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8o Joseph Schafer The Athabasca River, although very strong at seasons of high water, is free from dangerous rapids, between the points above mentioned, nor is it necessary at any season to make a "portage." From the Athabasca River we proceeded, on horseback, a distance of about lOO miles to Edmonton on the Saskatchewan River, through a flat and nearly continual swampy country, difficult to traverse at all seasons, and almost impassable dur- ing the early spring and autumn. There is one large (the Pamino) and two smaller rivers to cross, which we effected in canoes, swimming our horses. We arrived at Fort Edmonton, already described, on the 17th May, and embarked on the i8th in large and well built boats, but too heavy to be serviceable were it necessary to make portages, from which the Saskatchewan River, although occa- sionally interrupted by sand banks, is free. Allowing the boat to drift with the current during the night, we continued without interruption, descending the same river to Fort Carlton, from whence we proceeded on horseback a distance of about 460 miles to the Red River Settlement, by nearly the same route we followed last year, and arrived at Fort Garry, the principal trading post of the Hudson's Bay Company on the 7th June. Although the more northern route to the Columbia River is in every way preferable to that by which we entered the Ore- gon Territory last year, the difficulties of conveying men, pro- visions, stores, etc., should it ever be deemed advisable to send troops overland to that country, are also very great. The ascent of the Saskatchewan and the Athabasca Rivers, which we descended with great facility, causes much delay and loss of time. The portage between the two rivers, although not impracticable, would require much improvement, the swamps and deep muddy gullies, filled up with "fascenes" to form a roadway, the swollen streams bridged, on account of the depth and tenacity of their muddy beds and banks, and boats or rafts

constructed at the 'Tamino" River.----