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  • August 9, 1997

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

    GEOFF PEAKE  One of the qualities a good wilderness canoeist needs, especially if you want to travel with the Hide-Away Canoe Club, is a sense of humour. This can be expressed in the most bizarre ways--this morning for example. While doing the pack-up, I came across the waylaid bag of apples which had been travelling at the bottom of a food pack. Six days and four portages later, the apples were on the verge of being baby food. I set them on the table, intending to dispose of them in the bushes. Just then, Peter Scott came in.
      "Anything I can do?" he asked
      "Yes. Dispose of these" I said, handing him the bag.
      He looked inside, made a face that told me he agreed with my decision, and walked out of the cabin. He then dutifully pulled a few apples out of the bag and proceeded to throw them at Michael, who was standing a few feet away. One hit him right in the head.
      It took Mike a few seconds to fully comprehend what had happened. By that time Peter had run like a frightened rabbit back into the cabin and quickly slammed the door.
      "What the hell are you doing?" Mike finally said, running up to the door and trying to push his way in.
      "That's just getting you back for all those other times" Peter said in self defence, as Michael finally pushed the door open and threatened to return the gesture. What Peter was referring to was an incident that happened 5 years ago on the Coppermine River. In the final days of the trip, we had a similar amount of superfluous vegetables, most notably a weathered head of cabbage. My other brother Sean had a great idea to use it as a "happy fun ball" to throw between the canoes and help pass the time. Being only a few miles from the ocean, we called it the 'sea cabbage', and had great sport with it until one shot, thrown by either Sean or myself ( I can't really remember) hit Peter right in the head. The game ended then, but clearly the memory of it did not, for he carried (apparently) a vendetta for all those years until the rotten apples appeared as the perfect vehicle for revenge. That Michael was not the person who originally threw it matters little in the HACC--It's the thought that counts.
      Having achieved his revenge, he now needed to deflect any direct retribution from Michael. This was easy.
      "Let's get Brewster" He suggested.
      They both stepped out on the porch and started sending a hail of apples towards the beach. I stepped out to view the assault, thankful that I was just an observer. Brewster, blissfully unaware, noticed bruised apples starting to land around him. He looked up just in time for a well aimed shot to strike him mid-chest. He doubled over in pain.
      "Oh Oh" said Mike, and both Mike and Peter scurried back into the cabin like frightened rabbits, as Brewster came to life and headed up the beach intent on revenge. I stepped out and handed him a few remaining apples as ammo and told him to bide his time. He got his chance a few minutes later as Mike stepped out, and, once again, received an apple in the head.
      We had a few laughs about that as we headed down the lake. We were blessed with a strong tail wind that blew us down the lake in record time. It must have been about 25 degrees (C) out-- amazingly hot for Ungava. Our highlight for the day was climbing Haute Falaise, an 300 metre high hill that gave us a panoramic view of the lake. It was nice to use the legs again, despite the swarms of blackflies that appeared when the wind died.
      Tonight we are camped about 15 kilometers from the outlet rapids. Tomorrow, we return to the river.

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