Arctic Adventures with the Lady Greenbelly

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Trafford Publishing, 2000 - Biography & Autobiography - 149 pages
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Ken Conibear, Northern pioneer, Rhodes Scholar and storyteller of life in Canada's far North, writes of his exciting, dangerous, and humourous experiences taking his boat, the Lady Greenbelly, over 1000 miles from Fort Nelson down the majestic and rugged Mackenzie River to the Arctic Ocean.

He took on this adventure for two reasons. First, he intended to carry freight to the Arctic communities with his newly acquired freight scow, the Lady Greenbelly, and then sell her there for a handsome profit. Second, Bill Sweet, an elderly, retired insurance salesman from Seattle who had read Ken's previous books, had convinced Ken to take him and a young friend, Jack Havens, on a side trip-a wilderness filming expedition up the relatively unmapped Rat River.

During the course of the trip, everything that could go wrong with the Lady Greenbelly's motor did go wrong, and Bill Sweet himself caused more than a few problems because of his unbounded, but inept, enthusiasm-and excessive politeness. The people met on the trip provide their own stories - the Eskimo whalers who cheerfully gambled away their year's earnings; Mike Krutko, a storekeeper in Fort Providence who always remained cheerful - even as provisions for his store sank with the Lady Greenbelly; the priest at the Catholic mission who recalled last seeing Ken when he was only a small child; and the fir trappers, Jake and Izor, who went Outside to find a wife for Izor and instead adopted a 12-year-old English war orphan-and then headed back north with all the supplies any 12-year-old would need. With an axe, their team of sled dogs and the only butcher's chopping block in the North, they were among many who came to the rescue of the notoriously inept Lady Greenbelly. News travels fast in the North, and the Lady Greenbelly's reputation had spread so that impossible to sell-at any price. Stuck with her, Ken had to return south up the many rapids of the Mackenzie and Liard Rivers, facing more adventures and life-threatening situations-always with courage, a lot of luck and never-ending good humour.

 

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Contents

Prologue
1
Chapter 1
5
Chapter 2
11
Chapter 3
19
Chapter 4
25
Chapter 5
34
Chapter 6
40
Chapter 7
57
Chapter 9
66
Chapter 10
81
Chapter 10
94
Chapter 12
108
Chapter 13
123
Chapter 14
135
EPILOGUE
148
Copyright

Chapter 8
61

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About the author (2000)

Kenneth Conibear was born in Canada in 1907, and moved with his family to the Northwest Territories in 1912, travelling there by rail, stagecoach and barge. He was raised in Fort Smith, and was home- educated to the grade 10 level by his parents and friends within that community. He was sent out to Edmonton to complete grades 11 and 12, and continued on to the University of Alberta where he was selected as the Alberta Rhodes Scholar in 1931.

Following 3 years at Oxford, he spent the next three years in England writing and had his first novel, the highly acclaimed "Northland Footprints" published in 1936. It was then that he was referred to as 'the Kipling of the North'. In 1937 his publisher, Lovat Dickson, hired him to travel with and manage the Canadian Indian naturalist Grey Owl's speaking tour of England, and he has often been consulted as an expert on Grey Owl. In 1938 he returned to the Northwest Territories with his wife, Barbara, and had "Northward to Eden" published, followed in 1940 by the novel, "Husky" written in collaboration with his brother, Frank, and "The Nothing Man," privately published in 1995.

In the North, he was a hunter, trapper, storekeeper and skipper of his own fish-packing/freight boat on Great Slave Lake. After serving in the Canadian navy during WWII, he tried to establish a business carrying freight down the Mackenzie River to the Artic communities - plus serve as a guide for two men from Seattle who wanted to film an adventure trip down the Rat River in the far North - the subjects of this novel.

All of the author's novels were based on his intimate knowledge and love of the people, the animals, and the natural environment of the north. He moved 'Outside' and at the age of 55 was hired by the newly established Simon Fraser University in Burnaby, British Columbia. He retired as administrator of the English Department at the age of 70.
He presently lives in Vancouver, British Columbia with his second wife, Marilyn

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