A Hike to the Border
Tuesday, August 10
Francois wearing a tent today
The next morning dawns grey and drizzly, with low clouds. Our first real bad weather day. Oh well, had to come eventually. After having breakfast, I wander over to Jack's tent and, to my surprise, observe them making PANCAKES... yum! And sausages!. I hover around for a while and eventually get offered some, and they are delicious. Jack brings the best camp food on his trips, I swear!
Joel, Chris, and Jimmy come over again, asking questions about the mountain and the area in general. We tell them that its probably not best to go up in bad weather like this, and besides they won't see anything anyway.
Mitch claims to have counted a 120+ strong herd of Caribou this morning while I was sleeping. Impressive. I do spot a few Caribou, but only onesies and toesies. They are quite curious and sniff the air a lot around our camp, but they never get really close.
Jimmy, Joel and Chris
The weather starts to improve, and the rain stops. Low clouds still hang around, though, at around the 4000-foot level. The three canoeists and Francois have been talking for a bit, and they decide to go on a hike up the gentle mountains across the valley from us. I think about it for a moment and think what the heck... better to go on an exploratory hike than just sit all day in camp, so I join them. Francois feet have developed into a hive of sores and blisters, and probably shouldn't go, but he wants to anyway... oh well!
The three-canoeists cairn
We hike across the valley (away from Caubvick/D'Iberville), and up into a cirque. It is the usual Torngat boulder-hop when climbing slopes over here, too, I notice. Joel, Chris, and Jimmy express a desire to "see/be in Labrador", and, looking at my map, I see that the provincial border can be reached by cresting the gentle ridge above us and following it north for a few km or so. They agree to this, so up we go, out of the cirque and onto the high ground above. This ridge, unlike Caubvick/D'Iberville's summit ridge, is very very wide (kilometer wide, probably) and very gentle. The hiking up here is actually pretty good, with lots of compacted and small stones, rather than the large, angular, and uncompacted boulders that make up most of the slopes of these peaks. I notice lots of interesting patterns in the stones afoot. This is likely indicative of the permafrost that lies beneath the surface at these latitudes.
Cloud level is around 4000 feet, which we are just under, and so even though it is cloudy, we still see much. We hike for an hour and a bit and finally reach the border at an unnamed 3950+ foot peak. In the distance, we can see into the impressive canyon-like valley of the Palmer river. Chris, Jimmy and Joel construct a little inukshuk in Labrador.
Francois and Chris amidst vastness
We decide to descend back into our valley, but further upstream, so we char a different descent route down. The views down into the valley at this point are excellent. Lots of classic valley-style glacial landscape features, massive walls and buttresses of rock. Dramatic.
We choose a way down that involves an excellent couloir filled with a nice soft helping of spring snow. Turns out to be an excellent 1000-foot glissade! We engage the snow gleefully, glissading down while Francois filmed it all, including himself. It takes us an effortless couple of minutes to descent what is often an annoying slow boulder descent without snow. My GPS tells me that I've reached over 20km/hr while sliding on my bum. Excellent!
Joel in the late afternoon light.
We are now back in the valley where our camp is, but at the head of it. Still more excellent scenery, tarns and impressive walls and cliffs everywhere.
On the gentle and grassy hike back to the camp, Chris (I think) discovers what looks like an archeological site: A couple of rings of rock with what look like patio stones on one end. We mark a waypoint for future reference and continue on. As we near our camp, we again hear a helicopter (we were hearing the Parks Canada chopper constantly a few days ago). This time, it turns out to be Christophe Vany and his Nunavik Rotors helicopter. He is here, along with an extensive (ie- large) Parks Quebec survey team; they will be continuing their survey of the Quebec side of this region for a possible future provincial park.
Later, back at camp, after dinner, the helicopter lands next to us. Out come Christophe and a small group of the Parks Quebec people. They are interested in chatting with us, and I guess they are interest in the low-down on our little expedition. We meet Christophe, a geologist, the head of the survey team, and some other guy (can't remember his name). Roland fills them in on all.
Christophe's flying machine
Roland talks with Parks Quebec folks.
Christophe and the park folks
We have been waiting around for news of the plan the families have to place a memorial plaque on Caubvick/D'Iberville this week. If this happens, we want to hike up there and be present when they do this. However, word is now out that the parents have changed their plans, have decide to scrap the plaque for this year and to make funeral arrangements instead, since Dan and Sue have now been found.
I talk a little with the geologist. One of his objectives is to search the cirques on the quebec side of D'Iberville/Caubvick to see if there is any glacier remnants remaining in them (which I doubt, and so does he). I guess it is important for Quebec to see if there are any glaciers in its province!
Meanwhile, Jack, Greg, Billy, Mitch and Sue have been deciding what to do with remainder of their trip time, now that the searching is over. They come up with a plan to split off and do an unnamed 4800+ foot peak to the west, and they intend to leave tomorrow AM.
Interactive trackmap with photo points - Day 5 - A Labrador Loop - click map to view
Day 5 - A Wandering loop to the Labrador Border - Hike Data
* : +/- 75 feet
Total Elevation Gain:
Total Elevation Loss:
* : +/- 75 feet