Considering my best efforts only gave me 10-kilometers on the previous day, I was shocked that I made it 18-kilometers after pushing off from Netitishi Point. Push is the operative word here. I remembered seeing an old picture of voyageurs poling a large fur trade canoe along the tidal flats of James Bay. In putting it to the test, I found pushing with my paddle made a lot more sense than paddling. It enabled me to make great time in water that was far to shallow to sink a paddle blade in.
I basically pushed for the entire 18k before I was thwarted by the receding tide about 2-kilometers from the Moose River. I wasn’t sure what trip day it was, I’d lost track of how many days I’d been out a while ago. I wasn’t on a tight schedule though, so I didn’t care.
I camped beside a creek that night in hopes that it held fresh water. Turned out it was swampy and brackish way up from its mouth. The mosquitos were very bad there too. So bad in fact, that on my last morning, I dragged my outfit out onto the flats to eat breakfast and have a nap as I waited for the tide to come in. The bugs weren’t nearly as bad out there.
I could see the Moose River in the distance as I ate breakfast. Once I reached the river, I’d have 20-kilometers of upriver paddling before my finishing point in Moosonee, Ontario.
I was parched when I reached the Moose River and the scalding hot day wasn’t helping. I shouldn’t have been surprised that the Moose is brackish in it’s lower reaches too. Needless to say, I was happy when locals Christy Nielsen and Don Cheechoo pulled up beside me in their freighter canoe about a kilometer from town and offered me a couple cold drinks. It was weird talking to people after not seeing anyone for days, everything seemed funny to me. I suppose I was backed up, you don’t laugh at much when you’re alone.
On reaching Moosinee it felt good to be finished, it was a tough trip, but the toughest things in life are usually the most rewarding. I made camp near town and Don and Christy had me over for a traditional Cree breakfast of fried moose and bannock the next morning. That afternoon, I boarded the Polar Bear Express train, and headed south. I arrived in Cochran late, and was surprised to see Mark, my shuttle driver, waiting for me. He had decided to keep my vehicle at his house, rather than leave it at the station.
“How did you know I’d be here now?” I asked. And, with a shrug, he told me it’s the exact time I said I’d be there.