Cataline’s Pack Trail: Part Two, Merritt to Prince George

Second Leg of Cataline’s Pack Trail

Merritt – Cataline’s packing partner Joe Castillou settled there. The Merritt Museum has a display on Henry Castillou, the Cowboy Judge of the Cariboo. This is alongside the display of James Alexander Teit, a famous historian and ethnologist, who used to hire Jean and Joe’s pack trains for trips that young Henry went along on. Apparently these pack trips inspired Henry to collect many aboriginal artifacts such as coiled cedar-root baskets like the ones Teit was recording.

Ashcroft – Where Cataline based his operation after the railway was completed in 1885. He wintered his animals in the Marble Canyon. This is apparently where the team had their trick of the White Bell Mare, when Joe could lift a horse.

Dog Creek – the only stories I have heard were about Cataline taking his daily snow bath here. His brother Pierre Caux was supposed to be with him at that time.

Cache Creek – Hat Creek Ranch, a hotel and stopping place, partly owned by Stephen Tingley of the BX Stagecoach Line, Obviously they knew each other throughout all of those years on the road.

Clinton – A tiny museum but they have a huge carving of a fork and spoon made by one of Cataline’s packers. As well, at the Lodge across the street, they have a wonderful photo on the wall of older Jean on his horse.

100 Mile House – Somewhere along this stretch Cataline met Judge Matthew Baillie Begbie. The story is that Cataline defended the honour of the judge. Later on Begbie made Jean Caux a citizen of Canada.

Williams Lake – There is an elementary school named for Cataline, and the students have a large mural featuring Cataline’s pack train. As well there are two streets, one named Cataline Drive, one named Begbie Crescent.

Quesnel – The Quesnel Museum, where you can find an aparejo and pack saddle that belonged to Cataline’s pack train.

Barkerville – Of course they have wonderful displays of Cataline; photos and a video presentation, and from what I hear, perhaps a live interpreter sometimes who portrays him.

Prince George – The old museum used to have a life-sized cutout of Cataline in his 90’s but it was burned up in the fire that destroyed the old one. I don’t know if they have a new one about him, but they should.

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