On a mucky gravel bar downriver from a towering hydro dam we took to the water like creaky old boy scouts, haphazardly greased in bug juice and squinting through the drizzle.
All around us the boreal forest went by as unmetered verse:
Spruce, spruce, birch, spruce,
Birch, spruce, spruce, spruce, birch,
Spruce, birch, spruce,
Spruce, spruce, birch, birch…
The water curdled to life as rapids and goose tails and the breaching of trout, while on either bank the dark, empty woods remained disarmingly silent.
This is a summary account of an expedition of the lower Mattagami and Moose Rivers from July 29 to August 6, 2014. Three men, two boats (one a 17-foot Nova Craft Prospector canoe; the other a 13.5-foot open-water kayak) and about two hundred and fifty pounds of outfit.
Part I: 86km on the Mattagami River from Kipling OPG Hydro Station to the junction with the Missinaibi River and the start of the Moose River.
Part II: 94km on the Moose River from the Missinaibi junction to the (former) Tidewater Provincial Park.
Part III: Moose Factory, Moosonee, and the Polar Bear Express.
Part IV: Tips for interested trippers