The Journal of Canadian

Wilderness Canoeing

  SPRING 2004

PAGE 2

OUTFIT 116
 

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In this issue

Front Page

Expedition

Backgrounder

Spring Packet

Canoesworthy

From the Editor

Canoelit

Back Page

 

 

 

   Expeditions

Payne is Pleasure in Ungava

Story and Photos by Sylvie Michaud

Part  1  2   3

 

Fabian with one of his many lucky strikes.

Ungava Bay is famed for the myriad splendid rivers which flow into it. They arrive, into that giant bowl-shaped bay from the south, the east and the west. Since 1999, Fabian Nadeau and I have descended the Larch/Koksoak and George rivers and finally in the summer of 2003, we tackled the more remote Arnaud River which is also known as the Payne.

This last trip was significant for us. It was the most northerly destination where we had ever gone (along the 60th parallel), it was the first time that we descended a northern river with just two paddlers and it was and the first time that we ventured on a river about which nobody had spoken to us directly about.

The account of the 1990 descent of the Payne River by the Hide-Away Canoe Club (Che-Mun Outfit 621) constituted our principal source of information. Unlike that gray and chilly trip, we had extremely favourable weather conditions with temperatures above 75 F. clear skies, light winds all of which lasted for many days. Of course, that “luck” went hand-in-hand with an incredible number of mosquitoes and unquestionable discomfort due to heat and impossibility of undressing oneself, but why complain when we expected the usual bad weather of the Far North?

We started July 20, when we chartered into Payne Lake to approximately 10 miles of its mouth. Payne is an immense lake, 60 miles long, whose water appears sometimes turquoise, like the Caribbean Sea. After landing we soon began what would become a regular ritual during this expedition.

Fabian left the canoe to begin fishing and I dove into my binoculars. While he stayed close to the boat, I climbed a small hill to observe the landscape and to find release. After having slept for a short while, I take scanned the mostly barren landscape with my binoculars and was utterly shocked to see a polar bear descending a hill approximately 200 yards from where I was standing.

To my cry of alarm, Fabian came to join me near the boat. What could we do? All that we have as defense is cayenne pepper in aerosol cans! But after looking a second time after the fog of sleep had lifted, I realized that the white mammoth was actually a caribou! It will be the only one that we will see the whole trip.

 

 

 

 

Ducks race across Nunavik Lake

 

Cont'd 

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