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Canadian Canoe Routes

La Verendrye Circuits 30,35,37
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Author:  Kim Gass [ May 25th, 2006, 11:22 am ]
Post subject:  La Verendrye Circuits 30,35,37

Planning an eight day (not including rest days) outing.

Any hints (or is it even realistic) on starting on 117 and going down the Camatose River to Lac Camatose, on through Kanamini, back a little through Lac Barrage, Grand, Nichotea, west through Giroux and north through Riviere Carriere to Lac Carriere, northeast through Cawatose and Whiskey, cross 115 and back to start through Lac Verendrye..

Is it better to enter through Lac du Portage?

Good and bad places to leave vehicle?

Over the last ten years solo trips have come in at 16 km a day on average and I guestimated 122 km for this one.

Author:  SergeB [ May 25th, 2006, 1:01 pm ]
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Well, I think 8 days should be enough. Last time I did the Carriere route #35, I did it in 2 days, but I was paddling over 30km per day (not solo!).

Nichcotea to Camitogama could defenatly be done in 3 days. I would get a good night of sleep on lake Stobile before entering the river because it takes a good 4 hours to get to the next campsite on lake Carriere from there.

That leaves you with 5 days remaining which is enough if don't get wind bound for more than 1 day. There are some big lakes on that route (Camatose has a lot of islands but is huge). Carriere, Grand, Nichcotea, Camitogama... They are all very big/long lakes you could get stuck on because of the waves/wind...

I figured that the 2 routes together are 131km and you are saving 10km (rough estimate) twice because you skip lake Canimina on both route... That leaves you with somewhere close to 110km to do... Divided by 16km/day, should take you close to 7 days to complete if all goes well.

Carriere is one of my favorite route in La Verendrye... That river is great and really has that deep wilderness feel to it. Many beaver damn and small shallow rapids, you'll get your feet wet!!!

I have never had any problems leaving my car anywhere in the park. But for some weird reason I feel more confortable leaving it at lake Barrage. It's not too far from the 117 (7 or 8 km) and it's off the main logging road. There is no SEPAQ campground there, it's only a parking for canoe-campers. There is also a place to put your tent up and a toilet if you want to get there the night before.

Don't park at lake Portage, you are out of your way. You'll have to portage to lake Barrage and that portage is a pain in the butt... (pretty steep hill)

Hope that helps!!!

Author:  Gerald Guay [ May 25th, 2006, 1:20 pm ]
Post subject: 

Good info from Serge.
If we have long high wind days your circuit may be ambitious for a solo canoeist.
I don't have my maps in front of me but I would suggest a "bail out" route in the directions from south to south east in case you are windbound like last weekend. Your average traveling distances can easily get cut back from 15 clicks a day to a trickle, specialy on the first portion of your trip. In mid June it is still possible to get those weather conditions that create high winds. July always seems to be better solo weather in the park.
Getting from 117 to Carrière may require traveling very early in the day, resting, and then some more traveling from 5pm to tent set up time. Once on the river you will be fine. After you swing around due East at Lac Carrière you should have the winds generally to your back.
Hey, wish I could have made it.
Have a good one,

Author:  Kim Gass [ May 25th, 2006, 4:41 pm ]
Post subject: 

Thanks for your tips and suggestions.

Its funny that those long narrow lakes can be such a wind funnel. I am looking at another moderately windy day. The waves on the rounder lakes are not much and the long narrow lake I am on is having another wave party. Now that the air is warmer and the water is not seems to contribute to winds.

I like to get up early and get out by seven thirty so I can afford to break up the day while waiting for a little break. Besides I am getting old enough to like midday naps.

Oh to be 25 like Serge. :wink:

But we still have good days. Last year I did a solo day (8 hours) (2 portages totalling 1500 meters ) and a 3k slog up a beaver creek and totalled 27 km. And tandem my husband and I did 40k in nine hours with six portages and getting lost in a burn for a while..

Not the norm however.

Its always good to plan escape routes as none of us is smarter than Mother Nature.

Author:  NickR [ May 25th, 2006, 5:31 pm ]
Post subject: 

Like Serge, I feel most comfortable parking my car at the North-East corner of Lac au Barrage (though I too, really don't know why). In any case, I have left my car there about half a dozen times, and have never had any problems.

I have done all three routes, though one at a time, not all together. From my experience on those routes, you should have no particular difficulty completing your circuit in 8 days, unless the wind is especially bad, and even then, you could skip 37 if the wind was slowing you down, and return via 30 (which is a second reason for leaving your car at Lac au Barrage, to make that escape route feasible).

Actually, if you had to skip one part of your journey, I would skip the North part of 37, through Baie La Verendrye (part of the Reservoir Dozois), which has a rather eerie feeling of a moonscape, since it is a flooded reservoir, controlled by a dam somewhere, with drowned tree stumps, etc. But the rest of the route should be really lovely. Have a great time!

Author:  SergeB [ May 25th, 2006, 8:22 pm ]
Post subject: 

Kim Gass wrote:
Besides I am getting old enough to like midday naps.

Oh to be 25 like Serge. :wink:

Oh I'm sure it will come with time!!! My girlfriend is only 28 and enjoys an afternoon nap!!! I might be closer then I think... :o

NickR wrote: could skip 37 if the wind was slowing you down, and return via 30 (which is a second reason for leaving your car at Lac au Barrage, to make that escape route feasible).

I like this idea a lot... And you would most likely have the wind at your back the whole way if you had to use that escape route. It makes perfect sense!

Kim, what date in June are you going to start this trip?

Author:  Kim Gass [ May 26th, 2006, 11:18 am ]
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I am going from June 14-21. I can allow up to four wind days and come home on the 25th.

Funny how I dislike surfing alot. Its scary to me when the winds are up. At least when you are beating into the wind the boat is stable and its just a matter of deciding whether you are making adequate progress for the effort expended.

All bets are off when surfing; its quite unstable (even with the boat stern low) I got too much of an adrenaline rush surfing a lake in Quetico (not big about 3 miles long) in what proved to be 60 k winds!

Author:  Gerald Guay [ May 26th, 2006, 1:46 pm ]
Post subject: 

I just got off the phone with the people from Le Domaine regarding doing the old Circuit 16 in early July (can't get away before then).
Before putting the final touches to your planning check with them regarding where you intend to leave your car. Seems they have had an occasional case of vandalism in the Lac Larouche area.

Author:  Kim Gass [ June 21st, 2006, 1:18 am ]
Post subject:  circuit complete

Wind gods were active; in my favor.

Days were short; they had to be...

The overriding factor was the length or number of portages to the next campsite, especially in the Dozois reservoir area, and the afternoon winds, which were upward of 35 km/hr. Going downwind thats pretty dangerous, so I played it safe.

Not true that the winds die in the evening, alas. They persisted this time from about noon until 9 PM. By getting on the water early (7:30 ish ) I could do a days work and be done by 1:30PM.

There are campsites marked near the old dam (though it looked more like a mill with windows a spillway etc along Road 30(the 486 m portage). Dont use them; clearing for what looks to be a new road and bridge has obliterated the top area (its a muddy mess) and the bottom area is not attractive (unless you are a fisherman; great access)

I found this circuit combination a little lacking in wilderness flavor. There is active logging going on just out of sight on the north shore of Lac Desty just across the cove from the farthest west campsite.. They start before 6 AM and end at 4PM.. Logging trucks are about every ten minutes on Road 28.. I parked without incident at Grand Barrage and camped there the first night. Traffic made it a noisy spot.

I found once powerboaters using the campsites for shore lunches. I didnt horn in on the picnic on the beach site on Lac Desty however. I dont much like confrontations and had nothing ready to mark down the serial number of the boat . Moreover I dont know if what they were doing was OK or not.

I am puzzling over the campsites with picnic tables. Lac Desty has them and one island site on Carriere that I stayed on. I saw several other sites with them and yet on other sites on the same lake; none. Can anyone shed light on this?

Does the pile of tables coming out of the carpentry shop at Le Domaine have anything to do with this?

I have only had to share a site with other campers once in 35 years. Now its twice. Latecomers 7PM pulled into the north site on Lac Strobile.. well I was only one and there was room for twenty on the site. Didnt have the heart to remind them that they had walked through a campsite on the other end (it was pitiful and near the road)

Going down the river took about five hours Serge. I am slow and did a little sawing of two blowdowns on the 200 m trail; annoying things about hip high. There is a little lake about halfway down. Lo it has a campsite with a nice white sand beach. A peaceful spot. Maybe too; the day I was there was a high wind day and there were no bugs, but at other times I wonder.

I got more than my feet wet. I fell in once. And a shoe got sucked off my feet in the last beaver dam. 15 minutes of rooting in the mud to find it, priceless! Water was a little higher than ankle deep but not deep enough to run.. The river was quite pretty after the obstacles were overcome in the first part. The biggest one was the first 30 m over the road up the big rocks. I obediently did it and wonder why. Is there a huge rock under the bridge? Could I have lined it without going over my head? The portage is quite dangerous. I hauled my boat up the rocks and promptly was pelted with gravel and dust from a speeding Jeep. There is no room or time to get out of the way.

Portages were in good shape except for Cawatose to Whiskey . The first 100 m is begging for some bridging. Its a bog hole with a dock that is falling apart and not generally well placed. In the middle of that it was a thought that I should have walked from the campground along the road (probably doubling the portage length but not the time) The portage out of Whiskey to the reservoir is fine and some well placed logs have been laid across(Not along) muddy sections with one minor gripe. I dont much like logs placed lengthwise. I am not good at birling and this grandma fell down on her back with the Mason pack on in about a foot of sucking mud. And like a good grandma, couldnt get up! All I could figure out is that the maintainers ran out of time since its labor intensive to saw alot of short logs and just threw in the three logs lengthwise at the muddiest spot (near the end)

Carriere, Cawatose, Camatose and Grand are all beautiful lakes. I really enjoyed this mornings run. 17 km in two hours 15 minutes. Total trip length was 31 hours. (six days). Was much better than the drive home!

I should have planned that better. After working around the weather and the winds and the rain and the heat I forgot about Montreal rush hour (s).

Author:  frozentripper [ June 21st, 2006, 9:05 am ]
Post subject: 

It was great reading your report, Kim, pretty pictures are very nice at times, still there's nothing like telling it like it really is.



Author:  Kim Gass [ June 21st, 2006, 10:12 am ]
Post subject: 

frozentripper wrote:
It was great reading your report, Kim, pretty pictures are very nice at times, still there's nothing like telling it like it really is.



I am not very good at pictures on a solo trip...especially self portraits! I have my camera kind of safely stored in a padded bag in the blue barrel. I just get busy and forget... :oops:

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