Boats could be conveyed over flat and easy portages from one river-basin to another, and these portages were subsequently transformed with a relatively small amount of labour into navigable canals, and even at the present day the canals have more importance for the traffic of the country than have most of the railways.
Through these Rocky Mountains the explorers and furtraders, by ascending the streams running down the eastern declivities of the mountains, and crossing by short portages to the streams of the western slope, have succeeded in discovering passes by which the mountain chain can be crossed, the range rarely exceeding 60 m.
It is this Wale ' circumstance that facilitated the rapid invasion of Siberia Wal er l by the Russian Cossacks and hunters; they followed the omm courses of the twin rivers in their advance towards the east, and discovered short portages which permitted them to transfer their boats from the system of the Ob to that of the Yenisei, and from the latter to that of the Lena, a tributary of which - the Aldan - brought them close to the Sea of Okhotsk.
The Algonquin-Iroquois took up the journey at Bear Lake and its tributaries, and by means of paddling and portages traversed the area of middle and eastern Canada, including the entire St Lawrence drainage.
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