Upon passing the Height of the Land for the first time, voyageurs were required to take the “Voyageurs Code” and to toast the landmark with a dram of whiskey. A set of guidelines passed from one crew to the next. PACT was no exception to the rule. At roughly 8am on July 29th, the crew crossed a small, nearly flat portage from North Lake to South Lake, passing from the Hudson’s Bay watershed to the Great Lakes watershed. From here, everything would be “downhill”.
Crew historian Peter Vooys marked the occasion by reciting the voyageur’s code to the best of his memory.
This is what the PACT Voyageur’s Code sounded like:
“Since Grand Rapids we have battled the mighty Hudson’s Bay watershed. Upstream the whole way in the high country! En français – le pays d’en haut.
Now we’ve crossed the Height of the Land, and in true voyageur fashion we will recite the voyageur’s code (at least the portions I can remember), and should take the traditional voyageur toast to congratulate ourselves on reaching the Great Lakes watershed.
It’s all downhill from here.
We’ve come a long way, that’s really awesome.
A voyageur rises early and retires late.
A voyageur paddles hard in the day and eats heartily at night.
When the trip is done, they drink merrily.
A voyageur relies on his team to get from A to B (adlib there), but a voyageur also makes sure that the team can rely on him or her or cat (adlib there).
A voyageur works hard, plays hard and respects the land.
And a voyageur never sleeps with another voyageur’s spouse.
And this in the name of the North-West Company, say Amen.”
With that, Vooys called the rest of the crew up one by one to kneel while he poured whiskey down their throats.
What a way to start the day!