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PostPosted: August 15th, 2013, 10:11 am 
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This is one of those scenarios where my words most likely will not measure up to the depth of my feelings about having stumbled into this wondrous thread. It has been 53 years since last I ventured into the bush, and in all those years filled with the stuff of an evolving life I carried around wonderful memories of being at Camp K.

I am the "Harvey someone" that B. Dorsey referred to in his message in 2011. While I am most impressed by his memory, and confess that my memory ain't what it used to be, seems to me that year, 1960, my last at camp, I was a trip leader along with Chip Madden. I had been a counselor previously after beginning as a camper in, ready for this, 1954. I'm speculating that I went to CK for four years between those years.

A resident of Washington, CT, I was a 3rd year day school student at The Gunnery in '54. This, of course, put Rod Beebe, teacher, and me, student, together. And, I came to know and respect Carl after going to camp. There was probably some collective thinking by my parents then that a stint up in Quebec might help me realize my potential, as there was a fair amount of muttering to the effect that I did not seem to be too well squared away as one of the chosen, if you will, in a Private School. Or something like that.

I do know that my four years at The Gunnery were nothing, if not bemusing for me. I ended up going to Middlebury College on the basis of then-beloved Headmaster, Oggie Miller's impetus. This happened when he failed to get me admitted to Harvard - much to Harvard's credit. As for the two times at Middlebury, notable only for fraternity house insanity. Not the world of academia for this wanderer.

I am indebted to the kindred wanderers of this thread who have so brilliantly recounted specifically much of the lay of the land and waters in and around which we traversed as summer visitors. I would not have been able to recall the names you have, but instantly recognized them when you mentioned them.
Interesting that no one so far mentioned Gouin Reservoir. I recall paddling the length of it at least once.

Other memories:

Smelling the smoke and being pelted by cinders from the steam engine on the train from Montreal up to the Kapitachuan siding while looking out of the exit area platform at the end of the passenger cars. Sitting in the, what were they called?, parlor rooms outside the johns at one end of the CNR trains, smoking & drinking Molson's or Labatt's with some of the locals. Getting off the train in Three Rivers for french fries in a cone with malt vinegar.

Using a crank phone on a party line in the building/store of sorts at the railroad drop-off siding to get the operator and make a collect call to my parents in 1954 to plead with them to allow me to stay for the second month, after having begun my first trip and hating it for two weeks but then having some kind of an epiphany of sorts. I stayed on.

Cigarettes by the carton, but seemingly never enough, so that when we got to a lumber camp store, I was happy to get roll-your-own tobacco & papers. I started smoking at 14 or so, and finally managed to quit 25 years ago.

Losing our medic, if memory serves, in '60. We had been at the second camp after Crooked Creek, and he dumped in his canoe and contracted bursitis so severe that he had to leave before we continued on the trip.

I became the de facto substitute medico, after some hasty instructions from him. And a day after warning our trip crew that they needed to be extraordinarily vigilant about avoiding accidents in order to avoid going under my knife, so to say, one of the campers put his ax into his lower leg, and I sewed several stitches in. I don't know who was more mortified by the experience.

The short bait casting rod that always accompanied me on a trip, and using it with a red and white spoon/spinner to catch walleye, and on one occasion a Northern Pike that was so large that it did not put up the fight that smaller ones did. We ended up giving it to the Segouins, maybe for their dogs, since we were only day out when I beached it. As for the walleye, I to this day recall the savor of fillets pan fried in cornmeal. Tried eating it when I got back home, and it was a poor substitute to what was a revelation in the bush.

Red flannel hash that also never tasted as good away from our trips. Reflector oven bannock, ditto. Raffling off the cook pot to be fingerlicked clean. Paddlewhacking a couple of ducks after many tries to be plucked very clumsily & roasted on a rest day. Watching a pack of wolves across a comforting body of water. Wish I could recall where we were. Cutting crap logs at our encampments.

I've taken a couple of quick Google Earth scans, and it's obvious that what we had then, ain't there no more. The Earth resource extraction process continues relentlessly. Makes me all the more appreciative. And as fuzzy as the memories are, I have always felt better for having been there to do that.

I regret in reflection not ever having gotten up there with any of my children. With the tumult of growing up with those children, such a prospect never presented itself. My last year at Kapitachuan was followed by an unplanned, unprepared for marriage, and that was that.

I was aware that Rod Beebe had died in '97, and not surprised that Carl made his 90s before moving on last year, as wiry and sinewy and ornery as he was.

I'm 75, and in that chapter of life where some reminiscing is in order. So, this has been special. I intend to revisit this site now and then, and have already "liked" the Camp K Facebook page. I'm also going to upload a couple of photos from those days that you might enjoy. Meanwhile, it's been a pleasure. Best to you all.

Harvey Chess
harzig238@gmail.com


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PostPosted: August 16th, 2013, 7:32 am 
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Great post Harvey. Tried to find the Camp K Facebook site but was unable to do so. Do you know if Kapitachuan is the right spelling? I seen the outfitter's Facebook page under the same name.

Thanks,
GG

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PostPosted: August 21st, 2013, 4:50 pm 
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Gerald,

Here is the link to the Camp Kapitachouane Facebook page:

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Camp-Kap ... l&filter=1

The answer to your question is yes, it is spelled slightly differently (see above). I've no idea why, nor do I know why both the camp and the outfitter spell it with a "K", which is different from the lake and river, which are both spelled with a "C".

Mark Hinckley


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PostPosted: August 21st, 2013, 5:03 pm 
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Harvey,

Ditto what Gerald said....great post. I loved your reference to red flannel hash. personally I preferred it when canned corn rather than canned beets were used, but they both made for exquisite hot luncheon fare. It took me a year or so to develop a taste for the every-other-day lunch of beans and salt pork (cooked the night before, often in the dark), but I came to love them as well.

I was on a few trips when we had an odd number of participants, which necessitated putting 3 men in one of the canoes. That part wasn't that much fun, but the odd number resulted in the twice-a-day raffle of the resulting extra piece of bannock. winning that raffle was sweet, and it was made even sweeter if you were lucky enough to get a roundy or heapy of Grenache to spread on it.

Thanks for sharing your memories.

Mark Hinckley


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PostPosted: September 4th, 2013, 6:50 pm 
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Harvey;

What an awesome post. You brought tears to my eyes with your reflections. Although I was only 5 or 6 when you were there. Your names is one of those legends of CK that was talked about long after you were gone from camp. It was to bad my father, Carl, went kicking and screaming into the technology age (never did get a computer). He would have gotten a kick out of touching base with you. It was a special place in a special time. You are correct, the country up there is much different now, roads to almost anywhere you need to go and quite a bit of lumbering. It is still a pretty special place. After a too long hiatus from canoeing, I have been rediscovering some Quebec Rivers (Mistassibbi, Dumoine, Chochoquane, Ashuapmushuan,) with my son and some of his friends. Great to introduce them to Red Flannel Bush Hash, Bannock, etc. Thanks for your post.

Doug Williams


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PostPosted: September 29th, 2013, 8:49 pm 
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Harvey Chess wrote:
...I am the "Harvey someone" that B. Dorsey referred to in his message in 2011...

Yes, Harvey Chess. Now I remember.

Harvey Chess wrote:
...Interesting that no one so far mentioned Gouin Reservoir...

Check again. I mentioned it.

Harvey Chess wrote:
...Losing our medic, if memory serves, in '60. We had been at the second camp after Crooked Creek, and he dumped in his canoe and contracted bursitis so severe that he had to leave before we continued on the trip.

I became the de facto substitute medico, after some hasty instructions from him. And a day after warning our trip crew that they needed to be extraordinarily vigilant about avoiding accidents in order to avoid going under my knife, so to say, one of the campers put his ax into his lower leg, and I sewed several stitches in. I don't know who was more mortified by the experience...

The medic was Richard Staub. He did not do well on that trip. I paddled Crooked Creek in his bow, and because he did not know how to handle a canoe it was rough going around all those bends. I didn't know that he had medical problems and I don't remember that he left the trip. I remember that kid cutting cutting his foot with the axe, but I remember Staub taking care of it.

Harvey Chess wrote:
...I to this day recall the savor of fillets pan fried in cornmeal...

Me, too.

Harvey Chess wrote:
...Cutting crap logs at our encampments....

Who could forget the crap logs? I don't think I ever quite figured out how to use them.


Last edited by B Dorsey on September 30th, 2013, 7:40 am, edited 4 times in total.

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PostPosted: September 29th, 2013, 9:11 pm 
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mhinckley wrote:
...I was on a few trips when we had an odd number of participants, which necessitated putting 3 men in one of the canoes...

On the first part of my 1960 trip the counselors decided we didn't have enough experienced paddlers to put one in the stern of each canoe, so we left one canoe behind and proceeded with two three-man canoes. I remember a counselor who paddled stern in one three-man canoe telling us around an evening fire about his two idiotic bowmen. The three of them had been paddling down a rapids that day when he called out them, "Pull right!" One started pulling right and the other started pulling left, so he yelled, "No, right!" They both changed sides.


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PostPosted: November 25th, 2013, 9:27 pm 
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Just found out about this site last night from a friend who grew up living working at Kewayden. I am Dick Warren and was at CKap in the early 50's, so predate most of you, being there in I think in 53 and 54 (old records and picts got lost in a move; could have been a year later). Carl Williams was a remarkable man and my sympathy and gratitude go out to all his family. He had a gift of leadership by example, and by knowing just what kind of gesture each individual kid needed to help dig down and learn to value his own strengths. He put me in charge of patching canvas divots because I had a scissors on my knife. The first time i saw him go down a rapids standing up in the rain with his pipe lit but upside down, i knew i had found my man. Rod too was an inspiration. I knew about the Gunnery connection for Rod, but thought that Carl was at Case Western Reserve when I came under his wing.
The first year I was there, we bundles off the train (was it called Rouleau siding?) went down to the camp, and the next day, with one hour's practice, took off with Carl for Chibougama. It was the first time they had tried to do that route in one month so off we trudged. My stern man was (I think) Henry Sheldon, a med student. There was a big blown down at Pascagama portage and, i think we took one rest day the whole trip because of the ground to be covered. Saw no one all the way to Chibougama, which looked like a set for a western movie. I think it was Cambell Mines that was building the town, which had no people in it yet. We covered a lot of ground each day because of the lenth of the challenge but had pretty good weather. Names are sketchy Nick Dabney was a JC, Ben Mason, I think Pete Marlow - there were 14 of us. Such great times. At one rapids, pike bit at our paddles. In those less sensitive days we'd heard young ducks by circling and bop them with paddles and have them for supper -- the logic was that the pike would get them anyway -- pretty appaling to think about now. When we got within about 4 days of home, Carl gathered us together and said we could either get picked up in trucks(by the outfitters who were near CK basecamp) or gun it and finish the route -- a perfect leadership move to challenge the troops; so of course we wanted to finish and basically paddled from first light til after dark and just made it. We carried the canoes right down into the water at the last portage until they floated off our shoulders at that last beach on the home lake. I have never been in such good shape in my life. With Rod the next year we didn't go as far but as much fun as it was nothing could match what Carl had shown us we could do. With Rod we swung aside to go to a lake that had lake trout (was it Hebert?). All those names are carved in my soul -- Pascagama, Hebert, Gouie, Opawicka, Doda, Obatagamau, Kekek. It's no chance that i ended up teaching, and doing outward bound type work, and becoming a forester/wildlife habitat enthusiast, and tree farmer, and why at 74 I have two kayaks under construction for my grandkids-- it's thanks to those two remarkable men. Maybe someone can find dates. One of the years we came back to find a hurrican had whopped the east coast (Carol, Dianne or edna). One trip, I think the second, our med student had a death in his family, and some rangers found us and flew him out. They took the canoe with them, and his bow man became a third in one of the Ogalvie (sp?) broadbeamed freight canoes. There was also talk of Rod's breaking his ankle and having to be carried out for many days. I still have the moose mocassins , still wear them on Christmas morning, and still know how lucky I was.
Dick Warren (by the way there is a 16 foot Chestnut guide hanging in my barn.


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PostPosted: November 26th, 2013, 12:07 pm 
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great post, dick warren. wow, you were there at the get go. I love that you still have your mukluks. did you buy them at the hudson's bay post in obidjuan?


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PostPosted: November 26th, 2013, 6:11 pm 
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No, bought them from a woman who came by in a canoe. Other memeories that popped up: on a trip with Rod, we were swimming at the base eddy of a rapids, naked of course, when one of the guys let out a yell and said he had been bitten on the finger by a pike. He was something of an unreliable source of facts, so we thought he was joking even after he showed us the cut. The med student checked him and said he needed a stitch; while cleaning the wound he squeezed out small pike tooth. About a day later, we were swimming at another rapid and, without anyone saying anything, everyone showed up in a bathing suit.
At the end of that trip after we had stopped by Doda ranger camp on the way back, we were gathered around by Rod and quietly told that the rangers had called to say that someone had stolen a pair of special beaded mocassins. Rod asked the culprit to own up to it. The fellow who had been fish bit went right to his tent and returned the mocs to Rod. I was pretty impressed with the guys owning up to it. Turns out that he became a minister. Learning is a complicated thing, but there is no better place than that to have it happen.


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PostPosted: November 27th, 2013, 10:10 pm 
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Fantastic post, Dick Warren, thanks so much for sharing memories of CK. It is great hearing stories of Rod and my Dad (Carl) in the early days of CK. Thanks again.

Doug Williams


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PostPosted: March 5th, 2014, 8:59 pm 
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Mark,

I came across this forum and it brought back a lot of wonderful memories. I was very fortunate that my parents signed me up for these trips -- I went in 1979 and 1980 (if my memory serves me). One was the Opawica River trip. The other was into the Gouin Reservoir area, I believe. I know we visited a native village at one point and bought chocolate bars in their general store. I think, actually, that I was your bowman on the 1980 trip (although I saw you mention that you stopped leading trips there earlier than that). I kept the trip journals - miraculously -- and will try to find them in my files. I remember your last name more than your first, so perhaps you had a brother who was also a counselor? Maybe named Chris?? If it was indeed you, you may recall me as the kid who was somewhat obsessed with fishing. I still can't believe how many fish we caught on those trips. Before we left on the 1980 trip, Rod took us out for an evening of fishing near the base camp. We were targeting walleye and caught a slew of them. But on that outing, I hooked into a huge northern pike -- we measured it at 42 inches -- easily the largest fish I had ever caught. Rob estimated it at 20 lbs. It took about 15 minutes to reel it in. For a city kid from Connecticut, this was a fish of a lifetime! We threw it back, basically rolling it out of the boat like a log.

The trip itself, like the 1979 trip, was terrific -- we had an incredible time. My two trips blend together a bit in my mind, so I'm trying to remember the names of the kids on the 1980 trip. I think two of them were from Venezuela, and another was named Worth Coleman. There was another camper named Roger Kenna (who I later heard died tragically while in college). I recall another with the last name of Bird, and he at one point sliced his finger while whittling a stick. That resulted in me moving out of your bow and into the stern position that "Birdman" had previously occupied, for the last week or so of the trip. I remember vividly that the medic (Rick?) stitched his finger without anesthesia, by the fire, while the rest of us made ourselves scarce. We probably had an unplanned rest day. As usual, I probably went fishing. I recall that the incident with the hatchet, that someone else mentioned earlier in this forum, occurred during my 1979 trip -- they way we were told, the hatchet was an Indian hatchet that the camper has found during the trip. This was not with my group, but was with the older group that the accident happened. Anyway, the camper accidentally buried it in his shin, and I remember the trip leader coming across the lake to recruit our medical counselor to come tend to the wound. Then they took one canoe and transported him out (after making him bury the hatchet in the ground). Needless to say, this was a powerful experience for the rest of us, and a good lesson learned.

I have some pictures from those trips that I will try to scan. I think I also still have the trip topo maps that Rod gave us at the end of the trip, marking our route. Anyway, it is great thinking about those trips, they definitely were a formative experience for me. I'll try to find and scan the trip reports. That will clarify things and will be more accurate than me trying to recount from memory.

PETE SCHMALZ

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PostPosted: March 6th, 2014, 6:29 am 
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Thanks for your post pschmalz. What a great read. Hope you get those photos scanned.

GG

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A wise man learns from the mistakes of others.
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PostPosted: March 6th, 2014, 10:17 am 
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great post, pschmalz. it was undoubtedly my brother chris whose bow you paddled in. He led trips up there from the mid 1970's until 1983. I often direct him to this site when there are new posts to be read, so I'll do that today. I echo Gerald guay's sentiment...I can't wait to see the scanned pictures. thanks again for your post.

mark hinckley


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PostPosted: April 5th, 2014, 9:03 pm 
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I recognize many of the names here. I had a great time in my teens in the 80s up until they stopped running trips. I still have many of the pictures from the trips that i put into albums. Every few years I pull them out and skim through the trip reports. Tom Soper was one of the counsellors when i started and Dave Simpson who i think the Hinkleys should remember.
One story i remember about Carl Williams...one of the kids (might have been Josh Barrett who commented earlier) was supposed to be working in the garage but was goofing off and shooting horseflies with a staple gun. Carl walked in, surprising him, and told him that he shouldn't do that because the gray staple gun worked better for shooting flies. That wasn't the expected reaction and showed that he wasn't all business all the time. I enjoyed my time there and to this day i have had jobs that have some element of being outdoors.


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