April 23, 1917 Dark Waters

April 23, 1917

1917 Dark Waters

I wrote a letter to my brother-in-law this morning and decided to take a long hike up along the creek to Potter Lake.

The creek is swollen and the current is running fast. In the summertime I can canoe a good portion of this creek  but I wouldn’t even try any of it now. The clear sections of the creek are easy to canoe, but right now the current is so fast that you wouldn’t have a chance to stop yourself before you hit the rocks. The water is high, reaching to the roots of the pine trees on the rocks. I’m amazed how tenacious these trees are. Wherever there is a hint of soil or something to grab onto, a pine is sure to grow.

Writing the letter to my brother-in-law made me think about my plans this summer. I’ll guide for the first part of summer. I plan to get my license this Saturday. I’m sure George Bartlett will be back from one of his Park excursions. He likes to be at the Headquarters on the weekend because that’s when the guests arrive at the Highland Inn or leave. The weekend is the best time to attend to Park business: issuing fishing licenses, keeping bank drafts for safekeeping, etc.

I’ve resolved not to do fire-ranging this summer. It’s a job that takes away from everything else. Last year’s drought made the job really tough. When you’re a guide, you’re welcome company. But when you’re a fire-ranger, you’re the last person anyone wants to see. Lumbermen don’t like to be chummy with the fire-rangers. There were some bad fires last year. A few bad ones in the Park, but a really bad fire up by Cochrane. That fire wiped clean of the face of the earth, complete towns and townships.

On my way back, I walked by the bridge over Potter Creek. I took the shortcut by the schoolhouse (the door still looked broken). I made my around the chipyard and finally back to the Lodge. Along my way, I saw six deer were staring at me. I knew they were coming back from the Algonquin Hotel looking for a handout. The hotel guests were feeding them last summer. Those memories must have stayed with the herd over the winter, so they’re back. They’ve lost their fear of people. That’ll change when the deer-kill starts.

April 23, 1917 Letter to Tom Harkness

Mowat P.O.
 Algonquin Park

April 23, 1917

Dear Tom,

I have been here over three weeks and have done considerable work for that length of time.

I got a copy of the O.S. Sun and it seemed to be well filled with bunk, however the foolishness of newspaper matter is well known and I knew nothing about it in time to have it stopped.

I have been talking to the people here at the Post office about pigs. Have been advising them to get about 6 or 8 small ones and keep them till fall, which they could do without much expense and hang them up for the winter.

Supposing they decide to try it out, what would they have to pay for the pigs and where would be the place to send for them-and could they be shipped by express or freight any distance.

Am staying at the P.O. until the ice goes out of the lakes which I expect it to do sometime this week then I will be camping again for the rest of the summer. I have not applied for the fire rangers job this year as it interferes with sketching to the point of stopping it all together so in my case it does not pay. In other words I can have a much better time sketching and fishing and be further ahead in the end.

I may possibly go out on the Canadian Northern this summer to paint the Rockies but have not made all the arrangements yet. If I go it will be in July and August.

We still have a foot or two of snow on the north side of the hills yet but another week we’ll see the end of it, and we have nearly another month before my friends the black flies are here. The leaves do not come here before May 24th and often not until on in June.

Well I will get this started towards Annan.  Hoping you are all well there. I remain

your aff. Brother,

Tom Thomson