Canadian Canoe Routes

Camp Kapitachuan 1965
Page 8 of 9

Author:  Gerald Guay [ August 7th, 2015, 4:52 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Camp Kapitachuan 1965

As an outsider I really enjoyed reading your post mhinckley
Do you have a compilation of Facebook pages that carry photos from Camp Kapitachuan?

Author:  mhinckley [ August 7th, 2015, 9:31 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Camp Kapitachuan 1965

Here's a link to the Camp Kapitachouane page on Facebook:
I'm not sure you can view it if you're not enrolled, but, if you're not, I recommend signing up. That's what I did. Enjoy.

Author:  Gerald Guay [ August 8th, 2015, 5:31 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Camp Kapitachuan 1965

Thanks nhinckley,

I've been "pending" on that page since quite a while. No response yet.


Author:  ke4nrl [ February 6th, 2016, 1:09 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Camp Kapitachuan 1965

Over 4 years ago I registered on this site but I was not able to post so I just forgot about it...
I sent Gerald a couple emails this evening.. then I tried CCR again... and zap I got on the forum...
I was a medic on two trips the summer of 1975. Had a great time and memories have lasted a life time. I believe a guy named Chris was trip leader on the first one and Rod Beebe was on the last one.
I hope to find my slides and begin scanning

Author:  Gerald Guay [ February 6th, 2016, 6:12 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Camp Kapitachuan 1965

Thanks for posting ke4nrl.


Author:  mhinckley [ February 7th, 2016, 2:25 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Camp Kapitachuan 1965

Hi Gill...welcome to the forum. My brother Chris led many trips up at CK over the years, but I can't remember if he led one as early as '75. I was also up there in August that summer, and suspect that, if you were with Rod Beebe in August, that, like me, you were on the Eagle River trip. I led a group from Kieve (a Maine camp who sent a group of their most experienced boys up to CK every August for a 3-week trip, using CK equipment and counselors) and we took the Eagle River route. We left a few days before Rod, who followed us with a group of CK campers. It sounds like you ay have been the med counselor on his trip.

Author:  chinckley [ February 19th, 2016, 12:07 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Camp Kapitachuan 1965

I have enjoyed reading these posts since my brother Mark turned me on to the site a number of years ago. For whatever reason, I have hesitated to add my thoughts but have been spurred on after reading entries from former CKer's Peter Schmalz, Dave Pierce and Gil Douglas ...regardless, I am Chris Hinckley and I was fortunate enough to spend 16 summers, '68-83, at CK. I was a camper the first 3 years and then a counselor and trip leader. The first trip I was privileged to lead was in August of '73 with Jim Carter (Rod's son-n-law) and med counselor Mort Wasserman...down the Kekek, Panache and then up the Wetetnagami. Interestingly, in July I had completed the same trip led by Tom Addicks. Kiff Clark and I were his assistants and we had a great trip with high water. The Panache is a really fun river when you have decent water. Anyway, when we returned to camp there was some issue with whoever was going to lead one of the August trips so I was asked to do it. Turned out to be a great trip and we had even higher water than the previous month...thanks to some less than ideal weather and several severe thunder storms that dumped inches of rain. Anyway, my experiences at CK were amazing as it was a huge part of my life and the boundless memories continue to define who I am today. Whenever Mark and I get together, at some point the conversation always goes to CK...we never tire of reminiscing. This thread has been great...being able to read stories from former CKer's that seem to span many phases of the camp's life is awesome. Having seen pictures of some very early trips, I have a great deal of respect and envy for those of you who braved the wilderness when it truly was just that. Additionally, it is fantastic to read postings from others who have enjoyed canoeing the same rivers and even came in contact with Rod and Carl or other CK trips.
Certainly, the recent phase of logging has really changed the area forever but I remember the lumbering as always being there. In fact I remember my brothers returning from their trips and hearing stories of lumberjacks at the Ganas camp watching the canoes negotiate the rapids that went under the bridge and a place called Cooper Depot where there were hundreds of lumberjacks and you could get a hot shower and real food there...these became mythical in my mind but the cyclic nature of the logging brought many changes in the three years prior to my first trip. I remember my first trip and on our return to camp we had a short portage where the Ganas camp had been...there were just dilapidated building already being reclaimed by the bush. Then in '77, the first time I led a trip down the Opawica, we were all psyched to reach Cooper Dept. with the promise of the aforementioned amenities; however, when we arrived the camp was empty except for a very generous caretaker and his wife. They allowed us to spend the night in the empty bunk houses and then treated us to a nice continental breakfast the next morning. Oddly enough, four years later on my third trip on the route, the area before Cooper had been logged again...we had a hell of a time negotiating and finding our way through several portages that were littered with downed trees and left over scrub...Cooper Dept was back up an running. But that was just the beginning as there was a new camp that had been established on the Opawica just before the river entered Windy Lake. (Peter Schmalz, this was the trip you were on with me, ' you mentioned I think your memory has combined your two trips but this was a great trip...good water, weather, fishing and group. Glad to read that you have fond memories.) This seemed very intrusive as it was unexpected and the sound of generators, trucks and chain saws really put a damper on our wilderness experience. I recall bitching bitterly to Carl and Rod about this upon our return to camp...oddly, in a strange twist of yin and yang the knowledge of this camp helped Carl in '82 as his planned northern trip, for several reasons, was forced to be re-routed and they ended up taking a route that brought them onto the Opawica where it goes thru Lac deux Ilse. To make a long story short, while making camp on Lac Caopatina one of the campers cut his foot badly and required outside medial attention...Carl was able to find the main logging road, hitched to the aforementioned logging camp and had them radio for an ambulance which arrived and transported the camper to the hospital in Chibougamau...what a strange twist of fate. Fortunately, these encroachments were few and far between and when they did occur, typically a good story came out of it. One such time was in '76, after leading several trips down the Panache, Rod and Carl agreed to let me take a trip down the Eagle River. (Dave Pierce...great to read your post. You accompanied me on several trips and you were great company and good friend...I would look forward to the possibility of future contact.) Anyway, on our way up the St. Cyr river we became very aware of the sound of what we assumed were helicopters, off in the distance out of sight, throughout the day. The day we were to camp on Barry Lake our hunches were confirmed as we had numerous sightings of the copters. We arrived at Barry to find the peninsula we planned to camp on had been converted into a base camp for about 50 Hydro Quebec line workers. Rather than build a road into this area they were shuttling the line cutters and surveyors via copters...hard to fathom the expense of that but they were there computing that way for the entire summer and who knows how long into the fall or the preceding spring. Anyway, when we arrived we met one of the pilots who was a US vet and had flown in Vietnam...he served as our translator and treated Dave, our med counselor and me to a jaw-dropping ride in a copter...what an experience. This was the only pleasant surprise associated with Hydro Quebec...the scars of the 50yrd wide endless lines they were cutting were immense and intrusive...just two years later the cut lines were filled with erected power towers. ..ugh! We had heard of the James Bay Project but this brought the reality home.
In '70, my last year as a camper, I went with Carl on his first successful descent of the Broadback. We did not go all the way to the Bay, branching off at Lake Kenonisca and making our way to Matagami via Goeland Lake and Waswanapi River. A great trip, but the best part was simply being in new areas...obviously new to all the campers but also new to Carl...somehow the river seemed that much more wild and remote...a great thrill and many memories. A similar sense of exploration came with leading trips, of course with new (for me) routes but really with all the trips as you never knew what was around the next corner or what would be the next event that remained etched in the memory banks. Of course, the weather, bugs, wind, and portages made for many unpleasant, challenging times; but in the end, those were the times that made the journey that much more rewarding and served as reminders of the simple pleasures that come with drying out by the fire and snuggling into a warm sleeping bag after a cold wet day. Also, some weather events we!
Is there a better tasting fish than fresh walleye dipped in cornmeal and spices and fried in bacon grease over an open fire? Many times the fishing was spectacular and those walleyes were a great addition to any meal. I remember three really spectacular fishing spots. First were the rapids below Wetetnagami Falls. Not only did they produce walleyes but also trout. This was the only spot that i encountered (other than the northern trips) where there were trout...what a treat. The second occasion that was amazing came at Hebert Falls. The Hebert River was the return route out of Lac Doda for several CK trips...the Eagle, Opawica and Nicobi and we typically camped at the falls as it was a nice campsite and the falls were great to swim in. Previous fishing attempts below the falls had only yielded a few chub, but on the '77 Opawica trip two of our counselors, Robin Brown and Vin Semolis led a fishing expedition with two campers, Dev Schuster and Mark Hawley up river to some rapids we would be portaging around the following day. They returned with an incredible string of walleyes...most notably a couple over 4 lbs. and 6 or 7 other really nice ones. We had had great fishing the entire trip but this catch was notable. Needless to say, we all enjoyed a great fish fry for dinner. The final great spot was on the Nicobi on my last trip down the river in '83. About 2 miles up-river from Lac Lichen, in the middle of a long series of big rapids, the river is funneled thru a large chute that empties into a large pool and eddy. We had experienced some poor weather but this day had been nearly perfect and we planned to enjoy the sunshine and have lunch at the lift-over around the chute. The previous year we had success fishing this same spot so it was a great place to stop. Anyway, in very short notice this pool yielded over 20 very good size walleyes...what a blast! As Todd Humphrey noted in an earlier post, the Nicobi is a great river and this last stretch is special. So after lunch, we rounded the corner and made our way thru the big water, stopping to bail prior to heading into the final stretch of rapids...a few casts yielded another huge walleye and northern...then we continued down river, enjoying that special thrill that comes with negotiating big, fun rapids. Talk about adrenaline rushes...what a great day! This is a special place...i know it has been lumbered but i would like to hear if anyone has completed the route had mentioned the possibility of a Kekek, Megiscane, Wetetnagami trip (on some maps, the stretch of river between Lac Nicobi and Lac Lichen is referred to as the Wetetnagami...but we knew it as the Nicobi), did you ever make the trip?
The wildlife also offered a very special wilderness experience. Just something very cool about seeing things in the bush, whether it is an osprey diving for fish, or a bear scrambling up a tree or a retreating moose. I know that for people who live in Maine or Alaska, moose sightings are a bit more commonplace; however, in the bush they were simply awesome. I recall the Panache as being a river that always provided a sighting and on several of our trips we saw 3 or 4 on this stretch of river. Two occasions remain etched in my mind. We were taking a break and as we drifted around a bend we surprised a large bull, with full rack, feeding in the shallows...after seeing us he took off into the bush but rather than retreating out of sight into the bush he ran along thru the bush paralleling the river for about 50 yds. It was an awesome display of strength as he trotted thru the thick Labrador Tea and alder bushes as if strolling thru a field of grass...anyone who has struggled thru the same terrain searching for firewood or an elusive portage trail certainly can relate. Another instance, also on the Panache came on the first day on the "river" as at that point it is merely a winding creek. Anyway, we had just finished the last of several short portages, putting us onto a larger section of the river. It was a beautiful day and our planned campsite was just a few miles down river so i had the other counselors take the group on to the campsite while my bowman...i am sorry to say i cannot remember his name or the year of this trip...and i cut some firewood. It was a great spot for wood and we were able to find a tree very close to the river. During mid chop we were startled by the sound of something crashing thru the bush...seconds later a large cow moose rushed by, not more than 10 ft from where we were standing, and jumped into the river...a couple seconds later she was followed by her calf...we watched dumbstruck as they swam to the far shore and disappeared into the bush...that was special!
Needless to say, I could go on and on as those years provided lifelong memories. As Doug Williams and Mark have noted, four years ago i was privileged to be invited back to CK and have returned each year since. It is hard to explain the emotions associated with returning and seeing the waters of Choisuel and having the opportunity to share the experience with the Williams families and Peter Bradshaws (Rod's grandson) ... each return visit evokes the same. Three years ago Mark joined me and we took an overnight down the Kekek...putting in on a small lake above where Bourgmont Creek joins the Kekek...unfortunately we had really low water and had to line most of the "rapids" but we still had a great time camping at the falls and visiting the old stomping grounds. The past two years have brought higher water and i have been able to enjoy two solo trips from the same put in to a bridge that spans the river at a short rapid we referred to as the Oberman...with high water it is a fun 2 hr. paddle...last year, Peter Bradshaw and Briggs (Doug's son) joined me and we had a blast. So, the memories continue to be made...even the "mighty" Kekek still produces!
I hope my ramblings have not been too much and have sparked some long forgotten memories to the surface for anyone who has experienced the same area. I really look forward to reading more and hope to add on where my experiences allow.

Chris Hinckley

P.S. Kevin Hagan...not sure if we ever met as i think you accompanied Carl on a couple northern trips while I was on the southern routes...are you sure about the date of your bear experience at the south camp on Capitachoune? For some reason I recall that as being August of '72?
Gil Douglas...I remember you well as you were our med counselor in '75...Robin Brown and Dave Pierce were the other counselors. If i remember correctly, you are a Navy veteran and had served as a Medic on some sort of large knew your stuff! Great to read your post and hope you can add more of your memories.

Author:  MartinG [ February 19th, 2016, 3:53 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Camp Kapitachuan 1965

Wonderful to read these posts!

Author:  Gerald Guay [ February 20th, 2016, 6:35 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Camp Kapitachuan 1965

Very interesting post Chris. Thanks for taking the time.

Using Google map you can see that the logging roads remain open now. Outfitters have built compounds on most of the lakes that were then wilderness. In the very early days the logging in that area was done in the winter using ice roads to access new territories. In 1975 the wife and I did the Opawica via the Eagle (thanks to portage info provided by Rod) and for 25 days we did not see or hear anything human.

Thanks again for posting.


Author:  chinckley [ February 20th, 2016, 8:11 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Camp Kapitachuan 1965

Gerald...I have really enjoyed reading your posts and find it very interesting that we have experienced so much of the same area. Your trip down the Eagle and Opawica sounds great...not having to negotiate the expanse of Gouin Reservoir (seems as though we always were wind bound at some point up there) in trade for the Eagle sounds like a good deal. The unfortunate part of the Nicobi was having to make our way back up the Opawica to Doda. Were you able to run most of the rapids below Doda? Do you remember the expansive horseshoe falls (only a few miles below Doda)...very picturesque. So where did you start and end your trip? Sturgeon Falls has always been a mystery to me...I assume you ventured down that section of the river too. Would love to hear about it.
Chris Hinckley

Author:  Gerald Guay [ February 20th, 2016, 8:04 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Camp Kapitachuan 1965

Chris, I have very few photos left of those days. When we move in to our now home in 89 someone who was helping us move put a box into the trash pile by accident. I do however have a few from another source. Maybe some will bring memories back to you.

On the two trips I did down the Opawica, the first I did with a friend and the second time with the wife. On both occasions we parked the car at the Senneterre train station and took the train from Senneterre to LaTuque. Train stopped at midnight at the Kékek bridge and we started from there. We ended both trips at the Indian Reservation at Waswanipi. From there we took a bus to Senneterre to get the car and drove back to pick up our stashed canoe and gear.

Have a look at the photos on my website. Put your cursor over the photos to read the text. A couple may bring back some memories.


Author:  chinckley [ February 21st, 2016, 4:00 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Camp Kapitachuan 1965

Thanks for sharing the link to your site...I enjoyed looking at your photos. Remember well the struggle thru the alders at the mouth of the Panache.

Author:  GETBENT [ July 30th, 2016, 2:58 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Camp Kapitachuan 1965

I think of Camp Kapitachuan often!

I lived in Stamford, CT and at age 15 my folks thought it'd be a good idea to send me... I went during the summer of 1970. I flew from NYC to Montreal and took the train north. I recall vividly stopping in the middle of nowhere and disembarking into the brush and walking several hundred feet to the lake and being greeted!

We were taught the "C" and the "J" stroke in those old wooden canoes and after practicing for a day we took off for a month...

I was a stern man and carried the canoe while portaging the muskeg while being eaten alive by black fly's and mosquitoes. As I recall we used Cutters as repellent...

Fishing using a "Red-Devel" for Norther Pike was great. The Spam, onions and potatoes were some of the best food I've ever eaten ;--}

How none of us ever got caught/attacked by large predators amazes me to this day!

We were heading across a LARGE lake one day and I thought why not tie-up/lash all the canoes together and use the oars and tarps as sails... We had a good strong wind behind us and we blew across the lake in no time!

It saddens me to hear the camp is no longer and logging has transformed the landscape, but man is a cancer on this earth and will do such things I'm afraid. So I'll hang-on to my memories as some of the fondest of my childhood growing up....

Author:  Gerald Guay [ July 31st, 2016, 5:18 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Camp Kapitachuan 1965

Thanks for your memories GETBENT.

I'm sure your stay at Camp K. has become part of who you are today.

Those of us who experienced that area of Québec in those days were blessed.


Author:  GETBENT [ July 31st, 2016, 10:50 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Camp Kapitachuan 1965

Yes Gerald it was amazing... I only have such vivid memories of another even that helped shape my life and that was spending four years in the Marine Corps.

I was asked to come back the following year as a counselor; I'm sorry I didn't take the offer...

My younger brother DJ did go the following year and we both talk about it to this day...

Bob Jenkins

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