Tuesday, November 04, 2008


"Ghosts" Of Herod Lake!

The "day in pics" shown below would be our last day at Herod Lake, which we had used as our "Base of Operations" as we shut down Nestor Falls Fly-In Outposts's fishing camps, 2008. As with all the other lakes, McGyver and I volunteered to go "secure" the "portage boats" at the "portage lakes" for the winter. The day was very pleasant, and we headed out right after breakfast. We had two different portages to go to.

We pull away from shore, noticing Dave and Buster beginning the last tasks to secure the cabin at Herod.

Our "float base"!

McGyver and I quickly made the first portage lake, hiked through the bush, and pulled up the boat. The outboard had been returned to the camp earlier by a group of fishermen. Returning to our boat, we decided to navigate up a creek that connects the portage lake to Herod Lake, as we had heard there were "Native Pictographs" on some of the vertical rock shorelines on the portage lake. The paintings were done with a "red ochre-based" paint the Natives invented and used, which has withstood a thousand years of "seasons" and weather "elements", as the paintings were done between 900 AD and 1200 AD. Unbelievable that today, exterior paint might last 5 years before it starts to "deteriorate". Alas, we made it up the creek to the last beaver dam, but due to time constraints, we never crossed, as we also didn't want to get muddy and wet. Disappointment was present, but we headed back "down-creek" in reverse, as we couldn't turn around.

This "broken" dam was easy to "bypass".

We made it, pulling some debris with us.

Back at Herod Lake. We headed for the next portage!

Here it is, and we hiked through the bush, following a "game trail". I can just imagine this rapids after "Spring break-up" when the water is four feet higher.

We secured the portage boat, and headed back to our camp. On the way back, the wind picked up, and my "spidey-sense" started to tingle. 25 years ago I flew this area on floats and skis as a young "Bush Rat", and I used to bring trappers from Little Grand Rapids into this lake. The trapline belonged to William B. Keeper, and still belongs to his family to this day. Our return "track" to our camp would take us close to the trapper cabins, there were two, where I used to take the trappers, so I told McGyver to "deviate", as I wanted to go spend a few minutes at the old site. I knew the cabins would be "returning to the elements", as after the decline of the fur trade, and packaged foods, Pepsi, electric baseboard heaters, and video games "infiltrated" the Reserves, the "trapping infrastructure" suffered deeply. We made the shoreline where I figured we would be close to the original cabin, tied up our boat, and climbed the hill. It was quite overgrown in spots.

"What's that ahead?"

William B. Keeper's cabin, collapsed. A "tinge" of remorse overwhelmed me.

Part of the old chimney pipe still visible........

The old "meat hanging" rack still holding on.........

Check this out. An old "sleigh" used at "first ice" to pull supplies or animals and furs across the glare ice, obviously very compact, as "first ice" can only take so much weight.

"Seating" for William B. and his family, to enjoy the lake and the evening, as this camp had a "western exposure". I can still picture William sitting there, his long grey hair pulled into a pony tail, wearing a baeball cap, telling me about the legendary "Keeper River gold". We then headed to look for the other cabin, which had been built later than the "collapsed" cabin we just viewed.

"Hey, this one is still standing!"

This one is starting to collapse also.........


...... galore!"

We decided to head back to our camp, as we had more work to do, and would be leaving Herod Lake this day and heading to a camp on Larus Lake, 50 miles to the south, as we had two camps there to clean and close down. As we left, I took one more photo that seems to "sum up" the "trapping culture and heritage" of the Native people today........

It was such a great, traditional lifestyle. So sad.........


CHECK OUT - Flying Trappers! 20 Plus Years Ago...

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