Thursday, 11 July 2013


By Madge Macbeth, circa 1924
Nipigon Historical Museum Archives


Sunset Lake Nipigon

But delightful as adventuring near Camp assuredly is, interesting as one may find the Indian Reserve with its Old People's Home included in the category of "Municipal Buildings," satisfactory as the sportsman will concede his experience into the little-known streams that find their source at the Height of Land north of Lake Superior, I doubt that any fishing trip on the continent is comparable in point of comfort, scenic beauty and piscatorial reward to that "up the Nipigon." Its memory will haunt me all my days.

We went by rail to Orient Bay, and there, in the amber light of evening, we set out towards Nipigon Lake and down through the exquisite Virgin Islands into Nipigon River.

Our regiment of guides was ready, two to each man. They tied their fleet of eight canoes end-to-end, and strung out after the launch like the tail of some curious sea monster.

The distant shore etched its rugged outline against the sky - rugged precipices, huge bluffs, undulating ranges of hills wooded by poplar, birch and fir, with here and there a little forest of slim white trunks softening the sombre green and climbing timidly up a darkened hillside. A beautiful break was Port McDermid, lying between two unsympathetic cliffs - a modest little village, very prim and very white in the coppery glow of late evening.

As we slipped between the Virgin Islands, a great pink moon flashed soft radiance on the calm water, and smiled at her own reflection. For a time, she followed us, just beyond the stern of the farthest swerving canoe. But after a bit, she sailed ahead and led our small flotilla, by throwing great splashes of silver in our path.

We disembarked just above Virgin Falls, as darkness engulfed the forest. Through a woodsy trail we felt our way, drawn by the rush and thunder of swift-flowing waters; and presently our little colony of tents gleamed amid the star-dust of a flawless night.

The voice of the Chief Guide summoned us to the water's edge. Noisily we trooped to a pine-crested rock, and silently we stood there, staring in awed fascination at the unearthly beauty that lay before us.

Virgin Falls in the moonlight! No words can picture the scene.

In a great ebony surge, shot with cold, white streaks, the river rushed to the twenty-foot drop where it fell with a terrible volume and silvery foam. A mass of spray like millions of dancing moonstones leaped upwards to capture more light; while below, the rapids churned and roared, tearing, it seemed, without direction or objective over and around the glistening rocks.

Silent, we stood, watching, and quietly we slipped into our blankets, rather excited by the crash and tumbling waters that drowned the music of the stars.


No comments:

Post a Comment