Pine Island Trading Post
June 4, 2022
Sailing in moderate westerly breezes, we made good progress east. And north, northeast, southeast, south by east, and north by east. Basically every point on the compass save for west. Sailing the constantly meandering river while avoiding sandbars, rocks, and the odd rapid means we are all over the compass all the time and therefore forces to paddle against headwinds no matter the prevailing wind direction.
This day, we hoped to make Pine Island, site of an HBC trading post rumored 18th century weapons cache.
I figured the island in the picture wasn’t it because there was more than one pine. Jan figured I was nit-picking. There’s a decided absence of pines on the prairies and any island covered in one or more pines was going to stand out. Turns out he was right.
The Fort was abandoned by the Company and like so many others during that time, it was burnt to the ground by the departing clerk to prevent its use by anyone else, especially Nor’westers. All that remains are the cellar pits which, if you’re ambitious enough to scour the woods inland some 50 or 60 meters, can still be found.
We camped opposite the island in a well-manicured and beautifully kept spot that stuck out like a sore thumb from the rest of the scrub on the bank. In short-order we were discovered by Jay and who rode up on us on a dirt-bike. His eyes grew to dinner plates when he learned I had come from Vancouver.
Not wanting to trespass, I gavels him a card and asked that he give it to his folks when he finished his rounds. Before I had time to boil water for pasta, Jay’s dad, Bryce arrived to make sure that Jay hadn’t been hallucinating. There really were two guys in canoes headed across the country camping in the river.
We were treated like royalty, offered help of all sorts, and given the run of the place not to mention the hand-delivered ice-cold drinks
. Truly, one of the best things about doing this sort of thing are the people you meet. Jay and Bryce included.