Heading upstream, we quickly ran out of water.
Eric enjoying a portage.
Eric and Al on the Wheeler.
Dave Brown Photo
Portaging around a ledge.
Eric and Al dragging down a sidestream.
Dave Brown Photo
Eric enjoying the view.
Dave at the last falls of the Wheeler,
just above the confluence with the Whale.
Dave and Ann looking for the end of the portage.
Sunset on the Whale.
Mare's Tails near the mouth of the Whale.
Mouth of the Whale looking towards Ungava Bay.
Sunset glow on an Ungava island.
Ungava island campsite.
Green oasis on an Ungava island.
Searching for a route on Ungava Bay.
There are 30 to 40 foot tides on Ungava.
Sunset at the mouth of the Koksoak.
Tide meets current at the mouth of the Koksoak.
A muskox greeting us near Kuujuaq.
Al Stirt, Wendy Scott and Friends: Canoe Tripping in Northern Quebec and Labrador
In 2012, Dave, Ann, Eric Nuse and I travelled from Scheffereville to Kuujjuaq via the Murdoch, Wheeler and Whale rivers. From the mouth of the Whale, we paddled on Ungava Bay to get to the mouth of the Koksoak. We then paddled about 50 miles up the Koksoak to get to Kuujjuaq.
It was a tough trip with lots of portages through thick, brushy country with no trails. We did a lot of canoe dragging and portaging early on when we found that our streams -- showing as nice blue lines on the map -- were mostly boulder fields.
Later, when the rivers were bigger, our portage routes took us through thick stands of alders. We became adept at cutting "alder tunnels" as a means to get to more open country for camping and portaging.
Once we were headed downstream, the water levels were relatively high and we ran many miles of rapids on all three rivers.
Ungava Bay was incredibly beautiful and frightening at the same time. With 30 to 40 foot tides and miles of mudflats at low tide, it's not a very friendly place for a canoe. We'd be surrounded by rock, water and mud. Climbing to the tops of bare, rocky islands, we'd come upon oases of lush green growth surrounding rain-filled ponds. These were great places to camp.
The islands of Ungava did not match our maps and we had to give up finding a protected route on our way to the mouth of the Koksoak, choosing instead to follow the open coast.
During our upstream trip on the Koksoak, we had a chance to visit some of the Inuit from Kuujjuaq who were spending time in their cabins.