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Introduction and History
Wallace returned one last time in 1913, lining his canoe up the Beaver River and then hiking overland north to the Susan, to where they had set up their tent for the last time in 1903. He located the boulder, where there were still some remains of the tent. He had taken a bronze plaque with him to put on the boulder, but had lost it when his canoe overturned on the Beaver. He nevertheless chiselled an inscription on the boulder and filled the letters in with white lead.
His son, Dillon Wallace III, flew to the site by helicopter in 1977 and attached a duplicate of the bronze plaque from 1913, to the boulder. Canadian Rudy Mauro, famous for having recovered the wrecked Norseman aircraft flown in a James Cagney movie, was instrumental in this adventure, which started with the rediscovery of the boulder in 1973.
Dillon Wallace III and his older sister, Ann Wallace McKendry, both in their eighties, continue to take a keen interest in the adventures of their father. Over the years they have provided extensive archival material and recently Ann has written a short article describing the man they knew as children. Allison Catmur, Master's Candidate, Sociology, at Memorial University has also written an article on Dillon Wallace specially for the centennial.
Part 1: Canoeing and Hiking to the Hubbard Monument
Starting from North West River, and the river of the same name in front of the Hudson’s Bay Post museum, the same spot as Hubbard, Wallace and Elson in 1903, the trip to the Hubbard Monument and back can be completed in about 19 days. The trip takes you through beautiful river valleys bounded by small mountains and through sub-arctic forests of black spruce carpeted by caribou moss. The black bear population is numerous at present and you are sure to see several as you proceed along the river valleys. I’ve had two happen onto my campsite in my travels, but they have always been as afraid of me as I was of them, and quickly fled. A major factor protecting the virgin wilderness in Labrador are the black flies. Bug repellent and lightweight bug suits thus are essential. A waterproof tent, a good rain-suit and warm clothing are vital as well, as Labrador is frequently rainy and the temperature can swing from 30°C to near freezing in June, July and August.
North West River leads to Little Lake and then to huge Grand Lake. Grand Lake, 60 kilometres in length and up to 5 kilometres in width, runs to the northwest. It takes about 2 days in good weather to canoe to the end of it. The Naskaupi River discharges into Grand Lake from the north and a further day of canoeing against its slow current will take you to the mouth of the Red Wine River. The Red Wine River, which runs to the north of the Susan River, looked to be an easier route than the rapid-filled Beaver River running to the south of the Susan, which Wallace took in 1913, or trying to struggle up the Susan as they did in 1903. I lined my canoe up the Red Wine River for 16 kilometres, climbed out of the valley and hiked overland for 23 kilometres to the monument at the beginning of the Susan River.
The outlet of the Red Wine River is across from the beginning of the Innu Portage on the Naskaupi River. This portage, linking up with Lake Nipishish to the north, was the route taken by Wallace, in his 1905 trip from North West River to Ungava Bay. Two extra days will allow you to hike the challenging first stage of the portage, which I did after my return trip down the Red Wine. (Go to Page 8)
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