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Thread: Just got back from the Arctic Ocean - Updated 8/14 with links

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  1. #1
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    Default Just got back from the Arctic Ocean - Updated 8/14 with links

    Wife and I just got back from Chisasibi, Canada. A small Cree village on the shores of James Bay, technicaly.... the Artic Ocean.

    We drove from Bennington, VT. Did it 5 days. 2320+ miles in 5 days. Two days of which we spent on the James Bay Road. The 381 km (236 mile) stretch of the James Bay Road that is without services is the longest service-free stretch of road in Canada, and the second longest service-free stretch of road in North America! This is second only by a hair to the Dalton Hwy in Alaska, which has a 394 km (244 mile) stretch without services. The Dempster Hwy running from the Yukon to NWT in Canada has a stretch of 363 km (225 miles) without services.

    Day one we drove 12 hours to Val D'or. It's a small mining town. Stayed at a Comfort Inn. You feel like you are out there, but the vast wilderness is yet to come.

    Day two was a 3 hour trip to Matagami. Nothing to see here, but the last chance for gas. We got gas and then stopped and signed in at the James Bay Road check point. You have to give your info before you get on the road.

    This road is out there, seriously. Nothing but woods for miles and miles. You might see a car every 15 minutes, but sometimes we went 30 minutes or more inbetween cars. We brought two spare tires and two cans of fixaflat.

    This is Cnada's Autobahn. No police at all. The road is mostly used by the Cree and they drive fast. We would be doing 70 only to be passed by familys of Cree in minivans doing 90 plus easily. And the road is full of bumps.

    Our goal was to say we drove as far north as possible and to swim in the Artic Ocean. We did both.

    I highly recomend this trip to anyone that likes the remote. Radisson, the end of the road is ok, but Chisasibi is better. A small Cree village that was living off the land like their ancestors on Fort George Island until Hydro Qubec picked them up and moved them onland and into the 20th century. It truely was an incredible experience.


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    Road looked like this for many miles. Nothing but woods and the occasional clear cut.




    Check point.



    Clear cut. They were huge and the view was the same in three directions.



    The only service on the road. Just after the second longest service free section in the US. Basicly, two gas pumps and a cafeteria made of three trailers put together and raised off the ground.



    Ran into a pack of wolves on the road. There were 5 that circled the car and two that looked larger and stayed some distance away. They would circle the car and slip into the brush, only to do it again a few moments later. This went on for about 5 minutes. We were the only ones there. We decided to leave after we got a good look. We showed the pics to some local Cree. They said "They are, how do you say.....teenagers". We asked if they could possibly be Coyotes and they said they don't have Coyotes and then asked which mile marker we saw them at. At one point, they were so close, you could have reached out the window and touched them.








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    Awesome, thanks for sharing. I did some research a few years ago with the same intention...driving as far north as possible (or due north from home). I didn't realize you could get to James Bay from Raddisson, that is very cool. Was it still forest at that point or were you getting into the tundra? What was camping like? Were the bugs really bad? What was that checkpoint like? Is it mostly for safety or do they lay down a set of rule and regulations?

    This trip might have to go back to the top of my list, probably around summer solstice time.
    Bill
    Next up: Vermont City Marathon: May, 2011
    EasternLight

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    Bears at the Dump. They are pretty much there all the time. Local Cree tried to convince us to drive right up to them. We didn't.



    The only campground in Radisson was visited by a bear the night before. So we cooked dinner in the Hydro Qubec Dormitories parking lot. Didn't get dark until about 10:30.




    The end of the road. This is as far North as you can drive. However, if you get friendly with one of the locals, you can get beyond the gate for a couple of miles further north.

    Last edited by One_who_waits; 08-08-2010 at 05:06 PM.

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    The Community Center in Chissasibi. You can buy a fishing liscense there. There is also the local Guide and a small resteraunt. Not a very pretty building. It's very municipal and in need of some love. There is also another building next to this that houses two grocery stores. Don't count on anything you need being there. And also don't count on any fruits or vegtables.



    Pizza shop. Only open 6 hours a day. 6 hours seems to be the avergage work day up there, This place was jamming and made a decent pie.



    The Artic Ocean. Water was warmer than I thought. I actually went for a swim.



    Cree's canoes.


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    Our little tent at the beach.




    Not my pic. I took pics with my little digital, but they didn't come out.

    This is what we saw. Went to bed with no lights. We listened to the one and only radio station. The Cree were picking a new Cheif that week. We listened to Stella Bearskin give a speech as to why she should be Chief. Our jaws were on the floor. The most beautiful speech. I stepped out of the tent after and the sky was LIT UP!!!! They went in every direction as far as you could see and directly above our heads. We stood silent and watched for hours. They went on for hours. We finaly went to bed and watched them from our sleeping bags. Funny sidenote........after Stella's speech, the station played Ghost Busters>Smoke on the water.

    I will never forget that night.



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    Wow, what a trip! This may have to go on my list of places to go. Thanks for sharing with us!
    Bob

    I never want to see a day
    That's over forty degrees
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    Twenty, ten, five and let it freeeeEEEEEEeeze!

    My Seek the Peak 2013 Photo Set

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