Near North Shore’s Manicouagan Reservoir, at the foot of the Uapishka (Groulx) mountains within the Pessamit Nitassinan and a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve, Uapishka Station is the North at its best—authentic and spectacular. Read the travels of Mireille Boutin and of photographer Alexis Pageau, as they adventure through the immensity and capture the beauty of this faraway land.
Our adventure began on a Sunday in July. My friend Alexis and I set off for the North Shore, to the Uapishka Station next to Manicouagan Reservoir. To ease the trip, we first stopped for the night at Baie-Comeau, halfway between Quebec and our destination. After a good night's sleep, we resumed our journey. The winding road that leads to the Manicouagan Reservoir took us through lakes and forests, spanning as far as the eye can see. After a bit more than 3 hours on the road, we saw the impressive Manic-5 dam. Imposing in size and through its unique architecture, it is the largest arch and buttress dam in the world. After dining at a local restaurant, we hit the road again, forging onwards.
When we reached our destination, the warm welcome we received from the employees and the ambiance in the main building made us forget the day’s gray weather. Barely a year old, the Uapishka Station building has many private rooms and three shared bathrooms. After settling into our lake-view rooms, we gathered in the dining room to enjoy a hearty meal prepared by the cooks. We then returned to our rooms to get some rest. After all, we had two busy days scheduled.
Our first full day at Uapishka Station began with an ascent of Mount Harfang. During our climb, we saw how the landscape changed with the altitude: boreal forest at the foot and tundra at the top. The 8 km hike led us to a breathtaking view of the Manicouagan Reservoir. After eating from the lunchbox prepared by the Station cooks, we headed back to the foot.
Our second day kickstarted with a guided kayak trip with an Innu guide of Uapishka Station. We went out on the calm waters of the Manicouagan Reservoir where we got the chance to see impactite rocks formed by a powerful meteoric impact. Afterwards, we set out on a fishing expedition aboard a Zodiac boat. A second Innu guide led us to a shallow bay for some pike fishing. After a few minutes, I was thrilled to see my first catch – a small pike! In the hour that followed, we were lucky to catch smallish but bountiful fish. We had barely returned to the Station when another activity was awaiting us. We headed out on a hike with yet another Innu guide who told us about the history of the place and gave us information on the flora and fauna along the way. Among other plants, we saw lichen and Labrador tea, which has a distinctive smell and is found in abundance in the region. The Mount Provencher trail opened up to a view that was as breathtaking as the one we enjoyed the day before. To bring our stay to a wonderful close, we participated in the making of bannock, the traditional Indigenous bread, which our Innu cook prepared on the beach and she cooked it over a wood fire at sunset.
Our stay was highlighted by wild landscapes, our endearing hosts and the rejuvenating calm that reigns around the Manicouagan Reservoir.