Mrs. McLean is 83 and was born at Lac St. Anne. Her father was a Calliou and her native tongue is Cree. Mrs. McLean is not in the best of health now and has failed so much since I saw her about three years ago last. She was a very robust person, hard working and active. She says she likes living in Chetwynd but if she were younger, would like to go out in the bush again. She was well known throughout the area for her hide tanning and the making of moccasins and jackets. Its sad to see her unable to carry on as this is hard work.
Mr. McLean trapped many years south of “Twidwell Bend” on the Sukunka River and also had a guiding area there. He says there were no elk and very few timber wolves in the early years, although plenty of moose and deer.
During his many years guiding he had a great many Americans coming to hunt every fall, even a group of “Mexican” hunters once, and one of his last trips was for a German fellow who was looking for Mountain Goats. This trip was made by truck to the base of the mountain and then a very difficult but successful climb to the top.
When I asked him if he’d had any close calls while hunting bear he smiled and said “yes” but he wasn’t scared as he had his rifle.
Mrs. McLean was asked if she knew Chief Wabi and answered “You mean that white old man who lived alone–never lived with Indians — yes I remember him well, he lived at Bond Siding. They call him Chief because he was a good man. Later he lived at Arras and she thinks he died there.
Mr. and Mrs McLean knew Harry Garbitt as he had worked with Mr. McLean’s father for the Hudson Bay at Sturgeon Lake, Alberta a long time ago. Later Mr. Garbitt hauled mail by team from East Pine to Moberly Lake in early years.
In the early years a cable car was used to cross the Pine River and this was hard work. He remembers one time he crossed and a knot in a rope caught over the cable and he was stalled for awhile. After manipulating the car this way and that way, he finally was able to move again and made the crossing after a great deal of anxiety.
He also remembers his first trip by train across the river at East Pine and the feeling of panic when he looked down at the river below.
The McLeans live in a small but comfortable house in Chetwynd and have many relics & pictures they’ve kept over the years. They seem to enjoy these very much and their children and grand children are close by. Many of the friends they have made over the years live nearby as well. That, plus a few comforts, helps alleviate the hardships of their earlier years.