On the 3d, we reached Little Red Elk river, which we began to ascend, quitting the Athabasca, or Great Red Elk. This stream was very narrow in its channel, and obstructed with boulders: we were obliged to take to the shore, while some of the men dragged along the canoes. Their method was to lash poles across, and wading themselves, lift the canoes over the rocks—a laborious and infinitely tedious operation. The march along the banks was not less disagreeable: for we had to traverse points of forest where the fire had passed, and which were filled with fallen trees.
Wallace and I having stopped to quench our thirst at a rill, the rest got in advance of us; and we lost our way in a labyrinth of buffalo tracks which we mistook for the trail, so that we wandered about for three hours before we came up with the party, who began to fear for our safety, and were firing signal-guns to direct us. As the river now grew deeper, we all embarked in the canoes, and about evening overtook our hunters, who had killed a moose and her two calves.
We continued our journey on the 4th, sometimes seated in our canoes, sometimes marching along the river on foot, and encamped in the evening, excessively fatigued.
Red Deer Lake.—Antoine
Nadeau.—Moose River.—Bridge Lake.—Saskatchawine River.—Fort
The 5th of June brought us to the beautiful sheet of water called Red Deer lake, irregular in shape, dotted with islands, and about forty miles in length by thirty in its greatest width. We met, about the middle of it, a small canoe conducted by two young women. They were searching for gulls’ and ducks’ eggs on the islands, this being the season of laying for those aquatics. They told us that their father was not far distant from the place where we met them. In fact, we presently saw him appear in a canoe with his two boys, rounding a little isle. We joined him, and learned that his name was Antoine Dejarlais; that he had been a guide in the service of the Northwest Company, but had left them since 1805. On being made acquainted with our need of provisions, he offered us a great quantity of eggs, and made one of our men embark with his two daughters in their little canoe, to seek some more substantial supplies at his cabin, on the other side of the lake. He himself accompanied us as far as a portage of about twenty-five yards formed at the outlet of the lake by a Beaver dam. Having performed the portage, and passed a small pond or marsh, we encamped to await the return of our man. He arrived the next morning, with Dejarlais, bringing us about fifty pounds of dried venison and from ten to twelve pounds of tallow. We invited our host to breakfast with us: it was the least we could