Ron Carlson Arctic Expeditions

Ron Carlson Arctic Expeditions
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Sunday, June 12, 2011

Historic HBC Site - Relocated "Caribou Post" on Duck Lake (southern Nejanilini Lake region)

Approaching HBC Trading Post site at Duck Lake
This structure was the main post / store.
Remains of warehouse storage building.
Following up on the previous update:
Here are some of the pics that I took while walking through the historic buildings.  

There were 5 structures in all (click to enlarge any of the images for high resolution):  (1) A two story structure which appeared to be the trading post / store, with 2 bedrooms and closets upstairs, (2) the warehouse storage building, (3) an additional single room  living quarters structure (for the HBC manager), (4) an outhouse, and (5) down by the water to the south  there appeared to be the ruins of a small structure.  I did not go all the way down to investigate this building as all 4 walls were practically gone  and I could see nothing inside.....and the weather was starting for the worst.  So with the 6 mile hike back, I was in a hurry to get out of there.
Main trading room in post/store.  Note shelving shadows on walls.
Kitchen in post/store

Many HBC relics are still there, inside and out.  I also found few relics on the trail of my long hike to and from the landing site, probably from Sayisi Dene ancestors.

This area of Duck Lake (part of the Nejanilini lake/river system) is on a major caribou migration path.  Each fall, the Beverly - Kaminuriak caribou herd turns south from the barren grounds and crosses the lake on it's way to the transition forest.
Looking down the stairs (riser and tread dimensions extraordinarily small)
One of the 2 upstairs bedrooms
Cellar (no skeletons)
Can with faint markings
Counter in warehouse storage building
Part of original weight measuring scale
Tea kettle in tundra 10 feet away
Remains of baby carriage (HBC Manager's family)
HBC moved it's 250 year old post from Churchill to Caribou Lake in 1930.  Then  another relocation in 1941 to this final location on Duck Lake.  It became a seasonal settlement for around 150 people.  

[Update 6-16-2011 - I sought out some  of the elderly surviving Dene people  in Churchill this week and through their memories was told that these structures were here before the time they could remember.  Most of them  lived on the land adjacent to this HBC post, and  many families camped right on the peninsula next to these structures.  So it is probable that these structures  were constructed in 1941, as previously documented by others.  In addition, there was not one but two churches at this location too.  An Anglican church was at this site adjacent  to the storehouse, closer to the water -- and a Catholic church in the vicinity, but not on this peninsula.  Sadly, little or no remains  exist of the church.  Also, a locally famous old trapper named Johnson lived on the tiny island in this bay to the north for many years, with his dogs.  

The post was run by an HBC manager named Horace Flett, who resided there  with his  wife/family; they had two or three children.  There was great harmony with this family and the Sayisi Dene people, in evidence the memory given that a Dene aunt was midwife for this family.  It was said that the caribou hide tents could be seen as far as the eye could see.  These were termed the "happy days", before they were suddenly all taken away in the late 1950's.]

Arctic wolf print in muck en route back to landing area 1/2 mile from HBC Trading Post site at Duck Lake

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