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From the Editor

I know what they mean now.

I understand the lure of that Labrador wild. We experienced one of the finest trips in our 20-plus years of northern paddling. It would be difficult to put together a better wilderness paddling package than that on northern Labrador coast and through the awesome Torngat Mts.

One lingering moment was not nearly the most scenic. It was an evening paddle up the 10 miles of coast from Saglek Bay to Bears Gut. The sea was calm. Our view to our right was endless ocean, to our left 2000 feet of the rawest, least vegetated and most daunting coastline we have ever beheld. Even in the calm of this evening there was chop but nothing tricky, In six imaginations the thought of this place when it wasn't so benign was terrifying. We felt like mice tiptoeing past a gigantic sleeping cat.

After losing four days to weather before the trip, we then got three calm, sunny days in which to be shown this dazzling coast as we headed for the relative safety of Nachvak Fjord. Three days of icebergs, incredible campsites and perfect weather - and worry about low long this would last!

For all the glorious wonders Labrador Odyssey 2001 gave us, there was a strange and deadly subtext to what was a superb and "event-free" trip. Three paternal deaths within our group's family, including my dear father-in-law, occurred in the month before the trip. It also meant regular Peter Scott could not come. We remember his father Angus, a truly wonderful man, who is greatly missed by us all, on page 4. Then a month after- the incalculable horrors of September 11 in the U.S.

Labrador Odyssey has more than enough memorable moments to allow it to endure for decades but it will always have those grim reminders attached to it.

But one memory of Labrador we all will carry was coming across four polar bears in one spot in Nachvak; a large male and a mother with two cubs who did likewise and then swam back with them. They wandered the shore while a herd of caribou passed above them and behind us minke whales gasped at the surfaced - but now as loud as we must while have beholding this incredible sight deep in the heart of northern Labrador.

Michael Peake.

This story first appeared in Che-Mun Outfit 106 in 2001.


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