk-sarli. 

Took along nuk-sark-tuk. 

To go away (of persons) . wawk-wawk-tuk. 

Gone, departed .... pi-ta-hunga-mun 

To remain nut-kung-ai-yok. 

To run (of persons) . . . ak-pet-tuk. 

Will start au-lar-u-mak. 

Will not start au-le-lung-nid-tuk. 

To accompany, or travel 

together puk-a-tauli. 

Will come kei-yu-mak. 

Have not arrived . . . tik-ing-md-tuk. 

To go quickly .... pi-hua-let-yu-amut. 

To go slowly pi-hua-lei-tuk. 

A sleigh goes quick . . . shuk-kau-uk-tuk. 

A sleigh goes slowly . . shuk-kei-tuk. 

Dogs go quick . . . punga-lik-tuk. 

Dogs go slowly .... nu-kut-tar-waw-yak-tuk. 

To ascend a hill .... mei-yu-ark-tuk. 

To descend a hill . . . umu-kok-tuk. 

To ascend to top of hill . ne-hik-puk. 

To fly away wawk-tuk. 

To lie down (of deer) . . ako-pi-yuk. 

To lie, or sit (of a man) . ako-mei-tuk. 

To run (of deer) . . . . punga-lik-tuk. 

To cross a river .... ki-pi-yu. 

To swim (of deer) . . . nul-luk-tuk. 

To dive (of a seal) . . . ut-kak-tuk. 

Gone to hunt .... mok-kai-tuk. 

To cover u-lig-li. 

To turn over (as a blanket) mu-mig-li. 

To place, to put .... il-lilli. 

To cut up an animal . . pi-luk-tok-tuk. 

To sink ki-wi-yok. 

To float puk-tel-ei-yok. 

To dry pun-neg-sek-tuk. 

To wet kinni-ok-shuk. 

To divide amongst . . . au-wik-tuk. 


To possess pi-ter-li, or kuk-pi-hil-ll. 

To steal tig-llt-tuk. 

Not to steal tig-H-nl-tuk. 

To steal tig-lu-i-kuni. 

To tell lies huglo-tu-kuni. 

To melt in a pot .... auk-tuk. 
To melt naturally (as ice, 

&c.) tu-we-yak-tuk. 

To grow (as grass) . . . per-rok-shai-yok. 

To die tu-ku-kuni. 

Dead tork-kor-yuk. 

Tied up (one dog) . . . I-pil-ik. 

(two dogs) . . . I-pil-ek. 

(three dogs) . . I-pil-it. 
Killed instantaneously (as a 

deer shot) ikki-wit-tok. 

It smells bad mummei-i-kuni. 

It smells good .... mumma-a-kuni. 

To have pi-te-lik. 

To meet . . ... kut-i-yu. 

Wind rises un-norri-tu-yok. 

Wind falls un-norri-gik-tor. 

Shut the door u-mig-li. 

Where are my moccasins 

or socks ? kum-mik-par ker-nau. 

To shovel snow .... ni-wuk-tuk. 

To use ice-chisel .... tu-6k-tuk. 

There is water below the ice kunger-tei-yuk. 
There is no water below 

the ice put-ting-nuk. 

To shoot over an animal . kul-ro-tuk. 

To shoot under an animal . ker-tu-tuk. 

To dress a deer .... a-tok-tuk. 

To sew (boots) .... mek-sok-ttik. 

Will eat , neri-yu-mak. 

To hear hi-yu-tik. 

Horns grow nvig-gi-hei-yok. 

I told you awonga-igbik ukak-tuk. 

To understand .... tu-hak-punga. 

Do you understand . . . tu-hiik-plg. 

I don't understand ? . . tu-hung-i-tuk. 

What? su-a. 

Why? hu-ok. 

Is that correct? .... tai-met-nak. 

I do not know .... kau-yu-mungi-tut-yuak. 

Remember poi-yu-nlg-tuk. 



I wonder where .... temna. 

To think a-hiu-wimna. 

Some men Il-a-ni. 

A little ei-ye. 

For mun. 

For Miluk Miluk-mun. 

A hole pu-tuk. 

On top of, up kut-shl-kuni. 


ABBOTT LAKE, n, 31, 32, 33, 34 
Aberdeen Lake, 42, 93, 108, 112, 

114, 115, 116, 120, 122, 258 
Accanyo Islands, 245 
Arctic clothing, 104 

coast, east and west of Copper- 
mine River, explored by Frank- 
lin, xxvi 

coast explored from mouth of 
Back's to mouth of Coppermine 
River, xiii, 257 

coast flora, 276-277 

Eskimo and Collinson in 

Cambridge Bay, 140, 151, 156 

hares, 136, 159, 161 

Ocean water, 193 

owl, 147 

trout, 210, 217, 221, 226 

Ark-i-llnik River, 10-14, '7, !9> 3 1 , 

34-36, 1 1 6, 120, 126, 129, 140, 
144, 151,227,251,259 

a grand river for fish, 13 

as route from Hudson Bay 

to Mackenzie River, 38 
descent of, 37-42 

its western branch like many 

rivers in Scotland, 35 

offering excellent sport, 40 

woods, 38-39 

Arkok, 9 

Arm-ark-tuk River, 130-132, 138, 


Armit-or-yuak Lake, 104, 258 
Artillery Lake, xxi, xxviii, 15, 30, 31, 

32, 120, 121 
Athabasca Lake, 24 

Landing, 16, 22 

Rapids, 22-23 

River, 22-24 

transport from Edmonton to, 


Aylmer Lake, xxi, xxviii, 126 

BACK, explorer, xxii, xxv, xxvii- 
xxx, 123-124 

Back's River, xxvii, 93, 108, 118, 
120, 122, 123, 124, 126, 259, 260 

Eskimo of, 122 

Eskimo, story of Back's jour- 
ney, 123-124 

search expedition and ex- 
ploration of Great Fish River, 

Baker Lake, xvii-xviii, 9-10, 47- 
48, 49, 54, 58, 62, 65, 69, 70, 71, 
90, 93, 94, 1^8, 1 10, in, 112, 
120, 122, 257, 258, 259 

tide at, 48 

two outlets, 49 

Baker's Foreland, 50, 57 

Barlow and Vaughan's search for 

North-West Passage, xv-xvi 
" Barren Ground," xiii, i, 8, 14, 17, 
20, 25, 30, 32, 40, 41, 56, 83, 85, 
92, 93 94, 108, 132, 139, 168, 216, 
249, 258, 259, 260, 264 

a misnomer, 30 

and musk-ox, 13 

bears, 139, 199 

birds, 8, 208 

caribou, 120, 207 

caribou movements, 207 

geology. 257-270 

healthfulness of, 56 

in June, 167, 168 

lepidoptera, 271-275 

meteorology, 278-288 

never much snow on, 94 

treeless, 30 

truly barren, 132 

washing and bathing, 167 

Barrow, Cape, xxiv, 139, 140, 174, 

266, 271 
Barry Island, xxiv, 163-164, 264, 

265, 266 
Bathurst Inlet, xxiv, 140, 155, 163, 

165, 168, 170, 174, 227, 265 

islands and copper, 138 

Bear River, 250-251 

Bears, 201 ; see also Polar bears 




Beechey Lake, xxix 
Berens River, 6, 7 
Birch, dwarf, 47, 162, 164, 216 
Black bears, 5, 14, 40 
Black flies, 39, 47, 209, 234 
Bloody Fall, xxvii, 190, 203 

massacre at, xxi, 198 

Blueberries, 16, 210, 242, 250 

Bot-fly, 32, 137, 192 

Buchanan River, 118-119, 122, 123, 

124, 125, 260 

Buffaloes, protection of, 27 
Butterflies, 172, 173, 192, 209 
Button, explorer, xiv-xv 

CAMBRIDGE BAY, 140, 151, 156, 


Canadian lakes and Scotch lochs, 35 
Canoe, advice as to sailing a, 248 
Canoe accident in the wilds, 212 
Canoeing on large lakes, 246 
Canoes for Northland, 18-19 
Caribou, 165 ; see also Deer 

- impervious to cold, 74 

pitfalls, 114-115 

Cascade Rapid, 23-24 
Chapman Island, 173, 271, 273 
Chesterfield Inlet, i, 8, 59-60, 61, 

63, 64-65, 94, 95, 103, 105, 106, 

112, 120, 122, 158, 258 

exploration of, xvii 

tide on, 60 

Chipewyan Fort, 24 

Indians, 7 

Christopher, Capt., xvii, 112 
Churchill Fort, xix, I, 292, 294 

River, xv 

Clinton-Golden Lake, xxi, n, 14-15 
Coats, Capt., xviii-xix 

Codlings on Arctic coast, 153-154, 


Confidence, Fort, xxx, 241 
Copper, Arctic coast, 264-265, 266 
Copper - bearing formations, 265, 

266, 269 
Copper implements on Arctic 

coast, 152 
Coppermine River, xxi, 139, 140, 

196, 197, 198-208, 211, 240, 257, 

260, 267 

- discovered, xxi 

- explored, xxvii 

- Franklin's descent of, xxiii 

Hearne's descent of, xxii 

Copper on Arctic coast, 163-164, 

172, 173 

Corbett's Inlet, xviii 
Coronation Gulf, xxvii, 139 
Cranberries, 16 
Cranes, 161 
Crokes, Cape, 162, 163, 170, 264 

DBASE AND SIMPSON'S exploration 
of North Canadian coast, xxx, 

Dease Point, 153 

River, 217, 218, 222, 223, 224- 

236, 238-240, 241, 249 
Deer, 73, 105, 131 
horn-shedding and calf-drop- 

in the north, numbers of, 


migratory habits, 119-122, 

numerous along Buchanan 
River, 119 

on Great Slave Lake, 49 

Pass Bay, 247 

prognostication of weather 
from growth of horns, 116, 127- 

spearing, 116, 123, 143 

on Doobaunt River, 43- 


staying power, 89 
trapping, 114-115 

Deers' horns, growth in prolonged 

cold weather, 127-128 
Depot Island, 54, 60-61, 92, 95, 

112, 258, 260 
Dismal Creek, 273, 274 

visited by Richardson, 212- 


Dismal Lake, xxvii, 207, 210, 211- 

2l6, 2l8, 219, 220, 221, 222, 229, 


native name, 213 

Dog Ribs, 24-25, 44, 79, 121 
Dogs, Eskimo and Indian, 6-7 

Eskimo, 17, 70, 88, 89, 95, 

102, 103, no, 112, 127, 150, 189, 


Dolphin or Union Strait, 139 
Doobaunt River, xvii-xviii, 41, 42, 


Drage, narrative of Moore and 
Smith's expedition, xvii 



Dress, winter, of Eskimo, 82 
Duck, weight and measurements, 

Duck-shooting at Chipewyan Fort, 

Ducks, 8, 14, 50, 51, 161 

- on Hudson Bay Coast, 58 
Duke of York's Archipelago, 215 

EDMONTON, 18, 19 
Eider-ducks, 97, 98, 101, 161-162 
Ellis, Henry, narrative of Moore 

and Smith's expedition 
Enterprise, Fort, xxv. 
Epworth Point, 185, 267, 271, 272, 

Eskimo, 2, 9, 10, 13, 14, 17, 20, 36, 

41, 43-48, 49, 56, 57-58, 59, 60, 
64, 65-69, 70-71, 83,96, 102, 121, 
160, 163 

- all with large stomachs, 144 

- and eating of dead bodies, 


- and Indians contrasted, 2, 41- 

42, 44, 79, 92 

and the trade of collecting 

eider-down, 161-162 
"antikut,"7i, 81-82 

Arctic coast, meeting white 

men for the first time, 143 

as servants on Northland 

expedition, 20 

at Dismal Lakes, 214-216 

baby standing naked on the 

snow, 1 10 

calendar, 155, 307. 

camps on shores of Chester- 
field Inlet, 57-58 

canal cut by, through pen- 
insula N.E. of Chesterfield Inlet, 

Capt. Coates' estimate of, 


childishness, 181 

children's games, 130 

children's toys, 67 

copper implements, 14, 262 

cure of speck on eyeball, 171- 


dancing, 70-71, 142 

deer-skin garments, 67 
dialect of Arctic, 162 

dogs, 4, 5, 6, 7, 88, 89, 95, 
103, 104, 125 

Eskimo, expert at cutting up a car- 
case, 49 

fashion of wearing hair, 143- 


fashions and legends of, 66- 


feast, 2 
finger-rings, 67 
fish-spearing, 115 

going days without food, 84, 


graves, 50, 56-57 

habits, 2, 171 

honesty, 91, 109, 145, 152, 

153, 168, 211, 219-220 

hospitality, 122-123 

hunting, 149 

hunting outfit, 82 

ignorance of God and a future 

state, 67-68 
kyaks, 3 

marital relations of, 69, 114, 


massacre of, xxi. 

measurements of Arctic coast, 


mechanical skill, 109 

mits and footgear, 82 

music and musical 


ments, 67 

needlewomen, 171 

no marriage rites, 69 

numerals, 296-297 

of Arctic coast, 124, 128, 130, 
137-140, 141-142, I43-M5, *47- 
148, 150-151, 199 

old people left to starve, 1 56 

origin of fishes, 68 

origin of man and ethnology, 


out of their own country, 128 

parts of the body, 296 

personal words, 294 

- pipes, 67 

Point, 3 

polygamy, 69 

population, decrease of, 57-58 

pronouns, 295-296 

qualities, 181-183, 184, 192, 

scarcity of old men and 

women, 145, 148 

seal hunting, 97 

shooting, 1 06 



Eskimo, simplicity, 91 

slang, 141-142 
sleighs of, 80 

smoking, 67, 92, 96, 113, 116, 

129-130, 159 
snow-house construction, 75- 

snow-houses, 72-73, 74-79, 83, 

91, 96, 152 ; not in a filthy state, 


sports, 2 

stealing, 108 

sulkiness, 182-183 
superstition, in 

superstition about deerskin 

clothing, 65, 68, 100 
superstitions connected with 

child-bearing, 68-69 
susceptibility to cold, 105, 

no, in 
trade in " furs," 4 

trapping caribou, 114-115, 


travelling with their families, 

93-94, 102, no, 125-126, 140, 

valuation of white men's be- 
longings, 107 

whale-boat crew, 96 

winter dress, 82 

women, 20, 93-94, 100 

words and phrases, 294- 


words and phrases of Baker 

Lake region, 303-312 

words for implements, 

weapons, &c., 298-299 

words for living creatures, 


words for times and seasons, 


words for verbs and phrases, 


words geographical, meteoro- 
logical, &c., 297-298 

words meteorological, 297- 


Fitzgerald Islands, 151 
" Flaw" and detached ice with fish- 
ing party swept out to sea, 100- 


Flies, 162 

Flies, black, 173-174 ; see also Black 

Flora of Arctic coast, determined 

by R. A. Rolfe, A. L. S., &c., 


Fond-du-lac, 15, 28, 30, 36, 37, 121 
Food, change from " meat straight " 

to bread and vegetables, 253 

of "meat straight," 252 

supplies and economic gear 

taken for expedition, 290-291 

Fox, white, 59 

Foxe, Capt. Luke, xiv 

Franklin, Fort, xxvi 

Sir John, first journey, xxii 

second journey, xxvi 

last journey, its fate traced by 

Rae, xxxi 

Fur trade on Great Slave Lake, 26 

Garry Lake, xxix, 120 
Geese, 8, 14, 40, 161, 197 

grey, 197 

Geology of North Canada, 257-270 
Goose shooting at Chipewyan Fort, 


wavey, 157, 162-163 

Grand Rapids, 22-24 

Little, 6 

Gray's Bay, 176, 183, 267, 271, 274 
Great Bear Lake, xxvi, 215, 219, 
223, 238, 241, 242-258 

herring, 246 

Great Fish River, xxvii 

Great Slave Lake, xxvii, 28-30, 49, 
120, 121, 126, 127, 243 

no accurate map of, 29 

Gros Cap, 246 

Gulls, 161 


Hanbury or West branch of Ark-i- 
llnik, 36 

Hares, Arctic, 14, 136, 159, 161 

Har-li-ar-li Hill, 157, 262, 263 

Hayes River, 5 

Hearne on fate of Knight's expedi- 
tion, xv 

Heame's expedition, xix-xxiii 

Heather, 14, 30, 32, 48, 135, 190, 216 

Hepburn Island, 267 

Hood, in Franklin's first expedition, 
xxii ; death of, xxv 



Hood River discovered, xxiv 
Hudson, navigator, xiii 
Hudson Bay, 258, 272 

coast, 53-54, 120 

Company's mail, 5, 7 

Danish expedition under 

Jens Munck, xiv 

expeditions of Capts. Foxe 

and James, xiv 

splendid food for fish in, 101 

women, 66 

Huskies ; see Eskimo 

ICE, short spell between disappear- 
ance in spring and reappearance 
in fall, 55 

Iglor-yu-ullig, 112, 114, 115, 164 

I-lu Inlet, 156, 158, 159, 263 

Indian dogs, 7 

Indians, 25-27, 31, 32-34, 36, 121, 
221, 233, 235-236, 241, 244, 245, 
248, 250 

and Eskimo contrasted, 2, 79, 


bargaining, 25-27 

Chipewyan, 2, 7 

tepee of, 79 

In-ni-uk-tau-wik Lake, 131 
It-ib-ler-yuak Lake, 156, 262 

JAMES, CAPT., xiv 

KAZAN RIVER, 9, 70, 107, no, in, 

Kendall River, xxvii, 207, 208-211, 

217, 221 
Kent Peninsula, xxiv, 120, 139, 

140, 146, 149, 153, 156, 162, 262 
Kettlestone, 174-175, 267 
King-ak, in, 112, 113 
Kun-nu-yuk Island, copper in, 265 
Kyak building, 3 

LABYRINTH BAY, xxx, 1 56 

Larks, 157, 172 

Lepidoptera from Arctic Barren 

Ground, described by H. J. 

Elwes, F.R.S., &c., 271-275 

presented to National Mu- 
seum, 271-275 

Lewis Island, 266 
Limestone, 265-266 
Limestone Island, 170-171 
Lind Island, 139, 152 

Lockhart River, xxvii i, 15 

upset of canoe on, and loss of 

nearly all, 15-16 

Long Lake, 229, 230, 232, 233, 234 
Loons, 8, 203 
Lupin, blue, 192 


Mackay, Fort, 24, 167 

Mackenzie River, xxvi, 31, 121, 

166, 253 
Marble Island, xiv-xv, 4, 8, 19, 50, 

51, 52-53, 61, 101, 259 

Eskimo story of its forma- 
tion, 53 

Mawr-en-ik-yuak, 45, 48, 49, 54, 55- 

56, 58-59, 65, 72, 73, 74, 81, 87, 

88, 92, 95, 109 

McMurray, Fort, 16, 23, 24, 25 
Medical list for expedition in Barren 

Ground, 291 

Melbourne Island, xxx, 153 
Melville Sound, xxiv, 159, 160 
Meteorological observations, 278- 


Middleton, navigator, xvi 
Minto Islands, xxx 
Mirage, 64, 197 
Mits and footgear, Eskimo, 82 
Moore and Smith's expedition, 


Moose, 14, 239 

Moose on Ark-i-llnik River, 40 
Mosquitoes, 9, 21, 47, 173, 175, 192, 

193, 209 

Mouse River, 207, 208, 298 
Musk-ox, excellent eating, 39 

Lake, xxviii 

legal close time for protection 

of, 27 

little difference between sum- 
mer and winter coats, 40 

weights and measurements, 


wool of, 40 

Musk-oxen, xxix, n, 31, 39-40, 63, 
66,80,85-87,92,93,120, 121, 124, 
129, 138, 139, 165-166, 177, 183, 
224-226, 227, 228, 232, 234, 238 

Nomenclature of places, advisa- 
bility of adhering to native, 36, 


Norman, Fort, 108, 146, 155, 163, 
166, 247,251, 252 

North Canada, geology of, 257-270 

historical sketch of explora- 
tion, i-xxxii 

Northland, fascination of, 17,20-21, 


firearms for, 18 

men to be engaged on ex- 
pedition to, 20 

never dark, even in the dead 

of winter, 90 

rifles for, 84-85 

North-West Passage, xiii-xviii 
Norton on Baker Lake, xvii 
Norton's Falls, xviii 

OGDEN BAY, 131, 137, 139, 292 
Ogle Point, xxx 
Ok-pi-tu-yok Island, no 
Oxford Lake and surrounding 

country, 5-6 
Owl, Arctic, 147 

PELLV LAKE, xxix, 83, 87, 93, 94, 
123, 125, 127, 260 

Pike, 41 

Pike (Warburton), exploration be- 
tween Great Slave Lake and 
Back's River, xxxii 

"Barren Ground," 44 

Plover, golden and grey, 170 

Polar bears, 5, 98, 139, 1 52, 226, 230, 

Portage Inlet, 156,263 

Port Nelson, xv 

Providence, Fort, xxvi, 121 

Ptarmigan, 8, 14, 40, 60, 85, 135, 
149, 162, 187, 209, 231, 244 

Pung-ak-hi-or-wik Lake, 105 

QUOICH RIVER, xxxi, 83, 85, 90, 
257, 258 

RAE'S Franklin search expedition, 

Rae and Richardson's exploration 

of Coppermine River, xxxi 
Rankin's Inlet discovered, xvii 
Rankin's search for North -West 

Passage, xvi-xvii 
Raw meat, eating, 73 
Red bears, 124 
Red River, 16 

Reliance, Fort, xxviiP 
Repulse Bay, xvi^54, 60, 120 
Resolution, Fort, 16, 24, 25, 26, 29, 

55, 121, 127, 253 
Rhododendron, 190 
Ribboos Bay, 5 
Richardson and Rae's exploration 

of Coppermine region, xxxi 
Richardson at Dismal Lake Creek, 


in Franklin's expedition, xxii, 


Rifles for Northland, 84-85 
Robins, 208 

Rock specimens, described by Dr. 
J. S. Flett, F.G.S., &c., 268-270 
Rum Lake, xxi, xxv 

SALMON, 41, 45, 108, 124, 180, 184, 
1 86, 199 

spearing, 199 

weights and measurements, 


Sandpiper, 161, 170, 172 
Sandy Creek, 223, 224, 226, 227- 

a sportsman's paradise, 226 

Sarker-wark-tuk, 166, 170 

encampment at, 160, 161 

Scented Grass Hill, 244, 246 
Schultz Lake, 35, 47, 55, 108, in, 

112, 113, 120,259 
Scientific equipment for Arctic 

coast, 1 8 

Seals, 59, 101, 158, 159 
Seal-hunting, 133, 151 
Seal-shooting, 96-97 
Seals' meat, 133 
Ship, life on board, 96, 98-99 
Simpson and Dease's exploration of 

North Canadian coast, xxx. 241 
Simpson, Fort, 121 
Slave Lake, 13 
Slave River, 24 
Sleighs, Eskimo, 80 
Smith and Moore's expedition, xvii 
Smith Landing, 24 
Smoke signals, 233-234 
Snow-birds, 58, 135, 154 
Snow blindness, 187 
Snow-house building, 75, 76 
Snow-houses, 72-73. 74, 79, 83* 9*. 

96, 152 
Spiders, 162 



Spruce, 28, 34, 38, 205, 220, 223, 
231, 233 

north limit of, 32, 41 

Squirrel, ground, 154 
Suckers, 41 

Swans, 158 

Te-hut-yuak Lake, 258 
Term Point, 4, 53 
Tesh-i-er-pi ; see Dismal Lake 
Ti-bi-elik Lake, 41, 42, 93, 103, 108, 

112-113, 115, 116, 117, 118, 258, 

Ti-her-yuak Lake, 129, 130, 260, 

Ti-her-yuak-lug-yuak Lake, 83, 84, 

85, 88, 89, 91, 258 

River, 90, 257 

Ti-hit-yuak Lake, 95, 104, 106 
Tiki-rar-yuak, 108 
Toolabies, 217, 242 

Trade articles, 8, 19, 145, 289-290 
Travelling companions, 20-21 

outfit, 18-19 

rate of, with Eskimo, 159 

Traverse Bay, 244 

Trolls and trolling, 241-242 
Trout, 40, 45, 69, 108, 246 

in Great Slave Lake, 29-30 

Turnagain, Point, xxiv, xxx 
Tyrrell, J. B., xxxii, 257 

map and Admiralty charts, 


ODI-EK-TELLIG, 42, 43, 44, 45, 46, 


a crossing-place for deer, 43 
Cni-a-lik River, 176, 177, 178, 183, 
_ 184, 193, 209, 225 
Ut-kus-kik, of " kettle-rock," 267 

for a North- West passage, xv- 

Victoria Land, 152, 162, 262 

WADERS, 170 

Wager Inlet, 54 

Wager Inlet and Repulse Bay dis- 
covered, xvi 

Wager River, 120 

Walrus, 51, 98 

Warble-fly ; see Bot-fly 

Warrender Bay, 156, 159 

Wavey geese, 157 

Whale harpooning in Hudson Bay, 3 

Whaler, Francis Allyn, 19, 62-63, 
64, 70, 92-93, 94, 103 

crew of, 62, 96 

Whales off Arctic coast, 139 

white, 59 

Whaling, 3, 99 

White Bear Point, xxx, 120, 148, 

149, 262 
White birch, 28 

fish, 5, 40, 45, 108, 115, 124, 

1 88 

Whitney Inlet, 54, 258 
Wilberforce Falls, xxiv 
Willow, red, 29 
Willows, 32, 47 

limit of, 32 

Winchester Inlet, 54, 258 
Winnipeg, 18 

Wolf, as one of a sleigh team, 6 
Wolves, 85-86, 106, no, 134, 209 

devouring bodies in Eskimo 

graves, 50 

YELLOW KNIVES, 13, 24-25, 36, 44, 

79, 121 
York factory, 5, 7, 38 

Printed by BALLANTYNE, HANSON 6* Co. 
Edinburgh & London 

BINDING SECT. MAY - 8 137*1 




Hanbury, David T 

Sport and travel in the 
Northland of Canada