We had a very large map of the area that went clear up to Hudson Bay. If you were voyeur (Like the French Canadians of olde) enough, you could put in at Hudson Bay and end up on the Montreal River. I imagine it would take most of the summer BUT it would sure be a trip to remember. When looking at the map there were hundreds if not thousands of lakes and stream.
We didn't have a tent but we did have some plastic, just in case. Mother was adamantly against us going , even for a day, but how could two healthy teenagers have any problems, ha,ha (18-19 yrs old).
We didn't have back packs like they have now days but Bill and Johnny had shown us how to rig up homemade ones. The only difference was the Indians put a strap around their foreheads and used their neck muscles to carry some of the load. We used rope and put it on our backs and shoulders. We made 2 backpacks one smaller than the other. We figured whoever was carrying the canoe should have the smaller pack. That was about the smartest thing we planned for the whole trip.
Now Cookie (dog) was Brittany and Springer and a great pheasant dog, but that was in Michigan down in the pheasant area. She was also a great bear dog. If there was a bear around she would follow on your heels until all was well. The first thing she did was find a flock of grouse. They were not afraid of us but did not trust the dog, at all. Art made a nice throw with the axe and we had grouse for dinner (I never did hit one). That was even before we got the canoe wet, things were looking good. We put in at the first lake paddled across and portaged to the next one. It was a small lake and we went on to the next. There we saw a island and decided to go out and see if there was a camping spot on it. There was, and we set up our first camp (we ended up staying on several islands during our trip). It was a small island maybe a couple of acres in size and we even found a few huckleberry's there, also bear sign. We would sleep under the canoe using it to keep the dew off of us and if it should look like rain we'd spread out the plastic using the canoe for a ridge pole and have us a palace. A roaring fire soon burned down to just coals and we fixed some grouse and a couple of trout, a king's banquet. We did try to steam some of the fiddle heads on the ferns but they were very bitter, they were to old but we did have some wild water cress. Our first night out under a starry, clear sky and 2 teens, what else could you ask for. We fell asleep while talking and soon daylight woke us up. For breakfast we ate the last of the fish and grouse, with some coffee, packed up and were soon off on another days adventure. Now remember we were kids (18-19), indestructable and we were having a great time and fishing a lot. There were lots of little streams and we debated on some and made some mistakes. We could tell when the stream became a creek and the canoe would hit bottom. A lot of the times our compasses were for nought as the mineral deposits just messed us and compasses up. If the sun was shining we could pretty much tell which way were were going, also the current in the streams. Sometimes there would be 2 streams exiting the lk and both the same size. We did see a float plane the second or third day and it passed over and then came back, we waved and it wiggled its wings and flew out of sight. (Later on we learned that a couple of the bush pilots were watching over us). After the fifth or sixth day we were ready for a good meal, (our oatmeal was gone) a hot shower and a soft bed. We ate fish all the time, watercress and berries when we could find them.
We'd run out of grease and flour so now we just had cooked,steamed, baked, boiled fish. What is really good about trout is you do not have to scale them just clean and prepare. One day we spotted some berries on shore and went closer to see what they were. They were like a high-bush huckleberry, maybe even a blueberry. There was moose and bear sign all over the place but we made a lot of noise and ate some of their food. We ate those berries until the dog got very nervous and we left. All three of us had eaten many pounds of berries, dog included. A funny fact here is that the three of us ate so many berries we had to stop several times at the local rest Areas", LOL
Weather wise we had pretty good weather, a couple of good cold showers, hours of wet clothes until we stopped to build a fire. We got to laughing about fire wood. Once we got the fire going we didn't need anymore wood you could almost hear the bodies of the mosquitoes as they fried in the fire. We did have plenty of Cutter's repellent with us which we used almost like a bath gel and we did go through 1 1/2 large bottles of the stuff.
We almost did a homecoming dance when we thought we'd finally found Indian River and which it was. Only a couple of hours and it came down to the Montreal and one of the cabins. There were some guests there and we stopped and talked to them and they sort of knew all about our trip. And what was best, they fed us some soup and bread. (By the way, it was some of the best soup and bread we'd ever
I had 3 firecrackers hidden up on one of the rafters (I'd found them after somebody had checked out). The bears would come to within 10 or 15 feet of the cabin. We'd light a firecracker throw it out and the noise would not scare them. They'd go up and smell the smoke and run away, then come back. After our noisemakers were done we decided to grab some pots and pans and rushed outside banging and shouting and scaring them away for the evening. We had a fire going in the cabin trying to dry out some clothes but it got so hot that we let the fire go out so we could sleep.
As we were packing up in the morning an outboard approached and it was dad "just checking the cabins", he said. He offered us a couple of bologna sandwiches and we scarfed them down. He said relax I'll come back to get you in an hour or so and gave us a list of chores to do around the cabin. So we happily did them and relaxed and played with the dog and bathed in the river. After checking out what day it was we found out we'd been out 9 1/2 days.
I never did it again (for such a long period) and I only saw Art a few more times after that as he'd gotten married, but we both laughed as we reminisced about our adventure of a lifetime.
If you should happen to want to try something like this trip, make sure you are compatible with the person whom you are going with, neither one of you have allergies and all of that stuff. We found out you could argue about the most mundane things or you could shrug them off change the subject and continue on.
I honestly do not know if you could do it with a woman. Some might do with out clean clothes each day, showers, hair dryers and a lot of that STUFF but, I believe she would be a rare one.
Darrell, still remembering.