Another Expedition Comes to an End

Another Expedition Comes to an End

Articles related to our Royal Canadian Geographic and MEC sponsored expedition:

X Lab Red River Climb
Dragging up the Red Wine River


Across the Labrador Peninsula Reflections:

Well it ain’t easy leaving the woods when you’re 250km from nearest civilization, conditions aren’t right for the float plane to land and the chopper runs into mechanical/weather issues. But after 4 wonderful days of holding camp, we finally got plucked out of the northern Quebec wilderness yesterday. Huge thanks to the individuals who got us back to The Rock safely and to everyone else who made this expedition possible. The list is long and you all know who you are. I’m forever grateful!

Other than not reaching Hudson Bay this was a success on all accounts. Witnessing the immaculate scenery, enjoying and overcoming the hurdles, putting eyes on our provinces and Quebec’s vast outdoors, and becoming more proficient as not only a woodsman, but a human.

We seen the land in a way the earliest explorers would have, especially ascending the Red Wine River system in Labrador. This very difficult and dangerous section branched off the Naskapi River and climbed 2000 feet in about 200 km. It was the longest phase of seeing absolutely zero signs of prior civilization. No camps, tree cuttings, blazes, portage trails, fire pits, Vienna sausage cans. NOTHING. That was true untouched wilderness and by far the most rewarding stint of the journey.

Today enjoying the luxuries of home, it’s nothing but extremely joyful reflections every other minute. To me nothing in this life compares to these strong experiences in remote nature. As I often say, it’s indescribable to those uninitiated, but no mystery to ones who have seen the unknown with their own eyes. Of course 83 days is certainly not needed, but at least a minimum of a week or two demanding self propelled trip, off the beaten track, can strengthen everyday skills and give a certain appreciation/respect for the natural world and life as we have it, that I don’t believe can be found anywhere else.

And I can’t forget my wingman and best friend Saku. What a beast he was!! You should have seen him traverse the tangly situations along the Red Wine shorelines. 10 or 20 yards ahead of me he would be leaping from slippery rock to rock and through the thickest of alders and black flies like it was his calling. I was impressed beyond belief. He’s tougher than any nail I’ve ever hammered and my little hero! After that he took a well deserved break and spent most of the remainder of the expedition sprawled in the canoe being carted around on big lakes like the king himself. I tried to train him to paddle but he wanted none of it!

Ultimately having to end the expedition was one of the toughest decisions of my life. We were both healthy and more than content in our limitless playground. But with the expected strong prevailing westerly winds being worse than imagined we were a couple weeks or so behind schedule. Combine that with winter striking a little earlier than normal and it was time to lay the adventure to rest, for now.

I very much look forward to sharing my documentations with you all over the upcoming months but first the batteries need to be recharged. Thank you all again for following along! Much love from me and Saku.

Below is a picture from where we spent the dying days of #acrosslabpeninsula

Some more pictures from the haul:


X Lab 1st brookieX Lab Saku Portage MacPhayden


Congrats on what sounds like a life altering mission! I recently read Into The Wild and your stories remind me of Chris McCandless himself. Very inspiring stuff!

Thank you so much for taking the time to capture your adventure on film, edit and share. It is truly inspiring. Not only for the GUTS and SKILLS it took to put this on but also the LOVE and CARE you have for Saku (awesome dog) and all of the nature you navigated through. You got the grit of a true adventurer. Canadian of the highest order. Much respect to you. I hope you get to return and finish your trip.

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