George River Solo 2018

Three, Two and then there was ONE

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(a work in progress)

This Summer I will returning to paddle the George River in Northeastern Quebec, this will be my third trip on the George. In 2008 I paddled the river starting from the town of Schefferville in a group of three solo paddlers. In 2010 I flew into the headwaters of the George in a "group" of two solos. This time around I will be all on my own and thus the subtitle above. In order to make the trip a bit different and to extend the time and distance I will be starting in Labrador on the Trans-Labrador Highway. The put-in will be where the highway passes the Ossokmanuan Reservoir, I will paddle from there to the Smallwood Reservoir before turning North toward the Labrador/Quebec border where I will cross the height of land, join the George River and paddle downstream to the community of Kangiqsualujjuaq (aka George River) just South of Ungava Bay and the North Atlantic. Total Distance of this route will be about 770km, I will be taking my time and expect to be on the water for about 6 weeks.

The George is a fantastic river, filled with rapids and lots of amazing scenery. In the 70's/80's the George Rover caribou herd numbered about 300,000, today that has dwindled to less than 10% of the peak. On previous trips I was fortunate to see some caribou and signs of many more who has recently crossed the river. This time I will be lucky to see any but the trails made over hundreds of years of migration will be found all over. In addition to the historical traces of the caribou I will encounter tent rings and other evidence left by the Innus (formerly referred to as the Montagnais) peoples of the the Côte-Nord (North shore of the St. Lawrence) who travelled north to meet and trade with the Inuit peoples of Ungava Bay.

I'm not much of a fisherman but for this trip I will bring some gear as the upper river is filled with trout, downstream of Indian House Lake there are freshwater Salmon and below Helen Falls (a spectacular Class 6 section of falls and rapids) I might get lucky and catch Arctic Char.

My trip will end in the community of Kangiqsualujjuaq, originally established in 1838 as Fort George by the Hudson Bay Company it was not until the early 1960's that the Inuit who lived along the coast of Ungava Bay settled here and created a permanent community.

My friend the Uber Slug will be dropping me off around July 12 - 14 and expect to finish in about 6 weeks. I will return by air to Montreal and then on to Toronto. My canoe (if it survives!) and gear will be sent south via an ocean cargo ship which will arrive in Montreal in October. I am excited to once again paddle the George!

If you are interested in the details of what I will be paddling through you can have a look the following annotated maps/guides that I will be using:

Overview of the complete George River System

Details of the Smallwood Reservoir section

From the Height of land - Labrador / Quebec border to Indian House Lake / Confluence with the DePas River

From Indian House Lake to Ungava Bay (starting on Page 26)

This interactive map shows my basic route. Click on the "direct link" or the upper right corner of the map to view it from the source at CalTopo. This will allow you to use advanced options, add map layers, change the way the layers display and other features.