As I talked to people around town about the upcoming trip into Labrador I received comments from people who haven’t gone as far, but a few of them have been fishing in remote parts of Quebec near the big hydro dams and the abundant lakes…This is on part of our route of travel. One fellow got his boat motor stolen along with some gear. I was uneasy about this and contacted the Bureau of Tourism for advice. They assured me that Labrador is safe. My other concern was availability of gas along the road. They sent me an excellent link http://www.happyvalley-goosebay.com/home/files/pg/trans_labrador_highway_guide_may_2012.pdf This fifteen page document gave me everything a truck camper navigator would need to travel the great Labrador Circle route.
Another couple of other stories that I have come across concerning this remote land to the North comes from local fisherman here in New Hampshire who many years ago would travel 600 miles to northern Quebec. The first story involved my neighbor when I lived in the town of Gorham about seven miles south of Berlin. My neighbor was a fisherman and often charted a float plane to take him and a fellow fisherman to where the big lake trout were abundant. The plane landed on the lake and the two anglers got all of their gear off for a week of fishing. They had a boat of some kind and plenty of supplies for the week. The tent was up and the two fished until late afternoon. My neighbors buddy started to feel terrible after supper. To spare all of the details (which I don’t really remember, his buddy had a heart attack and past away during the night. This happened a long time ago before cell phones, even today there is no cell phone service. My neighbor Bee Bee was stuck on shore of the lake for the rest of the week until the float plane came back.
The other story retold to me recently was also a tragic event taking place on a distant lake in the vast northern Quebec Province. Two Berlin fisherman were fishing in a boat when one of them spotted something red floating in a distance. It looked like a red gas close to an island. It was too far out of their way to investigate. They continued fishing on their planned route. Later in the afternoon they would head closer to that island and pickup that gas can. Approaching the island one of them took his binoculars and spotted the red object. He said, “that’s not a red can it’s a life jacket”! “No” said his fishing partner! “It’s a life jacket with a man looking right at me”! This guy drowned and he was hung up on a branch. They secured the life jacket to a larger tree and headed back some two hours away. The authorities were notified and a helicopter was dispatched. It was later discovered that the man was to meet three of his companions across the lake. His kayak flipped over in the rough waters of the lake and rest is history.
I wrote about these two moments of tragic history to remind myself that this adventure trip might not be for the faint hearted. The medical facilities are few and far apart. Some parts of Quebec Province and Labrador are very remote. I really don’t know how much civilization we will encounter. There are mining camps, but not a lot of towns along the way. At least that is what I am expecting.
One thinks that Alaska is a vast remote land which it is, but tourist in Alaska travel mostly main roads that have a fair amount of vehicle traffic. If your in trouble someone will come around sooner or later. Labrador is not so well travel at least that’s what I’m thinking at this present time. I am doing my home work and researching the pro and cons. It’s call a calculated risk, an Adventure!
The above map gives you a sense of our Circle Tour. We will leave New Hampshire and head to Quebec City. There we will follow the north side of the Gulf St Lawrence until we reach Trans-Canadian highway 389 up to Labrador City. TCH 500 will bring us to Happy Valley-Goose Bay. From there it’s route 510 over to Port Hope Simpson. This last leg is the longest between towns (250 miles). From here it is a short drive to Blanc Salon, a ferry will take over to Newfoundland where we will to this island. A five hour ferry is next for our tour of Nova Scotia and famous Cabot Trail.
That is what we are planning!