Labrador 2019

August 22nd 2019

I am back from Labrador; the trip went pretty much as expected with no drama. I experienced a modest amount of suffering and even a few days of very nice weather!

This really was an ultra-slow trip; I was out for 32 days with 11 of those being layover days! The total distance covered was only 370km making my daily average unusually low. I decided to make my exit at the first takeout option, once I hit the reservoir I found extremely high water levels, this meant that “normal” beach camping was essentially not possible, the shoreline is quite rough, most small flat spots not under water are blocked by piles of driftwood. Up on the bank the bush is quite thick and the ground lumpy. In 2018 on the Smallwood there had been quite a bit of this as well but this year the water seemed much higher. The idea of paddling for 7 or 8 more days and having to spend an hour or two each day searching for a place to camp did not have much appeal. If bad weather moved in while on the reservoir, I could be stuck in some unpleasant places.

I will work on a more detailed report, it may take a while as I have more paddling to do in September and October (and finish off last year’s report!). In the meantime, I have uploaded some pictures, which you can find here: Google Photo Album I have some video as well but that is going to take time to edit!

I have updated the maps to show my actual route and camp locations.


June 27th 2019

This Summer I will returning to Labrador, this is the follow up to my 2018 trip from the Smallwood Reservoir, down the George River to Ungava Bay.

I will be starting my trip on Ashuanipi Lake just east of Labrador City. After paddling south for about 60km to Oreway. I will portage (about 1km) across the rail line to Lac A L'eau Claire. The next portion of the trip 160km downstream on the Riviere A L'eau Claire is familiar to me from my 2014 Natashquan trip which started at Oreway. Here I'll find some rapids, mostly pretty easy stuff with a couple of larger drops.

Once I reach Atikonak Lake I will turn north to the outflow of the Atikonak River. This section of 120km will be new to me, there are a few rapids in the river portion, these may or may not be runnable. The Atikonak River ends at the Ossokmanuan Reservoir and provides the first of three possible ending points where the Trans-Labrador Highway crosses the reservoir.

I hope to continue past the highway and paddle 60km to the Grabbo Structure which controls the flow of water from the Ossokauan to the main Smallwood Reservoir. There is road access here so another possible ending point. If I'm still feeling good I will portage here and continue on the Smallwood to the Lobstick Structure which controls the flow from the reservoir into the Churchill River and the Churchill Falls power station downstream. I will end my trip here, the same location that I started my George River trip in 2018.

The total distance of this route is about 450km, relative to my recent solo trips it's "short" but I plan to move quite slowly with short days and layovers whenever the weather conditions are less than ideal. While I could probably cover the full distance in less than 4 weeks I am planning for 5 - 6 weeks.

My trip report for the George River 2018 can be found HERE I developed a bad case of writers block on Day 36 (of 51) and then got involved in planning for this years trips. I do intend to complete the report in the Fall after this paddling season is over.

This interactive map shows my final route and camp locations, I have provided two versions, one is Google Earth view the other is 1:50000 Topographic maps. If you want to play around with the various available map layers click the "open in Caltopo" link in 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.