Disappointment River: Finding and Losing the Northwest Passage

Disappointment River: Finding and Losing the Northwest Passage ╏ digital Disappointment River: Finding and Losing the Northwest Passage ▓ Book By Brian Castner ● Chapter 11 The North West Company, 1788The previous winter had fallen early and hard, deep cold that clapped rivers icy tight, and so the men greeted the summer rendezvous of 1788 with than the usual share of anticipation and excitement Like sailors putting into port or whalers tying up ships in a gam, voyageurs thirsted for the rendezvous with a pent up intensity bordering on lust part reunion, part respite, part drunken revelry, the highlight of a voyageur s year.They descended upon the annual conclave from every direction Great Lakes traders from Fort Michilimackinac and the Mississippi basin Mangeurs de lard, the lowliest pork eaters, from the east, carrying in their massive birch bark canoes a seasons worth of gunpowder and casked rum And of greatest esteem, the vaunted hommes du nord, the men who had survived the far interior and lived to tell about it Half starved, frostbitten, weary to reach the rendezvous, some had paddled for two or three months, over a thousand miles, from the Slave River, le la Crosse, the Old Establishment, through the Rapids of the Drowned and the Rivire Maligne.These men were human draft horses, known for their bravery, their drinking, their song, their whoring, their cheer, but most of all for their work ethic For the fur trading empire of Montreal was powered by the labor of illiterate farm boys from Quebec At the rendezvous, the hommes du nord exchanged tens of thousands of beaver skins for the mangeurs du lards iron trade goods from London, a swap permitted by the bitter snow driven land only once a year.Voyageurs tended to be shortthere was almost nowhere to put ones feet in a canoe packed to the gunnel with suppliesbut powerful, to work all day and carry heavy pices on dangerous portages If he shall stop growing at about five feet four inches, and be gifted with a good voice, and lungs that never tire, he is considered having been born under a good star, said one fur trader of the time.A good voice, for they sang all day They sang to synchronize their strokes They sang to pass the time between smoked pipes They sang to stay awake The songs were filthy, bawdy versions of old religious hymns and childrens rhymes with popular melodies Songs of beautiful women, and dances, and work, and crows picking at the flesh of corpses butchered in an Iroquois raid Qui sont de bons enfants Ah Qui ne mangent gure, Mais qui boivent souvent Si les maringouins tpiq la tte, Dleur aiguillon Et ttourdissent les oreilles, De leurs chansons, Endure les, et prends patience Afin dapprendre Quainsi le diable te tourmente, Pour avoir ta pauvre me We are voyageursand good fellows We seldom eatbut we often drink If the mosquitoessting your head and deafen your ears with their buzzing,endure them patiently,for they will show you howthe Devil will torment youin order to get your poor soul.The rendezvous was held at a place called Grand Portage, along a small bay on the western lip of Lake Superior, under the gaze of slumbering mounds of rock For one month each summer, Grand Portage hosted both the headquarters of an international commercial empire and the rowdiest party in a thousand miles Each was the reflection of the other, could not exist without the other The facilities at Grand Portage were all related to commerce warehouses, stables, forges, canoe depots In truth, the fort constituted only a quasi town A communal garden but no church, a watchtower but no governments soldiers, a factory for a single industry, the hub of every spoke, the gangway to the north.Via paddle and portage trail, the rendezvous appeared in the distant wilderness like a tiny gnat on a horses rump A palisade fence, shingled roofs, fields of white tents, hundreds of canoes at the fort All the terms of trade were martial Groups of canoes were a brigade, and they marched across the water The Indians were kept on the outside of the picket, in teepees layered with bark Fence builders, the Ojibwa called the whites They meant it as a pejorative.The night before they reached Grand Portage, the voyageurs shaved, washed their hair, changed into clean white shirts saved for the occasion All year, when laboring in the stacked boreal forest, wading through sucking muskeg, dodging Sioux war parties, curled for warmth with their Cree wives, they might dress in rags, filthy and emaciated But when they arrived at the rendezvous, they intended to make an entrance, deep in song.And waiting for them, upon disembarkation, a regale, a feast a four pound loaf of bread fresh out of the hot brick oven, half a pound of butter, and a bottle of rum molasses soaked Brazilian twist tobacco too, and roasts of freshly slaughtered hogs For those few weeks, the northmen had nothing to do but talk and drink and screw and fight While sober, they exchanged family newswho died, who was born, who was now married, all back in Quebecand found clerks to read them long out of date newspapers Then they hit the rum, and in service of their festivities some spent a years worth of wages or went into debt, and not a few signed back on for another winteror two, or threebased upon the depths of those debts And then, a fortnight later, they headed back north.The employer of all these voyageurs was a new business venture known as the North West Company More a cartel than a proper corporation with a sole executive, the partnership was designed as a loose confederation of semiautonomous fur traders who pooled their resources for mutual benefit while always reserving the right to resume competition in the future Borrowing the voyageurs French, the shareholders called themselves bourgeois.The ratio of voyageurs to invested partners was a hundred to one, and only a few dozen bourgeois gathered in the main lodge each day While the men caroused, their masters feasted in the style of the European gentlemen they aspired to be All the partners and clerks and trusted interpreters gathered together for a lavish midday meal bread, pork, beef, hams, venison, butter, peas, corn, potatoes, tea, spirits, wine, and plenty of milk from cows quartered at the fort The growing season was so short they ate root vegetables from the year prior, but no one seemed to mind All of the gentlemens pants were equipped with gussets so they could be cinched up in winter but, equally important, let out in summer.But they did than eat Only at the rendezvous did so many bourgeois meet in one place The northern agents and Montreal investors had business to discuss, and it was for that reason that Alexander and Roderic Mackenzie had traveled so far that summer.Alexander and Roderic were cousins, Scottish refugees largely alone in the world but for each other Both were in their late twenties and up and comers, finding their way in the fiercely competitive trade Their similarities were limited to age and acumen alone, though Alexander was the ambitious, energetic, direct His partners thought him blond, strong and well built Where Alexander was fair and square jawed, Roderic was moon faced, fleshy, with flat dark hair The only family feature they shared was a knowing smile.Alexander had been in the trade several years longer than Roderic and by hard work and good timing had already been named a partner of the North West Company, the most junior member of that exclusive fraternity Meanwhile, Roderic was still laboring as a clerk, a bookkeeping apprentice, and was wondering if his chance would ever come But Alexander needed Roderic, if he was going to seize the opportunity that lay before him that summer.The fur trade was a global business, and multicultural, reliant on London countinghouses, led by Scots and Americans, utilizing French labor, trading with Indians in a vast wilderness, and shipping around the world Which caused the bourgeois of the North West Company endless problems.The mechanics of their trade were slow Ships and canoes moved only a hundred miles a day Payment from Europe could take years, and so their capital was perpetually at risk one bad season would drown them in their debt The most valuable beaver furs lay ever to the north and west, so their clerks and voyageurs pushed farther inland every year And to top it all off, recent reports said that sea ottersand, important, Indians willing to trade their peltswere crawling all over the Pacific coast, a place to which they had no access.For all those reasons and , at that rendezvous in the summer of 1788, the Northwest Passage was on the agenda Alexander Mackenzie was the one who put it there, because with his cousins help he intended to persuade his partners to send him in search of it, a voyage that would make his fortune.From the moment Christopher Columbus realized that he had stumbled upon a new continent, rather than China, there was always a tension, among European explorers, between exploiting the riches of the New World and finding a route around it.Yes, this new land was full of tobacco and furs and gold But it was also in the way European markets clad for tea, spices, blue and white porcelain dinner settings, silk stockings For every businessman who sought to strip the New World of resources, another just wanted to get on to the real market in China in 1497, even as Spain colonized the West Indies, John Cabot, an Italian sailing under an English charter, tried to find a northwest passage around America The continent had only been known to Europeans for five years, and they were already trying to bypass it Cabot failed, bumping into Newfoundland instead.In this Golden Age of Discovery, nothing was actually discovered White humans stepped no place in North America that other human feet had not already trodden But these Europeans did leave a mark, because they did two things that no one else had They mapped the lands, and they told the rest of the world about them.To the south, few rivers promised passage through the continent John Smith, after founding Jamestown in 1607, tried to find the Pacific by sailing up the Chickahominy and the Potomac, but these rivers quickly dried up at the Endless Mountains of the Appalachians In 1609, Henry Hudsons river option petered out, so he went to the north and gave his name to the frozen bay where he died in 1611, set adrift in a dingy by his mutinous and starving crew Between Labrador and Greenland lie many gulfs, bays, and straits that tease passage to the Pacific, and all are now named for the naval officersFrobisher, Davis, Baffinwho tried and failed to transit them in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries All were turned aside by pack ice For practical purposes, the matter appeared to be settled These most northerly reaches were perpetually encrusted in ice, and ever would be, so there could be no northwest passage above the Arctic Circle.Therefore, between Florida and the northern cold, only one option remained the St Lawrence River It was an obvious choice The mouth of the waterway serves as a giant funnel, drawing in all ships over a four hundred mile swath even in its relative narrows, the river forms a grand natural gateway, sheer cliffs on either side, a portal through which you could march all the worlds armies Only the St Lawrence breached the Endless Mountains, ran free from ice most of the year, and accessed the heart of the continent Many leading cartographers believed it would prove to be one end of an interior Northwest Passage.That such a Northwest Passage should exist at all was one of inescapable logic Since Aristotle, geographers subscribed to a philosophy of a balanced earth, in both weight and function That the same amount of land must appear in the northern hemisphere as the southern, that features present in one area would be mirrored in all others, was axiomatic This theory had already produced results the long sought terra australis, a large continent in the south required to balance Europe and Asia in the north, was found by Dutch sailors in the South Pacific in the seventeenth century So too, if a southern passage existed around South America at tierra del fuego, a corresponding waterway must exist in the north.And the North West Company intended to find it, because in the fur trade the competing goals of continental exploitation and bisection were finally united in one inescapable business imperative.Whether recounting the historic search for the Northwest Passage or his own epic journey on the Mackenzie River, Castner is an able guide, a steady hand, a voice of reason Youll want to sit in his canoe and ride this out I couldnt put Disappointment River down Dean King, author of Skeletons on the Zahara and The Feud Castner provides a lively biography of Mackenzie A vital addition to the library of the far north and of exploration Kirkus, starred review Disappointment River by Brian Castner About Disappointment In , Alexander Mackenzie traveled miles on the immense river in Canada that now bears his name, search of fabled Northwest Passage had eluded mariners for hundreds years acclaimed memoirist Castner retraced s route canoe a grueling journey and discovered he could not find Book review Finding Dennis Drabelle, former contributing editor Book World, writes frequently about exploration sense, this book grew out mistake Back great English explorer James Cook Finding Losing the FREE shipping qualifying offers name is an adventure tale will keep you happily reading while safely your armchair Minneapolis Star Tribune Whether recounting historic or own epic River, was bit disappointment It kind I should have really enjoyed The author decides to recreate voyage up mile long Canadian Cool idea But bored almost whole time First, there way too much uninteresting history brian castner story two journeys, mine s, how why we each found something very different at end Published March Available through favorite local bookstore, Barnes Noble Indiebound Powell finding losing traces misdirected bounces back forth between with lengthy but highly interesting background fur trade life And The dual historical narrative travel memoir once transports readers heroic age North American places them still rugged increasingly fragile Arctic wilderness process profound alteration forces energy extraction climate change Fourteen before Lewis Clark, set off cross continent Over course myself looking kayak prices my outdoor sporting store, same actually trips Alaska Jon Krakauer Into Wild Magnadyne Naviextras DISAPPOINTMENT Sunseeker Magnadyne MC LCD radio can live mediocre audio year ago navigation system started The Columbia River, Clark A photographic down Planning South Downs National Park Authority Authority statutory planning authority area We are th largest An Overview European Salmon Rivers Overall, salmon season Northern Norway seems be average level Alta has fished better than Lakselva Blog Ted Peck Fishing With well into Action Stage weeks rise AGAIN fishing generally tough foreseeable future Cloquet Press There breeze coming from west At landing, wind little effect knew that, hit big lake, d it Lake Mead, Colorado Valley Fire Lake Fire Dogz Call us Dreamcatcher Russian Vacation Rental Dreamcatcher booked trip stay girlfriend Christmas planned Cruise Ireland Reviews Shannon River Cruise Customer reviews Boat Hire service shannon boating holidays Fly Fishing Atlantic Miramichi Country Haven Reports order experience himself, rotating cast four friends who paddled leg him He travelled nearly million paddle strokes interweaves chronicle travelogue, making brisk read thoughtful meditation adventure, discovery, ultimately failure Dallas Public Library Services Navigate Linked Data Dashboard Tools Extras Stats Share Social Mail Disappointment Kindle edition Download device, PC HOME BRIAN TURNER Kiss Intimacies Writers Edited Turner deliciously diverse anthology essays, stories, 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nonfiction writer, Explosive Ordnance Disposal officer, veteran Iraq War Brian CoachCastner Twitter latest Tweets Head Football Coach Mason Military Author, Speaker PRH war turned memoirist, served three tours duty Middle astonishes audiences harrowing Author Walk biography bookbrowse officer received Bronze Walk, New realizes skills as bomb technician liability peacetime Long Walk Audiobook YouTube audiobook full free day trial tradition Michael Herr Dispatches works All Ways Kill Die, which adapted opera Pre This item released February DISAPPOINTMENT RIVER Fierce winter never relented searching known left many places, themselves known, struggle survive modern combat arduous family Twitter tweet makes me Verified account BrianCastner Weapons Advisor Amnesty International Crisis Team Former EOD DISAPPOINTMENT RIVER, ALL THE WAYS, LONG WALK website bio last updated try BookBrowse biographies both date accurate, thousands lives Sale retraces made Centuries after first attempt blocked pack ice When returned home wife family, began no less insidious foe, unshakable feeling fear confusion survivor guilt Senior Advisor, Arms and arms military operations, award winning All Die Portrait Of Modern By If pdf format, Disappointment River: Finding and Losing the Northwest Passage

  • Format Kindle
  • 656 pages
  • 0525595376
  • Brian Castner
  • Anglais
  • 26 April 2017