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The Trappers' Village (standard:non fiction, 4555 words)
Author: Steve RemingtonAdded: Sep 23 2003Views/Reads: 2272/2234Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)
A true-life, bittersweet story of two men who lived in the Canadian wilderness for 55 years. The nature of their existence stuns the imagination and defies the norms of "everyday life". ENJOY!!




A remarkable true story of two lives lived in the Canadian wilderness
for 55 years 


Steve Remington © 

With lasting friendship to those who were there - - - 

Jon, Louie, Tim and Bill (in memoriam) 


After twenty-seven years, I have no idea why this small vignette of life
is still so haunting to me. Others that were there at the time were 
clearly not as touched by this experience as I was. I have recalled it 
hundreds of times over the years. I hardly need to look at the photos 
of it because I can recapture every minute detail in my mind. 

My poker club buddies and I had taken a few Canadian fishing trips,
usually for 4-5 days north of Toronto. In the spring of 1976, we 
decided that we were ready for a full wilderness experience and for an 
entire week. We did a lot of planning, confirmed the participants and 
set off via the Trans-Canadian railroad for the ultimate fishing 
adventure at midnight on the last Friday in August. 

The train ride is itself one of the great train trips of the world
spanning 5,000 miles of Canada from the Atlantic Provinces to the 
Pacific Ocean in British Columbia. There are two sections of the train 
at its beginning - - one coming through Montreal from the Maritime 
Provinces and the other commencing in Toronto. They become one train at 
a remote rail station in the town of Capreol, Ontario. The passengers 
amble about the tiny village as the cars of the train are reassembled 
into one enormous set of rolling stock - - - sleeping cars, domed cars, 
dining cars, bar cars, coaches and, in our case, even a private car 
bearing the Minister of Transportation of the Dominion of Canada and 
his family. 

As the train rolls north and west, one begins to absorb the enormity of
the Canadian wilderness. It is a panorama of rolling hills of 
Pre-Cambrian rock, thousands of lakes, forests of evergreen, bucolic 
streams and raging rivers. Civilization disappears with slow but steady 
progression as towns diminish in size and distances between them 
expand. Wildlife proliferates as moose, deer, bear and fox are visible 
from the train. 

The incongruity is relevant. We were aboard a modern miracle, cosseted
in air-conditioned surroundings, linen and silverware at meals, 
utilizing reclining seats and comfortable beds. Outside our windows we 
observed vanishing development and rapidly encroaching emptiness. 

The immensity of the Great North can be considered when one realizes
that we were on the train for 28 hours and were still in Ontario. When 
we debarked at Armstrong in western Ontario, the train was still two 
stops from exiting the province into Manitoba. The telling factor was 
the weather. It was 4AM and it was the last Sunday in August and it was 
lightly snowing! We later learned that it had been in the 90's on the 
previous day. 

At that tiny rail station, which was both the northern terminus of roads
and a tiny settlement, two men from the fishing camp met us. After 
loading our possessions into two trucks, we began a trek down a dirt 
and gravel road for ten miles before loading into a large boat to cross 
a small bay to our camp. When dawn broke, cold and clear, it became 
immediately evident that we were truly in the wilderness. 

The young man managing the camp, which was owned by his father and
uncle, answered questions, gave advice and tips and told us that we 
were on a lake 28 miles long and named Caribou Lake. The only other 

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