My brother, Alphonse, was working with me at Prince George at this time and we discussed the trip to the Peace River Country. After due consideration, and as we both wanted land, we decided that we would make the trip.
At Prince George we bought a 20-foot long flat-bottomed boat, a towrope and also some groceries. On August 11, 1914 we had our boat towed by the gasoline launch “Viper” to Giscome Portage. At this stage of the journey we hired a team to transport our boat to Summit Lake.
From Summit Lake our itinerary was the Crooked River, Kerry Lake, Lake McLeod, the Parsnip River and the Peace to Rolla Landing. The Crooked River was very shallow. It resembled a large ditch and we had to pole our boat down it. We soon reached Kerry Lake and crossed it. At Fort McLeod we made a stopover to get more provisions. Here we got information from the Hudson’s Bay Company factor about the rapids on ahead — namely the Finlay and the Parle Pas.
When we arrived at the Finlay Rapids we navigated them by towing the boat from shore. The Peace was quite low at this point. One of us, from shore, lined the boat and the other, with a long pole, kept it off the rocks. The same procedure was repeated when we reached the Parle Pas. In these two instances all provisions were taken out of the boat and packed across. Before crossing the Parle Pas we met a skiff with experienced river-men who knew the river well. They went over the rapids but we dared not follow. At the Parle Pas one stays on the left side of the river.
A sign approximately one-half mile above the Hudson’s Hope Canyon warned us of danger ahead. At this stage a teamster, Mr. Gething, hauled our boat and provisions around these rough waters [the Peace River Canyon]. Now there were no more rapids to cross and we went down the Peace, without further incident, to Rolla Landing. Consequently, we hit a few rocks here and there but there were no accidents. The Peace in August 1914, was a shallow and very slow-moving stream and many sandbars were showing.
Arriving at Rolla Landing we saw men fighting a grass and bush fire. One of these men was Jim Cameron. We landed here on August 22. It had taken us 11 days to make the trip. Fortunately, the weather on the journey had been warm and dry.
Leaving Rolla Landing on foot the first place we stopped at in the Peace River Country was Pollards’, in the Rolla District. We stayed there overnight. Pollards’ had a calf moose so accustomed to people that it would lie down at the door and we were forced to step over this animal to get into the house. From Pollards’ we reached Millers’ at Rolla the following day. The next day we arrived at Tremblays’ at 10 o’clock in the evening.
In the fall of 1914 we built a small log-shack on my brother’s place, so that we could have a place to come back to in the spring of 1915.
On the last day of September we went to Grande Prairie with Mr. Tremblay and Mr. Herman Trelle. All that fall the weather kept warm and dry. From Grande Prairie we went to Edson, Alberta, a distance of 240 miles. We walked all the way. We carried provisions for half that distance. We packed blankets on our backs all the way. Halfway we could get goods at stopping places along the route. From Edson we went by train to Prince George.
At Prince George we bought a scow and chartered trade goods for Quesnel merchants. On this trip a man who knew the Fraser well went down with us from Prince George to Quesnel. On arriving at Quesnel in November 1914, we landed and our trip was over until March 1, 1915. From November 1914, to March 1, 1915, I cooked for the P.G.E. Railway (Pacific Great Eastern Railway) which was under construction at this time.
In March 1915, my brother Alphonse and I walked back about 80 miles from Quesnel to Prince George packing our “grub” and blankets. We went back to Edmonton by train and then reached the end of steel at McLennan, Alberta. From McLennan we walked back to Tremblays at Pouce Coupe, BC.
Thus, in the spring of 1915 we were back on the homestead to begin pioneer life anew.