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11
Discovery of Fraser River.

As the passage by land appeared even worse, Fraser resolved to try to have one canoe run the rapid, with a light load and manned by his best five men. The attempt was unsuccessful, the canoe was dashed against a rock, but its crew fortunately saved themselves by climbing up the rock. The rescue of these five men was a perilous act, endangering the lives of all who took part in it. Fraser says in his Journal:

"The bank was extremely high and steep, and we had to plunge our daggers at intervals into the ground to check our speed, as otherwise we were exposed to slide into the river. We cut steps in the declivity, fastened a line tO' the front of the canoe, with which some of the men ascended in order to haul it up, while the others supported it upon their arms. In this manner our situation was most precarious; our lives hung, as it were, upon a thread, as the failure of the line or a false step of one of the men might have hurled the whole of us into eternity."

The Indians advised him to abandon the river and travel overland. Fraser says in his Journal:

"Going to sea by an indirect way was not the object of my undertaking. I therefore would not deviate."

He proceeded on the land a short distance with horses, obtained from the Indians. He then voyaged by the river several days under great perils, at times portaging his goods and canoes over mountains and across canyons and ravines. Sometimes they went over rapids and through river canyons, which it is said never before nor since were attempted.

June 9 the expedition came to a place where "the channel contracted to a width of about forty yards enclosed by two precipices of immense height, which bending over toward each other, make it narrower above than below. The water which rolls down this extraordinary passage in tumultuous waves and with great velocity, had a frightful appearance." It was impossible to carry the canoes overland. The whole party without hesitation and with most desperate daring embarked in their canoes. In his Journal, Fraser says: "Thus skim^----