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post #1 of (permalink) Old 01-16-2011, 04:03 PM Thread Starter
Headed for the Mountains
 
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Default David Thompson Bicentennial

I attended the Fur Ball last evening which was to celebrate the bicentennial crossing of the Athabasca Pass Jan. 7, 1811 by David Thompson and company. The team that re-enacted the crossing this year had pictures and stories to share of their challenges, complete with cold temps. This is the start of a year of events bringing to our attention this remarkable part of out history.
The guest speaking, Bob Abrames was interesting and entertaining, sharing his love of the voyageur history.
There are many other events planned for the remainder of the year which, if this one was any indication, I am looking forward to with relish! If anyone would like to attend some of the up coming events I think the J.N.P. site would have the calender of what is to come.
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post #2 of (permalink) Old 01-16-2011, 09:23 PM
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he crossed it the first time on January 7?????
They were tougher than nails back then.

I would love to take the furtraders route by water from Rocky Mountain House to Thunder Bay, but i may have missed my chance when they did it a few years back. One unforgettable view of Canada.

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post #3 of (permalink) Old 01-16-2011, 09:40 PM
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Very cool,glad you had fun Even though we never actually made it as far as the pass last fall,I often thought of how tough those men must have been to do this!! I hope it's a great year!!!
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post #4 of (permalink) Old 01-16-2011, 10:16 PM Thread Starter
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One of the comments made in Thompson's journals was the snow was so deep the dogs needed to have the loads halved as the sleds were getting stuck. On the day he crossed over the divide his snowshoe broke at -30. I am so impressed that any of them survived! It is an incredible valley to follow and this year it will be on many a to-do list!
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post #5 of (permalink) Old 02-02-2011, 05:35 PM
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Mtnlioness,

As I am currently working my way through one of Thompson's journals, and have an interest in this, is there anywhere that the information of this re-enacted Crossing can be found on the Web. <wry grin> Some of us don't live within driving distance of such events!
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post #6 of (permalink) Old 02-07-2011, 01:15 PM
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National Geographic pointed out that compared to people like David Thompson and Samuel Hearne, Lewis and Clarke were tourists.
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post #7 of (permalink) Old 02-07-2011, 04:12 PM
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If any of yous can get your hands on it I'd recommend watching "Ray Mears' Northern Wilderness"

(I'd actually recommend getting your hands on anything by Ray Mears' but I digress)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ray_Mears'_Northern_Wilderness

He follows in the footsteps of a few great explorers of Canada, including David Thompson. He also highlights something that doesn't get mentioned enough in relation to David Thompson, that his wife, Charlotte Small, and children also made the voyage to the pacific with him.
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post #8 of (permalink) Old 02-07-2011, 10:43 PM
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Charlotte Small was recognized along with Thompson here in Invermere with a statue just outside of downtown. Growing up in Ontario I knew nothing of this huge part of our country's history but am blown away by what little I now know.
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post #9 of (permalink) Old 02-07-2011, 10:58 PM
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The Canadian Rockies - Early Travels and Explorations by Esther Fraser is a pretty good read on the trials and tribulations of the first exporers. Not sure if still in print.


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post #10 of (permalink) Old 02-08-2011, 07:15 AM
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quote:Originally posted by mtnview

The Canadian Rockies - Early Travels and Explorations by Esther Fraser is a pretty good read on the trials and tribulations of the first exporers. Not sure if still in print.
Used copies are still available -- I just ordered one from Amazon.
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post #11 of (permalink) Old 02-10-2011, 04:12 PM
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quote:Originally posted by leimrod

...his wife, Charlotte Small, and children also made the voyage to the Pacific with him.
I did NOT know that! Tough people back then.
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post #12 of (permalink) Old 02-10-2011, 07:14 PM
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Another very good account of human verve, is a book called "The Ladies, The Gwich'in, and the Rat", by Clara Vyvyan. I think it might be out of print, but your local library or museum might have a copy.

It's about two "English Ladies" that spin the globe and where their finger stops the rotation is where they go. It's a story of their travels on the Athabasca, Mackenzie, Rat, Porcupine and Yukon Rivers in 1926.

These are two tough birds, that could take more canoe lining, bad weather, mosquito & black fly infestation and general hardship than most all of us. Still, they would get in grips of anger over one making a disparaging comment over the other's hat.

Anyhow, a great read about wilderness travel.

Peter
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post #13 of (permalink) Old 03-10-2011, 07:31 AM
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Here's a map of Thompson's travels from a Parks pamphlet. I knew he'd covered a lot of territory, but I never realized exactly how much!
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post #14 of (permalink) Old 03-11-2011, 10:04 AM
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quote:Originally posted by peter1955



Here's a map of Thompson's travels from a Parks pamphlet. I knew he'd covered a lot of territory, but I never realized exactly how much!
He was an AMAZING map-maker... it appears an image of his map is available from the Archives of Ontario under the item reference code F 443, R-C(U), AO 1541. (Also available from Wikipedia, but I suspect the Archives one might be a better resolution.)

One thing I'm using for background is the fact that Thompson's 1814 map, his greatest achievement, was so accurate that 100 years later it was still the basis for many of the maps issued by the Canadian government -- yet he was apparently paid a pittance for it.

Can't find the link at the moment (I'm pretty sure I found it on Google Books), but I believe the Narrative of his travels (unfinished when he died) was published in the 1890s.

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post #15 of (permalink) Old 03-11-2011, 05:00 PM
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Quote:
quote:Originally posted by Marilynx

One thing I'm using for background is the fact that Thompson's 1814 map, his greatest achievement, was so accurate that 100 years later it was still the basis for many of the maps issued by the Canadian government -- yet he was apparently paid a pittance for it.

Can't find the link at the moment (I'm pretty sure I found it on Google Books), but I believe the Narrative of his travels (unfinished when he died) was published in the 1890s.

I assume this is the map you are talking about?




Ive got one of the 1500 that were hand copied scaled from the original in 1897. It was part of the first narrative by Alexander Henry (New Light on the Early History of the Greater Northwest: The Manuscript Journals of Alexander Henry, Fur Trader of the Northwest Company and of David Thompson, Official Geographer and Explorer of the Same Company, 1799-1814.

I digitized it, and tracked the N.Sask river and found the map river location to be within 5km of the N.sask river on google earth. (from BC/Alberta Border to Sask border. Pretty amazing considering most of the shots are done from a compass on a canoe with occasional precise locations by sextant.

I planned to turn the map into a coffee table top but kinda lost interest over the years.

I feel that map is one of the greatest Canadian accomplishments, and a huge piece of Canadian history.

is this the narrative you are talking about:
http://link.library.utoronto.ca/cham...ow=1&Limit=All

I admit i'm a fan as well.



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