Wednesday, January 11, 2017

THE SECOND NORTHERN ADVENTURE

    I enjoyed writing a series of posts on my northern adventures from 1963 to 1966. I was young and adventurous. I was with many other young people and as young people we tended to have a good time.

    On my second venture things were different. I was older. I was married. I had much more responsibility. I saw things through different eyes.

    So in August 1967 I was on my way to Kangiqsujuaq (formerly Wakeham Bay.) Kangiqsujuaq is in northern Quebec. It's below the Arctic circle but the climate is very severe. It's on the Hudson Strait and Wakeham Bay which is a 24 mile deep bay. The tides are very high ...40 ft. The Bay froze up in late November. Small lakes froze up in late Sept. or early Oct. It was a very windy area as winds blew in from the Hudson strait or westerlies blew across northern Quebec and when they reached the east coast they dropped down to sea level with a bang. Snowfall wasn't great but what there was blew around and we had many blizzards. Snow would last from mid October to June. the ice on the bay would disappear in late July or early August. The ice actually went out on a tide to Hudson Strait rather than melt.

    Because of the severe climate vegetation was sparse and small. There were willows, spruce and birch trees. Some of these trees were knee high but most were half way up the knee. There were grasses , sedges and other plants. Flowers were plentiful and the spring was beautiful. In the fall much time was spent picking blueberries.

  So August of 1967 found me making my journey across Canada to this small isolated settlement.

  I first flew from Saskatoon , Sask to Ottawa. We were to spend 10 days in Ottawa for orientation. I was pumped for a 10 day orientation as I was going into something that was a completely different experience. There were three couples. We met the old superintendent the first morning and he suggested we look around Ottawa for the ten days and discover what we could find. Awesome. Just hang out. He shouldn't have given three young guys so much leeway. The 10 days went by . We learned a few things,  had a good time and felt more prepared for our postings.
 
    Notice that there were no flight delays or excitement over airplanes. We flew 900 miles northeast of Montreal on a Super Constellation. We were then in the small northern outpost of Fort Chimo. After a few days we were on our way to Kang on a twin Beech 18..a rather old airplane on floats. So another 300 miles and we land at Kang. The landing was exciting as there were 5 to 7 ft swells. the pilot had to hit the top of a swell and skip and bounce on two or three until the plane slowed down and awkwardly settled into the water. It was a landing like no other I had made.




   

33 comments:

  1. That doesn't sound like a landing I would forget, either, or want to make! I look forward to more adventures.

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    1. I've been in quite a few rough landings.

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  2. A bumpy landing, I hope things got better for you! I assume your wife was with you:)

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    1. My wife was with me and she's a get flier. She likes exciting flights.

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  3. It seems you went to the end of the world, wghat an adventure!

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    1. It may seem like the end of the world but there was much more after that.

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  4. What a great story, it sounds like this was in a Jack London tale. I can't imagine surviving in such a barren land.We often take for granted the stores, transportation and other shopping we have around us.

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    1. The inuit lived of f the land very well. we were often given country food.

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  5. I'm looking forward to more of this story! That picture is beautiful in its stark greyness. Is it your photo, and did you take many pictures when you were there?

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    1. It's not my photo. I have lots of slides but I haven't been able to scan them yet.

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  6. You were a brave man Red. Great stories. B

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    1. We were always well looked after and protected. I liked the outdoors. I did get into a couple of risky situations.

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  7. Yikes! That sounds very exciting and I don't think I would have forgotten it either. Three months without snow? That's not very long at all. :-)

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    1. Back in the hills there were places where the snow banks stayed all summer.

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  8. Hey, Red! How come you stopped the story there? I was just getting into it. You are like one of those soap opera directors - leaving the audience hanging until next time!

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    1. Yep, gotta keep you on the string.

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  9. Hi Red, To fully appreciate how awesome this post is, I recommend to others … Open up Google Maps and do a search for “kangiqsujuaq qc”. Zoom in and out to see the remoteness of the location and then enjoy some of the pictures. Wow, what an “outpost”! I am looking forward to more about what it was like when you first arrived there. How were you received? You mentioned the “old superintendent” met you in Ottawa. Did he return to Kang with you or was there a “new” superintendent there when you arrived?

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    1. The old superintendent stayed in Ottawa. He came out in Jan. to do his evaluation and inspection. He was a war ve and had an alcohol problem but was a very kind man.

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  10. It's truly hard for me to imagine a place with such severe weather. I don't know how ANY plants survive, even tiny ones! It's amazing how nature fills the niche in any climate, though, isn't it?

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    1. On the other hand I would love to see Morocco. Morocco seems like quite an adventure.

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  11. Your adventures are always well-written, exciting and inspiring.

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  12. Those are definitely memories that would stay with you!

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    1. It's funny but my wife remembers much more.

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  13. Oh my, the things we do when we're young.

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    1. If I had half a chance I'd be on the fringe today.

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  14. There a lot place I would like to visit. Northeastern Canada has always interested me.
    Coffee is on

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    1. Well google this and you'll have a good idea of what's out there.

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  15. Great story Red, and I loved the "skippy" plane landing. Keep er up Cap.

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    1. I'd heard how they land but I wasn't ready for it.

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  16. You share some great stories. You've lived quite an adventurous life!

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    1. My adventures were packed into 5 short years. since then I've been a very quiet boy.

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  17. This sounds like the beginning of another great adventure. I can't imagine 40 ft tides! The usual eight feet can seem like a lot here. Your wife must be adventurous, too, to agree to come along.

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