Grey Owl

Grey Owl

The Curious Life of Archie Belaney

By Irene Ternier Gordon

Amazing Stories Series

Published by Altitude Publishing Canada Ltd., 2004, Canmore, Alberta

It has been carried by James Lorimer and Company since the spring of 2008.

One of Canada’s first and best-known conservationists was a man named Grey Owl, born in Mexico to an Apache mother and a Scottish father — or was he?

Read about the former fur trapper and fire ranger who, along with his beaver Jelly Roll, became the toast of Britain and the voice of Canada’s National Parks for a brief time in the 1930s.


Suddenly Archie heard an ominous sound. It was a sound to strike terror in anyone walking across a frozen lake – cracking ice! Before he could take evasive action, Archie found himself sinking into the icy water.

Thankfully, Archie managed to grab hold of a large stick protruding from the ice and pull himself onto a solid surface within seconds. But the damage was already done. Archie was wet half-way to his knees. Unless he dried his feet, they would begin to freeze almost immediately, and he couldn’t make a fire where he was. The area was too exposed and smoke would attract the rangers. Surely, though, in place as hilly and well-treed as Algonquin Park, he could quickly reach a suitable place to make a fire.

He set off at a brisk pace, but soon realized that the closest trees were much farther away than they appeared. He was shivering violently and it was becoming an effort to move one snowshoe in front of the other as numbness crept up his legs. He knew he had no choice but to risk a fire in the open.

Archie cursed himself for the bravado that had landed him in this situation. After nearly three years in the Canadian wilderness, he had felt so confident that he bet another trapper that he could cross Algonquin Provincial Park in the dead of winter without the park rangers catching him. Since trapping was prohibited in the park, he would face a heavy fine if he were caught carrying traps and a gun. He stopped, but it was already too late. When he attempted to gather kindling for a fire, his hands would not obey him. He collapsed and lay helpless in the gathering dusk. Was this to be the end of his Canadian adventure? He wondered if anyone would find him before spring.

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© Copyright 2022 Irene Ternier Gordon All rights reserved.