Thursday, December 4, 2014

1905 Hubbard Expedition Paddles

Was very excited to follow Peter Marshall's 2014 expedition attempt re-creating the 1905 Labrador crossing by Mina Hubbard (original post here). Unfortunately, the journey was halted over the Wapustan portage due to injury but credit is due to the 2 man crew for attempting this isolated and challenging route.

In the meantime, I've been re-reading The Woman Who Mapped Labrador, a very well researched book which included Mina Hubbard's diary in print for the first time. This time around, I noted some of the gear used for the trip. Page 103 cites:

"In the hold were six maple paddles and two "Guides Special" canvas covered canoes, each "Dead Grass" in colour and 19 feet in length, purchased by Mina just a month before for $70.00 from the Old Town Canoe Company of Maine."

As an interesting aside, her original invoice for the two 19' Guide Special Canoes and 4 of the  paddles were posted onto this thread on the WCHA forums.  The remaining two paddles were evidently secured by George Elson later along their journey to North West River Post in Labrador.

Mina Hubbard's Invoice (Old Town Canoe Co)
Courtesy Benson Gray - Original Link

On the 100th anniversary of the trip, the tiny village of North West River did a re-enactment of Mina Hubbard's departure. While the 19ft Old Town Guide Specials were no longer being built, 2 canoes were procured for the event and painted in that "dead grass" colour as documented in the invoice.

Here's the "George Elson" fellow posing with his paddle on shore...

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