and line the Little George all morning. There is one short portage
at an island rapids which my notes mark at mile 3 but is more likely at
kilometer 3. There is short V and then the portage (which is obvious
if I recall) is on the north bank in a shallow bay.
a long set of shallow horseraces (interrupted by the portage mentioned
above) below the falls to a long east west section of flatwater. It
is about a 14-kilometer paddle to the last falls on the Little George.
The portage is a 50-yard short hop straight down a cliff on the west side
of the island around which the river tumbles. I suggest the first of
two landings. The falls is found where the river takes a sharp turn
to the south forming an elbow around a set of islands.
We camped at one 2 kilometers downstream from the confluence of the Little George and Eastmain on the south side of the river on a sloping rock perched on the edge of a burn.
is a rapid at kilometer 4 that we ran. We spotted wolf tracks on the
shore through here.
first portage on the Eastmain is found at kilometer 8 on the right bank at
the first marked rapids. It begins a little further upstream than
one would expect in the alders. Steve and I actually hiked the hill,
found the trail, and walked it back to its start. It is a 300 yarder.
second portage is found at kilometer 14 at the next marked rapids on the
map. Heb’s route here is a little tricky. The rapid is
really a long falls. There is a 10-foot horseshoe falls at the top
followed by a long, heavy rapid. Run the north shore at the top
skirting the side of the horseshoe though a steep shore V into the first
eddy. The water wants you to follow this path and the eddy below is
long and wide, forming a shallow back bay. The portage follows the
shore rocks 150 yards or so. There is a point at which you have to
jump up into the alders to avoid a deep pool. I am sure that there
is a more conventional route around this one on the south bank. We
did not search for it, but that would seem to be the path of the Cree.
mile 11 there is a rapids at a large island in the river followed by two
whooshes, each about a kilometer and a half apart. We were caught by
wind above this at the arrow-shaped island, and sat out a short
We ran the outside of the bend below to paddle along the base of a steep mountain and camped at a Cree camp three kilometers downstream on the north bank where the river divides around a large island, at a Cree camp. There was another well-used Cree camp a kilometer upstream on the south bank.
the east channel around the big island at 73° 21’ West. Liftover
the “impassable” falls by running down the right shore (the outside
path around the ¼ moon island) to a small rock island that can be easily
portaged. Scout this one, as the island is just out of sight around
the bend in the right channel.
the next marked rapids we portaged off the river through two ponds to
avoid a long gorge. The first portage is found a kilometer upstream
of the rapids, behind the islands on the south bank. It is 900
yards. Cross the pond and find the second, 350 yards, at the exposed
rock hill. You can paddle out of the second pond back onto the
Eastmain by way of the creek at its SW corner.
is a campsite at the foot of the falls on the west bank.
kilometers downstream there is 150-yard portage on the right bank that
takes out right at the lip of the rapids, followed by a second, 3.5
kilometers further on, again 150 yards, and again on the right bank.
At the first of these two portages we found the remains of a green canvas
canoe (an intact bow stem with its planking and canvas) with squares cut
out of its canvas right where the numbers are painted onto Keewaydin
canoes. We speculated that this must have been one of Heb’s
ill-fated # 77’s. I imagine Heb writing in his log (I apologize George for the poetic license):
“Nishe reached the head of the rapids ahead of the staff [Heb], and
after a quick perusal from a standing position in the stern decided that
it was passable. Left with no say in the matter, the staff hurriedly
stowed his cameras and was off in hot pursuit. The waves proved a
bit rough and my bowman failed to muster the strength for the last hard
draw needed, so, after an improvised swim, poor old 77 had to be
retired.” It is customary to cut the K’s (painted onto the
canvas) and the numbers from
the bow and stern and “present” them to the camp’s director when
such a mishap occurs. It simplifies the “discomfort” of such a
the second portage, in the following east/west narrows, we were treated to
a wolf sighting in 1992. The canis lupus scurried out of the shore
brush for a drink, looked up, and noticed us downwind of her. She
paused, and then loped along the shore ahead of us for 20 yards before
disappearing back into the bush.
the north route when the river divides at 73° 27’ West. We
encountered an unmarked rapids at 73° 30’ West. The rapids was
nothing too spectacular, but it was a ½ mile horserace and so required
our attention. We dubbed it “Pewter Rapids” in honor of the
color of the river in the early evening light.
We camped on the south bank just before the river returns to itself at about the confluence of the Cauouatstacau River. In 1992 there was lone sloping piece of smooth granite to mark the site and provide us a kitchen (this landmark would have been submerged in higher water). There is ample room here but the boys chose a hill a couple hundred yards upstream for their tents. The sound of rapids on the south braid added a nice touch to a beautiful campsite.
three easy horseraces between the campsite and the Tichegami River.
We followed the middle channel through the sand bars and islands at 73°
the southern route around Ile Le Veneur. This avoids two large
We found a campsite at a gravel bar on the east bank a mile and a half or so past the fork and just beyond some swifts. There was a sharp hill on the north bank and the river straightens out just before the campsite. The gravel bar was big enough in 1992 to fit the kitchen. The tents went high up on the bank amidst the Labrador tea. Anywhere a spot could be found for a kitchen along here there should be ample room up on the bank to set up tents.
is a long day of paddling to Lac de la Marée. There really is no
good place to stop for lunch. We set a fireplace on the muddy shore
and watched it sink.
Our campsite all three years on Lac de la Marée was a Cree camp at the end of the gravel point at 51° 53’ North, 74° 16’ West. The campsite is the eastern edge of the old village of Neoskweskau. The lake is deep enough to land a Beaver, and the campsite provides 300 degrees of visibility. It is an ideal spot for a food drop.
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.