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> Issue 16 > Page 43 - Mail and Snow and Roads and Mud

Page 43 - Mail and Snow and Roads and Mud

Published by Ronald Caplan on 1977/6/1 (703 reads)

Mail and Snow and Roads and Mud Danny MacAskill today, and with Jim Peters in the 1920s* Danny MacAskill, Breton Cove: I started to deliver the mail in July, 1923. From Eng? lishtown to Ingonish Ferry. I'd go over Smokey Mountain. I used to cross the ferry at Englishtown. It was awkward. i/ Zhen I started it was only a one-car ferry. Once the fall of the year would come, a windy day or anything like that, the ferry wouldn't work, couldn't get across • you'd have to wait up there at Jersey Cove till you'd get the ferry* Well around Christmas they were hauling the ferryboat up and they were ferrying with a rowboat. And when the drift ice would come, that was gone • couldn't ferry anymore with the rowboat itself* So you had to depend on the ice, harbour ice* Cross from Jersey Cove to Englishtown with a horse guid sleigh* And sometimes you'd have to go on very poor ice, too* In the spring of the year, drift ice would be in and there'd be no ferry and you'd have to try to get the mail a- cross some way, amy way • and you'd risk going on very poor ice* I never had any trouble with it • but I was on very poor ice, poor going* Then in the winter, a stormy day, when it was snowing and blowing from the east, you'd have to watch very carefully or else you'd get lost on the ice. You couldn't see where you were going* Sometimes the ice wouldn't be bushed early and then it would be left* Then when they had the bushes on, they were away up at Raymond's beach there* When you were going up Jersey Cove you had to watch you didn't go too far out or else you'd never find the bushes. There was nobody lost there as far as I know, but there was a couple of horses drowned there. Got lost like that and they went in the entrance. The tide keeps the ice broke up above the government wharf. And sometimes there'd be slush ice going and it'd fill in against the other ice and I guess that's what fooled them. They went on that slush ice and the horses got in the ice* I saw one winter here, Smokey Mountain blocked up with snow and there was no mail going across • just the year before I started driving the mail • it was Dan Urqu? hart then* Christmas Day the mountain was blocked* And there was no more mail went down till sometime in April, by boat* They couldn't do a thing* There was no traffic through there at all. The only way you'd get through there was on snowshoes* And when we started with the mail, it was bad • but we used to keep it open* We used to have fellows down there in Wreck Cove work? ing for us, breaking the road there* (Did they plow?) Oh, no • shovelling it* Shovel the snow away. Boy, they'd have cuts in it about 4 feet.deep* (How long?) It was from the foot of Smokey to the top* It had al? most to be shoveled every bit of it to get a horse to go through it* And even so you were leaving a lot of snow* And maybe a couple of days time the darn thing would plug up again on you • another storm would come • then you had to do the same thing over again* They would shovel to the top of Smokey* Yes, indeed. I saw it shoveled as far as from Ingonish Ferry to the foot of Smokey. Every bit of it was shoveled and there was 4 feet put out of most of it. Yes. There was a bunch from Ingonish started on the northern end • priest in Ingonish sent word up. Big storm came and they knew there would be no mail go for a week before you'd get the road open. So he sent a message up on a Sunday afternoon and he told me to get up on Smokey, start to open it, and that
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