Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

LESSON 47.
WINTER TRAVELLING IN A DOG SLEDGE.

[ocr errors]

1. Dogs in the Hudson's Bay territories haul in various ways. The Esquimaux in the far north run their dogs abreast. The natives of Labrador and along the shores of Hudson's Bay harness their dogs by many separate lines in a kind of band or pack; while in the Saskatchewan and Mackenzie River territories the dogs are put one after the other, in tandem fashion.

2. The usual number allowed to a complete train is four, but three, and sometimes even two are used. The train of four dogs is harnessed to the cariole, or sled, by means of two long traces; between these traces the dogs stand one after the other, the head of one dog being about a foot behind the tail of the dog in front of him.

3. If there is no track in the snow a man goes in front in snow-shoes, and the leading dog or "foregoer," as he is called, trots close behind him. If there should be a track, however faint, the dog will follow it himself; and when sight fails to show it or storm has hidden it beneath drifts, his sense of smell will enable him to keep straight.

4. Thus through the long waste we journey on, by frozen lakelet, by willow copse, through pine forest, or over treeless prairie, until the winter's day draws to its close, and the darkening landscape bids us seek some resting-place for the night. Then the hauling dog is taken out of the harness, and his day's work is at an end.

5. In the forest and lake country where fish is the chief food, he gets two large white-fish raw for supper. He prefers fish to meat, and will work better on it too. His supper is soon over, then he lies down out in the snow

( 231 )

I

to dream that whips have been abolished and hauling is discarded for ever.

6. None of our dogs were harness-eaters, a circumstance

[graphic][subsumed][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small]

that saved us the nightly trouble of placing harness and cariole in the branches of a tree. On one or two occasions Muskeymote, however, ate his boots.

7. “Boots!" the reader will exclaim; “how came Mus

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

keymote to possess boots? We have heard of a puss in boots, but a dog, that is something new.” Nevertheless Muskeymote had his boots, and ate them too. This is how a dog is put in boots.

8. When the day is very cold the particles of snow which adhere to the feet of the dog form sharp icicles between his toes, which grow larger and larger as he travels. A knowing old hauler will stop every now and then and tear out these icicles with his teeth, but a young dog plods wearily along leaving his footprints in crimson stains

upon the snow behind him. 9. When he comes into camp he lies down and licks his poor wounded feet, but the rest is only for a short time, and the next start makes them worse than before. Now comes the time for boots.

10. The dog-boot is simply a fingerless glove drawn on over the toes and foot, and tied by a running string of leather round the wrist or ankle of the animal. Thus protected the dog will travel for days and days with wounded feet, and get no worse; in fact he will frequently recover while still on the journey.

11. Upon arrival in camp these boots should always be removed from the dogs' feet, and hung up in the smoke of the fire with the men's moccasins to dry.

It was on an occasion when this custom had been forgotten that Muskeymote performed the feat we have already mentioned of eating his boots.

12. On firm level snow the dogs will make a run of forty miles in a day and keep that pace for many days in succession, but in the soft snow thirty miles will form a fair day's work.Butler's Great Lone Land.

LESSON 48.—THE MOUNTAIN AND THE

WOODLAND REGIONS.

1. The Mountain Region is parallel with the western coast, and has two lofty ranges, the Cascade Mountains and the Rocky Mountains running north and south. The distance between the crests of these chains is 300 miles.

2. The Cascade Mountains rise abruptly from the sea level, presenting from the shore a bold and defiant aspect. Their summits vary from 5000 to 8000 ft. in height. The Rocky Mountains rise like an immense wall from the Central Plain.

3. Much of this great mountain barrier is 8000 ft. high; the highest points, Mount Brown and Mount Hooker, are double that height; they form the highest points of a knot of high land whence proceed rivers which flow north into the Arctic Ocean, east into Hudson's Bay, south into the Gulf of Mexico, and west into the Pacific Ocean.

4. The narrow valleys and deep ravines through which these streams pass are as crevices in the mountain wall, affording passages from one side to the other. One of the lowest and most remarkable these passes is the Yellow-head Pass, to the north of Mount Brown, where the Athabasca River breaks through. The Canadians at one time proposed to carry over this pass the great railway which is being constructed to the Pacific.

5. Between the Cascade and the Rocky Mountains there extends a table-land some 3000 feet above sealevel. This elevated plain is grooved by deep river channels-of which the Fraser River and the Columbia River are the chief—and broken by rocky ridges. It has many lakes, and numerous broad sheltered valleys.

The slopes are thickly timbered, the plains are open prairies.

6. The cultivable tracts are limited in extent, but the wealth in minerals, fish, and timber is very great. Vancouver coals are superior for steam-engines to any to be obtained on the Pacific coast. There is scarcely a stream in this region which does not contain small quantities of gold among its sands. The precious metal is also mined from the rocks.

7. The Woodland Region of the east consists of a great valley drained by the most wonderful series of fresh-water lakes in the world, and by the river St. Lawrence, which conveys the water of those lakes to the Atlantic Ocean.

8. The St. Lawrence is first known as the St. Louis, which rises in the centre of the continent and flows into Lake Superior. This lake is as long as England (420 miles), and is the largest body of fresh water in the world. It is very deep, with low sandy shores on the south, and high rocky cliffs on the north.

9. The river, called here St. Mary, connects Lake Superior with Lake Huron, the deepest of the lakes, which receives the waters of the United States Lake Michigan (Mish'-i-gan), and discharges its waters into the comparatively shallow Lake Erie. The Niagara (Ni-ag'a-ra) River, with its rapids and Falls, connects Lake Erie and Lake Ontario (On-ta’-ri-o), the last and smallest of these lakes.

10. Onward to Montreal (Mon-tre-all') the river widens into several smaller lakes, with rapids between them; thence to the sea it is known as the St. Lawrence. The lower course from Quebec is broad and deep, widening into an estuary which at Point Gaspé is 50 miles across. The total length of waters from the source of the St. Louis to the Gulf of St. Lawrence is 2200 miles.

« AnteriorContinuar »