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  • Sunday August 8, 1999

    Guest Column: The "silent partners" speak

    Sunday is the day when I preach a sermon from the pulpit at St. James Anglican church in Port Colborne, Ontario. Today is different. Instead of sitting at my desk in the study at the Rectory putting the finishing touches to my thoughts on a reading from scripture, I am looking out over the Winisk River as it silently passes by and recording my thoughts about the day's events. PETER
     We have come to a turning point. The river changed direction today. For most of the trip wepive been moving steadily north, but today it suddenly made an abrupt swing to the east and towards the shores of Hudson Bay. We have encountered other changes as well. The temperature dropped overnight, and this morning a cold mist appeared over the river. The bugs also virtually disappeared to the joy of the crew. We are still swimming in the river, but I noted that the time spent in the water was considerably shorter. TOM
     For most days of the trip we have been battling a headwind which at times has been strong. With the turn in the river, what was once a headwind has now become a tailwind giving us the advantage of both the strong current and the wind at our backs. The topography has changed as well. We have moved off the Shield and onto the Hudson Bay lowlands. The rugged outcrops of the Precambrian Gneiss have disappeared and given way to an unconsolidated river bank laden with some very interesting fosiliferous limestone, geodes and conglomerates. (I don't understand this, either - Peter Brewster, Ed.) We are all enjoying the changes that the river is bringing, but the overwhelming surprise is that there is no change in the strength of the current. This is a still a strong northern river that has lost no power in its downhill surge towards the bay
    Fossilized worm found along the river. -- Michael Peake photo
    --> to the photo gallery

     For most canoe trippers there is a point in the trip where one ceases to think about how things are progressing and one's thoughts turn to the end of the journey. This is not always an easy time. The lure of home and loved ones awaits us at the other end, but somewhere in the minds of all of us is there is a feeling that we wish the trip could last all summer. The changes in the land around us remind us that our journey is slowly coming to an end. Memories of the trip will remain as will our friendships. I hope that the Winisk River in all its beauty will remain as unscathed by human development for others who follow as it was for us.

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