Saturday, February 23, 2013

Life Article - Robert Rock - Battered W/C Canoe

A few years back, I posted about a pic of bashed up cedar canvas canoe after a run down some nasty rapids. Now I've come across the original source article which appeared in LIFE magazine, 16 Nov 1953. It follows the life of Woodsman Rock Robertson in the backwoods of Quebec and features a few of Rock's canoeing exploits. Here's a pic of his portage load...




The article also features a sequence during a successful bear hunt. To get back to camp, he portaged the canoe and the bear with a tump-strap. Talk about a single carry!



But the most exciting part of the piece is his attempt down some rapids. Rock seems to have ignored typical bushcraft wisdom of being conservative in whitewater with a cedar canvas canoe and maybe tried to show off for the camera. Here's the excerpt from the article:

Recently, when he decided to shoot the rapids at the head of Lake Mattawa. He ignored the warnings that no man alive could take a canoe over that drop, and that no man could survive if the canoe tipped. Rock simply shrugged and reached for his paddle. He rode the millrace but not in the canoe which turned over and dumped him. Bouncing from boulder to boulder he went through the water in a jackknife position with arms and legs extended before him absorbing the shocks. When he crawled out unhurt 200 yards below, a triumphant grin lit up his face. "I lost my socks," he announced, "but l still got my chewing gum."


The sequence of pics...




 BATTERED CANOE leaking furiously but still afloat after the perilous venture is patched up with spruce gum and boughs to carry Rock back to camp. 


Photos Courtesy of Life Magazine
For Personal Non-Commercial Use



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