Lodge Life

Here are some stories from past seasons. For the most up to date pictures and comments visit our FaceBook page.

A Real Birch Canoe

Monday, July 12, 2010
One of the first things you notice when you come to Hay Lake Lodge and Cottages is the amazing number of birch trees  on our property. The paper white bark is striking, whether you see it in the summer, or with the gold leaves of autumn. These are the birch trees that native people used to make canoes, and guests often wonder, as they look at our trees, just how they did it.  I thought you might like to know about our friend Nick Hall here at Hay Lake, who is making a traditional birch bark canoe right now. Nick cut down a birch in April, and peeled the bark all in one piece - it took hours.  Then he shaped it white side to the inside,and held it down with rocks. In May he went out  and dug up spruce tree roots to make the lashings.  He also used the  roots to sew  panels together. Nick spent June splitting cedar - by hand-  into planks for the inside of the canoe. Here is Nick carrying the canoe: He has carved a yoke, so he can balance it on his shoulders.  The canoe is 13 feet long and Nick says it's pretty light. The canoe will soon have quarter thwarts - that's instead of seats.  Nick is a real canoe pro, so he never sits and paddles, only kneels, the way true canoeists do. To finish, he will make pitch from spruce tree gum, bear fat and charcoal.  Then he'll use it to seal every seam.  It will take a lot of oozing spruce trees to gather the gum - and when it's finished, Nick will have a masterpiece!