Thursday, September 6
The thing that appealed to me most about this trip was seeing the Arctic Ocean. James Bay, and Hudson Bay of which it is a part, are part of the Arctic Ocean. If you got in a boat you could go directly north from here to the top of the world! Today I took the road to Chisasibi, which is about 60 miles west of Radisson, to get to James Bay.
Actually, I turned north off the Chisasibi road after about 40 miles to take the road to Long Point. Other riders had recommended this as a more scenic spot than the access beyond Chisasibi. The road crossed over the La Grande dam #1 and continued on for 30 miles of gravel to reach the beach.
I wasn’t expecting a water crossing – but it had been raining and this section had flooded. Fortunately the roadbed was firm and smooth, and the water was only several inches deep, so I made it over without dropping the bike! I’m not big on doing water crossings.
I made it! Here it is – the Arctic Ocean of James Bay. It was an awesome feeling – and without question would be the high point of my trip.
The native Cree were hunters and fishermen, and present-day Cree people keep the tradition alive by spending a lot of time fishing and hunting. Twenty or more of these 24-foot wooden canoes lined the beach. They use logs to roll them up on the beach.
I was fortunate to be there at a time when two Cree men from Chisasibi were getting an early start on a weekend hunting trip to one of the islands to bag Canadian Geese. The two men were outgoing and very engaging, and repeatedly asked me if I would like to go with them. Although half joking, I’m sure they would have made good on their offer had I agreed. Had it just been a day-long trip I would have joined them.
After donning their wading boots they shoved their canoe into the water and were off. It was a memorable moment, and I’ll always treasure this image of my visit to James Bay and its people.