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McKenzie River Diary, Summer 1946, part 5 - nhpeacenik
McKenzie River Diary, Summer 1946, part 5
[ reminder - this is a slow-motion transcription of my mother's journal from her 1946 "honeymoon" on Canada's arctic McKenzie River. Journals and diaries, for those of you too young to remember them, were little booklets that served some of the same purposes that LiveJournal now serves, so in a sense my mom is getting a chance to blog from the afterlife. ]

June 17, 1946 Spent the day with the McNeelys. They oiled our kicker and got rid of the knock. Fixed their eight-horse motors and mixed gas [ "outboard mix" was not sold in those days, so people mixed a quart of oil with each gallon of "white" gas ] for the trip to Arctic Red River. I talked with the 12 and 15-year-old kids and played with the younger ones. The latter spent most of the day catching deerflies ("Bulldogs"), watching them buzz and calling them "kickers". The girl says she enjoys going out with the dogs and toboggan winters and collecting firewood. Also she hunts with her father, sitting in the canoe bow and shooting muskrats. The boy is a good hunter. He has an old guitar he strums. Likes cowboy tunes, but knows only one. Doesn't smoke yet, except with the Hearsts boy on the sly. Chews with Indian kids a bit - laughs at Indian kids, but apparently enjoys their company. They call the Indians Slaves, hereabouts.Say there are Luchu (Lucxeau) about Aklavik.

We didn't get off in their scow with our boat ahead until 10:00 p.m. Kids were excited about the trip, but soon fell asleep. Stopped to bore and had coffee twice. the "lower ramparts" are beautiful cliffs bordering the wide river on a big bend. At the end is Arctic Red River, a very picturesque river town, high on the point at the forks.  In it is a large pond; they say there are skulls and things in it, for the Luchu and the Huskies used to fight each other there. Hudsons Bay's red roofs were set back from the bank, but where one could see out on both rivers. The mission stood on the highest point. Grass all over the boggy ground. Paths were mud or courderouy. We were dead tired at 10:00, so we gave half our gas to our friends, and they were off to sleep in a friend's house.

We putted off with our little kicker working fine. However, it heated up when we got out on a borad windy stretch. We tried to fix it, paddled in the very slow current, and cursed the fact that there were only shoal banks and no coves at all.

June 18, 1946 Finally about noon, we stopped in a very slight backwater. Too tired and  hungry to pay attention to how the shore showed how the wind could blow waves up. We put up the tent, ate breakfast and fell asleep after completely unloading the boat.

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Current Location: Greenville NH
Current Music: Martha Tilston "Night Rambling"

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