The Big Carry – Cote Nord Adventure Ep. 9

The Big Carry – Cote Nord Adventure Ep. 9


After making it up the steep hill that’s strewn with downed, bunt trees, we finally found the ancient portage trail.  he trail skirts the second large rapid-filled canyon on the East Natashquan River and much of it is burnt over. The parts of it that aren’t burnt over, are grown over. This was no surprise, as Tori and I are only the second people to walk it in the last 80 years. In some areas, the burn made the going easier, but in many areas, the burn made things a nightmare as it left many criss-crossing downed, burnt trees to clamber over. These parts were very hard. And, in other places, the trail was so over grown that it was almost un-penetrable. We had to cut down small trees, and also take two trips with our gear through some badly over grown, and rugged stretches. All in all, it took us 18 hours of carrying to complete the portage, and we did it over the corse of three days, camping tail-side for two nights. I’m sure it could be done a faster if you travel lighter than I do.

As we neared the end on our first trip, I was impressed with the trail’s direction. It leaves the river and mets up with a beaver pond which then connects back into the East Natashquan via a small but deep creek. The deatour saves almost two kilometres of carrying.The course of ancient portage trails like this often evolve over the centuries to become pore and more efficient in their course. But I was amazed at the skill and knowledge of the ancient people who first tracked it’s efficient course without the use of maps.  

This is a long carry indeed, about 6km, however, it’s not the distance that made it take so long, rather it was the amount of gear and provisions we had (thought for a two-week trip) along with the condition of the trail.



We pushed as hard as we could the beginning of the portage was like borderline impossible

of a steep hill with logs crisscross everywhere

But when we got up into the high country we found the old Montagna trail

But this portage goes on forever we only made it in about two kilometers, and we have solid three if not more to go

Amazing to think that

we're afar from the first to probably take a rest right beside this big oh-two place Boulder that the glaciers left here and

We're walking on a portage trail. That's thousands of years old

Got the hope exhausted super tough day

Certain things you got to keep an eye out at all times for very hard to follow the trail old logs that

Obviously people have stepped on over the years

slightly worn trails

The trail this one openings in the trees. Also. There's usually a little bit of a

Kong cave where the trail is it might take part of tomorrow too, and we're already exhausted

And we're not even half done, so now we're going back to get our second load

Luckily we managed to find water just a spring because right now. We're good clip away from the river

This portage ends at a small lake and then a creek goes back into the east spread to the natashka, lon

Finally the end is in sight

Your blisters, I'm sore I'm exhausted I'm Park


We have to go all the way back and get the canoe and one more barrel so

One of the toughest port augers I've ever done

With all this walking with heavy loads my feet have gotten really raw and sore this

Venture medical kit has a little something called moleskin and that will provide almost like an extra layer of skin

To help you from getting blisters

It's also important to wear two pairs of socks thinner inner layer

And the thicker outer layer the socks rub against each other as opposed to the stock rubbing against your skin

And that is another thing that duct tape

Is good for throw duct tape on the bottom of your feet and really helps with the blisters?

One thing that's always important on long port ologists that you have all the gear you're gonna need and not separate yourself from

The important parts of your outfit we ran out of gas and the rest of our gas is

Way back three kilometers four kilometers away with our canoe and our last bag

No, big deal. I'm just boiling some water over the fire right now

But okay at least we didn't forget our lighters or a tent or something like that

Beautiful flat open stretch of birth country that we walked through on the last part of the portage that was bored is just mountains everywhere

Finally over we did it yeah

And check this out a few things that we found along the route no doubt from the natives when they used to travel through the

Country in much a similar way. We are but clearly with even heavier gear. I mean everything was metal here


Back in the canoe feels so good still got a deal with this Beaver Dam

Super shallow here, and the bugs are bad

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Jim Baird is an Adventurer, videographer, writer, photographer, and talent. His previous rolls include extensive work with a map company as well as guiding and prospecting. Jim has shot video for Cineflix productions, BBC Worldwide, 13 Minds, and The Weather Network US. He's produced video series such as “The Kesagami River Solo” and “Lessons From The Trail with Jim Baird”. Jim’s content has also appeared in print for several publications that include Explore, Canoeroots, Real Fishing, Ontario Out of Doors, Outdoor Canada, Canoe & Kayak, and Field & Stream magazines. Jim is an expert woodsman, white-water canoeist, survivalist, and a bold wilderness navigator. His expedition experience includes a solo trip down the canoe eating rapids of the Kesagami and then along the tempestuous James Bay coat, an 800-mile snowmobile expedition across the Northwest Passage, 300miles above the Arctic Circle. A month long descent of the Northwest Territories Kuujjua River in the Arctic Archipelago, followed by 120-kilometers of paddling on the Arctic Ocean. He's also completed a 33-day canoe expedition via four rivers including the Adlatok in northern Quebec and Labrador.