On the Edge of the Barrens

We started from the highest dyke on the La Forge 2 system, called KD1 at a KD1 lake called Lac Neret.  The route goes north from there through Lac Maisonable and meets the east-west route to the Caniapiscau River and points north at Lac Chastenet.  The route passes through Lacs Maurel and Louet en route to Lac Bienville and The Great Whale River.  After a harrowing adventure in The First Gorge we followed the Cree by-pass route across the Big Bend (through Lac Kawaukiwuw and Lac Fagnant).  This route involves a 6-, a 7-, and a 5-mile portage, all on successive days.  We took the first.

Steve put the canoe on his head and took off at a trot across the six-mile portage.  It begins on an odd barren land which is about 16 kilometers on a side to the west of Kawaukiwuw Lake.  As far as one can see it is open gravel and caribou moss.  We told the kids to orient themselves between a tall sand hill and a mountain peak to the west and start walking.  Steve strapped his GPS antenna to the bottom of his canoe, hung the GPS from his bow thwart, and programmed in a straight line so it would chime if we fell off the straight and narrow.  We then followed his footprints because he was moving faster than the average bear.  Every now and again you would see his canoes belly rise over a hillock in the distance as he "broke trail."  At about 4 miles we picked up an ATV track that led us to a creek that spilled into Lac Fagnant.  But that first four miles was like a Roadrunner cartoon in which we played Wile E. and Steve was The Roadrunner speeding off into the sunset. That bear can move!

We then bushed a route through Lac Mac Issac and down an unnamed creek to the Denys at its last falls (weak legs).  We saw wolves all over that trip.  We camped within earshot of cubs in a wolf den on the by-pass route past the second gorge, and Steve stumbled upon an active den at the north end of Lac Ferey .

We actually stayed in Kuujjuaraapik only because the Old Hudson Bay Post sits on that side of town.  Some of us hiked up the coast (some of us waited until I wasn't looking and borrowed ATV's) to the mouth of Manitounuk Sound. 

                        Bill Seeley, 9/16/99

 

Land-Locked Salmon

Pete Nestor (above Lac Bienville) and Bear Witherspoon (at the outlet to Lac Paimpont) caught salmon.  The rest of us watched.  They fish were as long as my legs (32-38 inches).  And that's not the fish story.  There they are as tall as my Sher-Wood P.M.P. 5030  (the one I use as a forward, my defenseman's stick is a little longer).

                        Bill Seeley, 9/23/99  

 

Jimmy Carr and Steve Springgate on the Denys River.

 

 

Photo: Bill Seeley

 Flight Home

You should have seen the set of racks we brought back.  Caribou central.  And the flight attendant for Air Inuit was rackaliscious.  You might say we were flying through the rackmosphere.  And it was easy to imagine her naked beneath that jumpsuit after 7 weeks in the woods with adolescent lads. Steve kept saying to her, "There's... something... on the wing," to try to get her to lean across us. But she was Quebecois and onto us. She was actually the mechanic. I thought we were going to get the knuckle-sandwich we deserved, or more accurately, that Steve was going to orchestrate a knuckle-sandwich for me.

                        Bill Seeley, 10/1/99

Photo: Bill Seeley

First gorge on the Great Whale River, looking east and up river, from the top of a ridge of mountains that mark the gorge. This spot is curious because for two weeks the route was relatively flat and then, out of nowhere, rise these mountains.

Bill Seeley's log (PDF)

  

 

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