La Vérendry (Réserve Faunique) - Circuit 35 Carrière

CanadaQuebec04 Ottawa
Submitter & Author Information
Route submitted by: 
Laura
Trip Date : 
August 7-10, 2017
Additional Route Information
Distance: 
60 km
Duration: 
4 days
Loop Trip: 
Yes
Portage Information
No. of portages: 
9
Total Portage Distance: 
1910 m
Longest Portage: 
600 m
Difficulty Ratings
River Travel: 
Intermediate
Lake Travel: 
Novice
Portaging: 
Easy
Remoteness: 
Intermediate
Background Trip Info
Water Levels: 
Medium
Route Description
Access to Put-In Information: 

Put in at Nichcotéa campground (Sépaq):
https://www.sepaq.com/en/reservation/camping/reserve-faunique-la-verendr...
https://www.google.ca/maps/place/47%C2%B009'58.0%22N+77%C2%B004'14.2%22W/@47.166099,-77.0728047,17z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m5!3m4!1s0x0:0x0!8m2!3d47.166099!4d-77.070616

Technical Guide: 

Put-in: Nichcotéa campground boat launch
(parked car at Canamina campground & walked 1.5km back to Nichcotéa)

~5km lac Nichcotéa south
~4km lac Desty west
~5.5km lac D'Arcy west
~3km lac Giroux north-west
~3km Baie Nord-Ouest turning North
P300m into lac Strobile (across log road #28)
~1.5km lac Strobile North
~1.8km ruisseau Carrière north-east (including liftovers for beaver dams & deadfall)
paddle through culvert under log road 38 (or P30m RR)
~0.5km ruisseau Carrière north-east (including liftovers for beaver dams & deadfall)
line shallow rocky quick water (or P30m RR followed by P30m RL)
P200m RR
~4km ruisseau Carrière north-east (including liftovers for beaver dams & deadfall, also entering lac du Stimulus only to exit immediately left)
6km lac Carrière north
CI rapid (or P86m RR)
~7.7km lac Camitogama north then south
P450m RL (longer than map marked it as deadfall prevents paddling/lining futher in)
~15km lac Canamina south

Pull-out: Canamina Campground (Sépaq)
(or P600m RR + 400m paddle through lac Myon + P230m into Nichcotéa (which we avoided by parking ahead at Canamina as we read online from other trip reports that lac Myon is a mudpit)

Trip Journal/Log/Report/Diary: 

For full trip journal with photos please see: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10154888372833240.1073741886.5...

Sunday

~2:40 pm we loaded up the car & left Gatineau.

We stopped in Wakefield for a late lunch at Le Hibou, leaving there about 3:30pm. We arrived in Le Domaine about 6:30pm. We headed to the canoe camping office there & paid for a pass from Sunday - Friday (giving ourselves an extra day just in case).
It was too late to start paddling this evening (we still had to drive to the launch point) and so we were directed down the road a bit to the Sépaq office to reserve a campsite at our put-in location, the Nichcotéa campsite. We drove further into the park to arrive at the Nichcotéa campground around 7:30pm. There are lots of mosquitos!!! I put up our tent & set up the sleeping bags & mats inside while Victor collected wood & built a fire. We have a basic car camping site - the furthest site from the water. We walked down to the beach to get water to boil to make some cup-a-soups. The campground is quiet mostly populated with RVs that look like they are set up there long term for fishing. 
It was 12ºC as we drove in tonight & got even cooler. The consolation prize is that the mosquitos disappeared as it cooled down. We got in the tent about 9pm & read for a while. It was very cool in the tent & I had a hard time falling asleep; probably in anticipation of hitting the water tomorrow?

 

Day 1
Monday, August 7th, 2017
~16.5 km paddled

Woke up about 6am with the sunrise - looking like a sunny day out! Left Vic to keep sleeping cocooned in his sleeping bag (& now mine which he pulled over himself). He did not sleep well last night - too cold!! When we were packing up on Sunday Victor decided last minute to bring an older lighter sleeping bag ... but it was below 10ºC last night & his sleeping bag was not nearly warm enough as he lay in the fetal position w/ his bag pulled as tightly around him as possible.
I made a fire while Vic snoozed in the tent, boiled water for coffee & started making breakfast; eggs, bacon, toast w/ peanut butter & coffee.
Victor came out of the tent in time to eat breakfast. I suggested Vic go back to Le Domaine (where we paid for access to the park) to get something to keep him warmer at night. We put the canoe down by the water before he left around 8:15am to drive back & bought a rectangular sleeping bag from the gas station to bring along in addition to his lighter bag.
I stayed at camp & did dishes, took down the tent & packed up. I also attached some rope to each end of the new canoe for lining & tying up with.On his way back from Le Domaine, Vic dropped the car off at the Canamina campground & walked ~1.5km (w/ his new sleeping bag) back to Nichcotéa - marked as an orange line on my map posted earlier. I'd read that the section in between the two campsites is mostly portaging & what you can paddle is a mud pit - people suggested parking at your pull-out & walking back to your put-in since they are so close together.
We took a selfie using the timer on my old point & shoot camera which I still use for canoe trips & loaded the canoe to take off!
We launched at 10:30am into lac Nichcotéa.Spotted a heron & pulled out my point & shoot camera to get this shot of a heron that we spotted & the dumb camera is already giving a low battery signal. I put in brand new batteries before leaving & this is the 2nd photo I've taken with it since. The camera is very old & destined for the garbage upon our return. My cell phone (kept in a dry bag throughout the trip) will do just fine for a camera.We saw a couple of fishing boats by the (no longer existing) bridge in line w/ the esker on our map. We paddled 6.5 km before stopping for lunch at campsite #35-03 at the mouth of lac Desty. This campsite has a long, narrow sandy beach, several tent pads spread out, & lots of driftwood. We ate our typical camping lunch; salami, cheese, bread (for Vic) & trail mix. The weather turned a bit overcast with a cool breeze by mid-day. We paddled another 10km through lac D'Arcy to lac Giroux.
Wildlife spotted; loons, heron, kingfishers, ducks, crows & tiny frogs (as well as some bigger ones).We arrived to our campsite (which I read is a nice one) around 2pm - so early! Makes sense as we only need to paddle about 15 km each day to do a 60km loop over 4 days. 
Campsite #35-12 on an island in lac Giroux is up nice & high with a sandy beach along the water. The sand gets a little mucky as you wade out. Lots of red pine trees.

The afternoon sun came back out & Vic had a swim - watching carefully for leeches.We spent the afternoon on the beach in the sun reading, journalling, & Vic had a nap in the tent while I snoozed on the beach. We saw a small motorboat go by behind the island, likely up from the Giroux campground.

The edge of the island is eroding away, leaving root systems hanging out over the edge precariously! A number of blueberry bushes here so we collected some to put in our pancakes tomorrow morning. Moose tracks on the beach would turn out to be our closest encounter with a moose - no actual sightings this trip.

About 5pm a family of 3 pulled ashore in their canoe. They chose to set up camp on the beach but come up to share the firepit.
I made a pasta dinner w/ carbonara sauce & veggies with tea & chocolate for dessert.
Then Vic pumped some water into our Nalgenes & I did dishes by the fire.

A [Red-Shouldered?] hawk flew into camp (hitting water first - we thought he might even be injured). It landed on a log on the beach & started pecking/pulling at Eric's sock set out to dry next to his tent.

As we walked down toward him to try to get closer for a photo he didn't seem the least bit bothered by us until we were right next to him.

We tried to make noise to startle him to leave and even nudged him with paddles but he wouldn't budge! Eventually Eric tried to prod him with a stick to go but the hawk just jumped up onto the stick. By that point Eric had put away as much of their gear as possible so the hawk wouldn't take off with it. Eric swooped the stick through the air trying to help the hawk launch out over the lake but instead he flapped his wings a bit & flew up into the bushes right next to the firepit where he seemed to settle in for the night to sleep!
We made sure not to feed him anything - I wonder if other campers here have & that's why he's so tame? We showed no inkling of aggression towards us no matter how close we got to try & make him leave.

A great sunset view from this campsite! All 5 of us chatted by the fire until the mosquitos came out en masse & drove us to our tents.

Day 2
Tuesday, August 8th, 2017
17 km paddling
500 m portaging

Woke up about 6:30 am.This is how the hawk slept all night in the bushes next to our campfire - with his head tucked in ... somewhere under there?Vic made a fire & cooked up his famous pancakes w/ fresh wild blueberries. I made coffee & put that night's dinner's chicken & veggies in a Nalgene to rehydrate through the day. Rolled up the mats & bags in the tent.
After eating we did dishes & packed up the tent & packs.Our hawk friend woke up & hopped around near & on the path up from the beach, just watching everybody doing their thing.This is not zoomed in. This is how close I was with my cell phone camera ... literally lying down right in front of him - so tame!
Again - we did NOT feed him at all.
Eric saw him fly away finally as we were packing up our tent.At 9:15 we said goodbye to Eric & family & launched to exit lac Giroux. We paddled through Baie Nord-Ouest and at the far end we disagreed about which direction to head in order to find the portage. We wound up in a bay South-West of it but quickly rectified, paddling behind an island (marked as a point/peninsula on our map, so water must be higher than usual with all the rain this year).
We portaged 300m, crossing over logging road #28. The portage has a steep ascent & descent. The Baie Nord-Ouest side is a bit eroded making the first few steps difficult. The lac Strobile side has some logs put in place to create steps in the sandy hill down.
Our portage routine is Vic takes the canoe & I take the food barrel, Vic's sleeping bags strapped together & a paddle for the first trip. For the 2nd trip we each take a pack and a paddle.
On the portage we passed by campsite #35-15, a smallish but clean site about halfway between the road & the water along the portage. 
We paddled through lac Strobile to enter into the Ruisseau Carrière.The Ruisseau is a small creek with many shallow spots that require stepping out of the canoe to push off the sandy or rocky bottom. There were also many obstacles to lift over; rocks, fallen trees, beaver dams. 
We came to road #38 & discovered two metal culverts allowing us to paddle through.We chose the culvert on the right.Vic is laying back to hold us in place to give me time for photos. After the culvert the creek became rocky shallows with fast water. The map marks two 30 m portages on each side of the creek soon after one another. At the head of the first we had a look and decided to line these short sections. We started with me at the front of the canoe but then found it worked better with Vic controlling the front end as we lined (lining = walking through the shallow rocky rapids holding the canoe itself and/or long ropes attached to it, steering down & lifting it over obstacles) with me following with the back end.
We arrived to a 200m portage river right. We could likely have lined the section but it was much longer in length that what we'd lined so far & we couldn't see the conditions further down the section of the creek. So we portaged, eating some blueberries from the bushes on our trek back to pick up our second load of gear.Around 1:30pm we arrived at lac du Stimulus and paddled across it (~300 m) to campsite #35-21 where we stopped to each our usual lunch foods and more wild blueberries.
After lunch we paddled back across the little lake to finish heading down the creek. At one point we scared a deer as we rounded a corner of the creek. Vic got a glimpse of her but I only heard her as I was looking elsewhere at that moment.

We entered into the large lac Carrière and about 1 km in, we spotted an animal swimming across and 800 m wide section ahead of us. We weren't sure if it was a moose or a bear . . .

. . . as we got closer we could see it was a BIG bear! He spotted us when he was almost halfway across & turned to swim back to shore instead!
The photo doesn't do it justice ... makes him look much further away from us than he seemed to us at the time.

We crossed lac Carrière with a strong wind at our backs whipping up large waves; at times we could feel our canoe surfing the tops of the waves a bit. Spotted a few fishing boats here as there is a campground at the south-east end of this lake.
We arrived at campsite #35-29 (~3 or 4 pm perhaps?) which I had read was a great site. It's on a point w/ a beautiful beach. The point is part of an esker that continues through the water & across an island about 150m out from the point. There are a couple of sites with several tent pads & two different fire pit options.

Tons of wild blueberry bushes here! You could feast on blueberries all day long if you wanted.

You can walk out along the esker - you can see the shallow sand right under the surface of the water here - this was meant to be a 360º photo - so the shallow sand on the left of this photo headed to the island is actually behind me if I'm looking at the point of our campsite.

I'm standing about a third of the distance across the lake to the island here, on the shallow sands of the esker.
I set up the tent while Vic built a fire. We went to the beach on the North side of the point (out of the wind a bit) to swim & scrub ourselves a bit. The wind kept getting stronger & dark clouds were gathering to the North & West of us.

I thought the storm would pass us by but Vic was more cautious & tied our tarp up over the picnic table at this site (some of the larger sites have picnic tables). I collected our gear & packs to store under the tent in case of rain. And no sooner had we done all of that and it started to POUR rain with thunder & lightning. We crawled into the tent to read/journal/nap & wait out the rain, hoping it would pass over quickly. 
Shout out to Natasha who's recent trip photos gave me the idea to use our paddles to prop up the tarp rather than looking for just the right sticks.
About an hour later, the rain subsided and Victor built his fire back up to boil water. I fired up our new BioLite stick stove just to show Vic how it works, but decided to get the rice for dinner cooking on the stove since I had in going. The wind whipped up again & it started to rain heavily. We threw on our rain coats and got the picnic table right under the middle of the tarp and made the thai red curry chicken w/ eggplant & mushrooms supper fully on the little stove under the tarp as it poured all around us.
We ate under the tarp, taking in the sound & light show around us. We cleaned up - letting the rain do our dishes for us & sat under the tarp eating some chocolate to wait out this storm.The rain stopped about 8:15pm or so & the skies cleared. We took a walk back further on the point to another beach further back.
#HeyYouDroppedThis food ALL over the back paths to the thunderbox and back beach ... so many campers leave so much crap at the campsites!! You need to eat all our food, pack it out, or burn it fully peeps!

 

Day 3
Wednesday, August 9th, 2017
~16 km paddling
~ 500 m portaging

Woke up about 7am.The sun is out but it's cool.Vic got the fire going & determined we would cook blueberry pancakes again this morning given the abundance of blueberry bushes at this campsite.

After making coffee I rolled mats, stuffed bags & pumped water.

I did dishes while Victor took down the tarp & tent.We set out on the water about 10:00 am and paddled to the North end lac Carrière. The lake was much less wavy than the day before, but wind in our faces more. 
We could hear the logging going all night last night ... not loud but you can hear motors & banging in the distance sometimes. Crazy that they work the sites 24 hrs/day.
At the end of the lake, we turned in towards a class 1 rapid. We got out at the top of the 86m portage to scout it but couldn't see much from the portage so we just ran it & it was nice & easy down the centre. Paddled into a narrow arm of lac Camitogama & spotted a bear in the reeds - again the photos make it seem like it's very far away but we got a clear view of him. He walked out through the reeds & caught wind of us, stood up tall on his hind legs to check us out & then booted it back to shore to get away.
We rounded the point to paddle South again until we reached the creek to the next lake. The map said it could be lined for the first half but we passed 2 canoes coming off the portage & they told us there were too many big trees down to do so.So we portaged about 500 m around the whole thing. The take out was rocky which made it tricky for Vic to get the canoe up over himself.The first half of the path was pretty damp & slipper - looked like the area had been flooded recently.The last 50 feet or so (not this photo) was soft mud up to the put-in.Now in lac Canimina (our final - but big - lake), we paddled 1.5 km to campsite #35-37 to stop for lunch. A nice site, with more blueberries (which Vic is gladly feasting on in this photo). It was buggy though - and only mid-day!We paddled another 3.5 km to get to campsite #35-40 where we set up for the night, arriving about 3pm. Marked as a 1 tent site, it felt pretty roomy, fitting our 4-man tent nicely. The site had a nice rocky entrance that Vic said was his favourite swim spot so far.The high rocks make a great spot to sit & look out over the lake. Lots of fishing boats passing by this site.The site has logs for sitting & faces West getting the afternoon sun (the reason we chose it over our lunch site which faced east).We swam/washed & read/napped/journalled. 

Dinner was chili & rice.

I fired up the BioLite stove to charge my phone. Managed to give it about 14% charge over the course of maybe an hour or so, maybe less? We cooked the rice on the stove . . .

. . . and the chili over the fire. We read by the fire, did dishes & packed up the food barrel for the night.Sun started to go down around 8:15pm so we got into the tent to read/journal & sleep.

Day 4
Thursday, August 10th, 2017
~7.5 km paddle

I opened my eyes a few times early in the morning & saw grey skies & knew we didn't have far to paddle today & so fell back asleep. Vic was awake earlier than I was and read in the tent. We finally got out of the tent around 8:15am.Vic went for a swim before getting the fire going.I made a breakfast of scrambled eggs, toast, bacon & Vic made coffee.

Made some more toast with peanut butter & drizzle the leftover maple syrup on top.

This park uses blue pastic barrels as the throne (or thunderbox). Every site had one ... how luxurious!

We packed up all our gear & I thought I should get a photo of everything all packed up. #MECnationLeft camp about 10:15 to paddle down a narrow arm of lac Canamina - into the wind for about 5 km. We stopped at island campsite #35-62 in the middle of the larger section of the lake to look around but decided to to camp another night as it seemed rain might be on the way & we were only 2.5 km from the take-out. This campsite is on a point & has many tent pads + a picnic table.We saw a few other canoes en route today. We paddled down the final narrow arm to the Canamina campground (which was empty except for cars & boat trailers - no RVs or tents set up at all).We pulled out & packed up the car. Changed into clean clothes. Drove home w/ stops at Le Domaine for ice cream & Maniwaki for a late lunch / early dinner.

Maps Required
Topo Maps (1:50,000): 
Topo Maps (1:250,000): 
Other Maps: 
Carte 3 - Réserve faunique la Vérendrye (map 3)
Other
Suggested Resource Material: 
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