View topic - partial trip report and tips on doing Dumoine/ Riv. du Norde

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PostPosted: July 17th, 2003, 3:35 pm 
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Joined: June 23rd, 2001, 7:00 pm
Posts: 3153
Location: Newmarket, Ontario Canada
What a great trip! Other than being highly over-run with people (2 school groups, trailhead and a father-son combo), it is indeed a beautiful river., lots of runnable rapids and great portages.

The guy selected to book the flights had a few "problems". The young high energy couple (YHEC) to start at Lac Sept Milles, and the price Bob was given to there was 385$Can. He called back and asked how much it it would be to the head of Lac Dix Milles when he realized that it would add 2 additional days of paddle to get the the Riviere du Norde, which was what the YHEC wanted to paddle (they saw rapids marked on the map).

The price to the head of Lac Dix Milles was given as 406$ Now here is the problem Is the head of this lake at the south end, with water flowing north and then turning and going down the Dumoine, or is it at the north end down to the Dumoine? Also, did the price include the taxes? Well, when you mulitply 406$ out, you get close to 466$ which is the price quoted when he called back the third time!

Bob finds me somewhat intimidating in my ablility to be organized, so I was not allowed to double check ("hey, relax, it is supposed to be an adventure).

We drove from Orillia to Mattaw (stopped at Myrts) for a good sized reasonably priced meal, and then on to Deux Riviere to the B & B Mi Casa. Trip took 2.5 hours.

Nothing else at Deux Riviere (a restraunt/bar that was not really open). A lovely B & B right on the Ottawa River with great hosts, The screened in porch was most welcome, as well as the blueberry tea cake and tea before bed. If we had the energy we could have taken out the paddle bike or paddle boat and paddled up the stream beside the house or out on the river. No air conditioning, but ceiling fans, bacon and eggs or waffles for breakfast. $65/night (2 rooms with single beds and 2 rooms with double beds).

Took 25 min to get to Rapids des Jochim and Kipawa Air. First flight was supposed to leave at 8, but we were there early, so we started flying out at 7:45. Exactly 60 min round trip flight, including reloading.

So here is were it gets interesting.
B & M went first. Turns out the head of the lake is the south end of Lac Dix Milles. Therefore they now had a good 10 mile paddle ahead of them to the north end of the lake to get into either Lac Dumoin, or Rivier du Norde. It wasn't until they were on the lake and the plane was gone that they realise the error, so changed the original plan of finding a site, setting up the bug tent and waiting for the others. They asked John to drop us futher up the lake.

John came back to pick us up, I finally got to ask my questions, and that is when I found out what was up. Turns out ALL PRICES INCLUDE THE TAX (most people are from out of country, so they figured that most wouldn't even know the tax to apply).

The rest of the group was off doing the shuttle, so he suggested that he charge each group $40 more (rather than the usual 60) and drop us progressively up the lake to meet up with the paddlers already there and paddling up. As our wallets were already packed, he let us off with the charge and dropped us at the narrows. We could not see B & M anywhere on the south end on the lake, and John insisted that they could not have paddled that far in the headwind, so we had to debate whether to wait or to go on. We told him to tell the others we would split the cost with them and to dro them right up at the lodge at the north end of the lake.

Using binoculars, we spotted B & M about 2 km further up the lake. We caught up to them and moved quickly up the lake. Right on time, we heard a plane, but it landed at the very south end of the lake. It was too far away to see, so we hoped that it was our group. We scanned the shores of the incredible beautiful lake (one of the nicest I have seen), and decided that we could either stay and set up camp at the island just north of the narrows (a lovely spot - looks like it MAY have been a camp years ago), or look for a beach. I picked a lovely beach out at a small point 2 km further up, and we headed up to wait.

A little piece of paradise lead us to go swimming and claim the realestate as our own as we waited. AT 1 hour we heard another plane coming, but it fle further to the south and was obviouslty going in to Lac La Forge or Lac Dumoine. (turned out that they interuppted our groups shuttel to got pick up fisherman at the cabin on Lac Dumoine, but didn't tell anyone in our group. M & K on the dock were having a heart attack thinking that there had been a crash, and we were having attacks thinking that everyone was totally lost!) After 2.5 hours we figured that the miscommunication had continued, and that we had better set up camp even though it was only 2pm. We did not want to tackle the Riviere du Norde after supper.

By 3:30 pm. all the group was finally together. We spent a wonderful night on our sand point, and then headed up the lake. It was about 7 km to the lodge. Of course my blackflie allergy was in full swing and I woke up with both eyes swollen shut. So I tied on tea bags (I had already been on antihistamines for a week to try and prevent this), and we headed to the lodge.

Ten Mile Lake Lodge (www.tenmilelake.com) was very welcoming. The hosts gave me ice for my eyes and enough for our water bottled. They also gave us the scoop on driving in to 10 mile lake, and prices for this incredible lodge (western cedear, ceramic floors, huge bar and dining room, gorgeous cabins, hot tub, sauna, and gourmet meals). Seems they don't get many canoeists, but they have lots of options for them.

-you can drive in to the south end of 10 mile lake, or have them drive you. You can then paddle ten mile lake with or without your gear. If you want, they will take your gear to the lodge. Did not get the price for this.

Cost for the lodge is $95/night/person, and includes supper, breakfast and lunch. They will then shuttle your gear over to Lac Dumoine. You can portage it. It is 1 mile in total, with Bell Lake in the middle, and it follows a road, so the condtion is pretty good. He offered to take us for $60 (4 canoes, 8 people, gear, 2hours. Drive to Bell Lake, boat across, drive the last bit). We declined and decided to take the Riviere du Norde. We were advised that the water level was the highest they had ever seen in July, otherwise it would not be possible.

It would be terrible to do the Riviere du Norde if the water levels were not high. it is consistently 10-13 m wide, good current, but not traveled. The first portage is under the bridge at the North end of Lac Dix Milles around the hydro dam for the Lodge. It is is good shape. They put in is in the middle of a rapid that had to be lined. The next 2 portages were short, choked but do-able IF you could find the entrance. The 3rd set of falls gave us a scare as it is a good 15' cascade of double drops (Lover's Falls) as we could not find the portage as marked on Haps map. Turns out the take out is on river left, right at the top of the falls. 2 canoes did lift over the right at the top of the falls as well.
A pretty winding river, but nothing more than washed out swifts. Walking this river through the muck would not be fun if the water was lower.

We made it off the river and set up camp at 5 pm. It took us 6 hours to go the 10 km down the river.

The rest of the trip was great. Hap's map was better than the Trailhead map. Some sites had thunderboxes, so had barrels with no covering. some barrels had lids with poop holes (but were very full), and others had none. Most sites are very small. We had 5 tents, so we had to look and joggle with the competition, but we worked it out each night.

Would I put in at Lac Dix Milles again? Yes, but I would be very specific with the pilot as to where I wanted to go. I would love to stay at the lodge, and then go into Lac Dumoine. More later, but toddler Sandy is now up!


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