'Auyuittuq' - The Land that Never Melts
Ontario and Southern Quebec
to Wabush Labrador
Preparing for the trip I had read a story by Terry Jantzi, who had flown with his teenage daughter in an RV6 from Canada's capital Ottawa, to Iqaluit, the capital of Nunavut, in June of 1999 and in the process set a speed record. I called Terry and we began an email correspondence, sharing ideas and contacts that would help me plan this adventure. Terry put me in touch with Bert Rose, a polar pilot, who lives in Iqaluit, and someone who could answer my many questions about the north.
My decision to begin the trip in late June was based on getting favorable weather for the flight and my wish to experience the long hours of daylight. With a flight plan filed, I departed Brantford at 06:00, June 29, in rain showers that were heavy at times, ceiling 5,000 ft and visibility of 10NM. The ride was smooth, the clouds began breaking up, and I arrived in Ottawa at 08:30. Mitch Gingras, a former resident of Baffin, and still a part owner of the Polar Pilots' C172, was there to join me for breakfast and answer more of my never-ending questions. Back at the Ottawa Flying club, I called 800-INFO FSS for a weather briefing, filed a flight plan to Wabush, with a fuel stop at La Tuque, and departed east across the beautiful mountains, lakes and forests of southern Quebec. Nearing La Tuque, with plenty of fuel, I called Unicom and extended the leg to Bagotville, a military airport in south central Quebec. Landing between two arrester cables that lay across the runway 1,600 apart, I taxied to the terminal to top up the tanks and give my legs a stretch.
Ontario and Quebec boast almost half a million lakes, so having floats would increase your options for a forced landing, but being on wheels, my choices were fewer, except for logging roads that crisscrossed clear cut operations on the landscape below. I felt small, insignificant and vulnerable as I crossed the huge Manacouagan Crater. (51°23'N, 68°42'W; original rim diameter: ~65 miles Age: 210 million years) On my way northeast to Wabush Labrador I noticed a couple of abandoned mines with usable landing strips, which were not indicated on my sectional, but they became new waypoints in my GPS, just in case! A little over three hours had passed and finally I could hear Wabush radio advising that landings were on runway19. From a distance you can see the open pit mines surrounding the towns of Labrador City and Wabush, and a lake to the north, colored red from the waste runoff.
I refueled, had a visit with the friendly FSS person and then found a couple of concrete tie downs to secure the Husky and set up my tent beneath the wing. I like meals that just need boiling water added; supper was "noodles in a cup". I don't know if that qualifies as cooking. It was getting cool but there were plenty of mosquitoes, and it can be a real trick to eat when you are wearing a bug jacket with a full hood. I was not about to become a meal myself. It began to get dark around 22:00, I sprayed insect repellant onto the zipper of the tent, jumped inside quickly, and actually survived without getting bitten.
Page Top | Introduction | Next Chapter