ROUTE: 37-Day Missinaibi River
Bus to Little Jackpine River (west of Chapleau) - Shikwamkwa Lake - Whitefish Lake - Manitowik Lake - Dog Lake - re-outfit at Missinaibi settlement - Missinaibi Lake - Missinaibi River - re-outfit at Mattice village - Missinaibi River - Moose River - Moose River Crossing - Polar Bear Express train to Cochrane - Cochrane to Temagami Bus (with Section A)
Photo: Joe Malcoun
Section on the upper Missinaibi River. Left to right: John Duggan, Frederick Reimers (staffman), Dana Shonk (guide), TJ "Teaj" Anderson, Jay Porter, Ashton Powell, Will Wesson, Joe "Jukebox" Malcoun.
I was Jukebox that year because I sang a lot.
Jukebox Malcoun, 4/10/00
The River's Long Reach
We were camped at Thunderhouse Falls. A cold front had pushed through rain the day before. In the morning, when the fog lifted, it was a clear, cold, day. The falls sounded larger from my tent. We were camped in the middle of the portage, downstream from the falls on a plateau level with the lip, and high above the gorge that they fell into. When I got out to start breakfast, sure enough, the river was running muddy and much larger. Interesting, but not shocking.
Throughout the morning as we ate and packed up camp, the river continued to rise steadily until it had more than tripled in volume. What had formerly been an interesting little falls was now a shocking-brown taffy puller. We were impressed, took pictures, etc...
But it was only when one of the campers came back from the end of the portage, and told me that one of our canoes was missing, that we knew we were in trouble. I ran to the end of the trail to find one of our canoes half submerged and floating in the middle of a big eddy that had formerly been shoreline. Another one was missing entirely. Since there were only eight of us and four canoes, this presented a big problem — not to mention the embarrassment of losing a canoe.
We had stashed the boats ten feet from shore. Just two days the river had been a clear and sizeable river. Now it was a muddy galloping monster in flood stage. The banks were overrun; there was water well up in the alders. Just to sneak down the shore to search for the canoes would be challenging.
I jumped into one of the canoes with a camper and four wannagins plus a few double packs to allow the other two boats to take mojos. After putting our life jackets on, we creeped down the shore hoping to find the canoe before it was washed down the unrunnable mile-long gorge a few miles below us. I think the river rose like that because it had been a pretty wet spring and most everything was saturated already.
Well, we lucked out and found our maverick boat less than a mile downstream. We rejoiced and once our other two boats caught up, drafting almost to the gunwales with their heavy loads, we all got out on shore and gave a dozen kowtows to the river for letting us off the hook.
Frederick Reimers, 12/20/99
Floating By Flash Flood
We spent two of the last few days rafted up and simply FLOATED down the river. That was only possible because we had flash floods and the river rose seven feet overnight.
Joe Malcoun, 6/10/00
Frederick Reimers Dana Shonk Joe
Frederick Reimers Dana Shonk Joe "Jukebox" Malcoun
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