Stolen Stories

illustration by Henry Kane of North country canoeist
illustration by Henry Kane of North country canoeist

Before the Internet

Before the internet came rolling around way back when, books were an important way of discovering strange worlds that were unknown to us in our day-to-day routines, which most of us lead. And as you go further back in time, before the TV network news, movies and the color photographs, you might find that the written word had an added importance in telling people about the strange worlds that existed across the seven seas and into the interior of some of the most isolated spots on the planet. Our world would have been a whole lot poorer, if it wasn’t for the likes of such writers as Jonathon Swift, Jules Vernes, Mark Twain, Robert Louis Stevenson, Mary Shelley or William Shakespeare.

Cache Lake Country

For me, one of the most vivid books of my youth was Cache Lake Country, which was written by John J. Rowlands and illustrated by Henry B. Kane. I grew up in central Maryland where the winters were not so severe and not all too long. So to read about two men who spent an entire year in the North Woods of Ontario, Canada was spell-bounding to say the least. The most fascinating part of their tale was their life on snowshoes, which lasted approximately from December till April. The fact that no photographs are part of this book, only adds to the mystique of time and place, even though the manuscript was published in 1947, when cameras were well in fashion.

Stolen Stories

When I wrote Le Loup de Garou (see previous post), I borrowed from two parts of the Cache Lake book. One part of the short story is influenced by the account of a real-life lumberjack, who gets turned around on one of the coldest nights of the winter and spends most of the night outdoors attempting to gain his bearings. Finally, he comes across a lighted cabin, but not before developing a minor case of frostbite. And then there is the title, which comes from a French-Canadian legend in regards to a wolf-man type of creature that haunts the North Woods at night. So there it is in a nutshell, on how to be influenced by real life experiences, even though they might only appear in book form.

Cache lake woodlore as illustrated by Henry Kane
Cache lake woodlore as illustrated by Henry Kane
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Niagara Falls, Ontario

Horseshoe Falls
Horseshoe Falls as seen from the Canadian side

I just spent the last week at Niagara Falls on the Canadian side, enjoying the last gasps of  the Indian Summer and Halloween. It was my first view of the falls, and needless to say I was very impressed. I never expected the falls to be so impressive, but they most definitely were.

Also of interest was the Niagara river which flowed through a deep gorge that separated the U.S. from Canada.

Both Niagara Falls had several casinos. I got a chance to walk into the Fallsview Casino, which was quite large and filled with many of the computer style gambling machines. Somehow those machines just seem like they are completely out of sync with what A casino should include. I would like to walk into one of these places and see a real one-armed bandit in action, but it’s not going to happen here in Ontario.

Here’s a few more pictures of the tacky town, which I actually enjoyed.

Ice Cream cone with Dracula Castle in background

I spent a lot of time walking around taking pictures so maybe I’ll just post a bunch of pictures and let the images to the talking. Actually, there’s not a whole lot to say, except I did not realize what a beautiful place Niagara is.

And moving on with the Niagara show is the Sponge Bob squarepants character, who is alive and well in Niagara falls with his very ride and amusements that little kids pay lots of money to experience.

Tall Building in Niagara Falls, Ontario
Tall Building in Niagara Falls, Ontario

And finally a picture of the Niagara river.

Trees-and-Water-in-Niagara
Trees-and-Water-in-Niagara

All that white stuff on top of the water is dissolved minerals fron the four great Lakes that are located upstream from the river.

Sponge Bob Square-Pants-Ride
Sponge Bob Square Pants Ride