When the railcar doors screeched open the sound was like banshees screaming in the dark. I looked out the yawning maw of the cargo door and there it was: Nothing. Black dark. A million miles of it, give or take, unfurled beyond the railroad tracks and into the great roadless wilderness of northern Ontario. I've found a bunch of ways to get into wild country--hiking boots, jacked-up trucks, antique airplanes, more paddles than I can count--but getting to the back of beyond by railroad, with my canoe and gear stacked up in a freight car, has to be about the wildest. For $50, Via Rail Canada agreed to schlep my canoe across thousands of miles, and stop at any godforsaken waterway or portage trail along the line. Like this one, far up the Missinaibi River.