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“There is not a day that I don’t find myself at some point dreaming of my own  travels through the subarctic of northern Quebec.  Deeply ingrained in my brain are the images of shores lined with the  jagged spires of black spruce and further north the barren hill sides surrounding Indian House Lake.  Ancient campsites along the shore, close encounters with wolves, black bears and and the good fortune of  experiencing the George River Caribou herd at its peak in the early 90’s with thousands of caribou crossing the river in front of our canoes near the Pyramid Hills. Inuit friends who so warmly welcomed Chewonki groups each year as we arrived at Ungava Bay and paddled into the  village of Kangiqsualujjuaq.”

~Greg Shute

The George River Expedition equips individuals with the skills they need to be future trip leaders at Chewonki and beyond. Participants must have successfully completed one or more Chewonki wilderness trips, or had comparable experiences, and have an interest in wilderness leadership.

This is a challenging journey for experienced paddlers who understand that a first-rate canoe trip is a true adventure. The George River is located in Northern Quebec, with its headwaters along the Labrador/Quebec border. For over 500 miles, the river flows north from the boreal forest through the subarctic barrens of Quebec and Labrador to Ungava Bay. On this five-week trip, we paddle more than 400 miles of the river.

Remote Camping & Canoeing

This expedition is for the student who is on track to become a trip leader at Chewonki or anyone who would like to gain expeditionary canoe skills. Students participate in all aspects of planning for a journey in Canada’s remote subarctic region, including itinerary and route planning, food packing, gear, and transportation. Then the group puts all of these skills into practice when they embark on their own extended wilderness canoe trip. Northern Quebec/Labrador is a vast landscape of undeveloped boreal forest, interconnected waterways, and evidence of ancient encampments. 

It is home to the George River caribou herd and a large breeding population of wolves. We are on the river about the same time that the caribou herd begins to migrate; in some years we have been fortunate enough to witness caribou crossing the river. Wide and with plenty of whitewater, the George offers a challenging paddle through the stunning subarctic terrain. 

Participants begin and finish at Chewonki in Wiscasset. We travel by van to Sept-Isles, Quebec, then take a train to Schefferville, where we begin paddling. We paddle to the Inuit village of Kangiqsualujjuaq on Ungava Bay. After our canoe trip, we fly to Kuujjuaq, then to Quebec City, from which we’ll take a van back to Wiscasset.