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PostPosted: June 6th, 2008, 10:20 am 
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Location: London
This is a report of our whitewater canoe trip down the Du Lievre River in Quebec in May of 2008. For three members of the team, this was our second decent down the river. Our group of five canoeists started the trip from London, Ontario on Thursday May 16th at 9:00pm. The group consisted of two tandem boats and one solo(me). This would be my first time in a solo boat on an extended whitewater trip. I canoed in my 14 foot Vertige x and the other tandem canoes were a Swift Domoine and a Nova Craft Prospector.

Water levels at the time of our trip started at 125 and finished at the end of the week at approximately 110 cfs. This water level is considered high by published standards. Our trip started at the southern tip of Lac Culotte (Km 334 on the maps). Our take out location was km 260. The rapid descriptions are based on my observations and biases and the water level at the time. The descriptions and routes taken should be followed at your own risk. Scouting of rapids is always recommended. We took 9 leisurely days to canoe the river including 3 layover days.

We arrived at the Zec Normandie office (near the community of Parent) around 10:30am on Friday the 17th after driving all night. Upon registering at the Zec and paying our fees, we began the 1.5hr to 2hr drive to our Put-in. Just a note about the Zec office; they do not speak English and if you are not somewhat bilingual, you may have some difficulties communicating. Since this was our second visit to the river, we had a letter detailing what we were doing, our arrival/departure dates, and instructions for the vehicle shuttle translated to French before we left for our trip (The Zec will shuttle your vehicle from a minimal fee of $80.00. A bargain in my books). Even with this letter, we needed help from a local who spoke English to ensure that everything was understood correctly. If you don’t need the Zec for a shuttle, the language barrier may not be an issue.

The road to the put-in was generally in fair condition, with some localized areas that were in poor condition, especially the last ½ hr of the drive. A four wheel drive vehicle is recommended, if not required at some locations. Depending on the rain/snow melt before the trip, the road may be in worst or better condition than what we experienced. We were typically driving approximately 10-20km an hour to the put-in.

The first day of our trip was all flat water, paddling approximately 6 km to our first campsite at km 328. This campsite is on a small peninsula which juts out into the lake. The campsite is a combination of a sandy/beach with the bush directly behind. The campsite offers little shelter from the wind however, depending on the weather, can be a good campsite with nice views of the lake and surrounding forest. This campsite provides a great opportunity to scout the short class 2 and 500m class 2-3 rapid below. The following is a photo of the campsite and the surrounding views.

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Saturday May 18th
The first rapid is an easy one with two possible lines down each side of a small island. Both sides are equally the same in difficulty with a fast run down the tongue. Some small waves are located at the base of the rapid where the two channels converge on each other. The following picture is of the first class 2 rapid.

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The next set of rapids is long at 500m, but relatively straight forward once scouted. Within the 500m of rapids, there are a few areas of calmer water to eddy out and bail water or catch your breath. A curling wave at the end of one section of the rapids had formed at our water levels and had to be skirted to the left or punched through. At lower water levels, this wave is likely not present. The following pictures are of different sections of the rapid. Just a note, portaging around the class 2-3 rapid is not a very easy option from what we could gather due to dense brush.
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The next real obstacle of the day was the Class 2-3 ledge. Two of the three canoes ran the ledge without incident. The second tandem lined along river right, over some brush. A straight run with standing waves at the base. The following is a picture of the tandem canoe that ran the ledge.

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After a straightforward class 2-3 rapid is a class 3 rapid. This rapid was characterized by very fast water and big standing waves. A partially visible tongue can be found just left of centre and this is the route that 2 of our 3 canoes took. One of the tandem canoes lined and ran their way down river left. Scouting of this rapid is best done from river right via a reasonably maintained portage trail. One risk associated with this rapid is the two class 4 ledges that follow soon after the class 3. If you were to tip in the class three, it is feasible that the canoe may not be able to be pulled to shore in time due to the speed of the current. The following is a picture of this rapid (note the picture does not due the rapid justice in terms of speed of water and size of waves).

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The two class 4 ledges are a mandatory portage for mortals like us. The portage trail is on river right and is in fair condition. In the spring, the trail is muddy in some areas as well it is also somewhat hilly. At the end of the portage is a great spot for having a break and looking at the ledges upriver. The following is a picture of our group and of the last class 4 ledge.

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The next section is approximately 4-5 km of flat water through Lake Adonis. During our flat water paddle, it started to rain and the wind picked up severely during the last km or so, making progress in my solo boat virtually impossible. I tied my boat up to one of the tandems to make it to the next campsite. At km 320.5, we stopped at our second campsite, a nice peninsula of land which separates Lake Adonis from the river. This campsite is large and flat and offers nice views of the lake and of the river. The following is a picture of the campsite, the lake, and the river below.

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Sunday May 19th
This day was a rest day for us, spent for the most part lying around in our tents. The class 1 rapid and class 3 rapid just below the campsite were a fun way for me to spend the day off playing around.

Monday May 20th
This day was the start of a bad weather trend for our trip, rain. Typically light rain, but enough to be annoying. The first rapid of consequence is the short class 3 that is within view from the campsite. It is relatively straightforward for a class 3, just some big waves and strong current. There is a rock near the bottom of the rapid which the current tries to push you towards, however if you stay river left and back ferry, you should miss it. However do not underestimate the force of this current. The first tandem team just missed the rock and the second team wasn’t so lucky,…. perfect broadside. This was the first dump of the trip and not the last. This rapid can be lined/carried over on river left or right if desired.

The next stretch is primarily flat until approximately km 313. This is the start of a fun set of rapids that is narrow with a slight creeky feel to it. With our water levels the second class 1-3 rapid was more difficult than first class 2-3. The class 1-3 had huge standing waves in the centre, and with the speed of the river it could make for a quick exit from the boat. We skirted the big stuff on river left and had no difficulties. We did not see any clear path for lining or portaging on these rapids.

The next section is made up of class 1 and 2 rapids that were run without incident. At km 306 is a long class 3 rapid with large standing waves and strong current. Large boulders have been placed along the right side of the river which divides the river into two sections. River left is filled with fast water and large standing waves. On the right side of the boulders, the river is calm and lining through this section is possible. One of the tandem boats lined this section of the river on the right. Myself in the solo and the other tandem team ran this rapid on river left, skirting the holes as we made our way down. The following pictures are of this class 3 rapid.

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A class 4 ledge is several hundred metres down stream of the class 3. One of the tandem boats ran the ledge on river right down through the tongue. They ran the ledge perfectly and then nearly capsized several meters downstream at a small curling wave. It looked like they thought the worst was over and weren’t paying attention to the upcoming smaller stuff downstream. Of course they denied this. I didn’t have the nerve to run the ledge and made the easy portage on river left with the other tandem boat. The following is a picture of the tandem boat running the ledge and their near capsize.

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Our day ended at km 301 at the campsite. The campsite is small and narrow, again on another small peninsula, however a nice location in my opinion if you don’t mind the small width.

Tuesday May 21st
We decided to make this day a layover day, due to the rain and hoped for a sunny day on Wednesday. As it turns out the next day was worse.

Wednesday May 22nd
We awoke to more rain, however decided to move on even though we could have stayed. The river divides into two channels at the campsite around a large island. At the time of our trip, both channels were runnable. At lower water levels the left channel would likely not be runnable. I decided to take the left channel as I had already ran the right channel during my previous visit 2 years earlier. The two tandems took the right channel. The right channel is fairly easy with some big waves near the second bend. The rating of R2-3 as the rapid approaches the bridge seems a bit overboard to me, especially in the high water levels. I would classify this lower section as an easy R2. The left channel is fairly easy but more technical than the right as there are a few bends, its narrow and has lots of rocks. At the bottom of the left channel where it joins into the right channel is a line of boulders. At low water levels you would have to carry over them. Due to the higher water, I found a small pour over between the rocks which I could run. The following is a photo of the rapid taken from the bridge.

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After we crossed under the bridge of the previously mentioned rapid, it started to hail. Not big golf ball sized hail, but pea sized hail none the less. The next section of the river from the bridge (km 300.5), to km 182.5 is generally fast moving, even within the flat sections, so a lot of travel can be made up in a short period of time.

At km 182.5, we stopped for lunch and took shelter from the rain in one of the cabins at Lac au Pine Depot. The rain was increasing in intensity and several of us were getting cold. This area is a small cluster of buildings/barns and trailers. An area has been set aside for campers along the river. Not a great campsite in my opinion, because I prefer the feeling of wilderness. The presence of buildings makes me think I’m car camping. However, to each his own. All the buildings were empty when we stopped.

We decided to press on instead of staying at the campsite and getting into dry attire. We walked a short distance down the road to the bridge over the water to scout the upcoming class 4 rapid. The class 2 rapid before the bridge was for the most part washed out. The class 4 rapid has large standing waves, several small ledges, holes and curling waves Scouting from the bridge gives a good overall view of the rapid, however it is not close enough to really pick a good line in my opinion. However, with our vague memory of the rapid a couple years earlier we decided to stay river left and pick our way down the rapid. This rapid can be lined on river left. (Unfortunately, I forget to get a picture of this rapid.)

Everyone, except me, manage to pick their way down the rapid without problems, pushing through the standing waves and staying upright over the small drops. I got my paddle caught in a crevice part way down and turned sideways going down one of the drops and ended up out of my canoe in a hurry. I was fairly close to the shore and when the water seemed to slow down a bit I made a swim for the shore, paddle in hand. I climbed across the rocks to the bottom of the rapid where my canoe had been caught by my fellow paddlers. As I rested and reflected on what went wrong, I realized my finger was throbbing. Not exactly sure what happened, but I think I pinched my finger on the boat when my paddle got stuck in the rocks. (The next day my knuckle swelled and turned colors, luckily the weather would rain again the next day and therefore we decided to stay put at our campsite and give the swelling in my finger a chance to go down).

The next major obstacle is the river wide class 4 ledge. There are two sneak routes down this ledge, both on opposite’s sides of the river close to shore. I and one of the tandems ran river right. The other tandem took the more meaty line on river left. Scouting of this run is recommended. There is plenty of time to get off the river before the ledge, though bushwhacking through the forest is required to scout.

We camped at km 279. Not a great campsite, but OK. The following are photos of the campsite and surrounding landscape.

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Thursday May 23rd
Well, we awoke to more rain and decided that we still had plenty of time to complete the river and made a third layover day. At this point we were theorizing that we would not see the sun again until our last day, which turned out to be partially true.

Friday May 24th
Well today it would rain on and off with bursts of sun mixed in. Even though we knew we only had 19 km to the take out, we knew that this next section is the most difficult on the trip and likely would be time consuming with all the scouting involved.

The first major rapid is a class 3 ledge. This ledge was runnable at our levels and mainly consisted of large standing waves and there were little consequences if you swam. A simple lift-over, over the rock outcropping can also be done on river right. One of the two tandems made it down without incident. The other messed up their line going to far left and went straight into the worst section. The first photo is of the successful run and the second set are the sequences of the capsized team.

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The next class 3 ledge is probably runnable except for the fact that the consequences down stream (class 5 rapid) made it not worth the risk for us. The ledge and the class 5 rapid shortly downstream can be easily lined on river right. The following is the photos of the class 5 rapid. As mentioned previously, the picture does not due the rapid justice.

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The next 5 km of river is made up of several class 2, 3, 3-4 rapids which we ran/lined without to much trouble, except for one dump at a ledge. The main difficulty in this section, except for the ledge is standing waves. The following is a few pictures from this section.

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At km 268 is a class 4 canyon type rapid which is a great run. (Note: if you hug river right on the rapid above this class 4, there is plenty of room to get out before you enter the canyon. If you are on river left as you approach the canyon, you may have difficulty and may not get to the right shore and the portage trail. We portaged the packs around this rapid and ran the canoes empty. The run is not technical, however the water is fast and the line is critical down this rapid. We ran between the middle and the left shore and everyone made it without incident. Here are some of the photos from the end of the rapid. (Actually one of me in my solo. That’s what happens when you are the photographer for the trip.) I should also note that the eddy lines at the bottom of this rapid are the strongest that I have ever felt as the current circulates around an inlet at the bottom.

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We camped at km 260.5 just around the bend from the canyon rapid. As we arrived, we were greeted by a double rainbow. A sign of better weather tomorrow. This campsite is nestled in the trees, however has little space for more than 2 medium sized tents.

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Saturday May 24th
Bright sunny skies greeted us on our last day along with a strong breeze. We had approximately 8 km to go to the take out, and left camp at about 11:00am. We would take approximately 5 hours to complete this section with all the scouting involved.

The first rapid is a class 2, then class 4 ledge, then class 2 rapid in succession. The class 2 rapid above the ledge is not difficult, however because there is no space between the rapid and the ledge, the risk is high if you cannot get off in time. Scouting is difficult due to the brush on both sides of the river. One of the tandems lined this section of rapids from top to bottom. The second tandem and I decided that we would run the top section of the rapid and then eddy out left and line the canoes down the ledge. I ran our planned line without a problem. The second tandem could not get over to river left as planned and made a mad paddle for river right. They eddied out just before the top of the ledge as I watched them with some anxiety. They ended up lining on river right which may have been easier in hindsight. The following picture is of the top of the rapid and the ledge.

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The next major rapid is the class 4. Myself and one of the tandems decided to run it. The second tandem lined on river right in a mellow pool that has been made by dredging of the river. The tandem team skirted the rapid on river left. As I watched them I started to get uncertain of my line and whether I could keep my canoe from pulling into the middle of the rapid into the really nasty stuff. Even though I wasn’t fully confident I decided to run it anyway. Well I’m sure you know the rest of the story. Part way down the rear of my canoe got pulled out into the faster current and before I could straighten it out, I was capsized. Lesson learned, I have always believed that confidence is a big factor in running rapids. Anyway, no injury’s, just lost pride. I quickly swam to the shore not far away and raced down to catch my unattended canoe. The following are photos of the class 4 rapid.

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After a couple more class 1 and 2 rapids, we came to the final major rapid on the river, a 1.5 km class 3. This rapid is not technical, and with the exception of the upper 500m is largely standing waves. In the upper section of the rapid, there are some holes that you will want to miss. We began our run on river left, moving out into the middle of the river and back to the shore as required to navigate around the rocks and holes. Once we were approximately half way down the rapid, we moved into the middle of the river and rode the standing waves to the end. Definitely a fun rapid bouncing around in the waves. Capsizing in this rapid could make for a long swim as getting to shore with the current would be tough. Lining of this rapid is also possible along the shoreline; however it will be a long and tedious journey due to the loose rocks and length of the rapid. The picture shown below is approximately half way down this long class 3 rapid.

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The final two km or so is a swift paddle to the takeout. All in all, a great trip even with 7 of 9 days with rain.


Last edited by sweever on June 6th, 2008, 8:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: June 6th, 2008, 1:25 pm 
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Nice report!

Maybe it's just my computer but I can't get your pictures to load up.


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PostPosted: June 6th, 2008, 2:56 pm 
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nope, me neither, and I am headed there in just a few weeks, so I am salivating to see it all.

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PostPosted: June 6th, 2008, 3:23 pm 
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Which photo-sharing site are you using, sweever?


Barbara

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PostPosted: June 6th, 2008, 3:45 pm 
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I am hosting the pictures using picasa. I can see the photos just fine on my screen. Is everyone not able to see the photos? I did notice that the photos didn't load when I didn't use internet explorer?

Hopefully this problem corrects its self, I spent over 6 hrs writing and embedding photos.


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PostPosted: June 6th, 2008, 3:53 pm 
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Pretty sure there have been problems with Picasa when it come to hot-linking.

Here's something recent....
http://www.jl.sg/articles/2008/04/09/pi ... ing-update



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PostPosted: June 6th, 2008, 4:36 pm 
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No pictures here (Mozilla Firefox) will try on Explorer and Opera
Tried both, no pictures there either.

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PostPosted: June 6th, 2008, 4:45 pm 
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wow! fabulous pictures from what has come up so far!

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PostPosted: June 6th, 2008, 7:05 pm 
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:o :o Nice report and pictures!!!!! Got my blood boiling :o :o Will be heading up there the end of this month and these were the first real pictures I've seen of this river and it's going to be fun!
thanx for the detailed info and great pictures!

jim
p.s
..........are we excited yet Cheryl? :wink:


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PostPosted: June 6th, 2008, 8:34 pm 
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I switched the photos to image cave and think that should correct the problem. If not let me know and I will try something different. Having photos makes reading the report so much easier.

Doug, I expect a similar level of report from your Mistissibi report as need to sell it to the rest of the group for next year.


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PostPosted: June 6th, 2008, 8:58 pm 
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Yeeeehawww! sure am! just wishing we had a spray deck!

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Present: Slip, Slap and Slop, hide from the sun! Past: Get some colour in those cheeks! Paddle Naked!



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PostPosted: June 6th, 2008, 9:08 pm 
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Awesome report and pics! Thanks.


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PostPosted: October 20th, 2008, 2:03 pm 
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Dazzling pictures of a river which looks (and flows) so different when there's less water. You really reported usefully on the specific rapids, and photographed them beautifully; we'll enjoy getting back to the Lievre in the spring of 2009 to see whether flows have declined from these record levels. A brute of a trip, but you really caught the exhilaration and pleasure of the experience.

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PostPosted: January 27th, 2009, 1:00 pm 
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I don't see any pictures at all...

You have to log-in to ImageCave once every 2 month (I am just guessing the interval) in order to have your photos available.


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PostPosted: January 28th, 2009, 10:05 am 
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I didn't know about visiting the site regularly. The pictures should be back to working now.


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