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Quebec/Labrador

Discussion in 'Places to Paddle' started by paddler123, Oct 5, 2016.

  1. paddler123

    paddler123 Curious about Wooden Canoes

    This summer, my brother and I took a trip in northern Quebec and Labrador, in our 17' Headwaters Prospector. We started on the Pekans River, putting in on the Rte. 389 bridge.
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    We spent three days going up the Pekans. Since it was mid-June, the water was very high. It was also quite cold, but the first week of our trip was almost completely bug-free - they hadn't come out yet!
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    We then went up the Pekans to a series of large lakes, which we traversed on our way to the height of land and the border with Labrador.
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    We then crossed the height of land (which was a series of small ponds in a bog) to get on to what would eventually become the Clark River. We spend about a week going down this. It started at barely at trickle, but ended up a decent-sized river when it flowed into Menihek Lake. After picking up a food resupply at the train camp at Esker, we began a week of traveling on truly enormous lakes.
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    Miraculously, we were only windbound for one afternoon, but we spent a lot of time hugging the shore and battling the wind. We paddled across Menihek, Marble, Astray, Dyke, Petitsikapau, Freeman, and Attikamagen Lakes. In this entire week we only had two portages! Unfortunately, our bug-free window had passed, and the mosquitoes and blackflies were in full force. For a span of about three weeks, neither of us ever left the tent without wearing our bug shirt and face net.
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  2. OP
    OP
    paddler123

    paddler123 Curious about Wooden Canoes

    Continued...

    IMG_8794.jpg (Bug shirt)

    We crossed the height of land, back into Quebec again, and onto the Riviere de Pas. This is a popular access route to the George River, but instead we went in the opposite direction up the river. At the point we got on it wasn't much of a river, and it only got smaller. We portaged a lot here.
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    After going up the de Pas as far as it could go, we crossed over into the watershed of the Riviere Murdoch, which flows into the Wheeler River and the Whale River on its way to Ungava Bay. Our plan was to go down it all the way to the ocean and end at Kuujjuaq. Unfortunately, as we were paddling down Lac Murdoch, we noticed a plume of smoke rising up from where we were hoping to go.
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    After some communication with front-country contacts, we were able to determine that the fire was in fact right on the river we were hoping to go down. Rather than burn ourselves at the stake, we decided to turn around and head back to Attikamagen Lake, from which we got a ride to Schefferville and took the train south.
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  3. OP
    OP
    paddler123

    paddler123 Curious about Wooden Canoes

    Continued...

    While it was not the two-month trip to Ungava Bay we had planned, we were still out for 41 days, covering a wide variety of lakes and rivers large and small. This is the route we ended up covering:
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    More pictures:
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  4. OP
    OP
    paddler123

    paddler123 Curious about Wooden Canoes

    After our trip, we gave our canoe some much-needed TLC. It had been a camp canoe for a number of years before we bought it, and we inflicted damage of our own. By the end of our trip it was leaking pretty badly. Fortunately we rarely went more than an hour without having to portage, so it wasn't too much of an inconvenience.

    We replaced six ribs, a lot of planking, recanvassed, and revarnished.
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    Kitchen stove steambox!
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    Attached Files:

  5. MGC

    MGC Paddlephile

    Nice trip with an old Darrow canoe...
    Love those spotted carp.
     
  6. Abenakirgn

    Abenakirgn Curious about Wooden Canoes

    Nice trip report. Those shallow rapids can be ugly. Glad to see the canoe used for its intended purpose and that she's as good or better than new now.
    Dave
     
  7. mccloud

    mccloud Wooden Canoe Maniac

    Good trip report and an interesting route you selected. I've been up there, have paddled the Whale to
    Kuujjuaq, though not in w/c. Is the lodge still operating on the island where the Wheeler drops into the Whale? You missed contending with the 70 foot tides at the mouth! With the wooden canoe, wanigan, reflector oven, you went heavy. It's tough country. We went light, without those luxuries. There's nothing like wilderness tripping. Tom McCloud
     
  8. OP
    OP
    paddler123

    paddler123 Curious about Wooden Canoes

    The fire was on the Murdoch, so we didn't make it to the Wheeler. We certainly went heavy - we outfitted sixty days of food, which we split into two halves for the resupply. We got to Esker and picked up the second half on day 17, however, so at that point we had 43 days of food!
     

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