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Coleman recounted his adventure on the Surprise Rapids, Columbia River in three different publications.1 His notebook provides us with the first account of the misadventure.

Sunday Aug. 19
... Now for memories of the Timbaskis trip before they fade beyond recovery. ... On the morning of the 1st. Aug. we set out, tho’ S did not feel well. After passing the portage trail he felt worse and against my convictions I decided to build a raft in order to save labor. ... Then out of our eddy [we set out on the raft and] into the rapids, of which we could see nothing in advance because of the sharp bend of the river. The raft was soon beyond our control; water washed over S & myself at bow and stern, which changed ends from time to time. The surges grew higher and with a broadside whirl the raft went over. We crawled up onto the bottom & clung to the binding rope or telegraph wire, thinking the still more furious rapids ahead must sweep us off. At one point we went into a "cellar" and the wave at the other side swept right over our heads. As the raft whirled round we turned too, so as always to face the billows. Over one rock we struck heavily but soon swept on. One rapid after another swept over us threatening to drag us from our hold, but in a few minutes the worst were past and we could look around again.

— Notebook 10, 1888, [pages 141— 155]

Watercolour. A.P. Coleman. Surprize Mountain. Showing Thalkessel, left side in shade. n.d
Drawing / Illustration. A.P. Coleman. Our Raft. Fortress Lake in Sketchbook 1a 1892, [page 025]
Drawing/Illustration. A.P. Coleman. Columbia as seen to the SE & S of Surprise Mountain in Notebook 10 1888, [page 65]


1. Coleman, A.P. "Canoeing on the Columbia," Chataquan. A Monthly Magazine Devoted to the Promotion of True Culture. 9.10 (1889): 587 - 589; Coleman, A.P. “Canoeing on the Columbia,” Methodist Magazine. (1895) ; Coleman, A.P. “Chapter XII: Running Surprise Rapids,” The Canadian Rockies: New & Old Trails. Toronto: Henry Frowde, 1911.