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Coulonge River - Kayak Trip / Canoe Trip

Report Type: Extended Trip Report
Trip Dates: Aug. 2001
Nearest City: Fort Coulonge, PQ, Canada
Difficulty: Difficult
Submitted by: Tony

Description:

We used Hap Wilson's book " Rivers of the Upper Ottawa Valley " for our research on this river. All of my references to campsites and kilometer markers are from his book. This is an excellent book for anyone considering any of the rivers mentioned in his book.

August 4, 2001 - Patty and I arrived at Paddlefoot Outfitters in early afternoon for our shuttle up to Lac Pomponne. We checked in with owner Sue Evis and got our gear ready for the long ride up to the lake. We got to our drop-off point, a bridge going over the narrows before Lac Pomponne, at 10:00 p.m. Unloaded all of our gear and set up camp by the light of a very large, bright moon.

August 5, 2001 - We were up at 6:00 a.m., ate a breakfast of flavored oatmeal and a cup of tea. Hauled the canoe and gear down to the bridge and off we went. Had our first portage at the outlet of Lac Pomponne. At rapid #7, " Double Trouble ", we zigged when we should have zagged and took a quick swim at the end of that rapid. We got everything straightened out and took an early lunch break. No more upsets the rest of the day. We ended our day at 4:30 p.m. near the 190 km. mark on a raised bank overlooking a small lake.

August 6, 2001 - Up at 6:00 a.m. and on the river by 8:00 a.m. The spill yesterday at " Double Trouble " was still fresh in our minds so we decided to line " Tall Pines Rapid ". We set up camp at the end of the portage at the 172 km. mark.

August 7, 2001 - A couple short portages and liftovers, some fun swifts and we were into the meanders. We set up camp around the 144 km. mark at a beach site. A beautiful place to camp, but now I remember why we should have stayed clear of the beach site. SAND is everywhere.

August 8, 2001 - Once again, up at 6:00 a.m. and on the river at 8:00 a.m. More meanders this morning, but there was a fair current to help us along. We collected water from the spring at the 128 km. mark. There was some stretches of swifts today. Arrived at Gauthier Falls at 2:30 p.m. and took the second site, by the falls. Another nice " in the pines " site.

August 9, 2001 - Take a guess, up at 6:00a.m. and ready to go by 7:30 a.m. We finished up the portage and hit the water at 9:30 a.m. We took a long break at the 94 km. mark, where the bridge crosses over the river. Got to Chute Diable at 1:30 p.m. and by 2:30 had our gear portaged to the last campsite. A very nice site overlooking the small lake to our south.

August 10, 2001 - We broke from the routine, up at 5:30 a.m. and on the river at 7:30 a.m. We arrived at Rapid Enrages at 2:00 p.m. We used the Hell Trail for all of our gear and the logging road for the canoe. There is another spring on the Hell Trail that we collected water from. Camped at a nice campsite at the end of the carry.

August 11, 2001 - Got up at 6:00 a.m. and was paddling at 8:15 a.m. We portaged our gear around both sets of falls at Rapid Gallinotes then paddled the canoe on the section between the falls. We got to Chute - a - L'ours at 1:30p.m. and portaged our gear to the last site. Another very nice site was at the beginning of the portage, but it was already taken. We usually like to get any portaging done and out of the way before we set up camp.

August 12, 2001 - Up at 6:00 and on the water at 7:45 a.m. We had a good current and many swifts nearly the whole way to Grande Chute. We pulled out near the golf course and a local resident allowed us to call Paddlefoot for our pick up at Grande Chute. We then paddled down to the Grande Chute visitors center mentioned in Hap Wilsons book. Some time since the book was written the policy was changed in allowing canoers to pull out there. We were refused permission to pull out at that point and had to paddle back upstream to what appeared to be a large, grey colored diversion gate on river right. Just up stream from this large diversion gate is a trail that leads out to a road that will take you to the visitor center. We waited there for our pick up from Paddlefoot.

During our time on the river we did have the pleasure of seeing other people. But not so many that we ever felt crowded.

One or two more days could easily be added for break days. We experienced very, very hot weather the week we were up there. It wasn't uncommon for us to use two gallons of water a day. We used a PUR water filter to filter ALL of the water.

Outfitting:

We used Paddlefoot for the shuttle to and from the Coulonge River and would highly recommend them.

Our boat is a 16' Mad River Explorer in Royalex. We used a canoe cover from Cooke Sewing.

Resources:

Hap Wilsons book "Rivers of the Upper Ottawa Valley" is not only an excellent reference for running the river but he also gives a lot of history and information about the river.


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