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James' Shaggy GPS Story & Photos

"After forty years of hammering around in the woods in winter and summer I finally decided to purchase a GPS receiver. Of course a bit of research showed that GPS Central not only had the best selection but the best price too. Purchasing an eTrex Legend a couple of months ago I learned that you have great service as well. So off I went to the Arctic in March to chase stories for Up Here magazine and CBC Radio.

After using the unit on various snowmobile treks with reindeer herders north of Inuvik, with treks in polar bear country near the Smoking Hills of Paulatuk, and along parts of the Dempster Highway, the worst thing happened. While travelling up the Peel River with members of the Fort McPherson RCMP Detachment to visit the sites of the famous Lost Patrol, I lost the brand new eTrex unit. I think it fell out of my parka pocket while fumbling with camera and/or tape record in the cold. Arrrrrrgh! Now the site of the lost patrol is the site of the lost GPS as well.

Heading Out

gps story - james
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Cst. Stephen Dibblee in front with Cst. Claire McLean following, we head south on the ice of the Peel River toward the two Lost Patrol sites, up river from the town of Fort McPherson.

Mask Woman

gps story - james
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Cst. Claire McLean, just reported to her first detachment following graduation, in her regulation RCMP snowmobiling helmet.

Monument III
Stephen and Claire pay their respects to the two members of the lost patrol who were found at this location. Members of the Fort McPherson RCMP detachment have assumed responsibility for maintaining these sites and keeping the flag flying year round.
GPS Lost Site

gps story - james
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Stopped here to take photos and mark the spot with a waypoint on the new eTrex Legend. The lanyard kept getting mixed up with parka hood and fur hat so I'd been keeping it in an inside pocket. Big mistake. I think this was the exact spot it fell back into the snow.

Grave Site

gps story - james
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The bodies of the four members of the Lost Patrol were taken to Fort McPherson and buried where the white marble cross stands to this day.

Heading Home
The Lost Patrol sites are a few dozen kilometres up the Peel River from Fort McPherson and separated by quite a space as well. All four of the members of the patrol were starving to death. The two younger men were left and died well up river. The two older members made much closer to town before they collapsed and died as well. It's about a half day trip by snowmachine to visit both sites, longer by boat when the water's open.

I've enclosed a few snaps in case anybody's travelling in the area and feels like having a look. Unfortunately, the unit went missing in deep snow in March and by now is either on the bottom of the Peel River (Do Legends float? Because if they do then that's a whole other story...) or in the stomach of some big pike or whitefish. The last thing I did with the unit was mark the location of the more northerly of the two Lost Patrol sites, just to make sure I could get back again, thinking that I'd note the location on a map when I got back to town. Alas, that transfer was not to happen. Fortunately, however, I was in the company of two very capable RCMP constables who, if you happen to be in Fort McPherson, NT, would be happy to find you a guide and/or direct you to the newly refurbished monuments at the Lost Patrol sites on the mighty Peel River.

So that's my shaggy GPS story. I'll be contacting you about a new unit (one with a long lanyard). Meanwhile, thanks for being there on the web with such excellent choice, selection and price." [James' Second Shaggy GPS Story] See Photo Page 1 for more photos.]

Salut, James Raffan

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