Posted on January 20, 2016
Sometimes, when I'm procrastinating at work or have some free time and am tired of watching kayaking videos online, I like to scheme up ways to actually go kayaking.
A few years ago, my girlfriend Maeve and I took a road trip around eastern Canada. While there, I saw a picture of a huge glacial valley in one of Canada's newest national parks up in Nunavuk and thought there must be unexplored whitewater up there. When I got home, I started looking around Nunavuk and Baffin Island for good looking rivers on Google Earth. Most of the rivers were either flat or vertical and not much in-between, and I quickly realized we could go anywhere on earth for less than it would cost to get up there. I started looking a bit farther south.
I had seen a picture of Churchill Falls in an old American Whitewater Journal and figured where there are giant waterfalls, there must be whitewater, so I started looking into the area. I was in search for new fly-in multi-day river trips like those which have gained popularity in Quebec; rivers such as the Romaine or the Petite Mecitna. Instead, I ended up finding a corridor along the Churchill River where a number of rivers and creeks fall off a lake-y plateau into the Churchill River about 1,500 feet below.
Conveniently, the only road in the entire province passed either over or nearby most of these tributaries, and there conveniently happened to be an online stream gauge for the Pinus River nearby. This gauge allowed me to guesstimate early summer as the time with flows that seemed about right for that sized river. I was guessing around 30 cms on that river would be good.
This past spring, the stars aligned and I found four suckers willing to drive 48 hours off into the unknown, in some part of Canada no one has ever heard of.