de Bois: Courage
de bois traveled long distances. They left their homes in the spring
with their canoes loaded with supplies and goods for trading. They
traveled down the Ottawa River to Lake Huron. From there it took
another month of paddling more than 12 hours a day to reach their
destination. Some of the coureurs de bois traveled as far as
2000 kilometers, or more, from home.
It was dangerous
work, so the coureurs de bois sometimes traveled together in groups.
They needed each other to help paddle, set up shelter and keep watch
for enemies at night. They also had to catch their own food. They
would hunt and fish for food along the way.
It was also hard
work. The coureur de bois often had to portage
their canoes. In the summer mosquitoes and other insects bothered
them. They had to hang their food up high away from animals. In the
winter they had to keep warm at night. They would dig holes in the
snow and line them with cedar branches.
insects in the woods could drive a man crazy, there were so
many. To keep them away, coureurs be bois learned tricks from
Aboriginal peoples. They use plants like bay leaves and bloodroot,
as well as animal fats and even fish oil.
to more information
coureurs de bois:
The Virtual Museum of New France:
Les coureurs de bois
taught the coureurs de bois how to survive in the wilderness?
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