Sturgeon nets drying
Photo: Bill Seeley
north from the village into the next large body of water in the lake.
There is a creek that spills west out of the lake and into the river from
this body of water. This route avoids what I am told are some heavy
rapids and falls in the bend of the Rupert to the north.
is current flowing though the shallow narrows at the entrance to the west
bay of this body of water. Exercise caution in any wind, as it is
hard to get a fix on the progress of the sharp lake-bottom as it races
first set of rapids, at the egress of the river from the north finger of
the west bay, is shallow but runnable. Watch the short cliffs on the
west bank above the rapids for Cree rock paintings.
is a 500-yard portage a kilometer downstream of the egress of the river
from Lac Némiscau. The portage landing is hard to spot in the alders 50
feet south of the river’s egress from a long skinny pond. Both
years it was tangled from deadfalls from an old burn, but easily walked
without any portage clearing on our part. There is a small, muddy
campsite at the beginning of the portage.
are two fun pick-and-choose rapids before the river returns to itself.
There is also a two-kilometer horserace just below the confluence of the
creek and the river.
Wapachee, a Nemaska elder who joined us for the lower Rupert run in 1998,
pointed out a portage to us that avoided the second pick-and-choose rapids
and the long horserace. The trail returns to the Rupert eight
kilometers downstream from the portage, where the creek turns to flow
northeast, parallel to, but in the opposite direction of, the main channel
of river. It is not a long portage. It bumps up over the rise
between the two braids and meets the Rupert in the bay below the long
horserace. One could camp at the north end of the portage.
are two possible campsites below the horserace. The first is a
bushed site at 75º 58’ West, on the south bank (between two small shore
marshes marked on the 1:50’s). It is highlighted by a kitchen area
below a large boulder and sports sheltered, sandy-beach tentsites in low
water. There is a second campsite just off of the 1:50,000 map
32N/7, on a point on the south bank. It has a sloping rock with good
swimming and several tentsites snuggled into a cleared spruce stand.
The site is cozy. Six tents would be tight. This campsite was
buried beneath deadfalls in 1998.
continued on in 1998, 12 kilometers downstream. Since our last visit
to the Rupert one of the old Cree camps had been cleared a kilometer below
the reversed-S bend at 77° 07’ West, on the north bank. This is
an extensive camp consisting of two major clearings separated by a short
trail. We passed a Cree youth brigade heading upstream to Nemiscau
from Waskaganish in 1998. Unfortunately we were on opposite sides of
the river, contending with waves pushed up by a heavy west gale, and so
unable to stop and chat with our Cree counterparts. Paddle waves
were exchanged and we pushed on.
we paddled through the reversed-S bend I smelled smoke from a campfire on
the wind (this sensation is not as acridly sweet as its larger cousin the
forest fire). Through the bend and along the straight stretch below
we found Section A from Keewaydin of Dunmore, Vermont camped along the
north shore at the aforementioned camp. We had spent a day with them
at the village above and stopped here for a last potlatch before we
continued on, us to Waskaganish and they to the James Bay Highway (Route
de la Baie James) bridge.
There is an old and abandoned site at the east end of the reversed-S bend on the north shore. It is extensive, the size of a small village, and overgrown with willow and birch. It is too thick for a campsite. I do not know its provenance.
undergoing renewal, 1998
Photo: Bill Seeley
We have attempted to include the most up-to-date and accurate information, but conditions change. We would be grateful for any corrections or suggestions for improvement.