2005 Solo Canoe Trip Down the Naskaupi River – Labrador
Text and photos by Philip Schubert
In July 2005 I did my sixth canoe trip in Labrador and fifth one solo. I travelled from Orma Lake, next to the Smallwood Reservoir, approximately 150 kilometres east and northeast up the Naskaupi River to Seal Lake. It took me a total of 28 days. The red oval on the map below of Labrador and Quebec (© MUNCL 1984, 1995) shows my route overall.
Little by little, I've been retracing the Hubbard and Wallace saga and hope to do the George River part in 2006. See http://magma.ca/~philip18/Hubbard-Rock.html
Two great canoe teams are now also an integral part of the saga:
Wayne provided me with vital information on the route, especially on portages, which he has put together through extensive research with old timers and having canoed the same route twice. Jim put me in contact with Alan Gosling, a fireman in Churchill Falls, who drove me up the Orma Dike road in his 4-wheel drive truck for the start of my trip at Orma Lake.
Wayne tried to talk me out of attempting the initial part of the trip as he felt that the challenges could exceed the capabilities of someone travelling solo. He suggested that I fly in downstream by float-plane. The initial part, however, includes two spectacular waterfalls which I could not imagine missing. The only way of flying into the area of the waterfalls would have been by helicopter. Transport Canada no longer allows helicopters to carry passengers and a canoe on the same flight and thus the cost would have been prohibitive. Thus there was no choice but for me to take on the challenge. I managed to get through but it made it into the hardest canoe trip physically I've ever done.
It was a trip through a region of exceptional beauty, the two waterfalls indeed being the highlights, and thus I'm putting this together for those who will want to do this trip and for others who will want to travel it "vicariously".
The map below of Labrador and Northern Quebec is the starting point for my story. A link below it will lead you to a series of pages with maps, photos and text. If you want to jump ahead or go back, the table of contents to the left and its links will make this easy.