2006 Solo Trip down the George River
Text and photos by Philip Schubert
I’m very much indebted to Wayne Halley for providing me with written notes on the rapids, portages, and campsites as he also did for my trip down the Naskaupi River in 2005. Wayne in 2004 with his partner, Carl McLean, were the first to redo the 1905 trips in their entirety, not forgetting of course the superb 2003 American team which were the first to make it to Ungava Bay in one go from North West River, substituting the arguably more difficult Susan River route for the Naskaupi.
The kindness and hospitality of the people I’ve met in Labrador’s communities is something I will never forget. In planning and carrying out my trip down the George River, I had the chance to deal with the people in Quebec’s north (en français). I immediately recognized a mentality and outlook exactly like that in Labrador, whether it was the employees of Tshiuetin Rail Transportation Inc. on the Quebec North Shore and Labrador Railway in Sept Iles, or Air Saguenay, “Le Guest House” and the Northern Store in Schefferville.
Then there is the kindness and interest of Steve Clark and his company, Signal Technologies, located in my home of Kanata, who for several years has arranged with ICOM to lend me free of charge a pocket sized aircraft transceiver. The peace of mind this provided each time I turned on my satellite phone, knowing that I had a backup if it failed, is hard to imagine by someone who is not alone hundreds of kilometres from the nearest humans.
I transported my canoe and packs by Uhaul van from Ottawa to Sept Iles and then took the twice-weekly train from Sept Iles to Schefferville on July 13. Air Saguenay met me at the train station at midnight in the pouring rain and dropped me off at a local hotel.
The employees of Tshiuetin Rail Transportation Inc. insisted I have coffee with them before loading my gear. The person standing 2nd from right is Marc Fafard. There is a book published on his trip to the Magnetic North Pole in 1996.
The all-day train ride from Sept Iles to Schefferville has to be the friendliest one in all of Canada (These are outfitters heading north for the fishing and hunting season).