June 18, 1938

c/o C. M. & S. Co. Ltd.

Yellowknife, N. W. T.

June 18th, 1938

Dear Mother:

I am very sorry for not having written sooner.  I did get a letter started over a week ago and suddenly found I could think of nothing on which to write.  Since then I have thought, well I will write tonight and just about this time Doug. comes in and suggests a canoe ride.  Nearly every night for a long time now Doug. and I have paddled over to town after supper.  We are rather lucky to be able to get a canoe as the supt. Here won’t allow any of the Con canoes to be used but we manage to borrow or steal one from the exploration equipment—Doug. being on very good terms with the geologist in charge of exploration.

The mosquitoes are getting very bad again although not unbearable close to the camp.  Two nights ago there was not a breath of wind and a horde of mosquitoes followed our canoe all the way to town.  There were not nearly so many at that end of the trip as at the beginning.

The auditors were here longer than they expected finally leaving on June 11th.  They took all the books and disappeared into the guest [sic] were [sic] they did all their work, appearing at odd times for a meal or to ask a question or two.  Their chief problem was how to split the camp expenses most equitably between Con and Rycon (Ryans).  Eric Randall, who is asst. chief accountant at Trail and who was helping with the audit says he can remember playing tennis with Dad at the Mission, I think.  While the auditors were here we had three other “big shots” from Trail to wit the asst Manager of Mines, the chief engineer and the Gen. Supt. Of the Concentration Dept.  They must be expecting great things of this place.

Greatest news of the week is the arrival of the first boats.  The very first, if it can be called a boat, came in at 8:40 p.m. on Thursday.  It was nothing more than a rudely covered barge with two out board engines.  It also had a launch pushing it, hitched on in the same manner as the ferry at Shuswap.  Freight was chiefly fruit and vegetables of which we bought none and which were probably auctioned at town.  That same night two similar craft arrived.  They did not stop here either except to sell a few oranges to the boys.  Incidentally the first boat had taken eleven days to come from Smith.  Yesterday evening while Doug. and I were in town Harcourt and Neelands small boat pushed into the dock there [sic] with a load of freight for Thiberts store.  It was this boat which was the last to come in last fall and stayed the winter here so you have a photograph of it.

On our return to camp last night we found the Dease Lake with two barges carrying 370 tons of freight the greater portion of which was for us.  Half the camp was down on the deck and it was really quite an imposing spectacle when we came on the scene.  The captain of the boat is from Kamloops and worked here through the winter.  He is very keen to be the first one in and I guess you could hardly call them boats—those three earliest arrivals.

About a week ago Paige brought in a load of fresh celery, lettuce, tomatoes and oranges which was indeed a wonderful change after having lived on canned food for so long.  Another load had some fresh pork meat which was equally appreciated.  Caribou meat is almost tasteless and is supposed to have little food value and that is what we have been eating mostly although I don’t think I could notice the difference between it and the beef we have kept since February.

We had to throw a ton of meat away as the frozen meat doesn’t keep very long when thawed and our icehouse could no longer keep it below freezing.

I don’t think I would be much use as a tailor.  I measured myself for a pair of flannels which I ordered from Edmonton.  They were at least two inches too short.  I think Eric will buy them from me and I will order some more although the delay is very annoying.

It must indeed have been a great surprise when the Laird offered to buy the ranch.  Although the place has admitted disadvantages such as lack of water I really can’t think of any other suitable place in the district.

Have you had any more news from Uncle Tom.  If he is sticking to his original plan surely he should be on the way by now.

The Canadian Air Force has three planes stationed at Yellowknife—two Northrops and a Norsemen.  They are taking photographs for maps.

One of the Stinson Reliant planes which is flying into the Mining Corp’s Gordon Lake property had an argument with some trees when it was taking off.  I don’t know what happened to the plane but the passengers escaped without injury.

I read all about the wedding in the Courier.  What a huge list of invitations!  I notice the paper didn’t say anything about how cold the weather was and from it I got the impression of a perfect day.

I met a third year mining engineer friend of mine last night who is headed for a camp 40 miles north of here.  Dick may know him—Doug. Van Kleeck of Armstrong.  Another Stettler friend, Pat Costigan, is in Fort Smith and will probably come in here soon.  I signed on two other engineering students, one of whom I had met before, and so I have got a lot of news of the engineering students in the fraternity.

With love from


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