Friday, 19 July 2013

A SUMMER VACATION Part 4, Otter Island


Written, illustrated and published by
W. S. Piper , Fort William, 1918

Nipigon Historical Museum Archives

No Reef Fishing Today

On awakening next morning we found the lake in a very obstreperous mood. Lake Superior is a large lake and certainly does things in a large way. One could not believe her temper could get so ruffled in a few hours. No reef fishing today, the water was jumping far above the reefs.

That afternoon I trolled in vain in the bay. Many a time I hauled in my line expecting I had hooked a maskilonge (muskellunge) or sturgeon, only to find my catch was a stick of pulp wood or a bunch of weeds.

There was a beautiful pink sunset that evening, so we decided to leave for Rustibou in the morning. We were not particularly early risers when cruising, but perhaps I was the demoralizing influence.

It was noon when we dropped anchor in Lambs' Bay. I was anxious to explore Rustibou, as Luke had told me there were relics to found there of a bloody encounter that took place between the Sioux  and Otchipaways. I was anxious to find a copper arrow-head, but was not successful, although I found a flint one in perfect condition.  The arms used in battle were guns, bows and arrows, and the swatter or bludgeon. The Sioux ammunition gave out and the Otchipaways defeated them with their favorite weapon, the swatter, exterminating the whole band. The extinct races found in the tumli, or mounds, of North America seem all to have suffered from the same weapon. Luke's great great grandfather, then a young brave, fought in the battle of Rustibou.


In the evening we left for Otter Cove, one of the finest harbors on Lake Superior for pleasure boats. After casting anchor, we rowed up to near the falls and cooked supper on the river bank. Talk about beautiful scenery - it was magnificent; the falls with their banks of spruce and birch made a picture long to be remembered.

Otter River and Falls

During supper I found we had camped at Mosquito Lodge, and it proved to lodge night, and they seemed to have got me for the goat, as Luke seemed undisturbed. After supper and washing up, I was glad to return to the boat to escape the flies. Stretching out on the cockpit cushions I lit a cigar;  a great peacefulness stole over me, and I lost all desire to move. The soft fragrance of the air and the murmuring sound of the falls all seemed to sooth my mind as I gazed dreamily at the reflection made by the moon on the water. I suppose I dozed off, but awakened half-conscious of something splashing near by. Swimming toward the boat was a large moose. I watched it with genuine pleasure. There is something delightful in meeting these interesting people of the wilds. Suddenly it raised its sensitive nose, and sniffing suspiciously in my direction, caught the danger scent, and immediately swam for the shore and disappeared in the bush.

Otter Island

Next morning as the big red sun was pushing its way above the eastern rim of the lake, I slowly and with great care made my way to near the foot of the falls. When within about two rods length of the goal I then cast a fat pink worm into the water. It seemed to scarcely sink beneath the surface when there was a great commotion on the end of my line. I landed for breakfast four beautiful trout.

I fished no more that day, as I did not wish to catch more than we could use. That evening I strolled up the Otter River above the falls, finding an old lumber road. I walked farther than I intended, and sitting down on a log that crossed the river or creek, I watched intently for some time for signs of fish, but was surprised to see no fish or animal life of any kind, not even flies. It was a pleasant evening and time passed quickly. The sun had dropped behind the hills and darkness suddenly came on, when almost instantly a crashing in the brush arrested my attention. A red deer went flying past me toward the lake, seeming scarcely to touch the ground. I at once made for the trail, walking fast. I had a feeling that I was not alone; the bush seemed to be alive with the patter of feet. I was not afraid, but more than startled on seeing the form of a large timber wolf ahead of me. Raising his sepulchral voice, he called his companions, and was immediately answered on all sides and for miles around. Striking a few matches, I pressed on toward the lake, never slackening my pace till I saw the welcome light of the camp fire.


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