EXTRACTS FROM NEWFOUNDLAND AND LABRADOR PILOT.
VOL 11, FIFTH EDTN.,1917.
Chap. 1.Page 3.
The Atlantic coast range throws most of the drainage northwards into Ungava bay, and only small streams fall into the Atlantic, except the Gilles-port (Hamilton), Nasquapee, and Kenamou.
Gillesport (Grand, Ashwanipi, or Hamilton) river, supposed to be the largest in Labrador, drains a vast interior plateau ; it rises northward of Seven islands bay, in the gulf of St. Lawrence, and falls into Hamilton inlet, which also receives the waters of Kenamou river, and Nasquapee or North-west river. Eagle, West and East rivers, abounding in salmon and trout, fall into Sandwich bay, while Koksoak or Big river, Whale river, and Kangerthialuksoak or George river have their outlets in Ungava bay.
Chap. V.Page 405.
Chart 375, Sandwich bay to Nain.
Hamilton Inlet (Ivucktoke or Grosse water bay) is entered between Tub island and Pompey island, which bears 2° true, distant 15 miles. It extends west-south-westward 35 miles to the Narrows, the intervening space containing several islands. Within the Narrows which are 3½ cables wide, the inlet extends south-westward 90 miles, opening to the width of 18 miles in Lake Melville, and narrowing again at its head, into which Gillesport (Hamilton or Grand) river, a large stream, flows.
Hamilton inlet is the largest of the many long fiords which indent the north-east coast of Labrador. Like many others it is deep, and is surrounded by high hills, often riding a thousand feet sheer from the water, while its surface is frequently broken by large, bold, rocky islands. The lower slope and islands are wooded with dark spruce, mingled with the lighter coloured birch and aspen, forming a contrast with the bare rocks of the summits. The Narrows extend for upwards of 5 miles, with an average width of about a mile, and during each change of tide a strong current, with rapids, occurs at the south-western end. A village of Eskimo, made up of a cluster of small
log houses, occupies the shore of a small cove near Rigoulette ; its chief interest lies in the fact that it is the most southerly community of these people. The inhabitants have been long in contact with white men, and have acquired many of the virtues and vices of civilisation. The north-eastern third of Lake Melville is full of wild, rocky islands. The Mealy Mountains rise directly from its south-eastern shores ; the north-western shore is also high, but there is often a wide margin of lowland between the water and the rocky wall of the fiord. North-west river enters the lake on the western side about 80 miles beyond the Narrows. The stream is only about 100 yards wide at its mouth, but averages 15 feet in depth. Half a mile up stream it expands into a small lake, which, 3 miles farther up, again contracts for 400 yards to form the outlet of Grand lake, a large body of fresh water extending north-westward about 40 miles in a deep valley between high rocks.
A Hudson Bay Company's post is situated at the mouth of North-west river. It consists of half-a-dozen small log buildings. Its importance has greatly diminished, as the Indians no longer take the proceeds of their winter's hunt there, but to the posts on the north side of St. Lawrence river, so that at present the trade of the post is exclusively with the whites living about the inlet. A fur-trading station of Revillon Frère, of Paris, is also established at North-west river. Almost opposite North-west river, on the south-eastern side of Lake Melville, is Carter basin, a small bay into which empty the Kenamou and Kenemichic rivers. The former is much the larger, and drains an extensive area of highlands to the southward. It is very rapid, and practically unnavigable. Southward from North-west river the inlet has been silted up by sand brought down and deposited there by the Gillesport (Hamilton) river, which flows into the head of the inlet. A long, narrow point, stretching out from the shore southward from North-west river entrance, divides the shallows from the deeper portion of the inlet ; the south-western part is Goose bay which extends about 20 miles to its head, where it receives a small river, famous for the large brook trout taken about its mouth in the autumn months. A large lumber mill, belonging to the Grand River Lumber Company, is established here. Beside their buildings, small log houses are scattered along the shores of the inlet, wherever the ground is sufficiently level for a small garden ; these are the winter houses of the white people, who reside permanently on the Atlantic coast. They are called “ planters ” or “ livyeres ” to distinguish them from the summer fishing population from Newfoundland. Some of their ancestors were among the original settlers who came to Sandwich bay with Cartwright in 1770 ; others are descended from servants of the Hudson Bay Company. They are all poor and hopelessly in debt. Vegetables can be grown about Hamilton inlet, owing to the shore not being near the Arctic current, which washes the outer coast, and are grown at North-west river station (Lat 53° 32´ N., Long 60° 09´ W.) to supply the outer posts of the Hudson Bay Company.
Game. The big game consists of barren-ground and woodland caribou, black bears, and seals: Caribou are found in small bands on the Mealy mountains on the south side, while in the winter large herds of barren-ground
caribou come out on the coast to the northward and have been killed in great numbers within a few miles of the inlet. Bears are found on the burnt areas, where they feed on blueberries in the late summer. The seals, especially the harbour seal, are common in the waters of the inlet. Wild fowl and geese are very abundant in the spring and fall of the year, and are killed in great number below Rigoulette. The curlew, formerly so plentiful, are now nearly extinct ; the Canada grouse, or spruce partridge, is abundant about the head of the inlet, and the ruffled grouse is also common. During the winter great numbers of willow ptarmigan migrate southward.
Salmon Fishery. Hamilton inlet was once famous for its salmon fishery, but the use of numerous cod traps along the coast has practically exterminated the salmon, as far as concerns rod-fishing in the rivers. Trout are plentiful.
Gillesport. (Hamilton or Grand) river is the most important stream of the eastern watershed of the Labrador peninsula. It is upwards of 500 miles in length, and extends westward half-way to Hudson bay. To the north and west its tributaries interlock with those of the North-west river, and with the head waters of the George and Koksoak rivers, both of which flow north into Ungava bay, while to the south the Gillesport river is separated by a low, sinuous watershed from the rivers flowing southward into the Gulf of St. Lawrence. At the Grand falls, about 250 miles above its mouth, the river is naturally divided into two parts, which are quite dissimilar in physical character. The lower part occupies a deep, ancient valley cut down into the hard crystalline rocks of the plateau so that the present level of the river is from 500 to a 1,000 feet below the general level of the surrounding country. This deep valley varies in width from a 100 yards to more than 2 miles between the rocky walls. The river flows with a strong current often broken by rapids, especially along the upper stretches. Only in one place has it a direct fall over a rock obstruction, and that is at the Musk rat fall, 27 miles above its mouth, where a dam of glacial drift has diverted the stream from its ancient course, and caused it to find a new channel on the south side of a rocky knoll where the river falls 70 feet over ledges in a distance of 400 yards. The river flows into the head of Lake Melville on the southern side of Goose bay, and is separated from it by a long, low, sandy point. The mouth of the river is obstructed by wide shoals with numerous narrow channels between them. (Abridged from description by Dr. A. P. Low.)