Thelon: A River Sanctuary by David F. Pelly

By David F. Pelly

David Pelly tells the Thelon's tale, exploring the secret of Man's dating with this unique position within the center of Canada's gigantic Arctic barrenlands. From Thanadelthur and Telaruk to J.W. Tyrrell, John Hornby and Eric Morse, the heritage is unique, whole and interesting. The Thelon is the atmosphere for a compelling Canadian event story -- with all its drama, intrigue, pleasure and tragedy. however the author is going past that to think about the importance of the Thelon wasteland, and to check its doubtful future."It is the richness of human event, layered on best of the normal splendour of the river valley and its natural world, that truly units the Thelon aside. where has a background, either local and non-Native, which supplies it status past the intrinsic price of desolate tract itself."David Pelly writes as one that has been there many times. He is familiar with the Thelon from own event. As a contract author for twenty years, he has travelled many elements of the Arctic, yet claims that "nowhere attracts me again extra powerfully than the Thelon."

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And the dogs pulled up short, right in front of the Hudson's Bay Company trading post in Fort Resolution, the northernmost outpost of civilization. A small cluster of men gathered about the trader, local Indians and other trappers who had been working traplines to the south of Great Slave for some years now. The new arrival, his grizzled face unshaved and wind-burned, looked round the circle and recognized the others, all of whom he had seen seven or eight months earlier at this same post. Since then, he had seen not another single human being.

It was, to date, the longest and most difficult patrol in Mounted Police history. That it was later overshadowed bv others, most often because of their tragic outcomes, is really only a measure of the efficiency and competence with which Pelletier conducted his assignment. The actual trip was uneventful, although it is noteworthy that they saw only three musk-oxen along the entire river. Not until the entrance to Beverly Lake did they meet any other people on the river. Pelletier's journal documents this encounter with the most inland of all the Inuit.

Every spring thereafter they brought their accumulated furs out to Snowdrift to trade. The cycle began in the autumn, before freeze-up. The trapper, alone or with a single partner, assembled his outfit. Every item was essential, nothing surplus, for everything had to be carried. The lot — traps, staple foods, pots and pans, tents, rifles, ammunition, fish nets, dog harness, sled and dogs — was loaded into a canoe. " To survive, the trapper needed to find two things: caribou and wood. The strategy was straightforward enough, but far from simple: find a wooded patch sufficient to build a log cabin, cut enough firewood to last the winter, and be ready when the caribou migration came through sometime in October.

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