"What are you doing here?" "We just wanted to see what's going on up here." "There is nothing going on up here"
This was the gist of our conversations with people we encountered on our 2700km drive from Toronto, through Quebec and the interior of Labrador, up to Cartwright.
Once we passed into northern Quebec the dirt roads kicked in. And when I say kick in, I mean kick your car's ass. Cracked windshield, tires shot, something funky going on with the suspension, amongst other minor things. dirt road dust the local northern Quebec airport
1500km of mostly dirt/gravel roads is quite the experience. You eventually get used to the loud, droning sound of your tires on the loose gravel. What you don't get used to is the feeling of your car sliding out dangerously close to the road's shoulder which frequently have 10ft drop offs where you are certain to roll your car if you get too close to the edge.
too close to the edge the locals bomb down these roads
this wreck has apparently been there for almost 2 years
The drive from Baie-Comeau to Labrador City to Churchill falls to Happy Valley-Goose Bay to Cartwright is one of huge expanses of pure wilderness. It's 4-9 hours between any of the towns. You can see the occasional marks on the land from mining and logging companies, but for the most part it is just pure, dense Boreal Forest. It often feels like there is a barrier between the road and the wild. Any ventures beyond the road into the woods within steps results in soakers from the soft spongy ground followed by a ferocious horde of black flies that seems to increase in size exponentially.
a couple we helped out with a flat tire
Having said all of that, the interior of Labrador is one of the most beautiful, remote locations I've ever seen. The stars at night along with the northern lights are truly humbling. It feels like you're in another world.
Talking to a resident (a huge Toronto Maple Leaf fan) of our final destination in Cartwright, I found it kind of charming that one of the main concerns for the town of 500 is that the emergence of cable tv and internet has really started to have a negative impact on the turnout at the monthly dance at the town hall.
So yes, there isn't much of anything going on up here, but that seems to be the allure of this great expanse called Labrador.
a memorial for a person who died on the recently completed road from Happy Valley/Goose Bay to Cartwright