The Koroc River August 6-17, 1982

Koroc River

The Koroc River rises in the Torngat Mountains, where the height of land divides Labrador and Quebec. The 100 km-long river runs westward from an elevation of about 1.7 kilometres and ends up in Ungava Bay. Few have ever canoed this beautiful but rapid and rock-strewn river.

After landing on a small nearby lake we moved canoes and gear to the river. We were forced to drag fully loaded canoes over rocks in shallow rapids for hours to reach the navigable section of the river. This also involved lining the canoes around or over ledges.

As we attempted to negotiate over the first major ledge, two members of the team lost control of their canoe which wrapped around a mid-stream rock. While the contents of the canoe were recovered downstream, the canoe could not be dislodged. (see The Wreck on the Koroc)

For the rest of the trip, all six of the canoe team and equipment had to travel in the remaining two canoes – Tim Kotcheff, Craig Oliver and David Silcox in one, Ted Johnson, John Godfrey and Peter Stollery in the other.

The nearest settlement – our end destination – was to be Port Nouveau Quebec, better known as ‘George River’ (now Kangiqsualujjuaq). Here are three stories about the Koroc expedition.

proflessilcoxThank heavens for the Gammel Dansk

The trek from lake to river was easily done, but the river itself made the first two days a pain in the derrière, since there wasn’t enough water to float the canoes with us in them. So we walked them down the first few kilometres, making slow time indeed. What kept our spirits up were occasional snorts from Stollery’s supply of Gammel Dansk, that earned a warm place in our hearts until the bottle was empty. More..

johnsonOn the Koroc by Ted Johnson

By 1982 our river-selecting skills were well honed. Peter Stollery was promoting the eastern Arctic “for a change” – a river meandering west from the seldom-visited Torngat Mountains on the Quebec-Labrador border to Ungava Bay. An aerial photo showed it might be paddleable. A few months later two  Otters left the dock at Scheffervllle, with three canoes strapped to the floats, the six of us, and several fuel drums. More..

Kotcheff3End Game on the Koroc by Tim Kotcheff

After leaving a canoe behind on the upper Koroc, it was rub-a-dub-dub, three men in a tub for the rest of the way. Dr. Johnson opted to sit in the disastracanoe (henceforth DC) with John and Peter, in case repairs would be required. David took the safest option – to sit in the OK canoe (never KO’ed) with Craig and Tim. More..

The Koroc River Team – 1982

L-R Back: John Gow, Peter Stollery, Craig Oliver, Jean Pelletier, John Godfrey. L-R front: David Silcox, Tim Kotcheff, Pierre Trudeau

       L-R: Tim Kotcheff, Craig Oliver, Peter Stollery, John Godfrey, David Silcox, Ted Johnson.