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  • August 1, 1997

    Peter Brewster writes:

    PETER BREWSTER  STUCK IN SCHEFFERVILLE (Friday): Fourteen years later, and not a whole helluva lot has changed.

     The jinx that dogged our footsteps the last time we were up here has raised it's head, and we're cooling our heels in damp weather with what are surely the biggest mosquitoes in North America clawing at the screens of the cabin.

     In 1983, on our first visit to northern Quebec and the George River, we hit a series of speedbumps that threatened the trip ... the train from Sept-Isles wasn't running as expected (Mulroney had just closed the Iron Ore Co. of Canada mine here in his days as company president) ... we tried to fly up and the canoes wouldn't fit on the plane ... we eventually arrived on a work train three days late only to be schmucked by bad weather, leaving two members of the group in the bush overnight at the fly-in point and two at the floatplane base.

     This time, it's the canoes. And certain items of equipment left behind amid the unaccustomed flurry of electronic boxes being packed in Toronto.

     Our train from Sept-Isles arrived here perfectly on time, but the three Old Town canoes ended up in Labrador City. Awkward, but recoverable thanks to the good will of the Quebec North Shore and Labrador Railway who are shuttling them up overnight. By 8 a.m. tomorrow we should be ready to fly in to the river.

     Then our vital Coleman folding oven, for baking bread and Geoff's exceptional cinnamon buns, got left in Toronto, and all efforts to locate one up here have failed. There'll be some ingenuity displayed involving a cast iron fry pan and a stainless steel mixing bowl picked up at the store.

     Plus - and only an editor's inherent kindness prevents me from saying more- there's a certain item of high-tech origin that may or not become a factor ( I'll reveal all later in the trip if trouble strikes and we are found wanting! Plus which culprit who left it behind.)

     There's some doubt about whether we could have flown in today anyway, as the cloud ceiling has been low all day. Clearer skies are forecast for tomorrow.

     And certainly things could be worse. We're comfortably ensconced here at Claude St. Amand's Nordic camp, which is starting to gear up for the annual caribou hunt. The hunting has a huge impact on the local economy. Ditto for the fishing camps. Some visitors will combine a caribou hunt and salmon fishing trip in late August and early September.

     Meanwhile, we are checking and re-checking equipment, enjoying the fact that our technology is working (or you won't be reading, or viewing Mike's photos). And we're trusting that the boats will be here on time tomorrow. While watching the sun etch the bald, rocky hills to the north and put a shine on the damp boughs of the spruce trees around Squaw Lake.

     I smell coffee brewing. It's quittin' time.

     Plus ca change plus c'est le meme chose.

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