Touring eastbound on Hwy. 11 in central Ontario, old Ben was noticing a relatively flat plain with an elevation around 850′, very similar to what he grew up at. The taiga trees were harvested in large tracts and sent off to factories to be transformed into 4’x8′ OSB sheets. These created indoor habitats for families of humans eking out a living amongst their own kind. We are today, still children of the forests. Farmland fields opened up occasionally as crops took advantage of the longer summer daylight hours in a shorter growing season. Arriving at Cochrane at supper time, Ben booked a room for the night along with his return a couple of days later. The room was right over the rail station that would save time for the morning Polar Express rail trip north to Moosonee. The train contained a few passenger cars, flat cars for vehicles and box cars for freight. All totaled, it was usually under 12, including the locomotive. ALL ABOARD! The 5-hour, 250-kilometer trip was the only land means to get to this remote Cree village, except for ice roads in the dead of winter. The train had a good cross section of human cargo destined for an out of the way settlement. There were teenage canoeists, teachers, tourists, workers, permanent residents, and, of course, crying babies on public transportation. With 10-minute stops in the middle of nowhere, native people got on and off to access their homes. The route paralleled a few rivers enroute to James Bay with a couple of hydroelectric dams to take advantage of the elevation difference as they headed for sea level. Remarkably, the Moose River was left in its natural state to the delight of adventurous, young canoers who travel in groups for safety. Their time there will be forever etched in their gray-haired craniums decades from now. As the train pulled into the station at Moosonee, the tag team screaming infants finally shut up. The platform was alive with hugs and smiles as forlorn families reunited.

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