Trails, horses, people and adventure along the Nuxalk-Carrier Grease Trail is the topic of a newly published book In the Footsteps of Alexander Mackenzie.
The book follows 25-year-old archaeological field assistant Carol Blacklaws, her field partner Darly Fedge and their job-dog Fadra as they followed Canada’s most epic yet least commemorated trail – The Alexander Mackenzie Nuxalk-Carrier Grease Trail. Their work entailed surveying 450 kilometers of trail, recording and mapping archaeological sites from the Blackwater River through Tweedsmuir Provincial Park, hiking up and over the Rainbow Mountains to ultimately end in Bella Coola on the Pacific Coast.
In the late 70s and early 80s, the Government of British Columbia commissioned the archaeological study of the Nuxalk-Carrier Grease Trail, the ancient First Nations’ trading route between Nazko and Bella Coola. This was also the route explorer Alexander Mackenzie followed in 1793 during the first documented crossing of the North American continent.
Part memoir, part photo journal, the book tells the story of the ranchers, the Lhoosk’uz (Kluskus) Dene – a people whose origins in the area go back 4,000 years – and the author’s awareness that the vast survey area was so much more than just a trail designation.
Forty hand-tinted black and white photographs by Rick Blacklaws bring the author’s words and experiences to life. Maps and sidebar essays provide in-depth background information.
This book is for everyone who has been drawn into the grandeur of the vast Cariboo-Chilcotin landscapes and intrigued by the legends that lived there.
Through memoir, it describes the uniquely Canadian characters that lived along the trail and
the fate of the Mackenzie Nuxalk-Carrier Grease Trail describing why the trail wasn’t recognized as a heritage jewel for Canada.
Author Carol Blacklaws will be presenting her book through the Heritage Speakers Series at Shiraoi House, Oct. 22, 7 – 8 p.m. then a book launch and slide show at Books and Company in Prince George, Oct. 23, 7 – 8 p.m., and finally Saturday, Oct. 24, 1 – 3 p.m. at The Open Book, in Williams Lake for a Meet the Author.