Using a map made on birch bark by Assiniboin guide Ochagach, Pierre La Vérendrye follows the Grand Portage trail from Lake Superior to Lake of the Woods. It is not a way to the western sea, as he has hoped, but fur traders will follow this trail for the next 100 years.*
Sometimes the easy way is the hard way. A portage is an overland pathway that avoids dangerous rapids or falls for those traveling by river. Ochagach likely thought that the “western sea” that La Verendrye sought was Lake Winnipeg. Regardless of his disappointment, La Verendrye and the voyageurs respected and appreciated the wisdom in taking this 8.5mile trail past the dangers of the Pigeon River.
We often balk at the delays of modern life, even though we have such incredible technologies that serve our whims and convenience. Will You make us like Ochagach, so that we can see the dangers of convenience in our lives? Will You make us like La Verendrye, that we may heed the warnings of our friends to not try to foolishly “shoot the rapids?”
Father, thanks that You lead us on our way. Thanks that You delight in sharing your mysteries with us. Bless the Assiniboin people, Ochagach, and P. La Verendrye for the gift of this trail. Thank you that these two men showed trust to each other! Thanks for the lessons of the portage!
**Note – PrayThroughHistory uses the timeline located for several years at the Minnesota Historical Society Web site, at this URL: mnhs.org/about/dipity_timeline.htm . Currently the timeline seems to be unavailable.