Route de la Baie James


James Bay Road in January 2009

Photos and text by Vanessa Campbell

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This picture was taken from the Hydro Quebec access road at km 396. We drove along it for a bit hoping to get a side view of the Eastmain but no such luck.


At the Opinaca River rest stop at km 411. Finally we got a picture with the sun in it!
And finally we get to see some caribou!

The caribou are much like deer; very skittish and they flee the road before you can lift the camera up to your face.

These pictures were taken from the car. You can see how far over I am on the shoulder.

Pictures from the Trans-Taiga Road.

The last satellite map we saw before leaving Brampton showed the majority of caribou around Lake Sakami. Since our caribou sightings were dismal, we decided to take a little side trip along the Trans-Taiga Road in the hopes of seeing more caribou.

But it was not meant to be. We made it to Lake Sakami and saw zero caribou. The drive to km 60 was fine. The gravel was frozen, and it seemed like they had graded it relatively recently before the ground froze. It was not smooth like pavement, but there were no problems in maintaining 70km/h. It was actually easier to drive on since it was packed snow instead of ice over pavement....

This photo is from the bridge over the overflow (km 59).

Here we are heading back along the Trans-Taiga Road towards the main highway. You can see how nice and smooth the surface is.

We were tossing around the idea of driving towards the cut-off for LG-3, but decided against it since we wanted to make Radisson before the darkness fell.

Heading into Radisson. Some areas had tons of snow on the trees, others, very little.


The next two photos are not in black and white. When it's overcast outside, everything turns to shades of grey!

This is the overflow for the main dam.

This picture is from the man-made bay into the intake for LG-2A.

On to Chisasibi...

Since there isn't too much to do in the town of Chisasibi, we decided to drive right out to the water. They do plow the roads leading to the ferry dock for Fort George, and the one that goes right to the ocean.

The gravel road leading to the airport is in poor condition; it definitely had not been graded prior to the ground freezing. As much as I tried, I couldn't find a section of the road without holes. The snow didn't fill in the holes and smooth out the road...

Again, more grey photos from it being overcast and light flurries on and off. There really is an ocean out there, but it's impossible to tell unless if you've been there before! (We did camp on that beach in 2004 and the bugs drove us crazy.)
It's time to head south...

We spotted a few caribou which ran into the trees as soon as we got near them. While we were taking pictures of those caribou, we spotted 3 more about half a kilometer down the road. With the element of surprise on our side, we slowly crept forward and they stayed on the road.

If I can find some editing software, I'll post a video clip of them running with the car. They run around 35-40km/h on the highway. If they get running around this speed, it gets too fast for them to run off the road and into the ditch. You can see them looking for somewhere to exit the road. After we got our minute and a half of video, we backed off the gas and watched them run off the road and back into the bush.

I don't remember exactly where this was, but it was likely in the km400s. We saw most of our caribou in this area of the highway.

A ptarmigan.
That's it! I hope you enjoyed our winter travelogue!

--Vanessa Campbell.

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