The Muckle boys–Cal, son, Bob, grandson, Erik, and nephew, Stewart–are now back in the “far” east endeavouring to concentrate on earning a living without digressing in memory to the fantastic days spent in the land of their forefathers amid the Historic Boundary Waterway, between June 28 and July 14.
I thought I knew the wonders of the district, its lands and waters and people, but it takes the return to actually make it believable. My family has been fortunate to travel to many parts of this land but let it be known we have three more converts. I know you will see them again!
We cruised almost all points I could remember and find of Rainy Lake around the compass. Anchoring off or in rivers, noting where log dams have become steel and concrete for better water level control. Sighting wildlife at many points.
Time being of the essence, not enough fishing was done–but Cal with only three casts, one after the other, pulled in three fish. ’Nuff said!
The River: I know now why my parents, Myrtle and Dave, talked about it so fondly. Both had worked on the riverboats of old–the S.S. Kenora and the shallow draft stern wheeler, Aqwinde.
My experience goes back to the early ’30s when Fred Sullivan, Emo merchant, his son, Allan, local Emo barber, and myself canoed from the Fort to Emo–a memory I have retained all these years.
The trip this time was different. The first day, Gord McTaggart drove us via the river road to see all my chosen sites. That was a great experience; seeing the changes, notably our great-grandfather Alex Locking’s homestead, owned these past many years by the Frenches, has disappeared with the growth of Emo.
The First Nations people deserve credit for the development and presentation of their properties.
But the second day, we travelled in two fast boats–one skippered by Gord McTaggart, the other by Dan Bird. It is obvious the McTaggarts had much to do with the excellent markers leading you from point to point and Gord’s navigation was outstanding. Just another instance of the friendliness we found at every turn of this trip.
My feeling is very few of the locals know what a fantastic river they have on their doorstep. The early explorers remarked on its beauty and no wonder. Somehow, more publicity must be produced to bring the people to see it.
As we stepped from our boats at Rainy River, we were presented to a most professional and practical landing that deserves plaudits. As well, the plaques commemorating the Historic Boundary Waterway, and noting the names of the ones responsible, were visible for all to see.
Saying goodbye to Gord and Hugh McTaggart and the rest at Rainy, we headed for Morson and the third section of our venture.
Once again; how many of our locals know the wonders of Lake of the Woods. It’s bigger, wider, longer–it’s just everything that most people never get to see.
As with Rainy Lake, we went to all shores and my designated points: Nestor Falls, Sioux Narrows, French Portage, Main Channel–Massacre Island, and Kenora, where we rented a car and journeyed to our old camp at Ingolf, again seeing changes over a period of 40 odd years.
I must not forget to thank relatives and friends who took time to visit with us at the reception Thursday, July 5 at the Rainy Lake Hotel (Windsor Room), and thank Harry Vandetti for his great coverage in his “Just Passing By” column.
Harry, I can hear the music coming from that new pavilion we will build. I can feel the hot sun on my bare feet as we walk the old boardwalk. I can even see Carl and Eddie Domanski lugging in the five-gallon ice cream containers they so readily supplied on celebration days.
The memories are so real! Why can’t we relive those good old days? When we were all so young.
Adieu, kind friends. I accomplished my purpose in exposing the family to the people and the country my ancestors settled and that I had the personal good fortune to grow up in. I know we will meet again.
Cal Muckle and