La Verendrye Circuit 77

CanadaQuebec04 Ottawa
Submitter & Author Information
Route submitted by: 
Admin
Trip Date : 
Route Author: 
Unknown
Additional Route Information
Distance: 
83 km
Duration: 
6 days
Loop Trip: 
Yes
Portage Information
No. of portages: 
14
Total Portage Distance: 
4750 m
Longest Portage: 
1540 m
Difficulty Ratings
River Travel: 
Not applicable
Lake Travel: 
Novice
Portaging: 
Moderate
Remoteness: 
Novice
Background Trip Info
Water Levels: 
Route Description
Technical Guide: 

Highway 117 north from LaDomaine
Left on gravel road 38,
Right on gravel road 383,
15km. to bridge south of Baies des Missionaires,
(The large "Park Map" shows these roads clearly)
Parking area and put in at bridge
South on small slack water river to Lac de la Flamme
P 965m over esker to Lac Graham
South thru Lac Graham
p 110m into Lac Dragon
South thru Lac Dragon
p 130m to no name pond
South thru no name pond
p 640m to no name pond
West to canoe-able stream that flows into Petit lac de
Baies
West, then south on Petit lac des Baies
West on canoe-able stream that leads to Lac des Baies
West across Lac des Baies
West, then North on Riviere De L`Orignal
West on Lac Hawkesbury
P 75m into Lac Barbieres
West on Lac Barbieres
P 190m into Lac du Bac
South on Lac du Bac
P 150m intoLac Tartara
South, then West on Lac Tartar
P 25m into Lac Rabanel
West on Lac Rabanel
P 100m to no name pond
West on no name pond
P 150m into Lac Fard
West on Lac Fard
P 140m into Lac Cafetan
West on Cafetan
P 90m into Lac Henault
West then North on Lac Henault
P120m at Chute Henault into Lac Cawasachouane
North on Lac Cawasachouane
West into lac de la Triple Baies
West on Lac de la Triple Baies
P 360m into Lac Cornelier
West on Lac Cornelier
P 1500m into small no name canoeable river
West on small river,
South on Grand Lac Victoria
Take out at bridge at South end of Baie des
Missionnaires (Grand lake Victoria)

Trip Journal/Log/Report/Diary: 

Highway 117 to gravel road 38, follow 38 to either put in at campsite "Barker" or better yet, continue to gravel road 383 which takes you to a bridge crossing a small river at the south end of Baies des Missionaires. You can start this route in either clockwise or counter clockwise direction. Better clockwise so that your food pack is lighter for the 1500 m portage at the end of the route. If done clockwise you will leave the put-in and paddle down this small slow moving river 1000m to Lac de la Flamme where you will find your first portage of the trip. This is a tough one, up over an esker and the first hundred meters of the portage are a tough climb. You can avoid this whole 965m. portage by using the small road that leads to Lac Graham on the map. Drop your gear at Lac Graham, park your car back at the bridge I mentioned before and walk back to gear. Once in Graham, drop a fishing line, I caught and released a nice pike, maybe 12-14 lbs. Graham is interesting as it follows the esker, twice cutting thru it. At the end of Graham is an easy to find 110m. portage into Lac Draon. There is a nice group camping spot on a point in Draon, it`s clearly marked on your park map. From Draon you quickly reach a short 130m. portage and then all to quickly reach a 640m. portage. The good news is you now will pass thru some very pretty country portage free. You will enter Petit Lac Des Baies, then paddle down a small stream that is so nice, you will forget those portages you had to make to get here. You enter Lac Des Baies from the east and need to paddle due west to a bay that leads into River De L`Orignal. Des Baies is a beautiful lake and I wish I had the time to explore it and test it`s fishing. I camped on a small island in the bay that leads to L`Origanal, it`s on the map. It was a small site that must not have seen any use in years, across the bay was a group site but I didn`t get to check it out. After dinner I took my empty Chestnut and paddled back into the bay behind the site, it was one of those quiet calm evenings canoe campers live for, a great memory. Following River De L`Orignal into Lac Hawkesbury is an easy paddle, like most of this route, it is sheltered and not effected by winds as on big open lakes. Lac Hawkesbury is another very pretty lake, with 2 real nice campsites. It is another Lake I wish I had time to explore and fish, it has a few arms that lead deep into seldom paddled areas I would imagine. An easy 75m. portage leads to Lac Barbieres, then a 190m. leads into Lac Dubac. Here is where you need to pay attention to your map, From Dubac to Lac Tartara to Lac Rabanel I paddled around a little more than I should have, but when I finally stopped and paid more attention to the map I did ok. Lac Rabanel is one of those places you will always remember when you think back on your paddling days. It has (or had, you can ask when you by the permits at Le Domaine) many blowdowns at the east end of the lake, and no trail or portage around. I tried hopping from log to log, moving a duluth pack and canoe as I went. Finally, I just gave up and jumped into the mud and took the safe but sloppy way. After Rabanel, you have a few short(subject to water level) portages into Lac Fard and then Lac Cafetan. On one of these I met a young couple from western Canada going the opposite way on this route. They where the only other people I saw after leaving Lac Victoria. We stopped and had a brief chat, real nice folks. They mentioned that while crossing the berry patch, they treed a black bear. I assumed the berry patch was a side trip, so I didn`t give it much thought. A small stream and short portage lead into Lac Henault. There is a campsite to the right after you enter Henault, but I found an unmarked site on a small island to the left. I caught some walleye here, kept one for dinner, very nice meal. I paddled up Henault the next morning trolling a Rapala countdown and did pretty good in this area on walleye and pike. The couple I met back at the Lac Fard portage mentioned a nice island campsite just before Chute Henault in Lac Majou. After fishing and paddling all day on Henault and then into Lac Majou, I was looking forward to camp. I found the island to be as nice as they said, they had even left a nice supply of cut and split firewood. At that time I didn`t carry a saw or ax, so I left the split wood and paddled back behind the island to a cove and found all the firewood I would need for dinner and breakfast. I have camped in LaVerendrye 6 times and have never had a problem finding firewood a short paddle from a campsite along the shore. That night I was lucky to enjoy a great sunset, the island site faces northwest , perfect for a late summer sunset. The next morning I made the portage over Chute Henault, 120m. into Lac Cawasachouane. There is a nice group site at the chute. There are also many nice sites up Lac Cawasachouane, and the fishing was good, very good in spots. I saw an eagle at the spot where Cawasachouane ends and turns into Lac de la Triple Baies. A fellow tripper mentioned he had seen that eagle the year before in the same spot. After I saw the eagle, I encountered a red squirrel swimming across the narrows leading into Triple Baies. I yelled "swim fast little buddy, cause as soon as I`m outta here, you`re eagle bait", I think strange things happen and you react differently when you go solo. I found the island site in Lac de la Triple Baies another real nice site. The island raises above the lake and you have nice views all around the equally pretty lake. The portage leading into Lac Cornelier from Triple Baies is a pretty easy 360m., then an easy paddle to the beginning of the 1500m. plus portage into Grand Lake Victoria. I made the first trip across with my #3duluth pack and the day pack on top. You begin by following a stream and then climb up a short rise to an area that had been clear cut not to many years ago. The trail gets hard to follow in places as the blueberry bushes seem to be taking over. Being this was August, all one had to do was drag a hand and catch some berries to snack on. It seemed I wasn`t the only one using the trail, there was enough bear scat around to let me know I had arrived at the "Berry Farm" my young friends had mentioned days before. From that point on I sang a bad version of Janice Joplin`s "Me and Bobby Magee" as loud as I could. It must have worked as I made it to the put in without seeing a chipmunk, let alone Mr. Bear. It`s an easy paddle down a small stream to get out onto Grand Lac Victoria. As I was paddling down this stream a momma bear and 2 cubs crossed right in front of me. They didn`t see me till momma started pulling down branches along the shore 20 feet in front of me. She hissed and was gone in a flash, cubs in tow. The paddle up Victoria was one of those point to point, trying to keep out of the wind deals, and soon I was back to my original put-in at camp "Barker" Robin Lauer

Maps Required
Topo Maps (1:50,000): 
31 N/5 Lac Cawasachouane 31 N/12 Lac Otanibi
Other Maps: 
La Verendrye Park Map Circuit 77
Other
Special Comments: 

This route is one of the more popular remote 7 day trips in the park from the folks I have spoken to. I didn`t see any other people besides the young couple after my first portage. The fishing was very good IMO, but the permits are expensive, you need a Quebec licence and 14.50 a day to fish. On other trips I have bought a 3 day licence and only 3 days of fishing permits and just fished those days, well almost those 3 days. You get everything you need, permits, licence, hot meals in a nice restaurant, free camping, free showers, rental boats and gear, maps, and a smile at La Domaine, located on 117 just inside the park. Very nice people.You can download route info at http://www.canot-kayak.qc.ca I did this trip in August 1997, solo, in a wood canvas chestnut canoe. I have been back to parts of it since and talked to others who have done it recently, so this info should be up to date.

Comments

Post date: Sat, 08/23/2008 - 23:12

Comments: 

August, 2008

I took Road 38 (at km marker 432 a good hour north of Le Domaine) in 29 km to Baie Barker to park and start the trip.

The road is generally good but some rough areas exist..allow an hour for travel. Note below the road to Lac Graham appears disused and overgrown in the middle with widely spaced 2 cm dia saplings. The road to the foot of Baie Des Missionaires is still fuctional but the put in at the bridge is steep but short. It does not appear much used as it goes over lots of rocks.

The water levels were high for my trip in August: approaching spring conditions.

I did the trip anticlockwise.

First portage from Grand Lac Victoria to Lac Cornelier over 945 m . The carte says 1545"devastated by logging". Not true anymore. Its well maturing open woods,very scenic,with many delightful blueberry bushes now. Some boardwalk helps but expect about 3 places where you may sink to your knees in mud. The western landing is on a small wooden platform in the muck, room for one canoe, you may want to lighten your load the last 30 m to avoid sinking to your hips. The low water extension (the remainder of the 1545 starts about 50 m away) is not needed in high water. Turn right then immediately left to enter the river.

The 360 m from Lac Cornelier to Lac De La Triple Baie has a muddy middle with corduroy oriented with the trail. The four tent campsite on the north shore has a lovely table and is quite a nice site though it lacks a beach.

The rapid at the head of Lac Cawasachousane is a class 1 moving water against you. I had to do the 135 over the small esker as the bridge was too low to avoid bonking my head.

Cawasachouane is a lovely lake worth exploring all over with its many rocky outcrops. There are three official campsites and many more nice resting places.

Chute Henault has a two tent area at the bottom and it is far better than the five tent area at the top on the old road. The latter is bug crazy. The two tent cell has a table. Across the old and still standing bridge is a seaplane base. Expect to peer over and see fuel cans and have planes leave and come. There is a dock for planes at the top of Lac Henault.

I did not copy the most recent access map for Lac Henault but saw two other canoe parties seeking campsites and one motorboat. There must be new road access on that lake and while there are two official campsites, there are at least two more camping areas at the area of the lake where the route turns east.

The series of small (5) portages through Lacs Cafetan, Fard, Rabanel, Tartara, Lac du Bac and Barbieres were delightful and straightforward and dry. These portages had been closed in recent years and I could not find any direct evidence of logging in the area. Most of the roads crossed had been decomissioned at least 3 years ago.

Two more portages bring you to Lac Des Baies. I camped on the only official camp but saw other sites toward the NE end on small islands. Lac Des Baies tends to have a weedy shoreline. The creek from Lac Des Baies to Petit Lac Des Baies is beautiful going between two steep eskers. However its moving and recent rains have toppled a number of sweepers. Be careful but they are easily avoided.
The next creek that joins Petit Lac des Baies to unnamed lac is hard to find. Find the solid point of trees and work left till you find moving water. The creek is one canoe width wide and you will get brushwhipped as the alders are growing together. Its a very short distance however.

The 640 m crossing a creek is a delight. Its rock free and a gorgeous portage through open woods. It does cross a creek which is ankle deep with a good base for about 15 m. Not nearly the bog I had expected!

the next 130 is fine to Lac Dragon.

There arent enough bad words for the 110 out of Dragon to Graham. It is up a fairly steep incline for 25 m but the landing is a bog hole and worse you climb in the bog hole. The rest of the portage over the esker is fine.

There is a campsite on the esker island in Graham.. You cant miss it.

The top portage of 965 m starts on a beach. Its on a road and quickly passes a cabin where a sign indicates you may camp overnight. This is the road Robin may have used a few years back. The part I walked on seemed to be passable if your car can deflect small trees. I left the road to descend the esker Robin so eloquently wrote about. Its gotten no less steep. I dont know about the road north of where the portage trail leaves. I did not see any vehicle tracks but many moose and human footprints.

Entering Baie des Missionaires of Grand Lac Victoria I saw my wildlife. Bear. I always see bear swimming( which makes one think twice about the wisdom of island campsites). It was remarkable to see this bear swim between grassy wetland and grassy wetland.

Grand Lac Victoria has a number of campsites but the first two were occupied and I paddled 28 km from Lac Des Baies to Grand Lac Victoria near the start of the loop to secure a campsite. Its hard for me to ascertain a pattern but this area may be busy because it is part of two loops.

Fishermen are on the lake and there may be a new wrinkle allowing them to use Canoe Camping sites. They just bring in a canoe on the boat. Thats what I saw on 77-99.

The next morning I paddled out completing six nights on water. Most days were quite short with paddling starting at 7:30 and ending at 1, so five days could suffice. Only on the 28 km day with about 2000m of portage did I stay on the water till four.

Yet it took me 5 hours to complete the last 12 km. I got pinned down good by thunderstorms and watched lightning strike way too close...

A pretty area La Verendrye faces a number of challenges and paradoxically could use more canoeists.

Have your map in hand and pay close attention. The map is accurate! Dont let your mind play tricks with you.