Rounding one of thousand bends in a never-ending parade of rivers leading forever east, you see this.
For months I have only seen flat forest floors, marsh, and riverbank. Shallow, mostly gently sloping, riverbank.
And suddenly this. Mt. Mckay. The Ojibwe named it Anemki-wauche ‘The place where the Thunderbird lands’.
it is an unexpected, utterly unmistakeable, and very sudden land mark announcing, like thunder, that you are home. Home in this case being Fort William.
The pace of my paddling picks up. My breath shortens, my strokes shorter, more urgent. After so many months, after so many miles, this is the home stretch. The last two bends in the river before family, long since seen friends, and soon to be new ones.
Here, around the next bend, is Rendezvous and the Great Hall. Here is Fort William, the heart and soul of the NWC and where a very large part of Canada’s history was written.
Here am I. Against the odds and perhaps better judgement, am I.