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The North French is a tributary of the famous Moose River flowing between it and the Abitibi and entering about 10 km above Moose Factory. It begins just to the south of the Detour Lake Mine Rd. A few years ago a group of Alumni Scouted the river and and were very pleased with the route. This year we have chosen the North French as our spring James Bay Canoe Trip.
The river is a small intimate river at the top best run early in the season. It drops 720 ft over the 200 km from its source to James Bay. The middle section of the river, where it drops off the Canadian Shield, contains the most significant number of rapids (mostly class 2+). There are also a few larger rapids we must line + several water falls. Because the route is not regularly traveled, there are no established trails so lining is generally preferable to portaging, luckily the terrain makes this possible and the nature of the river is such that the portages when necessary are short.
Participants should be comfortable wilderness river travelers and happy to paddle class 2+ whitewater. We will fly into the river by float plane from Cochrane Ontario. Nine days will give us ample time to not only descend this river but enjoy it. We’ll finish in the community of Moose Factory/Moosonee.
From there we will take the train back south to Cochrane.
(Note: this is a suggested itinerary only, conditions on each trip may vary)
Participants drive & meet in Cochrane on June 25, on the evening before the trip.
Bush plane flights into North French River, half day paddle on River.
North French River, Mikisiw Rapids(1km long class 2 rapids). Camp at Maasamaykos Falls (30km)
Portage/Line remainder of Maasamakos Falls (really a series of ledges). Fast current all day with numerous Class 1 & class 2 rapids. 45km
Fast Current with Numerous class 1 & 2 rapids, occasional class 3. Mistassini Falls necessitates a 200m portage, followed by more class 1 & 2 rapids, and two larger drops that must be lined. 25km
Series of class 1 & 2 rapids + Piitaachuwin Rapids, (combo of lining, liftover and running-class 2, 3, 4). 50m portage at Wipapiskau Falls, followed by more class 1 & 2 rapids. Camp at Ispau Falls, beautiful site. 150m portage. 25km.
Ispau Falls to James Bay Lowlands, 30km. Fast current & rapids all day. Mostly class 1 & 2. Occassional class 3 to run or line.
Lower North French & Moose. End Moosonee/ Moose Factory (80km)
Extra Safety Day
Train from Moosonee back to Cochrane.
* Please note: It’s the nature of remote northern travel that uncontrollable factors like poor weather, pilot judgment, forest fires, and mechanical problems can affect our schedules and cause delays. We regret these situations but cannot accept responsibility for hotels, flight rebookings, and other costs you may incur.