The Night Run
By Linda C Butler
Told by Earl Fisher
In the 1960s, when I was seventeen, I worked for Charlie Vance in Snow Lake MB. Charlie had a store, and at that time he also had road-clearing contracts for the Thompson Highway which was being built. Although chain saws were in use then, the men cut the right-of-way with axes as the highway clearing was a job creation program, which required handwork. As a result, there were large crews in the camps.
The cook would send out the grocery order. I would load the groceries into a truck at Snow Lake and drive to Wekusko where we kept a small tractor, then transfer the groceries to a sled which I towed behind the tractor. I drove along the right-of-way and made the camp deliveries.
One time, after I had delivered the groceries, I had trouble with the tractor and it would not run properly. The hours of daylight are short in the winter months and I decided to walk back to Wekusko where I had left the truck, and come back another day for the tractor.
Darkness settled in, but the night was clear and in the moonlight I had no trouble keeping to the trail. It was cold and the hard-packed snow crunched under my feet.
Suddenly, I heard footsteps on the trail behind me and I realized that wolves had picked up my scent. I was in good physical shape so I started running to keep ahead of them, and I never looked back to see how close they were. When I finally slowed down, I no longer heard footsteps behind me. I turned back to look and I couldn’t see the wolves, so I assumed that they had given up the chase. I arrived at Wekusko, got into the truck and drove home.
A day or two later, we drove another tractor down the road to retrieve the disabled one, and I watched for the wolf tracks to see how far they had followed me that night.
I never found any wolf tracks, but we came to a spot where a herd of caribou had crossed the right-of-way. Obviously, it was caribou I had heard that night and no wolves had ever followed me. I had been terrified and had run for my life, but nothing was behind me.
Note: The late Margaret Spencer (Cote) from Herb Lake Landing was a cook in some of these camps.