Thursday, January 26, 2012

Laying a False Trail

I'm reading The Death of Albert Johnson-Mad Trapper of Rat River , by Heritage House Publishing Co.

Albert Johnson was a sketchy individual who built himself an 8 x 12 fortress up near the Klondike in Canada. He dug 3 feet deep, built 5 foot walls, sloping roof, and covered it all with 2 feet of dirt. This structure was chinked with dirt, too, with a stout door, actually underwent a dynamite invasion and the man survived.

But, back to the story. The guy wasn't so much big as an endurance expert. Able to single handedly paddle upstream to the Rat River, accomplishing feats the mounted Police wondered at.

Trouble was, he wouldn't answer the door when they came knocking. Frustrated, the visiting police report him, obtain a search warrant and reinforcements. Johnson fires through his own front door, hitting a man and that is the end of life as he knew it.

This drama played out in the Northwest Territories in 1931-1932. His house was small enough he could shoot from inside in all four directions after knocking out some chinks. Then the dyanimte bundle was launched, hit the roof, exploded. No one thought he could survive, but he did and proceeded to lead his enemies on a chase through out the region.

The guy should have probably answered the door.
I was impressed by his endurance, able to lay 2 miles of false trail for every one mile of true. He would wear his snowshoes backwards, then retrace again. He'd cross rivers and mountains said to be impossible.

This leads to the conclusion, to survive a shit hits the fan scenario, we need to be in Shape!

Eventually they do catch the guy and a shoot out occurs on a frozen lake, resulting in17 bullets taking out Johnson. One of his sins is that he was a "hermit", taciturn and independent to the point of rudeness.  

There's always two sides to a story. The guy wanted to be left alone in the frozen wilderness to trap and smoke his pipe. He didn't fit in, he did have skills.

This book is 94 pages with a lot of photos. An interesting read.

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