페이지 이미지
PDF
ePub

Riding Mountain. Farther to the north, Shell River, a rapid stream rising in the Duck Mountain, enters from the east; about fifty miles above, the White Sand, which is really the main river, enters from the west.

On the west side of Lake Winnipeg another Little Sas katchewan is found, and this apparently insignificant stream drains an area of not less than 30,000 square miles. All surplus waters of Lakes Manitoba and Winnipegoosis empty by it into Lake Winnipeg. What this means will be understood by simply enumerating the rivers that flow into Lakes Manitoba and Winnipegoosis, and considering that the only outlet of these is by this Little Saskatchewan. The White Mud River enters the head of Lake Manitoba and drains much of the wet country crossed by the C. P. R. between Portage la Prairie and the “ Big Plain.” It is worthy of note that this river rises quite close to the Assiniboine and flows northeasterly. Mossy River discharges Lake Dauphin ; Pine River and two others drain the eastern slopes of the Duck and Riding Mountains. Swan River, a large stream 300 feet wide, drains the Porcupine Mountain, and, greatest and last of all, the Red Deer River enters the head of Lake Winnipegoosis, and with its tributaries drains the whole country as far west as the 106th meridian.

All the waters flowing into the great Saskatchewan come from the Third Prairie Steppe, except the Carrot River, which runs parallel with the Red Deer River and enters the Saskatchewan near Cumberland House. The main affluents all take their rise in the Rocky Mountains, and uniting on the plain become one mighty river. Thus the South Saskatchewan is formed by the union of St. Mary's, the Belly, the Bow, and another Red Deer River, which rises in the Rocky Mountains and joins the main stream about long. 110° west and lat. 51° north. Below this the river widens, and at the Elbow, near the source of the Qu'Appelle,

is 1,848 feet wide and with a channel ten feet deep. The only streams which do not originate in the Mountains are Strong Current Creek and Maple Creek, the latter draining the west end of the Cypress Hills, while the former receives the waters of the eastern end. The chief tributaries of the North Saskatchewan are Battle River, which enters at Battleford, and the Brazeau, which it receives southwest of Edmonton,

The Mackenzie River drains an immense area, both east and west of the Rocky Mountains, and pours a mighty flood into the Arctic Sea. Its great southwestern branchthe Peace River takes its rise on the west side of the mountains, and flows northwesterly along their western base to lat. 56°, where it receives the Finlay Branch, which drains a large area in the northeast of British Columbia. The united stream now turns east and, after a course of nearly seventy miles, emerges from the Rocky Mountains. It flows through the plateau east of the range, in a channel 1,000 feet below its level. Turning more to the north, it sweeps in majestic curves through a rich and fertile plain, which constantly diminishes in altitude as the river gets to the north and northeast. For 770 miles it flows through a most lovely and fertile region, receiving in its course many rivers, the most notable of which are the Smoky and Pine, which drain the district of country lying between the Peace and Athabasca. When the river leaves the mountains, its channel is under 500 yards in width, but before it enters Slave River, twenty-five miles north of Lake Athabasca, it is over 1,000 yards wide. A branch stream, named the “ Quatre Fourches ” River connects it with Lake Athabasca, and by this stream, in early summer, there is a steady flow of water into the lake, but in autumn this is changed, and the waters of the Lake flow into the river. The author found this to be the case in August, 1875, when there was a strong current flowing from Lake to River.

Lake Athabasca is about 250 miles long, by some twentyfive in breadth, and receives the drainage of a very extensive region, which is almost wholly covered with forest. The Athabasca River, which enters the western end of the lake, takes its rise in the Rocky Mountains, close to the sources of the Columbia, and flows in a general northeast course, till it enters the Lake. In its course, it receives the Macleod, Pembina, and Lac la Biche Rivers from the south, while on the north it receives Little Slave River, which, after a course of fifty miles from Little Slave Lake, empties into it a little north of lat. 55o. Little Slave Lake is an extensive sheet of water lying nearly east and west, about seventy-five miles in length and five in average breadth. In lat. 57°, the Athabasca receives the Clearwater—a fine stream of pure water which comes from the elevated country east of Portage la Loche.

Lake Athabasca discharges its accumulated waters by Slave River which, twenty-five miles below, receives the Peace, and both, under the former name, discharge into the still larger basin of Great Slave Lake. At the efflux of this lake, the real Mackenzie commences. At Fort Simpson, in lat. 61° 50' north, it receives the Laird from the west, some of the branches of which have their rise close to the sources of the Finlay, far west of the Rocky Mountains. It is on the upper waters of the Liard, that the rich gold fields of northern British Columbia are located, where hundreds of miners are engaged every summer.

After receiving the Liard, the mighty flood, increased in volume and power, flows on, without break or obstruction, to the Arctic Sea, a distance from Fort Simpson of 700 miles in a straight line. A little south of the Arctic Circle, Great Bear Lake River enters from the east. Here was Fort Franklin, where the Arctic explorers wintered. North

[ocr errors]

of the Arctic Circle is Fort Good Hope, the most northerly of the Hudson's Bay Company's posts in the North-West.

The Churchill and Nelson are the great Rivers of Hudson's Bay, and enter its southwestern extremity; the latter about lat. 57°, while the mouth of the other is more than a degree further to the north. The Churchill, under the name of the Beaver River, rises in the high lands, north of Fort Edmonton, and flows generally eastward to the meridian of Fort Carlton when it turns north and flows into Isle la Crosse Lake. This lake also receives the drainage of that extensive region lying northwesterly towards Portage la Loche. From this lake, under the name of English River, it flows easterly through a chain of beautiful lakes, connected by more or less rapid discharges, and often bordered by cliffs of Laurentian gniess. Before receiving the “Great River,” which discharges the waters of Rein-deer Lake, it turns northeasterly, and, keeping the same general direction, enters Hudson's Bay nearly 100 miles farther north than the Nelson. Owing to the peculiar character of the region traversed by this river, its waters are quite clear, and in marked contrast with all the other western rivers. Before it receives the Little Churchill, it is one-third of a mile wide, but below that it widens out to nearly a mile. Nelson River discharges the surplus waters of Lake Winnipeg, and will be fully described in another place.

The Rocky Mountains are the only mountains of the North-West. It is true that groups of hills and so-called mountains are occasionally met with, but nearly all these are composed of gravel and sand, and with the exception of the Cypress Hills, are very slightly elevated above the plain. The Rockies cross the International Boundary about the 114th Meridian, and run northwesterly, being in lat. 56° north on the 122nd Meridian, and ten degrees farther north on the 131st Meridian. They form one continuous

the sea.

chain, composed of a number of separate transverse ridges, between which the multitude of small streams that form the large rivers have their sources. The larger lateral valleys receive many of these small streams, and it is up these that the various passes are to be found. The Kootanie Pass to the south, in lat. 49° 30' north is 6,000 feet above

As we go northward, the passes get much lower, so that the Peace River Pass is only 2,000 feet above the sea, while the mountains decrease very little in altitude. Peace River and the Liard are the only rivers which break through the chain. These have their sources in a series of mountains farther to the west. The highest part of the chain in British America, is where the Fraser and the Columbia, running to the west, almost unite with the North Saskatchewan and Athabasca flowing to the east. Here Mounts Brown and Hooker rear themselves to the height of over 15,000 feet, and their glaciers are the sources of those mighty rivers which flow on the one hand to the Pacific and on the other to Hudson's Bay and the Arctic Sea.

« 이전계속 »