01 December 2006

The Flight of Jim Charles -- Part 1

The Jim Charles Story

Jim Charles was an interesting character who
lived in the Kejimkujik area of Nova Scotia in
the 1800s. The area most frequented by Charles
is now Kejimkujik National Park.

It's a fact that he discovered gold in the area,
and became wealthy -- he would visit his mine,
periodically, but always kept it a secret. A
number of people tried to locate the mine, but
always failed. When Jim Charles died, the
secret location of his mine died with him.

The following story is based on a short story,
"The Flight of Jim Charles," written by Albert
Bigelow Payne, and published in 1906. I've
basically followed Payne's storyline from
beginning to end, adding new material as I go

I would like to thank Ken Thomas of Bridgewater,
Nova Scotia, for bringing Payne's story to my

The Flight of Jim Charles

We left the little hotel in Milford on the morning
of June 7th, 1905. My guide, Louis, had joined
me there, and together we loaded supplies for
our sojourn into the wilderness area lying east
of Annapolis and Milford, Nova Scotia. It's a
large, rugged area of wilderness, replete with
lakes, streams, rivers, and a variety of fish and
game, including moose and bear.

Now, some seventeen days later, on this 24th
day of June, we've succeeded in exploring much
of this country, without meeting another living
soul. Louis knows this place like the back of his
hand, and seems always to know where to fish
the lakes, streams, and rivers. As a result, we've
eaten like royalty, and I've no doubt that given a
few hooks and a piece of line, Louis could survive
for months on end in this country.

This evening we arrived at a cove closed in by
large pine and hemlock trees. Coming on shore,
we pulled the canoe well into the bushes, and
carried our supplies to a clearing where Louis
said he had camped three years earlier. It's a
beautiful place, sheltered from all but the winds
and storms that might strike from a southerly

Louis set about preparing supper from the trout
we caught earlier that day. He's an excellent
cook and guide, having travelled the land for
most of his life.

I like my trout crisp and brown, and always look
forward to the evening meal. Often, Louis makes
luskinigan in a frying pan. It's an Indian biscuit
bread that's been made by generations of Mi'kmaq
people. It's especially delicious with a cup of hard
boiled black tea. The tea keeps one's innards
working, and is a relaxing way to finish a hard day
of paddling and portaging.

To be continued . . . .