View topic - La Vérendrye - Nicobyzard #33 - Trip report

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PostPosted: July 31st, 2006, 4:43 pm 
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Location: Gatineau, Québec, Canada
La Vérendrye
Circuit Nicobyzard #33 (counter clockwise)

Thursday July 27th 2006

We drove to Le Domaine to register. There were a lot of people in the office, which I’m blaming on the “construction vacations” in Québec. Just to give you an idea of how many people were in the park, we were the last couple allowed on the Nicobyzard, that day, the route was considered full. We stayed in the office and chatted with staff and other customers while the rain passed. We finally left for the put in at around 5:30pm.

The put in is not too far from the le Domaine (just over 40km). Drive north on highway 117 to road 28. Drive 10km and you’ll find Camping Grand-Barrage on you left. It’s a very small campground (4-5 sites) and there is a nice parking area that fits 5-6 cars. That’s where we left our car for the weekend.

We loaded the canoe and took off. We were heading for the first campsite on Lac Grand because it started raining again and we wanted to be all setup before dark. We stayed on site 30-08. It is a nice site, clean with a nice view on the lake. It finally cleared up just as we were ready to go to bed and we got somewhat of a sunset.
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Walking back to my tent to go to sleep, I noticed something moving in the wood. Being the curious guy that I am, I went to investigate… It turn out it was a BIG hare munching on what ever was on the ground (a mushroom possibly???). I slowly walked up to it, camera in hand. I ended up about 4 feet from the little guy.
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Friday July 28th 2006
We got up hurly, 5:00am, to a grey covered sky and thick fog. It looked like it was going to rain. The fog was so thick we couldn’t even see the shore or anything for that matter. We were on the water by 6:30 and, blindly, started crossing Lac Grand. When the fog finally lifted, we had already a good 3 km done.

The sun finally came out. The clouds decided to follow the fog and left us with a beautiful blue sky. We stopped for breakfast on the small portage between lac Grand and rivière Coulonge. We did not have to portage as the water level is high on the coulonge and what is usually a ledge is a strong current and we could easily paddle over what’s left of the old bridge. Last time we were there was 3 years ago and we promised ourselves we would stop for lunch as it’s a very beautiful place.
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We were back on the water by 10:30am. To our surprise, there was no wind on lac Nichcotéa. We kept going onto lac Nicolas. I did not like Nicolas, There are a lot of dead trees along the flooded shore. I found the lake very long to cross.

We were supposed to stay on the site at the end of Lac Nicolas, but we did not like it and there were a lot of flies. The campsite is at the very beginning of the portage. We decided to keep going to Lac Paget. The 620m portage is a little swampy at places but not too difficult.

The campsite on lac Paget 33-86 is very nice. Very clean lake with nice rocky bottom, great for swimming. This campsite is definitely worth staying on.
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Saturday July 29th 2006
Got up at 5:00am again. We were on the water by 6:45am ready for the 1100m portage. It’s a nice portage, the first half is uphill and the rest is, you guessed it, downhill. The sun started coming out from behind the clouds while crossing Lac Noyer. The small lakes and river is a nice change from the large lakes we had to cross the day before. We did not have to do the 50m portage because the water was high enough to paddle through the pipe under the road.
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Next was the 40m portage which is easily done and we were on Baie McLaurin. We stopped on site 33-68 for a quick breakfast. I do not suggest anyone stay on this campsite, there is nowhere nice to put the tent and the were garbage all around it.

We then paddled to the end of lac Byrd and we stayed on our favourite camp of the whole park, site #16-08. We just love this site. It’s located on a huge rock. You can dive in the lake directly from the rock, which is about 4 feet high at that point. You setup your tent about 30 feet higher where you have an amazing view of the lake.
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That afternoon, we saw the first canoe of the trip pass our campsite. And the circuit was suppose to be full…

Sunday July 30th 2006
Once again, we were up at 5:00am on a VERY foggy morning. We left our campsite at 6:15am. The fog was so thick we could see it between us in the canoe. We went blindly for our first portage of the day. This is a very easy 130m portage to lac Crépin. The next portage is marked as “P on rock” on the map… basically you have to lift the canoe over a rocky ledge. Lac Cabanac is so nice, we almost regretted not spending the night at campsite 33-28. It’s just one of those beautiful lake.
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We had breakfast at the beginning of the 820m portage. That portage is also very easy, slight incline then downhill. There was a tree fallen at the end we had to go under. Lac de la table is quickly crossed to the 65m flooded portage. Well, really there is no trail, you simply have to make your way portaging you stuff in the mud, over branches, in the knee deep river, over some rocks and you’re off to the beaver dam. There is another portage across from lac Tambour. It’s a 355m portage, again nice and easy.
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I guess we were very lucky because the sun was out and there was absolutely no wind.

We finally caught up to some people on lac Nichcotéa. There were a lot of canoes on it. I counted 8!!! The most I have ever seen on a single lake in La Vérendrye. The 100m portage at the end of the lake in very rocky. While throwing the canoe on my shoulders, my left foot slipped on a rock and I fell in the water... An embarrassing moment since there was 4 people looking at me!!!

After lac Echallon comes the last portage of the trip, another 100m. This one is downhill. Surprise, there is a road crossing that portage now!!! That wasn’t there last time I did that portage.

Then it was a matter of crossing the tip of lac Grand back to the campground where we had left our car.

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PostPosted: July 31st, 2006, 7:01 pm 
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Nice report Serge,
You guys are early birds. Both of you would make good solo paddlers.
For some reason your pictures don't show up on my screen???????
GG


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PostPosted: July 31st, 2006, 7:33 pm 
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8)

Thanks for sharing.

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PostPosted: July 31st, 2006, 8:16 pm 
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Big thanks Serge,
I'll pass your report on to my buddy. Based on your comments and knowing some of the good campsites, I'll think 33 is a go for us.

Say hi to Josée for me.
Cheers ted


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PostPosted: August 1st, 2006, 12:25 pm 
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Location: Beamsville, Ontario Canada
Serge,

Great trip report.

We're planning the same route in middle-late Aug.

Having never camped in this area before, I was wondering if you could shed some light on a few questions:
- We're experienced trippers, having done most of our trips in Algonquin. What differences should we expect in terms of tripping style and logistical planning when camping in La Ver.
- Remoteness? I guess compared to Algonquin interior.
- Fishing. Being a non-resident appears to be costly to be fishing in the park. It does sound like it's well worth it though. Did you do any fishing on your trip? If you did, any adivce would be welcome.
- Portages. For the most part, it sounds like the portages are still in good shape following the storm a few wks back. Can you confirm.
- 6 full days enough to do the loop? We area capable paddlers and like to put in fairly long days. With 6days, can you suggest a per-day breakdown on what we should plan to cover. We could just follow your pace, though getting up at 5am will be hard :) We do plan to relax here and there (heck, who doesn't), and plan to get as much fishing for walleye and pike, as possible.
- Maps, do we need more than the LV maps that you can get at LeDomaine? Just wondering if we need topo maps.

Again, thanks for the up-to-date trip account. We've never ventured in this area before so we look forward to it.


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PostPosted: August 2nd, 2006, 6:10 am 
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Sorry about the pictures... I have them on Webshot and I guess you can directly link to a file on that web site???

Anyhow, here is the adress for the album for those interrested in looking at the pictures...
http://community.webshots.com/album/552721788GtvVXz

Thanks

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PostPosted: August 2nd, 2006, 7:03 am 
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Hi Zelandonii,

I hope this helps...

Zelandonii wrote:
- We're experienced trippers, having done most of our trips in Algonquin. What differences should we expect in terms of tripping style and logistical planning when camping in La Ver.

Tripping style is pretty much the same, mostly flat water (in fact, there is no white water at all on the Nicobyzard). Compared to Algonquin, you can't reserve a site on a paticular lake... You simply have to show up and register for a particular circuit. You can camp at any campsite you wish, on any lake, on any day.

There is less portaging in LV compared to Algonquin and they are mostly flat portages.

One major difference is that there are a lot more visitors in Algonquin than LV. Don't be surprise if you don't see anyone the whole time you are there. You might see (and probably will) fishermen on Lac Grand, Lac Nichcotéa and Lac Byrd but that's about it.

Zelandonii wrote:
- Remoteness? I guess compared to Algonquin interior.

Anywhere you go in La Vérendrye, there always seem to be a logging road somewhere close. But don't worry, most of them are not used anymore and you don't ear trucks go by your campsite all night...

On some lakes you feel like you are miles aways from any kind of civilization and on some, you see fishermen and a SEPAQ campground...

The fact that you don't see a lot of trippers really help in feeling that you are alone in a remote wilderness...

Zelandonii wrote:
- Fishing. Being a non-resident appears to be costly to be fishing in the park. It does sound like it's well worth it though. Did you do any fishing on your trip? If you did, any adivce would be welcome.

I did not fish on that particular trip but I have before on other trips. You can sure catch a lot of pike but you'll have to try harder for wallaye... If you are planning on fishing during your trip, I suggest you don't paddle more tan 15km / day if you want enough time to fish during the afternoon. Take the time to fish on lakes that are not accessible to fishermen with their gear and all... For exemple, Lac Paget would defenatly be worth taking the time to fish on as it is between two long portages.

As for prices... the park charges 14.36$ per day and you license will cost 30.43$ for 7 days or 19.78$ for 3 days.

Zelandonii wrote:
- Portages. For the most part, it sounds like the portages are still in good shape following the storm a few wks back. Can you confirm.

The storm has not affected the portages or campsites at all... The portages are all in exellent conditions. There was 1 tree down at the end of the 800m portage and another in the 355m. The worst portage of them all is the 1100m because it's swampy at places and there are lots of big rocks in the path.

Zelandonii wrote:
- 6 full days enough to do the loop? We area capable paddlers and like to put in fairly long days. With 6days, can you suggest a per-day breakdown on what we should plan to cover. We could just follow your pace, though getting up at 5am will be hard :) We do plan to relax here and there (heck, who doesn't), and plan to get as much fishing for walleye and pike, as possible.

6 days is plenty... Canot-Camping La Vérendrye actually suggest that you take 5-6 days to complete the circuit. We did the loop in 3 (we single carried all portages). It took us 22 hours to complete the whole thing, divided by 6 days that would be 3.5 hours of paddling/portaging per day ( around 12km). You could add another hour in case the winds are stronger. Again, if you are going to be fishing, you don't want to cover to much ground in 1 day anyways.

Zelandonii wrote:
- Maps, do we need more than the LV maps that you can get at LeDomaine? Just wondering if we need topo maps.

You don't need anything else than the map #2 sold at the registration office for just under 9$... It covers the whole circuit. I strongly suggest you get that map as it shows all campsites, beaches, portages...

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PostPosted: August 2nd, 2006, 7:53 am 
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SergeB, thanks for taking the time to answer my questions. Very useful stuff indeed :clap:

We'll be coming from Southern Ontario (ie Hamilton area). Would you know roughly how long the drive will take us to get to Le Domaine and also the put in?

The wheels are now in motion. The maps will be ordered shortly....Wohoooooo!!!


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PostPosted: August 2nd, 2006, 8:02 am 
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Hi Serge, Nice trip report, and I enjoyed the pictures. :)

Your replys to Zelandonii's questions are very good, detailed and I'm sure real helpful. LaVerendrye is a nice place and you just proved that nice people go there. :clap:

Thanks


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PostPosted: August 2nd, 2006, 8:10 am 
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Well, It takes 4 1/2 hours to get to Ottawa from Toronto and 3 hours to get to Le Domaine from Ottawa...

My guess would be a good 10 hours including a couple rest stops...

Then from Le Domaine to the put-in... it's about a half hour...

Also plan to take 1 hour to register because we always end-up looking around the store and looking at maps of other circuits... updating your map with current info...

Have fun and let me know how it went... I'm sure you'll love La Vérendrye.

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PostPosted: September 15th, 2009, 11:01 am 
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We were probably the first to do this trip this year - in first week of June. It was freezing!!! You have us to thank for the "easy" portages. We spent hours with saw and machete clearing them of all the fallen trees - we think it was the great wet snowstorm of last fall which coated a huge area of northern Laurentians with trees down everywhere. Anyway - it was hard work for the 3 of us (in our sixties). For ten years we've done a different trip every year in La Verendrye in June - never crowded that's for sure.


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PostPosted: May 6th, 2012, 4:31 pm 
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We have narrowed down our "reunion" trip to #16, or # 33. Your great trip report is certainly helping!
I am curious about the campsite tent numbers.. are they accurate?

Also, the portage on Lac Ecahllon (100m) "We finally caught up to some people on lac Nichcotéa. There were a lot of canoes on it. I counted 8!! I take it this was out of context! The most I have ever seen on a single lake in La Vérendrye." and the this is to do with Echallon " The 100m portage at the end of the lake in very rocky. While throwing the canoe on my shoulders, my left foot slipped on a rock and I fell in the water." What does the "infran? on the map mean?

Thanks for any help you can give Serge. And have you done 16?

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PostPosted: May 6th, 2012, 5:11 pm 
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:wink: Just while waiting for Serge

16 is an awesome loop as Kondiaronk and Antostagan are both very pretty lakes. Dont let the series of seven short portages deter you. While a couple go up and down the rest are easy.

However I like Lac Grand too. I don't care for Nichotea as there is a busy campsite there.

"infran" stands for unrunnable.

IMO campsite capacities are a little optimistic. Get naked and snuggle!

I have done 16 completely once and another a half of it. The cold freezing weather got me down..nothing against the route. It just did not stop raining.


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PostPosted: May 7th, 2012, 8:03 pm 
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Do sites on these routes have thunderboxes, or is it bring a shovel?

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PostPosted: May 7th, 2012, 10:53 pm 
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cheryl wrote:
Do sites on these routes have thunderboxes, or is it bring a shovel?



do you own a blue barrel? If so you will never regard it the same.
:rofl:

Sites do have a privy. Its a partially sunk blue barrel with a square hole cut out in the lid. There is no metal ring (THANK GOD). But one tends not to linger with the raised edge on the lid.
:o


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