Cannibals of the Grand Canyon of the Fraser

One of the more colorful stories of this regions’s past happened in 1862 in the “Grand Canyon of the Fraser” up river of Prince George.  The story differs slightly depending on the source but the theme of “Cannibalism” is in all of them.

In the year spring of 1862  five men started a journey from London, Ontario to the goldfields of Barkerville in hopes of striking it rich! The group consisted of three brothers with the last name Rennie and two others named Helstone and Wright.  Their journey had been going according to plan as they made their way across the country.  The arrived in Tete Jaune Cache in the October and bought two canoes to make the trip down the Fraser River to Ft George and then off to Quesnel and then Barkerville.

They paddled the relatively easy flowing Fraser River until they got to the infamous “Grand Canyon”.  Seeing the start of an impressive canyon and rapids they decided to lash their two canoes together for extra security.  They ventured downriver but it quickly became apparent that their lashed canoes were no match for the raging and turbulent waters of the canyon.  They swamped the canoes near the bottom of the first canyon and ended up on a island/bar in the middle of the river.

This is where the stories differ but this is the version I believe to be true.  Only two of the men could swim (two of the Rennie Brothers) so they swam across the river and started making their 28 day trek to Fort George.  Meanwhile the other three were stranded with no food and it didn’t take long before they turned on each other and specifically the lone “Rennie” brother as Helstone and Wright killed the Rennie brother and were seen by  local first nations ( who had come to help them) eating everything but the legs of Rennie.  The First Nations attempted to help the remaining two but they pulled their revolvers and scared the off.  In the spring the local First  Nations returned to find that the second man had been killed and eaten.  The third man was found to have died but had not been eaten and that is the story of “Cannibal Island”.

On our “Ghost Towns of the East Line” tour we jet boat past the infamous island and always on the lookout for a bone or two that might be buried in the gravel!   We will be doing this tour again on May 11, 2019!

The infamous “Cannibal Bar /Island” to the right! Is that a bone I see sticking out of the ground?
A scow making its way through the canyon
A scow lining its way through the canyon
Jet Boating through the Canyon
Jet Boating through the canyon
Jet Boating up the Canyon

 

Ghost Towns of the East Line

Travelling  along the Upper Fraser to the end of the road through towns like Longworth, Sinclair Mills, Newlands, Hutton and Penny provides a glimpse into the past of our early resource based communities and the lives of the people that worked there.  We were fortunate enough to have Author “Ray Olson” provide interpretive knowledge and share his stories of growing up along the line.  All this is done while travelling in the comfort of a VIA rail train from Prince George to Penny.  When we arrive in Penny the Gobbi family generously provides lunch and tours us around the local homesteads and cemetery.  The day winds up with a Jet Boat ride down the Fraser River through historic and scenic Grand Canyon of the Fraser.

Last year the tour was so popular we delivered two trips to this historic part of our region.  Here are some highlights from last years tour!

Jet Boating through through the historic Grand Canyon of the Fraser
The old Penny BeeHive Burner
Jet Boating down the Fraser River on a sunny May day
Jet Boating through the Grand Canyon of the Fraser
Remnants of a Bee Hive burner along the Fraser River
Enjoying lunch with one of the locals
An old record player in a local homestead
Inside the Penny Community Hall
The Penny Cemetery
Entering the Grand Canyon of the Fraser
Waiting for the guests to arrive on the VIA Rail train
The Via Rail train arriving
An old homestead in Penny
Penny Community hall
The Penny Post Office

2019 Adventure Brochure is out!

We are excited to release the dates for our 2019 Adventure Tours and the brochure.  Here is a snapshot of the two page brochure.  Individual brochures for each tour will be out shortly.

Let us know if you have any questions about this years tours!

Rob.bryce@unbc.ca

New Schedule for 2019

We are excited for the upcoming year of Adventure Tours through UNBC Continuing Studies.  Every year the tours get better as we fine tune all the small details.  Most tours are only delivered once a year and occasionally twice if sufficient demand well in advance of the tour date.  These tours are not geared towards academic students but rather those with an interest in adventure and experiencing northern BC. The tours have a small group size of upto 10-12 guests at he most and rely heavily on  guest speakers and authentic locals that share their knowledge about the places we visit. Our average age of our guests is around 60 years old and some as old as 85.  We do have younger people join us as well but predominantly it is an older clientele.

I thought I would share 10 photos form last year that highlight some of the trips we did.

We watched this little grizzly for 30 min before he even knew he was being watched!
Our group that toured Kitsault and Alice Arm along with the manager of the Modern day Ghost Town!
One of the many cannery sites we visit on our “Canneries of the Northcoast Tour”. A great tour for those looking for unique and seldom visited sites!
We use the majestic Skeena River for a couple of our tours. There is nothing like the passing through the coastal mountains on the river on a bluebird day!
Very few people get a chance to go through the “Grand Canyon of the Fraser” in a jet boat and experience what the early explorers did!
We find some of the nicest places on the north coast to enjoy a tasty lunch!
You will not find the uniqueness of these buildings anywhere else. Buildings that are over 100 years old and still standing today! Anyox is remote and inaccessible but we can get you there.
This place is a photographers dream and a place where you can go back in time!
We get you up close and personal with the longest railway bridge in BC. Over 100 years old and still going strong!
Guest arriving on float plane to view bears in a remote Grizzly Bear Sanctuary

The Adventure begins in Prince George!

We have three great tours lined up for the Prince George area this spring.  Exploring the history of our region via train and jet boat as we visit remote and hard to reach sites rich in early 1900’s stories of the past.  We also provide an opportunity to be a part of one of the most unique biological tours in the province.  We assist the Lheidli Tenneh Fisheries program in locating, capturing and tagging Upper Fraser White Sturgeon “The Dinosaurs of the River”.

The Nechako and Fraser Rivers are our highways for these three tours as we explore the two of the largest canyons on the Fraser River and remnants of our early 1900 transportation methods.  Our knowledgeable accompanying resource persons will provide facts and stories to make this one of the most memorable trips you have ever been on.   You do not want to miss out on these amazing trips.

Upper Fraser White Sturgeon Biology Experience – May 3-4, 2018
Historic Fort George River Journey – May 11, 2018
Ghost Towns of the East Line: History of the Upper Fraser – May 12, 2018

For More Information:
https://www.unbc.ca/continuing-studies/courses/tours

Old Miworth Reaction Ferry Pontoon

 

The Telemetry receiver in action
Historic Ft George Canyon Historic Ft George River Journey Tour
Sturgeon on the Upper Fraser River
Old Beehive Burner at eh Eastline Ghost Town of Penny
Ringbolt in the Grand Canyon of the Fraser
Ringbolt in the Grand Canyon of the Fraser