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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 54.djvu/199

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185
UP THE SKEENA RIVER.

deep basin, as if the river had felt depressed as it passed through the quarter-mile narrow gorge and had here spread itself out to breathe and rest before it started anew its downward journey to the sea. It was late in the afternoon, and the western sun threw long shadows of the lofty sky-crowned perpendicular walls of the left hand side of the canon over against the rocky islets and ragged, rockbound eastern shore. Once we have entered, there is no faltering; "lining it out" is impossible here, and on and on the boat labors

PSM V54 D199 Skeena river salmon cannery.jpg
A Skeena River Salmon Cannery.

and climbs, twisting and turning through the narrow, tortuous channel. A quick eye and a steady nerve must command the wheel now, for a turn too much or too little would be fatal. One instinctively feels that the "Water of Terrors" is the proper name for this river, and with that feeling comes the other—that it was never intended for navigation.

After four days' grinding over sand bars and pounding against rocks we tie up for repairs. One of the boilers had sprung a leak which could be neglected no longer. The delay of thirty-six hours was not without compensation, for the country about was open, and proved a relief after the long ride through the high-walled river from the sea to the cañon. The banks were low or moderately high and of gravel or sand bluffs, and we could look off over a landscape