La Verendrye Circuit 35

CanadaQuebec04 Ottawa
Submitter & Author Information
Route submitted by: 
Admin
Trip Date : 
Route Author: 
Unknown
Additional Route Information
Distance: 
66 km
Duration: 
5 days
Loop Trip: 
Yes
Portage Information
No. of portages: 
9
Total Portage Distance: 
1800 m
Longest Portage: 
500 m
Difficulty Ratings
River Travel: 
Novice
Lake Travel: 
Novice
Portaging: 
Easy
Remoteness: 
Intermediate
Background Trip Info
Water Levels: 
Route Description
Technical Guide: 

Hwy 117 north from Le Domaine Base
Left (west) on gravel road 28 for 35km
Put in at "Camping Lac Nichothea"
South, then West through Lac Nichothea to Lac Desty
West through Lac D`Arcy
West, then Northwest through Lac Giroux to Baie du
Nord-ouest
P 500m. into Lac Strobile
North through Lac Strobile
Northeast on Carrier Creek
Carry over Beaver Dams (2)
P100m
Northeast on Carrier Creek
p25m
Northeast on Carrier Creek
North through Lac Carrier
P150m
East through Narrows that flows into Lac Camitogama
North through Lac Cammitogama, then South to Lac
Canimina portage
P400m
South through Lac Canimina
P400m
South through Lac Myon
P350
South on Lac Nichotea to take out

Trip Journal/Log/Report/Diary: 

I did this trip solo in late August 2001. I put in on Lac Nichcotea, it was a warm, calm sunny Saturday. I paddled south on Nichcotea for 2 km, then turned due west into a narrows that leads into Lac Desty. I passed under a bridge(another option for a put in on this route), and cast my line into the fast current, hoping for a walleye. Nothing biting, so I paddled on, passing a large campsite on the north side of the flow, just west of the bridge.

As I entered the narrows to get out into Lac Desty, I passed a small fishing boat. I saw one more boat a half an hour later and they where the last people I would see on this trip. I continued west through Desty, enjoying one of those rare days where any wind was on my back, slowly pushing me down the lake. Soon I entered Lac D`Arcy. Hap Wilson writes about this section of the park in his book about the Coulonge River. I`m heading for an island campsite on Lac Giroux Hap describes, hopefully this tailwind will keep up.

After an easy paddle through D`Arcy, I enter Lac Giroux, and paddled due west for the large island ahead. The island is a great campsite, the water level is a bit low, so the beach out front is even larger than I expected. The site looks inviting, but I see another island closer to shore, so I paddle over to see what that looks like. Just as nice, a beach, a nice grassy spot for the tent with a table to boot. I pick the smaller island, being solo, I rather be closer to shore should the wind blow in the morning. I set up my tent and then head over to a small windblown cove and gather some driftwood for the fire. I enjoy a nice steak, potato and squash dinner, along with a pot of 5 o`clock coffee and finish off the evening solving the world`s problems with my pipe and a small fire. I made about 12km today.

Up early, well not really, the joy of solo paddling is you can do what you want, when you want and today I wanted to sleep a little more. I was on the water by 9:30 am., heading up into the narrows that leads to Baie du Nord-Ouest, and my first portage. Since I am using topo`s only for this trip, I must find the portage by looking for a trail or marker where I think it should be. The Circuit maps that are available for most of the routes in the park are very good and with all the info they show, well worth the price. Going by Topo only is different, you have to find your campsites and the portages. I find the portage easily, there is some red tape on a branch and the trail is just visible from the canoe.

The portage starts as a steep climb for the first 75 meters, then levels off to an easy walk for about 300m , then a steep drop to the put in on Lac Strobile. I carried a #3 Duluth pack on my back and a large day pack on my chest to counter balance and started up the slope. Once to the top, I knew I had it made, and in no time I was back for the canoe. I had my beloved Wood Canvas Chestnut Deer and although heavy, I still find it manageable on the portages.
I was paddling up Lac Strobile by 11:45, trolling a green Daredevil and in no time I had a fish on. It was a pike in the 5-6 lb range, and the fight seemed like a lot bigger fish. I quickly took a picture and released it, soon I had another on. I caught and released a few more in the same weight range. I was in no hurry and feel it was one of my better fishing days. I still had some meat that I had kept frozen till the put in, so I didn`t eat fish that day.

I only found 2 campsites on Lac Strobile, both at the north end. Both had a steep climb up, both where in a stand of pine trees and offered nice views of the lake. I picked the one closer to the mouth of the Carriere Creek. It didn`t show sign of much use, I found plenty of wood in the area and some on the shoreline to make a small fire for dinner and coffee. After dinner I paddled over to the Carriere Creek and checked out the water level. I was concerned as most levels in the area where down and although the folks at Le Domaine said it was passable, I wanted to see for myself. It seem ok, but I wouldn`t really know till I paddled down it in the morning. Back at the site, another cup of coffee and off to bed.

I got an early start, I was still concerned about the water level in the creek and wanted as much
daylite as I could get in case I ran into any delays. I had to pull over a few beaver dams, but other than that it was an easy paddle the first 3km. Then I found out why there was so much water in a creek during a dry period. I rounded a bend and saw a new concrete bridge downstream, with a ten foot span for the water to run under. There was a beaver dam under the bridge that was 7 feet tall on the down stream side. The branches still had green leaves on them, and there was only a trickle of water flowing downstream. I walked the dry creek bed 200m and found the water level to be very low, not enough to even line a canoe. There was no portage trail at all and I couldn`t see carrying my gear across the wet rocks in the creek bed. I walked back to the dam, and removed a 2x3 foot section of the dam to flood the creek. I then portaged around the bridge and waited while the creek rose a little. I walked my loaded canoe down the first 200m. of a rocky class 1plus section, then was able to paddle my way downstream from there.

The rest of the creek has 3 or 4 easy portages and was a nice paddle. I saw many tracks of moose and bear crossing the creek, and even a tree stand used for fall hunting before entering a marsh that would soon become Lac Carriere. As you enter the lake, there is a very nice camp site on the left (west side of outlet). It was a clear sunny calm day and I slowly paddled east across the lake trolling a rapala and looking for a spot to camp. I could see a sandy beach off in the distance and started aiming for that. I passed a real nice site along the south shore of the lake, it also had a sandy beach and was easy to spot with the big yellow triangle sign used to denote a campsite. I was soon at the beach and campsite I was aiming for and
what a great place. It showed sign of heavy use, there is a road into this lake with the usual campsite/powerboat types and I would guess this spot sees lots of campers. It was fairly neat, and had a beach both out front and back. It had a long sandy point leading off the beach into the lake. This site is on the east side of the lake just behind the long island with the esker on the topo maps. It was a Monday in August and I had the place to myself, not a boat in sight. A friend later told me of camping here a few weeks earlier and having a momma bear and cubs
walk through camp eating the blue berries off the many bushes and ignoring his group. I set up camp, ate a quick dinner, walked the beach, then did some fishing. I caught 4 small walleye just behind the island at dusk.

The next morning I got an early start. During the night the wind picked up and I wanted to get going before being stuck here for the day. I headed North for the outlet that flows into Lac Camitoga. I hugged the shoreline of Lac Carriere, making it a point to point paddle, using whatever I could to stay out of the wind. While paddling along the shore, I found an old canvas pack up in some rocks. It contained some rotted food, along with a brand new peak 1 gas stove and some canisters. I buried the food, hung the pack in a tree and kept the stove. No one reported it missing at Le Domaine, probably floated away from a capsize.

The chute at the entrance to the narrows that leads into Lac Camitogama from lac Carriere was a runnable class 1plus, so I paddled thru. There is a portage trail around it, best to scout this before running. As I rounded the point into Lac Camitogama I could see the wind was going to be a problem. I got down on my knees and dug in. My old beavertail paddle was holding up, I carry a spare, but just didn`t want to loose any ground should I have to switch. I inched my way up the 3km to the spot where you make a quick turn around a point and head in the opposite direction (south) 3km to the portage that leads into Lac Canimina. Ahhhh, a tailwind, what a sweet paddle it was down to the portage. It`s a 400m portage into Lac Canimina around a rocky stream, but someone had cleared a path in the streambed to make a channel where you could float your loaded canoe upstream. It cut the portage in half. I saw no campsites on Lac Camitogama, but possible could have missed them.

The tailwind continued down Lac Canimina and I made 11km in no time. I passed a few average campsites along the way south, some in the narrows between the two main sections of the lake, but I headed for some big islands down by the south end of the lake. I found a nice one on the west side of the second biggest island, it showed heavy use. I stayed there for my
last night and this time was lucky enough to catch a nice walleye before dinner. After an evening paddle in the now calm lake, I got to bed early, the wind had taken it`s toll on me.

I started a little late the next morning, it was sunny and calm and I was still feeling yesterdays
paddle. I paddled south to the end of Lac Canimina and started the carry over to Lac Myon by noon. The low water level of Lac Myon would have made for a wade in the mud just to get the canoe floating and I could see the take out across this small lake looked just as bad, plus it went straight up hill. I turned around and walked back to the road I had crossed on the portage trail. This road led to my truck at Lac Nichcotea, about a 1 1/2 mile walk. I stashed my gear in the bush and walked back to the truck. I would recommend this rather than struggle with Lac Myon. Robin Lauer

Maps Required
Topo Maps (1:50,000): 
31 N3 Lac Nichcotea 31 N/6 Reservoir Dozois
Other
Special Comments: 

I bought my camping permits, fishing license, fishing permits at Le Domaine Base. They sell maps, gear, rent canoes and give good information about the routes. They allow free camping for trippers coming and going, along with free showers. They are very nice folks. There is a cafeteria style restaurant, gas station, and small bait, supplies,beer store also. The large "Park Map" is worth getting,not just to plan new trips, but to follow the gravel roads and not get lost.

For more info go to http://www.canot-kayak.qc.ca; In spite of some of the lakes being open to power boats, I would do this route again and recommend it.