Chochocuane River Route #2 Ruisseau Camitakit-Reservoir Dosois

CanadaQuebec04 Ottawa
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70 km
5 days
Loop Trip: 
Portage Information
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0 m
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0 m
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Route Description
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The route starts at the bridge on Chemin Chimo over Chochocuane River at Ruisseau Camitakit. It`s about 206km (143km by HW117+63km by Chemin Chimo) north of Le Domain in La Verendrye reserve. The route ends on Reservoir Dosois. Two possible take-out points available. One is Camping des Outaouais, another – a bridge on HW117 over a creek about 8km north from the camping.

Trip Journal/Log/Report/Diary: 

Day 1:
We spent the whole day driving up to the put-in point at the bridge near the confluence of Chochocuane River and Ruisseau Camitakit. We left Toronto at 6AM and it took us almost 11 hours to get to the take-out point at Reservoir Dosois (we spent 60 min. in Ottawa picking up a rented kayak and about half an hour at Le Domain to pay for permits. Beside that, we had only a couple of short “coffee stops”).
Kevin Callan and staff at the reserve recommend to leave the second vehicle at Camping des Outaouais, but we decided to avoid arduous and monotonous paddling across open waters of the reservoir and find a take out closer to the river`s mouth. We parked the second car at the beginning of a dirt road on the right side of HW117 right after a small bridge over the creek, which flows into the reservoir only 6km paddling from the mouth of the river. It`s the first bridge after Camping des Outaouais if you drive north. You can find it on the topo map 31N11 in ~8km north of the camping. Later, we figured out that despite of additional 50m lift over and about 50m of lining up the creek, this option is better as we had not to worry about getting windbound on the reservoir, which Kevin C. called a “complete wasteland”. Also, we avoided seeing motor boats, trailers and other attributes of civilization at the end of the trip – it helps to keep a proper spirit…
The Chemin Chimo that leads to put in from HW117 is 58km north of Camping des Outaouais. The sign “Chemin Chimo” is quite small and hard to notice. You can look for a big sign “Lake Machi-Manitou”. Another hint: the road comes after an abandoned gas station on the right side of the highway and bends sharply right at the beginning (looks like a fishing hook).
We made a mistake by taking a wrong road that goes off the HW117 13km north of the take out point. We noticed that the topo map shows this road connected to Chemin Chimo. It looked much shorter - big mistake... The road had a destroyed bridge in 10km from the highway. We found that this road is used as an access to the put in at Lake Elbow for another shorter route (Canimiti-Chochocuane). We have seen a couple of small groups going to paddle this route for the long weekend. The mistake we made cost us an hour of valuable time plus some wear to my van - the road is quite rough.
So, by the time we got on Chemin Chimo it was getting dark. This “timing” had only one big advantage-we didn`t have logging trailers on the road at that time. It was luck, as we found later when we did a shuttle at the end of the trip: trying to share the road with logging trucks is a scary game… At that time, the only adventure was seeing a black bear crossing the road in the light of my headlights.
We were at the put in at 9:30 PM in complete darkness. There is no spot to pitch a tent near the bridge, and the closest campsite is in 50 min of paddling downstream. So, we had no other choices but to take a rear seat out of my van and to sleep inside. Luckily, our group was small enough to fit – only three people…

September 2, 2001
Day 2:

This morning we were rewarded for the long hard day we had before: we had sun in the sky and fields of blueberries just across the bridge. We started a day by running a swift right under the bridge, which I wouldn`t call CI (as Kevin`s map shows). It can be right for high levels though.
The first campsite comes in 50min on the left bank. We didn`t check it out, but I took a look at the next site about 2 km downstream river right. It`s a very small campsite with room only for one tent – just a clearing between the trees. We didn`t check out neither former native camp, nor the site that follows next on the right bank.

The first serious rapid (CII-CIII on the map) looked too shallow and messy with boulders scattered all over the flow. After checking it out we decided to line the right channel.
About 400m downstream comes the next rapid. Kevin C. described it as a three-part rapid: ledge, tight V on the far right, and a sharp corner at the end. We found that it actually has two parts. The ledge on the left comes together with a narrow chute, which leads into tight V. If you lift over the ledge on the left, there is no room to get into the part with tight V because you get on the water already after it. The rapid looked as it could be run in whole: the first part through the narrow chute on the far right, and the second part – on the far left. However, the V looked too tight for my 16` long double kayak, and we decided to lift over the ledge and run the second part, moderate CII, without a problem. Then follows an easy CII (which was more like CI at our levels) and a swift.
10km downstream comes a technical Class II-III. We checked it out from the right shore and then run. It was an interesting run, as we had to maneuver between numerous boulders in the flow.
We took a campsite with a great beach at the end of the rapid. The site has enough room for three tents on sand, but we opted for a spot between the trees 10m from the shore. It started to rain soon after we set up a camp.

September 3, 2001
Day 3:

We were waken up by the rain, which was quite heavy. We decided to wait till it gets lighter...Well, we had to wait for several hours. Finally, we got on the water by 2 PM and paddled under the light rain for two more hours till it stopped.
The first rapid, which comes almost immediately after the campsite, is an easy CI. About 5km downstream follows the rapid marked CIII, but in reality it turned up to be a mere CII at the water levels we had. Next is an easy CII with the overgrown portage on the right. By the way, as we hardly use any portages, I cannot tell you in what shape they are. The three necessary portages we did were in a very good condition.
Island Cascades come in 8km from the last CII. Kevin Callan was right saying that the La Verendrye`s map showing two channels and an island between is not accurate. Actually, there is only one channel on the left. On the right side you can see traces of another “channel” but its bottom is about 1.5m higher than the water level! Water should be very high to reach it. Be careful approaching this place. Due to a sharp bend you cannot hear the roar from the CIV cascades very well. The cascades have powerful hydraulics, and running them was out of question. We portaged 85m over the island. The take-out for the portage is right at the beginning of the right “channel”.
Two easy CII follow soon, one immediately after the island portage and another about 1km downstream. We run them without checking.
We camped about 7PM at the excellent group campsite about 1.5km from a logger`s grave. It`s a spacious site located high on the right shore with places for several tents between pines. The only drawback of the campsite was a steep sandy take-out. Actually, I should mention that almost all campsites on the river had the same feature. Plus, take-out points at campsites were usually just narrow strips of sand with room only for one boat to unload.

September 4, 2001
Day 4:

We were on the water by 11:30 next morning. This was an overcast day, but luckily, without rain. That day we had only four rapids to deal with: an easy CI (swift) at the remnants of logger`s bridge, Grand Chute (CIV), CV and another easy CI.
The Grand Chute, which really is one of the most scenic places on the route, was portaged 175m on left. After the portage, we had a nice lunch on the rocky slopes near put-in and above the mouth of the chute.
CV was portaged 55m on the left. There is a jacuzzi near the end of the portage which is a nice place to take a bath if water is warm enough. Well, none of us showed a desire to get wet that day. At the beginning of the route, water appeared to be quite warm but with time it looked like it was getting colder each day... 
We took the first campsite after CV at 6:30pm. It was on the left bank and again, the same drawback: a steep take-out+limited space for unloading. We tried to check out the site, which is shown 1km downstream on the left shore, but found only a spot that can become a campsite in the future. There was a den of some animal of a medium size at the spot. Speaking of animals, we`ve seen a rabbit several times while camping at that site. It looked like it usually uses a small trail going through the campsite, and we were an obstacle on it`s way, which didn`t allow the rabbit to get home. The forest is so dense there that it is hard for a rabbit to run there. That`s why the rabbit was, probably, waiting for us to clear the only possible way for it to run.

September 5, 2001
Day 5:

The section of the river we paddled that day was the most interesting and challenging on the route. The foggy morning turned to a beautiful sunny day, warm and crisp.
The first 600m set of rapids was waiting for us in about 10km from the site. The set consists of four distinct rapids. The first, third, and fourth are easy CI. The second is a challenging technical CIII. You must check this one before running. By the way, all rapids in the set have some room between each other therefore it`s not necessary to portage the whole set if you don`t want to run CIII. You can portage CIII on the right. We checked it from the right shore (where the portage is) and then successfully run: by the left side of the central drop in the first part and then on the left between two big boulders and a foamy chute. The rapid had a lot of boulders in the flow and required precise maneuvering in the second part. We all agreed that it was the most difficult rapid we run on the route (at the water levels we had).
A technical CII and another 600m set follow soon. The first rapid was run without checking, but the long set requires some special attention. It`s a very scenic place where the river is squeezed in a narrow channel between rocky shores. The set consists of three distinct parts (it`s valid only for the low levels. But the water levels at the place are historically low. If the water is high, the set simply disappears, people say).
The first part of the set is a huge CIV-CV chute with scary hydraulics. The second – is a short sharp drop over the rocky stair (kind of a ledge, if you want), and the third is just a combination of two CII. We lifted over the rocky shore just beside the chute (r. left), paddled to the ledge and checked it out from the left shore. At that time it seemed that the ledge is runable only at one spot closer to the left shore. It was a powerful short chute curved to the right with high haystacks at the end. We successfully run it on the left edge. We run it on high speed to avoid being pulled to the haystacks.
I should mention that the current is quite fast between the first CVI and the ledge, so you have to be careful approaching it.
The remaining two CII can be run at once without checking.
After this set, there is only a couple of swifts: one almost immediately after the last 600m set, and another at the river mouth. The last campsite on the river can be found at the last swift. We took this campsite at 6 PM. This is a two-level campsite: lower with the fire pit, and upper with spots for three tents.

September 6, 2001
Day 6:

We left the campsite at 1PM and headed to the take out point. We had to lift over boulders at the point where our creek flushes into the reservoir (50m), and to line our kayaks up the creek for another 50m right after the lift-over. It took us only one hour and half to get to the bridge from the campsite. We did a shuttle that took us 4 hours to complete, and then drove to Le Domain where we camped on the designated site right across the paddling office. (We had to return a borrowed map early next morning. Otherwise, we would choose a more secluded place to camp).

Speaking about shuttle, I should say that its quite long (112km. one way) and a little bit scary as you have to deal with crazy logging trucks on Chimo Road. There is an option to use La Verendrye`s shuttle service from Le Domain, but it was too expensive for us – about $480for up to two canoe/kayaks to get to the put in at Ruisseau Camitakit. If you want to use the service, contact Le Domain. The base camp at Le Domaine is open mid May till mid September and you can contact them at or by phone at (819) 435-2331.

September 7, 2001
Day 7:

It took us 10 hours of drive to get back home including dropping a kayak back to the store in Ottawa.

If you need more information, you can contact me at or
at 905 2658139. Good paddling.

Alex Chernov

Maps Required
Topo Maps (1:50,000): 
31N11 31N15 31N14 (optional) as it covers only a short segment of river. It shows Chemin Chimo, though.
Special Comments: 

Camping permits must be purchased for this trip in the reserve`s office at Le Domain. The route is maintained: there are signs for portages and campsites.
The river holds water well and can be paddled at any time. Low water levels make upper rapids easier to run, but the last 600m set becomes more difficult. Overall, the route becomes easier at low conditions. Most of the rapids are quite easy runs, which we run without checking from the shore. There were 3 challenging technical CIII and one interesting chute (the chute is in the last 600m set). These rapids require special attention (CBR). Four CIV-CV must be portaged/lifted over unless you are paddling a whitewater kayak and have a corresponding experience. From existing 12 portages we did only three short ones (175m. 85m and 55m) plus one lining and two lift-overs, that`s it! We were able to run all the rest. You have to consider that we paddled closed kayaks with skirts- open canoes could get some water in a couple of good CIII we run, (especially at high water levels). At high levels some rapids will definitely have high haystacks, so, be prepared to get wet.
The river is quite remote-you can get a real wilderness experience. Nice scenery with some scenic chutes. Fishing is quite good - we were able to catch a couple of 7-8pound pikes while trolling from a kayak. Beautiful northern forest on the banks with blueberries and mushrooms (if you like to pick wild mushrooms-it`s a real heaven). Water is clean, campsites are quite decent, some of them are really nice.
We did the 5-days route in four days at leisure pace (about 5 to 6 hours of paddling daily). I think, it`s partially due to the fact that we didn`t portage a lot, and due to faster speed of a kayak in comparison to a canoe.
Overall impression - an excellent wilderness trip of moderate difficulty. We liked the trip very much. Now, we often look at the pictures we`ve taken on the route and feel a sort of nostalgia… It was so good there that we all agreed we would return on the river sometime again.