The hidden years in Canada,105 leeches

Door San-Daniel gepubliceerd op Friday 31 July 08:56

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Leeches

After I had taken coffee at snackbar Jones I went towards the base camp. Walking with the poles on my back out of the village. ‘What would Bev and the boys be surprised tomorrow’, I thought and   they would be, indeed, but for other reasons. It had been quite a complicated story of Mister Jones from Land Management. On land that was federal, governmental, the maximum claim that you could stake was  660 yards by 1320 yards. The path length was roughly twice the width, he had told me.It amounted to approximately 20 acres. A yard was a big step you took. You had to make a  point of reference  that could be a pile of stones or a pole at a height of at least 3 foot that stuck out about a yard or nearly one meter above the ground to be visible. That place you called later at the registration office, the number one corner. From there you had to measure clockwise  the other three piles of stones.Then you had to register the location within 45 days at the registration office, which was in Deadhorse, at mister Jones' Land Management. When  summoned, you’d have to pay  the development and exploration tax if you failed to do so the claim was returned to the government after a year . You also could not stake the same claim twice. If you failed to pay, you and your heirs would lose the claim. He had looked at me searchingly, Mr. Jones, ‘follow me boy,’ he asked? I nodded after the processing of information which was all new to me. ‘Then you go now and place your sticks,’ he had laughed, ‘and I’ll have a lunch break,’ he chuckled as he got up.

I could not wait to get started, I could now go into the wilderness and measure land. Jones had added, ‘you will find in this area that a claim remains 90 years in the ownership of the free miner, in other states and districts that has already been reduced to 20 years'.I who just had a car, and then a very old one at that, would soon possess a piece of land with my friends. In addition, it would provide enough property wealth to give direction to our lives. I came to the overhanging bushes and began to follow the stream to where the old pole had stood and saw that it was indeed an end or claim pole because it was not a sign that began with NE or North East. I put the poles down and contemplated how to stake the claim. You could let the length piece running along with the brook or you could just choose to do that measurement as the width. I chose the latter and walked one half of the width to my North side and then made me roughly 330 yards away a big marker, a pile of rocks that you could see from a distance. Now I walked to the other half of the width and piled another hefty batch of stones on each other. and went back and looked past the stack to the first. So on sight I tried to determine whether the stacks were more or less in line. I moved a few times over to the one and then the other pile until I was satisfied with the width measurement and then as the hours passed I walked the length.

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It would be a huge rectangle when it was measured out. Time after time I walked through the shallow pool of water until I more or less had  my reference points.. It was now late afternoon. It dawned on me to me that both my right and my left leg itched terribly. Then I just scratched my leg and I felt something that filled me with horror. From my one and on the other leg, I had leeches hanging from my skin. With a shout, without a doubting  a moment, I pulled the critters from my legs and then stopped. I did it exactly wrong I had maybe pinched  six or seven of the leeches to smithereens  pulling them apart when the voice of snack Jones came back to me, on one of our first meetings. ‘They’ll let go, if you wait, when they are full, 'if you pinch them or burn them off with a lighter they empty their stomach contents into the wound, causing bacterial infections that can be horrendous. ' My first impulse had been tearing them away and my hands were stained with my own blood that had sprayed from the dead leeches. I was disgusted by the idea that there were leeches on me drinking my blood and got out of the water. They swelled up and let loose indeed after they were full. I was still upset when I  began to set the poles.

I was glad that my friends would come tomorrow. it had just been too much. the loneliness and the things that I heard t night  and now I was a walking blood bank for those wretched leeches. When I walked back I stopped and looked a few times at my legs, there were  about 20 grater holes. One leg especially itched a lot and I fancied it glowed? At the time I make it to base camp I had just  enough time to make a camp fire with branches and I felt inexplicably tired and decided to go to bed early, my friends would come tomorrow !

San Daniel 2015

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