The Barren Grounds of Northern Canada.

An 1889-91 trip from Edmonton to Athabasca and the barren grounds in search of caribou and musk-ox. Pike nearly starved on Peace River in 1891.

p. 122: From every point of view, then, the Indian of the Great Slave Lake is not a pleasant companion, nor a man to be relied upon in case of emergency. Nobody has yet discovered the right way to manage him. His mind runs on different principles from that of a white man, and till the science of thought-reading is much more fully developed, the working of his brain will always be a mystery to the fur-trader and traveler.

p. 131, on his pleasure at reaching Fort Resolution, after four months on the barron ground: How strange it seemed once more to sit at a table, on a chair, like a white man, and eat white man’s food with a knife and fork, after the long course of squatting in the filth of a smoky lodge, rending a piece of half-raw meat snatched from a dirty kettle. Then, too, I could speak again in my own language, and there was a warm room to sit in, books to read, and all the ordinary comforts of life, with the knowledge that so long as I stayed in the house I had my own place, while the wind and the snow had theirs outside.

p. 137: Close at hand lay the Protestant Mission, where there was always a welcome, and, with these attractions and a fair supply of books, time did not hang at all heavily till early in February the winter packet from the outside world arrived. I received a big bundle of letters, the first that reached me since June, but it happened that none of the newspapers for the fort turned up, and were left in ignorance of what had happened in the Grand Pays.