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The Beaver, Vol. I, No. 4, January 1921 by Company

Northwest River Post on the Labrador


the inhabitants and the Company's staff had gathered on the bank, the latter all armed with cameras. A canoe shot out from the river side and the airmen were soon exchanging greetings with us.

The seaplane to the Indians was a matter of great mystery and for long bands of them stood gazing at the craft which the white men had handled so dexterously.

During their subsequent trips to their base near Cochrane they very kindly carried our outward mails.

The object of the seaplane's journey was the recording by motion pictures the life and customs of the inhabitants of northern Canada.--_G.F._


107 Miles from Dawn to Dark

By H. M. S. COTTER, _Cumberland House_

In the year 1896 I was in charge of H.B.C. Northwest River Post on the Labrador. It was customary for the post managers to assemble annually at district headquarters which at that time was located at Rigolet on the coast. This council was usually held in April on a specified date. Rigolet is ninety-two miles from Northwest River by the winter trail. The trip occupies two days as a rule, and when we left the Post it was the intention as usual _to run the first fifty miles and camp_ for the night at a place named the Lowlands.

style="text-align: justify;">[Illustration: _The feet of the dogs are protected by deerskin moccasins from laceration on sharp edges of the ice_]

We had the ordinary length of sled or "komatik," which is about twelve feet long and weighs about a hundred pounds. We carried a load of about six hundred pounds, which in that part of the country is considered light.

We left the Post at 4.30 a.m. April 7th, 1896, just before dawn. The sky was somewhat overcast and a light wind was blowing from Southwest. The travelling was good, particularly in the early morning, as the melted snow of the previous day had dried up during the night.

Our nine dogs were in the very pink of condition. They displayed a fierce eagerness to reach the sealing grounds, nine miles below the Post.

"Lieutenant" was the leader's name, and second leader, "Friday." Both these dogs were famous as seal hunters. There was "nothing on four legs," it was claimed, ever approached them either in respect of speed or ability to scent seals at long distance. After we reached the sealing grounds the team broke into a mad pace. No sooner had they run down one batch of seals than the leaders would scent others long before they were visible. In this way the speed of the whole team was maintained at a high rate.

As the local saying was, the dogs were "seal mad" and getting out of hand. I had been over these sealing grounds many times, but never had seen so many seals as on this day. Around the seal or blowing holes they were not in large numbers, but along the cracks which opened across the bay and ran for fifteen or twenty miles, the seals were literally in thousands. It was good sport chasing them. We stopped several times and speared four, adding about three hundred pounds to our load. But this seemed to make no difference in the speed of the dogs.

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