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Monday, August 30, 2010

Voyageur Encampment

An intrepid pair of Future Leader Dogs and their raisers joined puppy-counselor, Nance, for a visit back in time at Metro Beach Park Saturday.

"Les Coureurs de Bois et Voyageurs de Ste. Claire"

Voyageur canoe--the old way of transport vs the new!

For about 200 years, starting in the 1600's until the mid 1800's, the Great Lakes Fur Trade was dependent on strong-backed, skilled canoe-paddlers of mostly French-Canadian descent.  These stalwart men transported furs for French, British, and later, Canadian and American companies.  The European fashion industry coveted the pelts of beaver and other animals found in abundance in the wilderness of the Great Lakes region.

Voyageur Ray, sewing a new shirt.
This weekend, the shore of Lake St. Clair at Metro Beach was a busy campsite filled with coureurs (unlicensed fur traders) and voyageurs (French for travelers).

These enactors wore authentic hand-made period clothing....

 ...and gave demonstrations on blacksmithing, cannon and musket shooting, fire starting, cooking, paddle carving, sheep shearing, spinning, and more!


The "authority" and coureurs.

Sheep, awaiting shearing.
Neither FLD Mike nor FLD Karson flinched when the cannons went off.  The two pups were more interested in each other than anything else!

Nance and FLD Mike

Thanks, Nance, for another great Leader Dogs for the Blind puppy outing!

FLD Karson

FLD Mike, cooling out on the tile at home afterwards.

For interesting reading about Voyageurs, go to "The Wilderness Classroom" website--click here.

In 1820, Lewis Cass, the Governor of the Michigan Territory, led an expedition to explore the Great Lakes and Mississippi River regions.  Click here to read the entire text of Henry Rose Schoolcraft's narrative of their travels.


  1. I was just reading about this the other day. I'd like to take the girls next year...

  2. They would love it, very interesting and lots of stuff to learn about!