WE now caught glimpses of
prairie every little while. The country was changing, the banks were
becoming higher, the soil richer. We were on the divide between the swampy
and rocky regions of the east and north, and the rich pastures and
agricultural lands of the Saskatchewan valley. Several times as the boats
were being tracked up the river, I jumped ashore and ran across land, and
was delighted to breathe the air of the plains, and scent the aroma of the
wild roses, and behold for myself the rich grass and richer soils of this
wonderland, for I had never dreamed of such a country as was now presenting
itself on every hand. Being a loyal Canadian, I was delighted with what I
saw, and already began to speculate on the great possibilities of such a
land as I was now entering. We passed Fort la Come, and later on the mouth
of the south branch.
I remember distinctly
climbing the bank near where the town of Prince Albert is now situate, and
the present terminus of the Regina and Prince Albert Railway. Then it was
without a single settler; but the whole land seemed to me as speaking out in
strong invitation to someone to come and occupy.
When near Fort Canton, we met
a fresh volume of water. Suddenly the river rose, the current strengthened,
and the work became harder. The summer heat had loosened the ice and snow in
the distant mountains. Fortunately for us we were near our objective point
when this heavy current met us, and presently the bows of our boats were
hugging the bank at the landing-place at Fort Canton.