The Rapids


The Rapids, April 24, 1917

I took a walk this morning down Gilmour Road towards Gill Lake and then to Bonita Lake. This is the south end of the Canoe Lake that flows into Bonita and the start of the Oxtongue River. Because of Tea Lake Dam the water level is higher and connects the two lakes. I walked to below Tea Lake Dam when the Oxtongue River starts in earnest and I found a good place to paint. There was still some snow on the sides and the water level was high, but the flow was so furious that it was rapids without sight of any rocks. I was surprised at the amount of snow. There’s nothing left by the lodge, but I keep forgetting the different parts of the Park can have very different climates.

By the time I got back I had walked a good ten miles in my estimation. The sun is getting earlier and stronger every day. It rises at the almost inhumane hour of 5am, but this is going to change this Sunday when we switch to Daylight Savings Time. This the the first year. One of the reasons for DST is to save on fuel. It’s reckoned that the extra hour in the evening will mean less fuel will be burned (wood and coal). There’s a coal shortage in Toronto due to strikes and it’s expensive too. Shannon was going to ignore it, but Toronto is switching and the train schedules will be changing too. Shannon has no choice.

When I got back the topic under heavy debate is the ice-out date.
Everyone is trying to predict when the ice-out will be this With all the snow and cold spring this will be one of the later years. It’s been as early as April 14 (in Mowat Lodge memory term – since 1908) but this year’s it’s going to be late. Shannon’s got a pool going and I wagered that it would be May 1st. The discussion turned to exactly defining what ice-out means and we decided that it means that no ice can be seen across the lake from Mowat Lodge to Hayhurst Point. Shannon wanted to bring the prediction to an exact hour and therefore our definition of ice-out need to be more precise. We decided that from the vantage point of a chair on the top of the steps, looking through the area beneath the Mowat Lodge and the two poles on either side, this prescribed area needed to be free of ice for a period of one hour. When asked who would perform the duty of ice-out observer, Daphne offered up her husband, Lt. Crombie, as he was out the verandah for the better part of each day. We all agreed and we outfitted Lt. Crombie with a dinner bell to ring once the ice-out determination was made.

Everyone is in good spirits It’s getting warmer and I’m glad with my circumstances here. Annie is switching into spring cleaning mode and I’m helping with some of the more arduous task. She likes the windows to be cleaned on the outside in the spring and the fall, so I volunteered to climb on the roof of the verandah and clean the windows on the second floor. I found it strange to be looking into my own room on the second floor.

I got a parcel from Jim (my paints). Jim’s wife sent along some homemade biscuits and a jar of preserves (black currant jam, I think). I also got a letter from Florence. She will be coming in May. Algonquin Hotel is too expensive for her so she’s asked me to reserve a room for her at Mowat Lodge.