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"We all weigh from 175 to 230 lbs. now, but were large even when young. My natural weight is around 180, though I weigh considerably more now). I have occasionally weighed father's regular packs and they often were more than 135 pounds. In this area, 150 lbs., is considered a full horse load by nearly all animal packers.

When my folks moved in they had to back-pack all supplies and equipment some sixty miles, the last twenty-five miles entirely without trails. Later my father learned to use an Indian dugout canoe. One canoe-load would be around 800 lbs. He was once presumed to have taken two loaded canoes at once, though how far, I do not know. In the swift current of the Hoh it was considered the job of two men to take a loaded canoe up any distance, so that would have been a four-man job. I got this item from a man who had handled canoes on the Hoh too, and he tells it every chance he gets, although he now is an old man. He insisted nobody had ever done the like before.

For some peculiar reason, all my father's family were excessively strong for their size and weight. My youngest uncle used to lift me up above his head and hold me there at arms length quite helpless, though I then weighted a full 180 pounds and he less than 150. he made me feel very silly, especially as I thought myself quite grown up and dignified about then. He was only five years older than I, so felt justified in teasing me.

Though all of us girls grew very large when compared with average women, none of us inherited our father's exceptional strength nor that of his sisters and brothers. None of the family except my Uncle Bill were either tall or extra stocky. They were well set up, as was my father, who was proportioned as the Greek sculptors were inclined to picture their strong men, like Hercules. He had the same neck, set wide on the shoulders, and the same well-proportioned muscular body. Not an Apollo, but a Jupiter, a Thor or a Mars.

Anyway, I hope this gives you some idea of my father, John Huelsdonk, and explains why legends were built up around him. He had no vices, or even so-called bad habits, and was absolutely frank and unassuming and truthful, and able to associate with all people on equal terms, whether blanket Indians or public officials. He could feel that nobody was beneath him, and conversely that he was equal to anyone. This perfect self-confidence was another reason that he made such an impression on all who knew him."