(Editor’s note: This is part two of a work of fiction titled “Beaver Trapping.”)
Three groups of 10 horsemen scout the routes; others herd 40 additional horses to help move and pull equipment. The route requires us to carry the canoes and supplies over land. When they could not be floated, we made wagons with logs of 14 feet with hubs for wheels. They could be assembled into axles. Teams of horses were attached to pull the barges as men with axes clear the paths.
We have 40 canoes and 30 bateaus — large flat bottom boats — with oars, push poles and a long steering paddle. They were constructed of white oak measuring 10 feet wide and 30 feet long, and could carry about 4,000 pounds. Everything we own is carried for us to live, trap and trade. Travel is hard, resulting in only about 10 miles a day across land and 25 miles a day over the water.
There’s more to this in the current issue of the Times Virginian newspaper. Support local journalism by purchasing the issue at a local newsstand or subscribing at www.timesvirginian.com/subscriber_services to receive the print edition or view the full article in the e-edition version.