15)    CHATHAM REACH 3:08

 

There are few places in the world that can match the natural beauty of British Columbia’s Fraser Valley. One of the valley’s most scenic vistas is the view looking north up the Pitt River toward Pitt Lake (the world’s largest tidal freshwater lake), at a stretch of the river known as Chatham Reach.


James McMillan, first chief factor at Fort Langley, first mentions the Pitt River in his journals of 1827. The river was charted in 1960 by Captain George Henry Richards of the British Royal navy Hydrographic vessel, the Plumper.


In the 1880s, Slumach, a Katzie Indian who is now a legend, was said to have discovered gold nuggets in the wild region north of Pitt Lake. Slumach was hanged on January 17th, 1891 for the murder of Louis Bee, at the confluence of the Alouette and Pitt Rivers. Legend maintains that upon the gallows Slumach cursed the mine and all those who sought it. It is speculated that as many as 21 men have perished in search of Slumach's Gold.




Along Chatham Reac
h
My memory wanders still
To gaze upon the splendour
From her shoreline to her peaks
A painter’s dream of heaven
And to my soul she speaks
As spring breaks through, down on Chatham Reach


Ever since my younger days
I have loved your misty shores
I’d stare out from the tall grass
Smell the sweetness on your breeze
And at night around a fire
We would gather on the beach
Those friends I knew down on Chatham Reach


And ever steeped in mystery your legends would unfold
Of stalwart men to reach their end in search of Slumach’s Gold*
And ever still, I’m haunted by the ghost of Louis Bee
Sweet mystery, and it calls to me


Now winter brings it’s bitter chill
My breath hangs in the air
The frost has turned the tall grass
To the colour of my hair
My life is done, my race is run
But with a longing I am filled
To linger still, down on Chatham Reach

 



Music & lyrics by Bruce Coughlan (SOCAN)
From Tiller’s Folly:  A River So Wide CD, 2007


Bruce Coughlan:
lead vocal, acoustic guitar

John Cowan: harmony vocal
Laurence Knight:  electric bass
Nolan Murray: fiddle
Eric Reed: mandolin
Larry Knechtel:
Hammond organ

Chris Nordquist: drums


Produced by Steven Drake & Laurence Knight
Engineered by Steven Drake at Greenhouse Studios, Burnaby, BC & NAL Studios, North Vancouver, BC.
Mixed by Steven Drake at Profile Studios, Vancouver, BC
Mastered by Yes, Master, Nashville, TN
Re-mastered by Joby Baker, Baker Studios, Victoria, BC