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PostPosted: May 29th, 2021, 8:41 pm 
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In reading a journal from 1821 the author mentions canoeing up the French via the old voyageur route; somewhere between the la petite faucille ( the little sickle ) and Recollect falls they stopped and a spot called le Grand Encampment were he says the voyageurs often camped. This would be on the west or bay side and am wondering if anyone knows exactly where it would have been or is? He also mentions rock paintings, do these still exist and where would they be?
Thanks for any help!

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PostPosted: May 30th, 2021, 3:58 pm 
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In low water, it can be hard to find, and there will be a lot more portaging than you think. Try here:https://cmkl.ca/frenchriver/d2.php and here:https://www.myccr.com/content/french-river-region It has been 20 yrs and 10 months since we paddling down it in weather hotter than h*ll with an infant and a 9 yr old. Wonderful scenery. Did not see any rock paintings.

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PostPosted: May 30th, 2021, 4:41 pm 
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Is the 1821 book you are referring to Alexander Henry's Travels and Adventures 1760-1776?

A link to the passage in question would be helpful!

Image

Your description of the general location implies that it is located somewhere between La Petite Faucille and Recollet Falls. That would mean anywhere from what is Robinson Bay on today's maps up to Ox Bay and then up the Main Channel to Recollet Falls.

Eric Morse and Toni Harting in their modern-day books on the voyageur route make no mention of such a stop between those two points. They do mention the place that the fur traders would use at the end of their one-day run down the French on their way to Fort William. It is located at the west end of what is now called the Voyageur Channel. The place they would stop for the night was known back then as La Prairie des Francais.

Here is Alexander Henry's description of this stop -

Near the mouth of the river a meadow, called La Prairie des Français, varies for a short space the rocky surface which so generally prevails; and on this spot we encamped and repaired our canoes.


See here for a close-up of the flat area at la Prairie and some pix.

https://albinger.me/2020/01/21/canoeing ... ay-marina/

Re: pictograph sites on the French. What exactly does the writer say?

There are maybe as many as eight sites on the river; most are very humble and are made up of one faded image or mark. The single-most impressive site is the one at the top of the French River at Kennedy Island. Other sites reported in historical journals were not pictographs but rather lichenographs scratched out of the lichen-covered rock face; those have disappeared over the past 150 years! The Ox Bay area apparently had a very large one in the 1790s.

See this post of a recent trip down the French for more info and pix on the three pictograph sites on the upper French -

https://albinger.me/2019/07/28/canoeing ... annel-dam/

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PostPosted: May 30th, 2021, 4:53 pm 
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cheryl, what can be hard to find in low water? Are you referring to the spot the OP is asking about?

Re: portaging. There is remarkably little portaging when coming down the French! You clearly had your hands full with your two kids! You need to go back!

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PostPosted: May 30th, 2021, 5:58 pm 
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We came up thru there 2 years ago. Very little portaging.

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PostPosted: May 30th, 2021, 8:15 pm 
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Thanks for the replies, the mention is from the journal of the 1821 trip by Lord Dalhousie who was accompanied by Lt. Cockburn and Guided by Nor Wester Angus Shaw travelling from the Soo back to Montreal. He mentions after passing the Dalle' and Petite Foucille they carried on. He tells us they past a part of the river they refer to as “ Lac des Boeufs”. Dalhousie notes
pictographs drawn on the rocks that Shaw tells him haven’t changed in thirty years. At about seven
o’clock in the morning they breakfast at a stopping place called “ Le Grand Campment “. Once the
party cleaned up they were on their way. After meeting a few Native families enroute they come to the
Recollect Falls just before the noon hour. So Lac des Boeufs I'm guessing is Ox Bay ? But regardless, le Grand Campment has to be between La Petite Foucille and Recollect Falls. The question is ,,, where?

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PostPosted: May 30th, 2021, 10:15 pm 
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Here is a June 1793 passage from the Diary of John Mcdonell as he came down the French from Recollet Falls to the Bay. He describes pictographs and lichenographs in the stretch between what he calls Derreaud’s Rapids (probably our Second Rapids or Little Flat Rapids) and Lac du Boeuf (Ox Bay to us). His diary entry dates back thirty years from Dalhousie's visit.

Image

The boeuf was more likely a scratched lichen rendition of a moose or a caribou!

As for the location of the stopping place, from the text does it sound like it is in Ox Bay or above it on the way toward Ox Island? These days there are a couple of lodges there; a meadow-like space may have been the reason they got built there. It is hard to tell from the satellite view exactly what the terrain is like. I did paddle down this stretch a couple of summers ago but the Grand Campment was not on my radar!

I can see a reconnaissance mission in the making as you spend a day paddling up from Ox Bay towards Ox Island looking for some likely spots!

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PostPosted: May 31st, 2021, 8:18 am 
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'some leagues' is a bit more vague than GPS co-ords but have fun looking! :lol:

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PostPosted: May 31st, 2021, 10:46 am 
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water was so low we actually had to liftover to enter the channel. There was lots of portaging. It was shocking how different it had been from the times before.

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PostPosted: May 31st, 2021, 3:17 pm 
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Thanks True North' I've read McDonell' journal which conforms what Shaw told Dalhousie; that the figures had changed little in the past thirty years which comes awfully close to McDonell' date of 1791 and in re-reading Dalhousie' it appears the rock painitings he Dalhousie) talks about are most likely located on "lac de boeuf" . Dalhousie' exact words are, " This part of the river is called the Lac des Boeufs. In passing along I see a number of hieroglyphic figures drawn large on the face of the rocks, seemingly by scraping off the black spungy vegetable that covers the granite, and which is frequently used by the North West voyageurs to boil into soup. The figures are horses, deer, dogs, Indians, Bears, Beavers & such like, many of them so high out of man's reach and so well executed, that I could not believe them the work of untaught Indians. However, Shaw and several of the men assure me it is so, and they recollect these figures exactly the same in appearance for 30 years or more. Near 7 o'clock we reached a place called by the voyageurs " Le Grand Campment ", a favorite stopping place.... we stopped here for breakfast,,,,,"
So it would seem the majority of the rock paintings Dalhousie saw were between the Petite Foucille/Little Sickle and possibly Ox island. Very interesting. I've paddled the top end of the French but nothing below Recollect falls. That being said I'm sure sometime post covid, I believe I'll be paddling its length. Thanks for all the help.

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PostPosted: May 31st, 2021, 8:26 pm 
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lookinnorth - always nice to meet someone with a shared interest!

You write:

Quote:
So it would seem the majority of the rock paintings Dalhousie saw were between the Petite Foucille/Little Sickle and possibly Ox island. Very interesting.


A couple of points:

1. they are not "rock paintings" but rather lichenographs, i.e. images scratched out of the lichen covering the rock face. They are long gone. Perhaps residual scratches may be visible if the rock face is currently free of lichen. McDonell's account is a bit confusing.

2. the images Mcdonell saw were between Little Flat Rapids (probably the Deraud Rapids that he mentions) and Ox Bay. He was coming down the river from Recollet Falls.

Image

My brother and I did look as we paddled down this stretch. Someone did tell me to pay special attention to the east end of Ox Island because he had heard something was there. Didn't see anything! Other than these reports from 200 years ago, I have not read anything recent that mentions these images.

Good luck in your search and do update the thread if you come up with anything!

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PostPosted: June 1st, 2021, 6:23 pm 
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Thanks True North for your information and thoughts. Myself and a few other old pork eaters will be planning a trip and will definitely be looking for any sign of these historical mentions and places.

Thanks again!

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