August 22, 1939

Yellowknife, N. W. T.

August 22, 1939

Dear Mother:

Last night I had my first plane ride for a long time.  The Try Me Camp a few miles north west of Gordon Lake is being closed and Page had been busy all day bringing in the equipment, and I went out with him on the last trip.  Outward bound the plane was quite empty except for the two of us so Page skimmed close to the water every time we passed a boat, swooping up as he passed over it.  That is the kind of flying I like and this part of the trip was all too short.  We had a good load coming back as their [sic] were two more passengers, three 45. gal empty steels, 3 10. gal dittoes, two 16×18 tents a stove, a dog and miscellaneous equipment.  We flew over the Yellowknife river so I was able to see how we had got lost the time we went to the rapids by sail boat.

One day last week we went up the river for a picnic supper.  There were five of us, The Hamiltons, Eric, his brother (who works for a marine transport company in Yellowknife) and myself.  We had borrowed the doctor’s canoe and outboard engine and eventually reached the rapids for supper at 8:30 although we never expected we were going this far.  On the way we had got three duck with .22s (one while flying) and nearly caught two fish.  There were many flocks of duck so when we spotted such a flock we approached using the engine until the ducks became restless.  By that time we were quite close so I would shut off the engine and the three gunners in the bow would get to work.  The first volley would hardly disturb the birds so some birds had to fall even with a twenty two.  Later we chased a flock of some sixty baby ducks.  They were too young to fly but could swim as fast as our boat could go and the never seemed to tire.  Eventually they would dive until there was only one left which took us right accross [sic] the lake we were on and only dived when we got into the swift water below the rapids.  We left for home at 10:00 and by then it was dark so our passage was quite difficult as even in daytime it is hard to see where the river runs out of the lakes and in many places the water is too shallow to use the engine.

Mrs. Hamilton cooked the ducks for us on Sunday night and they were excellent.  Eric and I produced some port wine for the occasion.

Fires have been bad between here and town lately and on Monday smoke was rolling down on the camp under a strong wind.  Gray and I went out to see the fire which was still a mile away.  No one was fighting it which would have been impossible where it was burning at that time but we met another man who had come form town to see it and the three of us got within ten feet of it to take photographs.  We were only on the side of it, not in the real path, but the smoke nearly blinded us at times.  The wind died during the night and the next day fighters had it under control again.

There are two sail boats here now the second being a Sun Ray Jr. built by the radio operator.  I was supposed to sail in it on Sunday but as we were about to leave we noticed its centre board had been badly bent so we took it down to the old dock for repairs.  There was a terrific wind that day and I sailed in Eric’s boat later.  It was very gusty so that onlookers and the two passengers thought the boat was over several times.

The company is cutting down considerably on its aircraft operations.  Page McPhee is stationed here now, though his family are still in McMurray, and his mechanic is back in Trail.  Page is supposed to fly the old Fox Moth for his weekly trip to McMurray, unless there is enough freight for the Fairchild and only use the latter for moving camps etc.  Page is much against the policy and feels that after twenty years flying he should be able to have his own mechanic.

Reguarding [sic] my own photos I think you might as well hold them for a while.  I had thought of putting them in the album I have here as their size is just right but it is the wrong season for that work and later I may possibly decide they shold go ina separate album anyway.

Thanks for the photo of you and Dad.  I imagine it was taken in Vancouver as I remember Amy showing me a picture she had taken while there.  (This just confirmed by looking on the back of the photo for the first time).

Civic improvement proceeds in YK. With the construction of a road circling the peninsular [sic] and the laying of foundations on the mountain top that is town for a water tower.

I have certainly done lots of thinking about leaving the CM&S but this has produced no tangible result with the exception of a drafting of a letter to test the CA situation in general in Vancouver.

With love from


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