Coasting And Camping.
Quite a high sea was running on Thunder Bay when, on _July_ 30, having parted with the Bishop, I started off in _The Missionary_ with my seven Indian boys. A stiff south-east wind was blowing, and, as our course lay in a southerly direction, we had to tack. We managed, however, to run across Thunder Bay within five or six miles of our point, and then tacked about to reach it; and about three miles further ran into a nice little sheltered bay, where we camped for the night. The boys were merry, and soon had a capital fire blazing up and the camp-pots hissing and bubbling. By eight o’clock supper was ready, and then, after prayer and singing and each one repeating a verse of Scripture around the camp fire, we all turned in for the night, having safely accomplished the first twenty miles of our homeward trip.
It may be well to state at this point, for the information of those who are not acquainted with the topography of Canada, that Lake Superior, upon which we were now sailing, is the largest body of fresh water in the world, the length of it from end to end, by the course which the steamboats take, being 623 miles. The breadth of the lake at the widest point is 160 miles. Its area is fully as large as Ireland, and its mean depth is 1000 feet. The north shore of the lake belongs to the Province of Ontario, is exceedingly wild and rocky and is inhabited almost exclusively by Indians with a few Hudson Bay Company’s posts at various points on the route. Prince Arthur’s Landing is the _only_ Canadian town on the north shore, and that has risen into existence only within the last few years. The south shore of Lake Superior, borders on the State of Michigan.
_July _31. A dense fog filled the air when we arose early this morning. We waited until eight o’clock to see if it would lift, but as it appeared to have no intention of doing so, we started off, myself steering and the boys rowing. With a good compass, we steered our course straight into Silver Islet. We landed on the main shore, and spent half an hour viewing the silver stamping mills. The fog was now clearing, and we proceeded to cross Black Bay. This was a wide stretch, and we had to pull as there was no wind. After this, we got into a narrow channel studded with islands: then were out on the open lake again, a heavy swell rolling in and breaking on reefs near the shore. About five p m. we came off Cape Magnet, and soon after reached a snug little bay, where we camped for the night.
After two more days sailing, we got into Neepigon, and found the Bishop (who had come on the _Manitoba_) waiting for us. The Bishop had his tent pitched on the shore, and had been cooking for himself in two little bright tin pots. We were all wet and cold, and as quickly as possible our two tents were up and a large camp-fire built, over which were soon hissing three ugly black kettles–one with water for the tea, another with potatoes, another with rice and currants–while the Bishop’s little kettle hung meekly by, at one end of the horizontal stick, and soon lost its brightness under the unwonted heat of the fire.
At 8:30 we all gathered for prayer, and then went to rest. The total distance we had come, since leaving Prince Arthur’s landing, was about 100 miles.
We passed a quiet Sunday in our camp at Red Rock. No Indians came round, but we had a little service for ourselves under an awning. In the afternoon our boys gathered for Sunday-school, and the Bishop examined them in the Scriptures and Catechism.
_Aug_. 5.–We had intended to be up and preparing for our trip to Lake Neepigon at five a.m., but heavy rain caused us to prolong our slumbers, and we did not breakfast until 7:30 a.m. By this time, however, the weather was clearing, and we determined on making a start. There was plenty to do. We had a trip of 200 miles before us and expected to be away about ten days. All the things in _The Missionary_ that were not wanted were packed away in Mr. McLellan’s storehouse; provisions were given out sufficient to last the three boys who were to remain behind, and supplies put up for the travelling party. Then–about ten a.m.–the large canoe which we had hired was brought round; Uhbesekun, our guide, put in his appearance; portage straps were brought out, the packs made ready, and all placed on board. The Bishop and myself walked across the portage, about three-quarters of a mile in length, while Uhbesekun and the boys propelled the loaded canoe up the rapids with poles.