Voyage of the Koo Koo Sint and Paddle Song
In 1811, David Thompson, surveyor and fur trader for the North West Company reached the Pacific Ocean, adding the Columbia River as the final leg of the Fur Trade Highway from Hudson’s Bay and Montreal to the Pacific Ocean and becoming the first person to survey and map the Columbia River from its source near Invermere, British Columbia to its mouth at Astoria, Oregon.
On June, 3, 2011, ten 25 foot long Voyageur Canoes left Invermere, British Columbia on six week, 1,100 mile, (1,700 kilometer) trip to Astoria, Oregon via the Kootenai, Clark Fork, Pend Oreille and Columbia Rivers. We arrived in Astoria, Oregon on July 15, 2011, 200 years to the day after David Thompson’s arrival in 1811.
Two of the ten voyageur canoes were entered by a group of us called the North American Land Surveyors. Our two canoes were named the “Koo Koo Sint” (Coast Salish for “stargazer” or “one who looks at the stars” for David Thompson) and “Paddle Song” named for David’s wife of 56 years, Charlotte Small (from a book called “Woman of the Paddle Song”).
The North American Land Surveyors were sponsored by provincial and state surveying societies of Alberta, British Columbia, Montana, Idaho and Oregon along with other local, regional and national surveying societies and private companies. Besides entering two canoes in the nine to ten canoe brigade we also contributed to the brigade by; providing tents with colorful exhibits, brochures and maps in many of the communities; serving on the Geo cache committee (all were NALS paddlers) that had six large “Meet & Greets” with the public along the way and purchasing a black powder flint lock musket for each of our arrival ceremonies into the communities…
For a 106Mb Word doc of the complete article, complete with numerous images and a daily log of events, click HERE
An earlier article, from January 2009, can be found HERE