Pontax River and the James Bay Coast: “Journey to the Northern Sea”

(3 customer reviews)


Dates: March 3-19, 2017
16 days (14 on trip);
Price: $2150 + GST

The Pontax River is our most northern, most remote and longest expedition to date!  This is an ambitious undertaking with potential to explore an incredible northern landscape and unique cultural experiences.

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This was our Explorer’s Club offering of 2015!    This was a brand-new trip offering for us and was a great success. So much so that we can’t wait to head back.  But since it is still a very new offering, we can’t know for sure what we will encounter. We may end up going backwards, sideways, or nowhere at all!  And this is why it is very important for all participants to bring forth a positive, flexible and team focused attitude for all of our long expeditions. This has a big river feel in a stark landscape. With the thick Black Spruce forest lining the river quickly opening up to the muskeg barrens on the plateaus, you know you’re in the north on the Pontax River. We called our campsite plateaus the, “Field of Dreams,” because you can see endless firewood and the stars were just phenomenal. I specifically remember one night the moon was rising over the field and it lit the snow into a sparkling show in which you could hardly tell which were the stars or which was the snow. Driving into the town of Waskaganish from the James Bay Highway, you get a sense of just how much elevation is lost from the highway to the sea. This means big rapids, and lots of them. Skirting right beside or sometimes right over big volume rapids you can feel the spirit of the frozen lands beneath you. When the wind blows, she blows hard on the Pontax. I can recall thinking at the start of the trip, “boy I hope this doesn’t blow like this all trip!” Thankfully it didn’t, but you can certainly be prepared to have your anorak well loved on this expedition. Nearing the ocean, we start to see signs of life other than the moose or fox. Cree trappers and other locals run a route through the muskeg to the river for firewood and hunting. Every person we saw had to stop and see where we came from! They all were shocked to here we traveled from the highway. Many of them laughed at the irony of us using the traditional way of travel and they were on a machine. The river opens up quickly and Rupert’s Bay presents us with an endless horizon and the best sun set you will see. We camp one last night on the ocean before traveling down the coast and back to civilization. The reception in town was so incredibly friendly and the pride rushed over us all as we flopped on to fresh sheets and a soft pillow. This expedition will likely exhaust you. But you can go home feeling accomplished and healthy and hopefully inspired to continue exploring the, “Great White North”.

Please Note: This trip starts and finishes in the town of Waskaganish, Quebec and participants are responsible for their own travel costs.  There are daily flights from Montreal to Waskaganish.  We are happy to offer a ride-share service on a first-come, first-served basis for up to four participants.  This will depart from Sudbury, ON on March 2nd. Meals and accommodation are not included with this ride share.

Additional information


16 days; 2 of travel, and 14 days on trip!


140km, including ~ 15km of travel on the Arctic Ocean.


The remote, rugged and beautiful SE corner of the James Bay coast in north-western Quebec

Explorer's Club

This was our Explorer's Club trip for 2015. It was a great success and we are very excited to head back this season.


This has the potential to be a very strenuous trip. Great physical conditioning and a positive, flexible attitude are very important attributes that will contribute to enjoying this expedition.

Trip Start and Finish Location

In the town of Waskaganish.

2015 Expedition Video

Our first expedition down the lower Pontax River occurred in 2015. This video captures some of that adventure!

3 reviews for Pontax River and the James Bay Coast: “Journey to the Northern Sea”

  1. Rob (verified owner)

    What an amazing experience! Dave and Kie are not only experts at winter expeditions, but are inspired and inspiring leaders. Spending a full two weeks on the frozen Pontex River and walking on the edge of Hudson’s Bay was both challenging and exhilarating. Great trip – great group – awesome leaders!

  2. Harold (verified owner)

    It was a pleasure to head out with these experts in winter travel. We were welcomed by the Northern Lights at the start of the journey, and then by the good
    People of Waskaaganish at the end of the trip. I would do it again in a heartbeat.

  3. Blake (verified owner)

    An expertly guided endeavor, one could not ask for a more informative awe inspiring adventure.

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