The Gull Reef Club


Hang in there, Brother!

Filed under: — Jaime @ 8:16 pm

This post is specifically dedicated to my beloved, baby brother and all his fellow northerners who are beyond sick of winter.

One of the few ways we humans make ourselves feel better about our respective conditions is to ponder the misery of someone worse off and then remark, “well, at least my life isn’t that hard”. So here is your comparison for the day; I hope it makes you feel a little better:

Bad-ass, hyperborean, 3rd great-grandpa Abell primarily resided, for a good portion of his life, at Lower Fort Garry, in the southern region of Manitoba. On one occasion, duty required him to travel to Fort Chipewyan in the far northern parts of Alberta. Because he was assisting in getting the first steamboat to sail on Lake Athabasca, he had to travel in winter (which is boat building season, when the lakes/rivers are frozen). This all went down Winter 1882/1883. At one point, he wrote about what he had to wear as he traveled (by dogsled):

It might interest you to know that the garments necessary for winter travel were as follows: Heavy flannel underwear, flannel shirt with collars, a heavy tweed suit, and over the coat a jersey. In addition, one had to have a “top-coat” -as it was called- of buffalo robe, lined with rat skin, and with an otter collar; a cap with an otter band and a seal crown, and ear flaps which could be pulled down; a knitted muffler to wrap around the neck and head; and for the feet, high silk socks, and over them duffel socks, made of heavy wool in something resembling the texture of a blanket. These last were made expressly for wear on long journeys in extreme winter weather. One also wore moccasins of smoked moose skin, in place of boots, and buffalo leggins, which partly covered the moccasins and extended up over the knees. A pair of fur gauntlets drawn on over woolen gloves constituted the finishing touch in this outfit.

So my cold northern-dwelling friends and family, when you dress for work next, keep this in mind and think, well, at least my life isn’t that hard.

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The Gull Reef Club