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The Peoples, Their Places

Through the Mackenzie Basin: On the Trail to Peace River

Nearing the Grand Rapids"We were now on our boats again, and heading for the Chutes, as they are called, the one obstruction to the navigation of Peace River for over six hundred miles. We debarked at the head of the rapids above the Grand Fall, and walked to their foot along a shelving and slippery portage, skirting the very edge of the torrent. The Crees call this Meátina Powistik - 'The Real Rapid' - the cataract farther on being the Nepegabaketik - 'Where the Water Falls.'

Navigating the RapidsReturning to the 'Decharge,' I ran the rapids with Cyr and Baptiste in one of the boats, a glorious sensation reminding one, though shorter, of the Grand Rapids of the Saskatchewan, the waves being great, and the danger spiced by the tremendous vortex ahead. The rapids are about four hundred yards in length, and extend quite across the river, which is here of an immense width. A heavy but brief rainstorm had set in, and it was some time before we could reload and drop down to the head of the 'Chaudiere,' if I may call it so, for the vortex much resembles the 'Big Kettle' at Ottawa. That night we spent in the York boat, its keel on the rocks and painter tied to a tree, and, lulled by the roar of the cataract, slept soundly until morning." [continue]

Reprinted from Through the Mackenzie Basin: An Account of the Signing of Treaty No. 8 and the Scrip Commission, 1899 by Charles Mair.

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