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  • August 3, 1997

    Geoffrey Peake, Chief Guide of the Hide Away Canoe Club (HACC) writes:

    GEOFF PEAKE  Tonight we are camped at the outlet of Resolution Lake, 16 miles from our last campsite. We have chosen another esker for our campsite tonight--a broad flat-topped ridge that has well worn caribou trails worn into the soft mossy topsoil.
      Today was a moody and dramatic day --at least in the weather department. We left our campsite this morning and headed north down our first few rapids of the George. One of the most important things a canoeist needs to know when paddling a river is how high (or low) the water levels are. Due to a late breakup and heavy rains in July, the river appears to be nearly a foot higher when we ran it last time.In general, higher water is a good thing because the rocks in the rapids (the bane of whitewater canoeists) are that much more submerged. The downside is that the standing waves (waves caused when faster water piles up on slower moving water--usually found in the deeper channels) become that much larger and more of a hazard. On the upper George, where the river is still relatively small, the higher water will work in our favour. In the lower stretches of the river, however, where the flow of the river is much larger and the rapids run over much longer distances, the rapids will probably be more 'interesting'. Today I noticed our canoe floating over rocks that had moss and lichen on them--a sure sign of high water.
     Most of the day was spent battling the wind on the two lakes of the upper river, Lacasse and Resolution. At times, dramatic mushroom-shaped clouds with edges running like a watercolour painting spat rain and hail on us as we bent our paddles to the wind and inched our way north. Minutes later, the wind would halt completely, the sun would emerge, and the mood became placid and serene. This struggle continued throughout the day--although as I write now, the setting sun appears to have finally taken control again--for the moment.
     For Mina Hubbard, her night spent on Resolution lake was filled with considerably more apprehension. Unlike us, she had no way of knowing how much further it was to Ungava Bay. Already being mid-August, her fear was that she would not reach the Hudson's Bay Co. Post at the mouth of the George before the supply ship arrived. This would effectively leave her stranded in one of the more desolate parts of this country until the next spring--or risk a winter journey retracing her route. Hardly attractive choices.
     Not far from where I am writing these words, she encountered a group of natives at Montagnais Point. They told her that "it was a very long way to the post at Ungava, a hard month's journey". The prospect of another month on the river, after having spent nearly two to get to this point, was so unsettling that she decided she wanted to turn around and go back the way they had come. George Elson, the half-Cree guide and the one she trusted in these matters, urged her to continue on and trust that they would make the post on time.
     Mina, a strong-willed woman, pressed her case, telling George "If you refuse to take me back I cannot compel you to do it and I will record in my diary that you refused to do so, stating your reasons which you think are good." George prevailed on her to trust him. Her final entry in her journal that night: "Tonight the decision is made to make a big try to get down to George River Post in time to catch the Pelican (the supply ship)". And so Resolution Lake was named by her resolve to see the trip through to the end--and a good thing too. They reached the Post a mere 10 days later.
     




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