View topic - La Vérendrye - route 61 (Petit boucle Chococouane)

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PostPosted: August 17th, 2003, 11:50 am 

Joined: August 17th, 2003, 11:43 am
Posts: 1
Location: Montréal
We (party of 2) did this circuit in early Aug. 2003. The route description posted on the Routes section of this website by Robin Lauer proved very helpful to us when planning, and during, the trip - thanks! We can add a few points based on our experience.

(1) this very pretty and interesting circuit can be completed quite easily in 4 days, although the FQCK description suggests 5 days.

(2) One shouldn't underestimate the difficulties posed by both low and high water conditions. We were advised by the most helpful people at the FQCK Accueil at Le Domaine that the long set of shallow rapids on the "no-name" stream (downstream section between Lacs Mélar and Fléole), where there is no portage, had been virtually impassable two weeks earlier due to low water. We decided to go anyway since the second half of July had been very rainy, and as it turned out, the conditions had indeed changed dramatically.

On day 2 of our trip there was more very heavy rain, and we had no problems on any of the sections marked "maigre" on the route map. However, as the cliché goes, there's no free lunch, and on the upstream part of the routeafter leaving the Chococouane the Canimiti river was packing a lot of fast-moving water. In particular, part of the fast water section below Lac Entremont was too deep to allow tracking the canoe upstream, so we had to paddling against a strong current to reach the portage landing located just below the R2s. Also, some of the put-ins at the end of portages upstream of the various rapids were in fast current, including the last portage into Lac Obreck, so much care is needed!

(3) All the portages are easy, though there are some muddy sections, except for a very steep bank at the downstream end of the 335m portage around the rapids/sills on the Denain (incidentally, this normally shallow section was a raging torrent so we didn't even consider lining or tracking downstream).

(4) There are a number of additional campsites not marked on the route map: a useful and nice one is on the above-mentioned 335m portage - although we didn't stay there.

Finally, although we saw no-one on this route after the first day, the whole area is occupied by Algonquin and actively used for their fishing, hunting and trapping activities, of which we saw numerous signs. As regards wildlife, we saw no large animals - though heard a bear one night - but did see a large variety of birds including a pair of great grey owls and a bald eagle.

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