Saturday, December 23, 2017

Pathway to the Heartland and Great Lakes Landing Sites – the St Lawrence Rivers– Part VIII

Continued from the last post, regarding the improbability, if not downright impossibility, of sailing upriver from the North Atlantic into the Gulf of St. Lawrence and then up the St. Lawrence River to Lake Ontario and then across and into Lake Erie, as some Great Lakes theorists claim. One of the major problems of any theory, is how did Lehi get to that point where they claim he landed and settled.
While on the voyage, Nephi says that his parents were driven to their sick beds because ofadvanced age

Because of his advanced age by this time, and the fact that Nephi makes it clear that the trip across the oceans and the continual stress involved with the rebellious Laman, Lemuel and the sons of Ishmael, Lehi and his wife, Sariah, were both ill and infirmed, saying: “and my parents being stricken in years, and having suffered much grief because of their children, they were brought down, yea, even upon their sick-beds” (1 Nephi 18:17), it is highly unlikely that after landing, the colony traveled any distance before settling down as described as, “And it came to pass that after we had sailed for the space of many days we did arrive at the promised land; and we went forth upon the land, and did pitch our tents; and we did call it the promised land” (1 Nephi 18:23).
    Thus, it can be understood that the colony most likely settled along the shore where they landed. As Mormon described this area of First Inheritance of Lehi: “and on the west in the land of Nephi, in the place of their fathers' first inheritance, and thus bordering along by the seashore” (Alma 22:28). Thus, they landed on the western shore of the Land of Nephi, along the Sea West.
    In this series of articles on “Pathway to the Heartland and Great Lakes Landing Sites,” we have shown conclusively, that beyond Baton Rouge on the Mississippi River (90 miles inland from the Gulf of Mexico), and Albany, New York (60 miles up the Hudson River north of the harbor and about 120 miles from the Atlantic Ocean to the east), nothing larger than a flat-bottomed packet boat could navigate these rivers. As for the St. Lawrence, nothing on the water could get around the Lachine Rapids at Montreal (about 200 miles downriver from Lake Ontario). All boats prior to the 1800s, had to be portaged the three miles around the rapids, a seven mile trip overland, carrying boat, supplies, cargo, etc.
    As for any other inland waterway along the east coast or the southern Gulf of Mexico, there were no rivers or streams up which an ocean vessel could have navigated under any circumstances. So for Lehi to have settled anywhere in North America, it would have had to have been along a coast, either the Atlantic Ocean coast, or the Gulf of Mexico coast. There would simply have been no other alternatives for Lehi and Sariah—and until the Lord told Nephi to “flee into the wilderness” (2 Nephi 5:5), an event that led him and “all those who would go with” him, to eventually travel to a new area. As he stated: “And after we had journeyed for the space of many days we did pitch our tents. And my people would that we should call the name of the place Nephi; wherefore, we did call it Nephi” (2 Nephi 7-8).
    Consequently, it is safe to say that it would have been impossible for Lehi to have landed anywhere except along the coast—and Mormon claims that was the coastal area of the Sea West. As he said, “in the borders by the seashore, and on the west in the land of Nephi, in the place of their fathers' first inheritance, and thus bordering along by the seashore” (Alma 22:28, emphasis added).
    Having thoroughly discounted the Mississippi River as a sailing route for Lehi, and any of the inland waterways in what is now the United States, we can also show how the St. Lawrence was not a viable option. First of all, the St. Lawrence had a three-mile area of severe white-water rapids and submerged rocks and boulders that kept all shipping of any kind from passing Montreal on the St. Lawrence River. At first the Royal Army Engineers started work on four small canals on the north shore of the St. Lawrence at Montreal to connect Lake St. Louis to Lake St. Francis.
St. Lawrence River and the Seaway length from Montreal to Lake Ontario dug to allow shipping around Montreal and the Lachine Rapids to continue upriver

However, not until a private consortium dug the the nine-mile-long Lachine Canal, along the southwestern part of the island of Montreal from the Old Port of Montreal to Lake Saint-Louis, through the boroughs of Lachine, Lasalle and Sud-Ouest, between 1821 and 1825, could any kind of boat continue upriver toward Lake Ontario.
    In order to move vessels over the terrain around Montreal, seven locks, each 98 feet long by 20 feet wide, and 4.9 feet deep, and since has been deepened twice to allow for larger vessels; and as early as 1840, a second canal was dug alongside the first to accommodate increased river traffic. However, in 1950, the Canadian Government created the St. Lawrence Seaway and the canal became obsolete when the new Seaway opened in 1959.
    Even though the rapids have been bypassed, there are still other obstacles along the river that would have hindered early navigation, though now with radar, GPS, detailed charts, warning and lighted buoys, and other modern technology aids, including what is known as the Thousand Islands along the upper St. Lawrence near Lake Ontario.
    The Thousand Islands, actually there are approximately 3,000 islands, lies just east of Lake Ontario on the Saint Lawrence River. At this point, the river is about five miles wide with islands everywhere, each with its own series of shoals and underwater rock formations, some of which are visible above the water—and in modern times, a safe channel has been marked by red and green buoys.
    Most experienced seamen on the St. Lawrence today talk about “unseen trouble just waiting to happen,” and for those who don’t know where the dangers lie, boat wrecks have been common. Today, of course, many of the rocky shoals that clogged the river at this point have been removed, but in centuries past, they posed a real problem since water levels on the St. Lawrence vary considerably, sometimes exposing rock formations that can taper out of sight for long distances, while bringing unknown ones close to the surface.
    In addition, when nearing the Thousand Islands area there is a unique section of the river to traverse where small and deep holes drop more than one hundred feet. These cause what are essentially underwater waterfalls and currents that manifest themselves as tiny whirlpools and churning waters. It could appear daunting especially when experiencing it for the first time.
    In all, there are four archipelagoes along the river: Thousand Islands Archipelago (3000 islands); the Hochelaga Archipelago, around Montreal (234 islands); Lake St. Pierre Archipelago; and the smaller Mingan Archipelago (40 island, with an additional 2,000 islands and islets along the waterway).
    In addition to the archipelagoes, there are other separate and individual islands, some large and some small, all posing some problems to inexperienced seamen in unfamiliar vessels. There are also numerous side channels along the St. Lawrence, each clogged with its own reedy marshlands, shallow bays, rocky outcrops and islands. There are also strong cross-currents, and broaching the fast downriver currents when moving up the St. Lawrence poses its own problems, especially in a boat that has no other means of motivation than “being driven forth before the wind.”
    Of course, as we have reported in this blog many times, the difference in water level from Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River is enormous, requiring several locks to raise the boats to the higher levels, especially in the vicinity of Lake Ontario. And then, once on that lake, there is another massive height difference up to Lake Erie.
    All in all, it seems fair to say that Lehi’s ship would never had made the trip. Not only would it have taken an experienced crew, it would have required canals dug, shoals removed, and rapids skirted to just make it up the St. Lawrence, let alone find a way to raise a ship several hundred feet up to the lake. No, it is certain that Lehi did not sail inland once reaching North America, which puts a huge, unsurmountable dent into any North American theory if the theorist is going to be honest about his or her beliefs.

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