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Ten Thousand Miles Through Canada
Chapter IV

Algonquin National Park—Simcoe Lake—Barrie—Muskoka Lake—The Great Forest—Primeval conditions—Cache Lake— The hand of the spoiler—Conservators’ report—Animal life— Trout fishing on Cranberry Lake—Scientific and unscientific angling—Camping out—The Indian canoe—The Corkscrew River—My guide—Beavers’ dams—The beaver’s house— Co-operative labour—The romance of a monogamist—Canoe Lake — The Thunderstorm — Fishing Lakes — Down the Muskoka River—Battling with the rapids—Whiskey Falls— Deer and their habits—The Dolly Varden trout—Wet and dry fly fishing—Fresh fish for supper—Lumbering, and injury to trout streams—Befriending drowned-out campers—The howling of wolves—The rush through the forest—A wary quarry.

THE Ontario Government preserves in Algonquin National Park all the primitive conditions of Eastern Canada. En route by the Grand Trunk Railway a low-lying flat suggestive of the Netherlands is traversed, which has probably given its name to the Holland River which waters it. As the journey progresses, it leads to the uplands of Ontario, where natural beauties unfold themselves in great variety. By the time Algonquin Park is reached, a distance of 200 miles from Toronto, the train has climbed to an altitude of over 1500 feet above sea level.

On the journey, Lake Simcoe is touched, a picturesque sheet of water. The town of Barrie on the opposite side can be seen nestling in a red setting of comfortable-looking English villas. It is a popular resort, much frequented by the paterfamilias of large neighbouring towns and cities. Wooded islets are dotted over the lake, yachts expand their white sails in the light breeze, and canoes gracefully glide over water Italian in its blue depths. As the train skirts the lake, sea-gulls rise and whirl out of danger in an agitation that shows them still unreconciled to this encroachment on their solitude. Kempenfeldt Bay, reviving another Dutch memory in name only, comes after Barrie, and is twenty-five miles long. There Muskoka Lake, bathed in all the splendour of the sunset, marks another stage in the Highland journey. A pale-faced girl leaves the train with fresh elasticity in her tread. She has been the victim of typhoid, of which Toronto, magnificent city that it is, is by no means innocent. But Muskoka, with its green pines and lichen-shaded rocks and its air of heaven-distilled purity—the red steals into the livid face at the very sight of it.

It was dark when the train climbed up the last ascent that led to our destination. But the concentrated sound enabled the senses to feel the proximity of the forest. Now and again the loud roar of a cataract could be distinctly heard above the rumble of the cars. The forest covers an area of 1,800,000 acres, intersected with over a thousand lakes and rivers. The sense of vastness which this suggests is overwhelming. It is Canada in its primitive and undisturbed condition. Put down in the midst of Algonquin a line of fifty miles extends in every direction without a break, through primeval forest and lake, except where fire has burned a clearing, a trail has been made, or a tornado ripped a gap. Everything is as it was a thousand years ago; the fish that swim its water; the beaver that constructs its dam; the wild deer that on nimble feet rush through its thickets; the bear that wags his sullen head in ambling gait, and the woodpecker that rings from its majestic pines the weird vibrating note.

Cache lake was our starting point for a canoe trip through the waterway of the forest. In looking across, it seemed land-bound and isolated; but what appeared to be forest, on nearer approach proved to be overlapping islands. The ranger that accompanied me paddled for a certain point, and as the canoe approached, something like an enormous foliage gate threw open its portals, disclosing a second lake lying beyond. In reality Cache is only a link in a chain of lakes, all connected by narrow cuttings and ultimately passing from the forest in rivers like the Muskoka and Madawaska, which glide and leap and brawl until they grow silent in greater rivers or far-off seas. The wealth of beauty into which these waterways lead is probably unsurpassed by anything that Canada possesses in forest scenery. The lakes with their wooded slopes and shapely promontories; the islets clad in green from the pale shade of the birch to the deep tint of the pine and balsam; and the restfulness of it all, a broad expanse of water, ruffled only with the gentle breeze that4 chases rippling waves along its banks, and makes panpipe music amongst its reeds and rushes.

In one particular only can the hand of the spoiler be traced out in the primeval forest. The narrow watercourses that connect the lakes have a margin of dead trees, that present a melancholy contrast to the exuberant floral life that lies behind them. How came this touch of death, this blight of forest, as if some pestilential breath had swept these water avenues? The answer is found in a too wanton commercialism, caused by the lumbering industry. Great dams have been erected in the rivers that drain Algonquin Park. Their object is to hold up the stream until the time comes for floating down the huge log rafts. This pent-up water floods the margin of the forest; the trees are literally drowned, and stand dismantled of every vestige of foliage. This is only one effect of lumbering; there is another which the traveller does not appreciate until he passes through the Rocky Mountains, or explores Vancouver Park. There the magnificent

Douglas pines rise in towering height into the blue dome of Heaven, some of the finest specimens of trees in the world’s arboretum. Algonquin Park once held them even as the valley of the Selkirks and the fertile soil on the shores of the Pacific. But the lumber merchant’s axe rang out the death of these giants, and the Ontario Park knows them no more. Canadian foster-parents in their early struggles had to pawn their household effects in the interests of their infant prodigy. That the end justified the means there is probably no question, but the price was a terrible one. In honour to the Government, let it be said that their reports make the admission, and active steps have been taken to remedy the evil as far as possible. A Commission of Conservators was appointed in 1909 to deal with the “Conservation and better utilization of the natural resources of Canada.” The first report, 1910, has been laid before Parliament. In this the question is raised; “ Can our forests be conserved and perpetuated, and can waste lands denuded of forest growth and unsuited for agricultural purposes be re-forested and make a source of value to the State? The question is answered in the affirmative. That the Ontario Government is alive to the situation is shown in the steps it has just taken. The rights of a large lumber company were purchased last year at a cost of £58,000. The importance of the transaction will be understood, when it is added that the company in question had rights of felling timber in Algonquin Park which covered an area of 350 square miles, as well as working mills and iron logging railways connected with the industry.

Algonquin Forest has other resources. It abounds in animal life, and its rivers and lakes hold coarse and game fish in considerable number. All hunting—to use the Canadian equivalent for shooting in England—is prohibited within the precincts of the Park, but angling under proper regulations is permitted. As the pursuit of the gentle craft was one of the primary objects of my visit, I am dealing fully with the subject.

Cranberry Lake was the first we fished, which only entailed a short portage. A well-defined bridle path through the forest, led to it. A clearing at one place brought us up to our waists in a bed of wild raspberry canes, laden with ripe fruit. A peculiarity of the forest is the remarkable phenomenon that wherever a clearing is made, raspberries spring up. Be it the effect of fire or axe, the result is the same. We had only to extend our hands, without stopping, to gather sufficient for our needs, and the quality, like most of the wild fruit of the Dominion, was excellent.

Cranberry Lake derives its name from the berries that once flourished there. The plants have of recent years been destroyed by the beavers. These rodents, which include all succulent roots in their daily fare, have multiplied enormously in the park, and the water lilies and other lake flora have suffered in consequence. The lake is a gem, with rising slopes of forest in the background; and although it was only August, precocious sugar-maple trees had blazed into red here and there and anticipated the glories of the Canadian autumn.

We procured bait for our fishing expedition, close in shore, where minnows and perch fry swarmed. The trout in the lake are the grey species, which during the hot weather take to the deep water and can only be caught by trolling or still fishing from an anchored boat. I used a trolling rod and reel with a silk line and gut trace. Towards the centre of the lake the water is deepest, and as we fished up and down it was satisfactory to have the calm placidity of the surface agitated by the struggles of a trout now and then, that had seized the bait and paid the penalty by becoming fast hooked. I eschewed heavy sinkers, and the movements of the fish were not unduly hampered.

The common method of catching them, judging by what I saw, is by means of a solid copper wire, which does not give the fish a chance of making a fair fight, and from a scientific angling point of view, I think, ought to be regarded as a reprehensible form of tackle. The wire in question is usually 100 yards long, and although thin, possesses considerable rigidity. A silk or hemp line yields to every movement of a fish, and the issue lies between strength on the one hand and art on the other. A copper line is a dead weight against which it is impossible for a trout to contend with any dash and spirit. The plea is that the fish lie deep, and heavy tackle must be used to reach them. The answer is obvious. A sinker can be attached to a silk line which will carry the bait to any depth. The effect on the future of angling is bound up with this question. A copper wire is very conspicuous in the water, and although it may suit its purpose at first, it will in time scare the fish and drive them into cover. Silk lines are dyed water-colour, and therefore less noticeable. It is a well-established fact in connexion with English rivers, that trout in process of time become educated and fight shy of old devices, so that new methods must be employed to be a match for the wary denizens of the stream.

The fish I hooked played remarkably well, and although I caught no monsters, two and three pounders give excellent play, and draw as much music from the reel as fish in Irish loughs. There were two other anglers out that afternoon who fished in their own fashion, but returned with empty creels. That I had fared differently was probably the usual luck of angling, although I am disposed to think that the method I adopted had something to do with it. There is no skill in trolling, so that personal merit does not count. They anchored their boat and bottom-fished all the time. Trolling covers more ground and increase the chances of sport.

To enjoy the real delights of Algonquin Park it is advisable to plan a camping-out expedition. I took the earliest opportunity of arranging one. I was fortunate in securing as a guide one of the official rangers, an excellent man, well acquainted with the forest. We had a complete outfit and ample provision for a week’s journey. Fish could be caught on the way, but tinned meats had to do duty for game and venison, as shooting was not permitted. The canoe was of the orthodox birch-bark make, built by an Ojibwa Indian, and was a model of cunning workmanship. Its defects lay in its weight, the guide estimating it at 100 lb., but the ease with which he swung it over his head and at the same time carried a heavy pack strapped to his forehead, showed that of things’ avoirdupois he made trifles.

Late in the afternoon we started by a Grand Trunk train, and after half an hour’s journey arrived at a desolate station, which seemed to have no connexion with anything but the solitary forest. There we embarked on the Corkscrew River, en route for the northern chain of lakes. As the canoe silently, save for the soft splash of the paddle, glided along the narrow stream, I learnt something of my guide’s history. It was the outcome of my question: “Where did you get all those feet and inches from,


Mark?” He was about 6 ft. 2 in., with shoulders in proportion, and all the fat that such a superficial area might claim transmuted into solid muscle. He had inherited a farm as a youth, and with it incipient consumption. The damp, low-lying soil threatening to claim him for its own, he applied for the post of ranger. During the early days of service he had scarcely sufficient strength to cover the tramp through the forest that was assigned him. His companions, in true camaraderie spirit, divided up his share of baggage between them, and slowly but surely the new recruit throve and grew until he became a son of Anak. The forest became to him the very breath of life. He revelled in its sights and sounds. A man of liberal education and quick wit, he mastered most of its branches of natural history, knew the name of every flower and shrub, and the ways and haunts of its wild denizens.

If these lines are ever scanned by him, let them be the assurance of my sense of indebtedness for the delightful days we spent together. Mark, I am with you again, shooting the Muskoka rapids, leaping on to the ledge of rock and holding the canoe that you feared was ripped on the shallows. I watch your face as you narrate many a thrilling adventure. I see you turning out and lying on the hard ground to give shelter to the two drenched tourists swamped in their camp on the night of the terrific thunderstorm. I call to mind our last words, our final hand-grip, that my fingers would not allow me to forget readily . . . and other things that had upon them the milling and stamping of nature’s gentleman. Believe me, they are not forgotten.

The Corkscrew River, through which we paddled, by no means belied its name. There were so many turnings that every mile must have been doubled. In places where it overflowed the meadows, Mark would direct the canoe to another bend of the river, which would have taken twenty minutes to reach by the direct course. These overflows were invariably caused by the beavers, which swarmed in the stream. These clever engineers erect dams to hold up the water for their own purpose. For substantiality they were marvellous structures. We had to carry the canoe across them, and had they been constructed by human hands with the same material, they could not have been more firm. Jumping upon them made not the slightest impression. The forest was a good way off the river, and the felling and drawing of timber must have entailed much labour. Some of the wood consisted of good-sized trees. The beavers’ capacity for this kind of work is phenomenal. We saw trees 19I inches in diameter, which had been felled by their sharp incisors. The males are said to be the hewers of wood, and the females the builders. The labour is conducted on co-operative principles. Just above the dam we found their house on the bank. It consisted of brambles daubed over with mud so closely that it was rainproof. A small opening was made in the roof for purposes of ventilation. The domicile was solid all round, with the exception of the ventilation shaft, so that the entrance had to be effected from the river. Callers could therefore only gain access by diving.

In this house the beaver and their young take up their abode. Monogamy is the recognized principle of domestic life. In the case of the death of the female the male is said to espouse perpetual widower-hood. It is not quite clear whether, in the reverse circumstance, the wife reciprocates this touching example of conjugal devotion.

The beaver is well fitted to his environment. Being amphibious, his feet are adapted both for swimming and carrying. The hind toes are webbed, the fore toes divided. There is a double claw on each of the second toes of the hind feet, which aids the animal in dragging the timber to the river. In addition to what is used in construction, a plentiful store of branches is laid up for winter food. When berries and roots are not procurable the beaver lives on bark. They begin to lay in the stock in the early autumn. We noticed high banks denuded of every bit of vegetation and deeply scored by the branches that in a single night had been felled and dragged into the river. The wood was floating near the bank, arranged in an orderly fashion, so that it could not be carried away by the current, The beaver stores birch, poplar, hard and soft maple, black ash, cherry, hazel, and white pine. As a rule there is only a small quantity of cedar and pine stored, although it is the most plentiful of all Canadian woods. The Indians say that the latter contain medicinal properties, and the bark is only used “as occasion may require.”

We surprised several beavers in the rivers and lakes. They are quick to take the alarm and dive, swimming thirty or forty yards before showing themselves again. Like all animals, they have their own way of warning their companions and putting them on the qui vive. In the act of diving they strike their tails against the water, which makes a ringing sound that can be heard hundreds of yards away. Their broad flat tails are eminently fitted for the purpose, and the force of the stroke shows great muscular power. As a comestible this appendage of the beaver ranks high in the estimation of the epicure.

The evening shadows were falling on Canoe Lake when we left the river. The day had been hot, and a thunderstorm was brewing. Mark, apprehensive of discomfort, plied the paddle with renewed vigour, making the canoe shoot rapidly through the water. On the western margin the dark pines made fantastic shadows, and the islets in the centre of the lake repeated themselves in inverted forms in its clear depth. The shelter of a hut awaited us on the lake shore, equipped with all needful camping utensils. A pile of logs lay ready for use, which had been chopped by the last occupant of the shelter, a rule strictly observed amongst the rangers. A man, wet to the skin, and weary after a long march through the forest, perhaps with the weight of a deer on his shoulder, beaches his canoe on the lonely shore. In the cheery blaze of the logs ready to hand, he can at least trace out some sense of human companionship and forethought.

In the small hours of the night I was awaked by the noise of something like the march of a distant army. The contrast with the absolute stillness that preceded it must have aroused me. I had been lying awake for some time obsessed with the silence. The forest was mute, no wave of the lake lapped the shore, nothing but the weird screech of the night hawk as it snapped at the flies in its zigzag flight, could be heard. I kept listening for its return as it took in our resting place in its round at irregular intervals . . . then I fell asleep, to be roused into heart-beating wakefulness. The march had commenced; far off it began, then drew nearer across the tree tops, evoking the deep resonance of the pines, and fell with a crash on the lake, an awful storm ! How much was rain, and how much thunder I could not say, the two streams seemed to meet and mingle, supplementing each other, negativing each other. A flash that lit up the open doorway of our shelter in a yellow framework followed. I saw in it the green of the distant islets, and the glint of the barrel of Mark’s revolver that lay close to hand; then the flood-gates of Heaven were opened, and it rained as I have never known it rain. Mark turned over and murmured. “God help the poor traveller!” to which I added a heartfelt “Amen.”

The morning broke sullenly, the blue sky was gone, and showers fell at intervals. We started off in macintoshes for a twenty-mile paddle across Canoe Lake, through South Tea Lake and on to Muskoka, I trolled with minnow and natural bait, but did not succeed in getting any trout.

Canoe Lake fishes well during the early part of the season. It yielded one angler a 14-lb. trout, a month before my arrival. These big fish come on the feed in fits and starts. They lie up for several days after gorging. It is when they go on the prowl again that the angler’s lure proves so deadly. Canoe Lake and Tea Lake are the highway of the lumbering traffic, and the fish are disturbed a good deal. Unless off the beaten track, one is not likely to find them.

In the immediate neighbourhood there are small lakes which hold good trout. Of these Drummon and Cache deserve particular mention. They are not so much fished, being out of the way, and entailing portage across the forest. A portage has its inconvenience and delays, but an hour’s sport on some water is worth a day on others. Guides, for an obvious reason, do not say much about these places difficult of access, but it is advisable to explore them even at the cost of extra help. Canada is every year becoming more and more the playground of the American tourist, and the most accessible rivers and lakes are being rapidly used up.

We reached the mouth of the Muskoka River in the afternoon, where a lumber dam has been erected. There the most interesting and exciting part of our canoe trip commenced. From the lake the river courses down an inclined plane, reaches are traversed where the water flows in unbroken current, but all along the course sudden descents intervene, and the roar of the Muskoka is heard far off. The rapids in such places are not without danger to the canoe. Sharp ledges of rock protrude, which any moment may pierce the thin layer of bark, the only barrier between it and the water.

Mark paddled with consummate skill, and the canoe sped over the seething flood, sinking into the maelstrom of cross currents, each seeking to draw it its own way. Rocking, swaying, plunging in turn, it seemed to hold a charmed life. At incredible speed it bounded over a miniature fall; below it a ledge of rock shot out in menace, and one held his breath in momentary expectation of catastrophe. The prow of the canoe, as if under magnetic influence, seemed to be drawing straight for it, but in response to a touch of the paddle it glided by, and something like a smothered curse of baffled rage gurgled in the throat of the disappointed water fiend.

It is this sensitiveness to the paddle that makes the canoe such a safe craft. An ironclad requires three-fourths of a mile to turn, and the more a boat draws the slower is the response to oar or helm. The canoe floats light as a swan, and a touch swerves it to one side or another. As long as it is paddled clear of rocks and shallows, it is safe as an ocean liner.

Reclining with extended legs, the craft holds its occupants in a close embrace. In places we came to unexpected gravel shallows, over which the bark shot at high speed. A grating sensation followed, which swept down the legs and up the spine. At such moments Mark jumped on to a ledge of rock or into the water and pulled up in apprehension of a leakage. The delicate bark, although very thin, is exceedingly tough, and when we came to beach the canoe scarcely a scratch showed on the bottom.

The river glides by leafy banks, and the rapids accentuate their clamour against a sounding-board of thickset forest. Below Whisky Falls, the Muskoka is deeper and smoother. It was at that point that grateful libations to Bacchus were deemed appropriate by the old trappers,

The wild life that is surprised along the course is delightfully varied. The wood squirrel heralds our approach with a noisy clatter which more closely


resembles a bird call. Unseen, he watches us from his leafy vantage in a sense of blissful security. A musk rat dives in front of the canoe, to appear again beneath the shelter of overhanging bushes. The bark freshly stripped from a tree close to the river, shows where a bear has been recently feeding. There is a sharp turn in the stream, which brings a high bank into view. Over it the head of a magnificent buck with wide-spreading antlers appears. We have time to take in as much of the imposing monarch as the brief interval between two paddle-strokes will permit. A doe drinking from the stream gives us more time to admire its graceful form. The snap of the camera shutter is sufficient to give the alarm, and it bounds into the forest, and in a moment is out of sight.

The red deer of Canada is a noble creature. It was still wearing its summer coat, a bay-red tinge, in keeping with the early autumn colouring. During winter snows it turns to a leaden grey, that aids its survival in the leafless forest. It has full lustrous eyes set in a slim head, surmounted by antlers of posterior and anterior projections. It has a long body and slender legs, the greyhound build that aids it in its rapid flight in the open prairie and through the brushwood.

The charge of cowardice in defence of its young has been recently exploded. Its habit of leaving the doe and fawn to the mercy of the enemy is in consonance with the custom of the mother bird which makes a feint of being wounded and falls on the ground to draw away the intruder from the nest. During the breeding season the doe and fawns have no scent. The buck, on the other hand, retains the pronounced odour by which its enemy tracks it. In company with its mate and young the sensitive ear of the deer is quick to detect danger, and the buck immediately draws off and crosses the track of the enemy, which scents it and goes in pursuit, whilst the mate hides with its young in the thicket.

The speckled trout and Dolly Varden are found in Muskoka River, and unlike the grey species they rise to the fly. So far my artificial stock, which consisted of various patterns, had found no occupation. I mounted a ten-foot cane-built rod, and a gut cast which I judged suitable for rapid water. A small silver doctor and a march brown seemed appropriate to swift currents and circling eddies. The most likely-looking spots were carefully fished, and memories of English chalk streams and Irish spate rivers crowded in as I felt the easy sway of the pliable rod, and watched the flies light with a gentle impact on the stream. It was the first time during my trip that I ventured to apply the scientific method that makes angling such a delightful pastime. The fish gave me time for meditation, and I found myself in imagination battling with a two-pounder on a Hampshire chalk stream and hurrying along as quickly as the encumbrance of waders would permit.

I was on the point of landing the imaginary quarry when a red flash in the golden water of the Indian river brought me back to the realities of things. Simultaneously the reel recoiled with a protesting growl, and the rod arched over my shoulders. I was fast in a well-hooked fish.

This trout was an excellent fighter. Wild as his native stream, he rushed and plunged with all the sense of a captivity that was novel. Here was a curtailment of liberty which seemed to offer him freedom, and mocked him when he essayed to take it. This was maddening, and he wildly threw himself into the air. At length came the last shake of his head in anger and he gave in, curving his broad sides in the landing-net with the characteristic orange spots that differentiate the species.

The Dolly Varden has its rising seasons, during which it feeds ravenously. I happened to stumble on one of these. Mark pulled up the canoe, and I set myself to watch the fish’s movements. Close by the opposite bank one rose two or three times in succession. Would that cunning creation, the floating dry fly, interest him? I wondered. It is little known in Canada, and less used, except on club water.

I mounted another cast, and tied on a Wickham fancy. That that pattern should be selected was a concession to weakness. The silver doctor had proved the killer with the wet fly, and a Wickham was the nearest thing to it in dry entomology. It was an 0 size and unanointed, for like the foolish virgins I had brought no oil with me. I whipped it through the air in the direction of the rising fish, and a couple of casts brought it on the exact drift. With perkily erect wings it floated onward, and the moment it covered the fish it disappeared in an accomplished break, as if the Muskoka trout was an old practitioner in the floating fly business. On tightening up the line, the usual resistance followed, and in due course the fish was creeled. I got five handsome trout and lost two or three more. There were some nice pounders amongst them. Above two pounds weight, they do not seem disposed to patronize the fly.

The lumbering industry has injured many of the Canadian trout streams. The periodical floods caused by the opening of the dams are most injurious to the trout fry, and the great log rafts that are floated down the river scrape the spawning beds and destroy the ova. The buying out of the lumbering interests in Algonquin Park will have a beneficial effect on the angling.

We camped that night in a shelter on the banks of the river. The weather again mended, and the sky cleared. Hungry as hawks, we sat down to our evening meal of trout fried in the ranger fashion, an art in which Mark was an adept. Whilst the light still lingered I watched the beavers in the river, busily scrambling up and down the bank. One of them lashed the water with his tail so palpably that I looked up and down for the cause of the disturbance. Soon I heard the soft dip of a paddle, and a canoe came in sight. It held two campers, wet through from the previous night’s storm. Their canvas tent had been deluged and their blankets and clothes soaked through. They were Americans. With praiseworthy self-denial, Mark vacated his bed in their interests. More fish was fried and the fire repleted with logs. Around it stories were told of Chicago and New York, Rockies and prairies, and much incense was offered to my Lady Nicotine.

I wandered out under the stars and again listened to that mysterious negative, the silence of the forest. The river flowed without a murmur, and thoughts flashed over continent and seas to dear ones far away. For the moment I was no longer in Canada, but by a favourite river and close to a farm homestead. Why, there was the howling of the dogs . . . dogs . . . farm . . . surely . . . “Mark, Mark!” I cried, hastening back to the hut, “what’s that howling?” The ranger came out and listened, “Wolves, sir; ah, the devils!” For in a moment the howling burst into a chorus not a hundred yards beyond the river. Then followed a charge and snapping of twigs and a mad rush through the forest. They were after the deer. We listened to the venomous cry until it died away in the distance, leaving behind the intense silence, and a strange look of disgust on Mark’s good-humoured face.

In the light of the burning logs the ranger told us many a story of the cunning and treachery of that subtle beast of the forest. The advance of civilization into the North-West, and the introduction of the repeating rifle, have cowed the American grey wolf. Previous to their advent there are well-anthenticated cases of travellers and trappers falling a prey to their ferocity. All the instincts of devilry are still there, and it needs only the occasion to stimulate them into activity. The abundance of deer and other animals in Algonquin Park supplies them with ample food, and they keep out of sight as if they were aware that a price was set on their heads. The £3 offered by the Government is, however, rarely earned.

In the winter, hunger, supervening on the scarcity of food, emboldens them, and one or two fall to the rifle. The attempts to trap them are rarely successful, and they are suspicious of the poisoned meat distributed through the forest, and generally eschew it. In the depths of the snow baited spring traps are set /or them, but only on rare occasion are they caught. Mark told us how he had smeared every portion of the ironwork with fat in the hope of deceiving them. Evidence that the bait was noticed was indicated by the tracks all round it, and even the snow was scraped away from the buried chain and the grease licked off. Smooth patches showed where the wolves sat as if in solemn conclave to discuss the risks. Retreating marks equally showed that they were not disposed to take them. They even left their cards as close to the bait as possible, as if past masters in the art of studied insult. Sometimes after taking poison they are said to have the capacity of ejecting the contents of their stomachs. This I imagine is assumed rather than proved, and has for its basis the fact that the poisoned meat is taken away, but the dead wolf is nowhere to be found, although a wide search is made for him.

Wolves are fleet of foot, and can run down deer in the forest. The safety of the latter lies in reaching the lake and taking to the water. The wolf does not care for swimming, and the deer can easily outdistance him. In winter, when the snow is thick and the lakes are frozen, he has the advantage of his prey. His short legs do not sink as deeply in the snow as the slender limbs of the buck or doe. The treachery of the animal is one of its worst phases. Although it rarely makes an open attack on a traveller of recent years, it has been known to pursue him for miles, generally travelling in packs of four or five for this purpose. The ranger going back on his track can trace all the brutes’ movements. Where the man stopped for a few moments, they stopped, then took up the trail again, but never showing themselves. Had faintness or accident overtaken the man, the beasts would have been upon him in a moment. When trapped, they ape docility to a dangerous degree, but if their captor is off his guard a sudden spring at his throat follows.

The grey wolf grows to a height of 28 inches, and is from 4 to 6 ft. long. It weighs 60 to 100 lbs. The next day we travelled by canoe about 16 miles through rivers and lakes, skirting the forest, but we saw no deer. The wolves of the previous night had driven them out of the district.

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