15 Jun 2004

Canoeing the Wekweyaukastic / North French / Moose Rivers, ON: Wekweyaukastic Lake > Moosonee

To ... The BAY


Partner: Fred 
Private Vehicle: Kanata & Perth > Cochrane > Wekweyaukastic Lake
Shuttle Driver: Terry O'Neill drove Fred's truck from the put-in @ Wekweyaukastic Lk. and moved it to the Cochrane train station for our return trip.
Tandem Canoe: Wekweyaukastic Lake > WEKWEYAUKASTIC R. > NORTH FRENCH R.  > Moose R. > Moose Factory > Moosonee, ON - CII+ / CIII, 13 days, 245 kms
Train: Polar Bear Express from Moosenee > Cochrane
Private Vehicle: Cochrane > Kanata & Perth

View 2004 WEKWEYAUKASTIC / NORTH FRENCH / Moose River(s) in a larger map

Excerpt from KANOE TRIPPERS Adventure Journal:

" A bazillion biting insects
10140 metres of loaded carries across portages
6760 metres walked across portages
244.5 river kms paddled
80 kms of whitewater
countless swifts, CI's, II's and III's
many ledges & waterfalls
24 plus beaver dams
20 plus log jams
13 portages
12 camps made
10 days out of 12 with precipitation
5 camps bushwacked
1 portage bushwacked "


  Moose @ Moosenee Wharf

Excerpt from 'Wakwayowkastic River Canoe Guide' by George Drought:
" The Wakwayowkastic River is a remote, little known river in north-eastern Ontario.  The river has been used extensively by the natives of the area for fishing, trapping and hunting and in the late 19th century, it was part of one of the winter routes used by the packateers and mail carriers between Moose Factory and Cochrane.  Some of the winter routes are still in evidence, winding their way through beautiful untouched jack pine forests.
Until the Wakwayowkastic joins with the North French River it is a small river, very dependent on snow melt and rainfall for canoeable conditions.  It is therefore necessary to paddle it early in the year in June or July.  If you wait until August you could end up walking most of the 230 km.  It rises in Wakwayowkastic Lake and for the first 50 km it is a tiny, twisty, beaver dammed and log jammed stream.  It then opens up and is easier canoeing for the next 50 km.
The real whitewater fun begins at approximately the 100 km mark and the river starts dropping off the Canadian Shield plateau with its swamps and muskeg.  For 45 km there are a series of good rapids to run and waterfalls to carry or line around.  Portages for the most part are non existent or are remains of the old winter trails up the river.  The final rapid in this strectch is an easy but fairly long run as you paddle it you can see the transition from Canadian Shield to James Bay Lowland.
The final 85 km down the North French River and the Moose River is through limestone lowlands with ledgy limestone rapids in the odd place and there is wind and tide to face on the Moose River.  The tide on James Bay comes up as high as the mouth of the North French.  There are also masses of fossils to look at, and study, every time you beach your canoe.
The river has been paddled in 10 days but anyone considering doing it would be well advised to allow a minimum of 12 days. "
Crusty ...

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