Mattagami River to Moosonee
Skill Level: Intermediate
The Mattagami River flows some 440 kilometres north from its source, Mattagami Lake, and joins the Missinaibi River to empty into James Bay via the Moose River. This once proud, pristine river has been hit hard with power generating stations. Itís ironic that the Ojibway could sense that this river would always be in danger as they had named it Madaagami, which means troubled or turbulent waters. Although the Mattagami River was deemed a provincial canoe route the majority of it fell prey to manís thirst for electrical energy and profit. But there is a section that is free from manís destruction. It flows over 100 kilometres, twisting around gravel beds, many fossilized rocks and over slabs of limestone, creating splendorous rapids, as it carves its way into the James Bay Lowlands to unite with the Missinaibi River. These become the majestic Moose River, which pushes onward for another ninety kilometres into the salt water of James Bay. It is here, where the Mattagami River regains its identity as one of the unspoiled rivers of Northern Ontario, that H.W.E. offers you an opportunity to experience a once in a lifetime wilderness adventure.
The Mattagami River is an enchanting, isolated place with huge gravel bars, limestone, fossils, and shores thick in aspen, spruce. Wildlife sightings of moose or bear strolling down the shore are not uncommon. Eagles, geese and hawks are in abundance. One of the unique elements of this adventure is the solitude on this river. Unlike other rivers in the area, like the Missinaibi, the Mattagami River has very few travelers on it; and, once you experience its warmth and share its wealth and beauty, you will understand why, as a wilderness canoeing adventure, this is one of Northern Ontarioís hidden gems.
The two hour shuttle ride north to the furthest point of road access to the James Bay Lowlands sets the tone. Thatís right. Thereís no more road access, just river transportation from here onward. The huge gravel beds, loaded with fossils, at the mouth of Adams creek, will be the site of your first campsite along the river. You will awaken to the beauty of the grand rapids and the unique view, as you look downward at the final destination of the two historic rivers, the Mattagami and Missinaibi, uniting to form the Moose River. You will travel through Moose River Crossing, with its history of the Cree, Gypsum Caves and a Cree burial site, by sandbars and countless islands and will see breathtaking sunsets along the Moose River, until you reach the historic Cree villages of Moosonee and Moose Factory.
The Hudson Bay Company first established Fort Moose in 1663 and later named it Moose Factory. You will stay at the Cree Village Ecolodge, located in Moose Factory, surrounded by the beauty of the Canadian sub-arctic. Finally you will return home by rail on the world famous Polar Bear Express. These are just a few of the reasons why H.W.E. rates this adventure as one of their favorites and is a must for the adventure seeker, canoeist, eco-tourist or naturalist.