The legendary Missinaibi River runs north from Lake Superior to the arctic waters of James Bay. Like many northern rivers, the Missinaibi appeals to seasoned paddlers for the white-knuckle exhilaration of navigating miles of challenging rapids. Other routes along the Michipicoten-Missinabi river corridor offer quieter options for paddlers at any level of experience and ability.
Each trip is a breathtaking expedition through unforgettable wilderness settings.
Hap Wilson is Canada's best-known canoeist and expedition author, with over 30 years experience. His hand-drawn maps and illustrations are featured in Voyages: Canada's Heritage Rivers, which won the Natural Resources of America Award for Best Environmental Book.
It is difficult for me to comprehend how quickly time has elapsed since this book was first published in 1994. And with that personal acknowledgement comes the sudden realization that it has, in fact, been a full decade since I last paddled the river. And although I have a penchant for forgetting to pay bills, and a memory incapable of storing the names of people whom I've just met, I have no difficulty remembering every detail about this glorious river -- the important things in life.
Each river tells a story. The Missinaibi River barely has time to catch its breath between tales of historic relevance, comic relief, tragedy and joy I've been a recipient of these chronicles and fortunate enough to have had the opportunity to look deeper into the character of the Missinaibi, wherein lay a message for us all.
When the number of deaths along the river corridor were brought to the attention of the Toronto Star, who did a front-page feature entitled "Missinaibi -- River of Death" in the spring of 1994, and the Ontario Coroner's office, it precipitated a chain reaction through all levels of provincial and federal governments. Public consciousness was raised about the "duty of care" regarding the increased flow of adventure-related tourism on our remaining wild frontiers. Research concluded that 17 of 34 deaths over a 14-year period could have been prevented had the adventurers been supplied with appropriate navigational aids such as updated topographical maps.
Prior to the release of the Missinaibi guidebook in 1994, there had been an average of two deaths per year along the river's corridor. This grim statistic remained static for almost two decades. I am happy to announce that since the book has been available, there have been (to my knowledge and research) no deaths. I have to assume that being "forewarned is forearmed," with most canoeists favoring caution and sobriety when it comes to negotiating wilderness waters.
This is a great river, and it no longer need be shrouded under a veil of death and misadventure. It is also a spiritual place, rife with rambling ghosts and prevailing mystery It remains unsafe only for the foolish and disrespectful. And as a Native rock-painting often conveys a deep lesson to the respectful observer, a river -- this river -- exemplifies the wisdom of the journey beyond what is visually apparent. The landscape is only a facade. The water that flows to the sea is only temporary
Adventure and discovery can be found here, within its history in its magic, and in its vitality With this new edition I welcome those who have yet to paddle this waterway and bid them a safe journey down one of my favorite rivers. And I trust that every individual will continue to use this resource wisely and give it the deep respect that it demands.
Section I: Maukinauk -- Creation of Land, Balance and Harmony
Section II: Being Prepared -- Things You Should Know
Section III: How to Use This Book
Section IV: Alternate Routes
Section V: The Journey
Section VI: Afternotes