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The Moisie River 2012
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Author:  Grant Coones [ December 15th, 2012, 7:40 am ]
Post subject:  The Moisie River 2012

Every trip starts without planning and the thought it should happen . After Months of planning , drying food and packing, Aug 18 th we finally got started on our journey to run The Moisie River. It was a dream Ozzie, Gilles and I had held for a long time and now it was happening. 4 guys , 2 canoes and a van loaded with gear. We took off from Sunderland after picking Gilles up and headed east down the 401. After 21 hrs of driving we were in Sept'ile Quebec where we would catch the train North. We arrived 1 day early so we went to scout where we would catch the train. We were pokeing around and started talking to the men who looked after the train. They asked if we wanted to load our gear so it would be on the Train when we got there the next morning . What a Bonus! The next morning when we arrived at 6:30am the place was buzzing with people heading back North after a few days of shopping. We were lucky and got to walk right through and board the train. We were excited and had our cameras ready for the trip. We had glimpses of the river from the train as we traveled . It looked spectacular. The train was filled with characters and it was a fun trip...all 8 hrs of it. Ozzie talked to the Conductor and they decided the best spot to let us out on Lac Shabogamo.
When the Train stopped for us to get off we were anxious to unload gear and get going. Where we stopped there were 2 cabins. We check them out and with a thunderstorm comming in we decided to use one for the night . The doors were open so we got to stay dry. Tues. Morn we were up at 5:30 and loaded up . Of course the wind was out of the North West and we had to paddle right into it. We paddled accrost the Lake before we stopped to have breakfast. Then we paddled to Lac Bau. We had to wade up the connecting river and pull the canoes through to the, lake .Next, we had to find the portage, if there was one, from Lac Bau to Lac Menistouc. We knew that we had at least a 2000m portage between the lakes. After seaching around , Ozzie drew a line in the sand and said" We are crossing here" Low and behold there was Blazes on the trees. We decided to camp the night and do the portage in the morning . Gilles and Mike carried gear half the way and came back before supper and came back....there verdict was " THIS IS NOT GOING TO BE FUN!" Next morning we started ...9 1/2 hrs later we finished. There were blazes on the trees but no trail. What we precieved to be rock on Google Earth, was Cariboo moss. 6 times I had to stop and retie my shoes ...double knots. It was truly the worse portage I had ever done ..AND when we got everything over , there was no place to camp. We paddled less than a hour before we set up camp. The camping on these lakes is all on Sandy beaches...and after a quick supper, I was in bed.
Next morning we were on the water by 9am. Gilles had us all rigged to sail down the lake. At time we were running up to 11 kph. By 12:40 we had reached the end of the lake. There was a swift to run into the last little section of the lake . Then it was into The Moisie and heading south. We ran bunch of Swifts and class 1s and 2s coming out onto Lac Felix. We camped on a beautiful site on the lake. This was the best camp so far ...and came with fresh Bear prints.
Sat 25th, we started paddleing in beautiful weather 10 or 15 minutes later there was a clamor in the water off to the left of us. I thought Geese but it was 4 cariboo in the lake. Fantastic! We paddled the day through a bunch of class 2s and 3sand camped on a 600 m portage. The views were spectacular! The camp site was about 2/3s the way accrost the Portage . It rained off and on all night.
26th. We finished off the portage and headed out for a day of rapids It was incredable! One class 4 was a challange at the top where there was quite a drop. We camped near the next portage , around a falls.BLACKFLIES!!
Mon ,27th , we paddled accross the river to the portage 1300 m. we carries the 1st load threw and decided that we could get the boats down a bit farther cutting about 400m off the portage. No carry out here is easy!!! When u consider that every portage is x2 or 3 is a long way. It could mean 7 of 8 k of carring with canoes or packs. After a few k of rapids , next portage, 600m....strait up and then strait down. at the botton of the portage we had a look and there were 5 distinct Falls there and 2 more minors ones. We could see downstream to where the Pekans came into the Moisie. Our camp was on River Left. The Camping area is like a little grotto...sand beach and tree around it was beautiful. A quick supper and I was off to bed.
Tues. was rest Day, leisurly breakfast...cloths lines out . My shoes , and old pair , were not doing well . Gilles had some shoe goo so we did a fix up job on them. Later we paddled accross to see the Pakans. It was spectacular. The rapid, right below our camp , was scouted and it was decided that we could sneak down river left, then a 90 m poratge. I didn't go to scout and it sound easy. This was that last day I wrote in my journel.
Next morning , up for breakfast and away we go ..... sneak down the left , 90 m ...well it did not go that way...some how our canoe got to thing we were in a maelstrom of water...canoe filled and we were dumped. I saw a spot to the right I thought I could eddie out into..missed it ...feet down stream and go for the ride. Huge waves ...deep breaths and smash through them...then out into the calm...I grabed my food barrel and near it was my paddle...I grabbed it..damn..I didn't do up the neck of my paddleing jacket and I have water trapped in my arms ..I look down stream and see the canoe and my pack floating away.
I kicked for shore and when I got out I ran up to a high rock and got up where I could see...Ozzie was below me. He was ok...I looked down stream and there was my pack leading the canoe down the river which moves about 6 kph. It seemed forever for Gille and Mike to get through and they took off downstream after the canoe...WE HAD TO HAVE THAT CANOE!! Ozzie and I gathered what equipment we could find. I found a Blue barrel, not ours , Camp Kandalors I think. It was full of food ...I opened it and it smelled like garbage. I dumped it and we attached everything together so it would float ...then we lined it down stream. ..looking for anyother gear. Eventually we met the boys , bringing the canoe back up stream. My pack, ...well if your out there and find a pack let me know. Everything in it was waterproof packed so unless it was ripped apart in the falls it should float a loss...about $2000... The canoe went through a couple of rapids and over a waterfall before the boys got it . We camped that night on a portage very high up.
That was the last days I kept track in my Journal. All I thought about was getting out ..The Boys put enough gear together for me to sleep in. I wore the same cloths for the rest of the trip , 12 days. One good thing , we were getting farther south and it was warming up. I think the next night we slept in a fish camp...the door was open and it was a great spot for a rest...we played a game of cards , had a great meal ...I cooked :) from here the river was fantastic ...lots of rapids and tough portages.
When we got to the Fish Ladder we decided to Portage , river right. First we walked the portage and I though" damn I can't clime this hill not carrying ...what am I going to do ?" By the time we got back 880m over and 880m back we were loosened up . I threw a food barrel on my back and set off up the hill. It had to be at least 200m strait up!!
I dropped the barrel there and went down and got a lighter one and when I got to the top I got the 2 barrels up and carried them accrost. I was up and down the hill 5 times getting loads. At bottom on the portage we camped for the night , setting the 2 tents up on what looked like a hellicopter pad.
Next morning we carried down , bypassing the 1st drop and too off for the day the scenary was getting better as we ran lots more rapids ...some of the class ones seemed to me to have very high standing waves. A few days later we got to the Railroad Rapids. We scouted the 1st section and ran it to the elbow. The wave action here was crazy bouncing around where we had to get under the bridge ...more scouting and we ran the last section. It took us over 7 hrs to make this run from top to bottom. At the bottom we eddied in behind a large Gravel bar. Stay here or paddle out? We decided to paddle out. We thought it would take a couple of hours and it was about 5:30 EDT. Of course the wind was coming from the south and we were paddleing right into it. I t seemed like a long hard paddle and the last hour we paddled in the dark. After, I said "I think we were paddling against the Tide" We Landed at the beach near the road and went looking to see if we could come up with a ride back to Sept'ile to get the van. There was a small motel there and Ozzie went in to see if he could get some information. We ended up staying there for the night and the owner or Mgr. drove Ozzie back to get the van. He came back with beer and snacks so we had a little party. We were on the road at about 6 am for the long drive home.
It is the trip of a lifetime! We were 21 days from home and back, 18 on the water. The cost was really not to bad, gas being a big part. I wonder now if at 69 I am the oldest to run the river. I lots 10 lbs , Gille lost 15 so it is hard work but well worth it. Pack lite and pack bright! ... RiverTrip# ... eTjnJ2sHA#

Author:  shearjoy [ December 18th, 2012, 12:05 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Moisie River 2012

Thanks for sharing. A good reminder to tether the packs to the canoe when running rapids. Aside from the long lake to lake portage at the beginning, how were the portages on the river? Easy to find? Easy to follow? (other than being tough because of the hills).

Author:  recped [ December 18th, 2012, 4:42 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Moisie River 2012

Easy to find? Easy to follow?

Yes and yes! Where portages exist on this river they are pretty much mandatory and are therefore well used,

There is one port near the end of the trip that you could paddle right past if you are not careful and you absolutely do not want to miss the take out on that one.

If you are using the maps from cartepleinair then you would have no trouble at all locating the ports. The trails themselves are generally clear and easy to follow.

Author:  Grant Coones [ December 19th, 2012, 9:14 am ]
Post subject:  Re: The Moisie River 2012

The portages were easy to find. We had borrowed Topo maps from Friends that have ran it and marked them. We had info we had found on here to and a set of maps that someone had left on one of the portages. Tethering the bags. The canoe went through a Falls. It could have had us in a worse mess.

Author:  jnoakes [ April 5th, 2014, 3:14 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Moisie River 2012

Great pictures Grant. Looks like it was a trip of a life time. Whats next? the Nahannie? Killarney pales in comparison, although it was memorable too. Good on ya! I bet they dont have a "Whitfish Falls" on the Moisie....We stopped for supplies and came back with more than we bargained for!! All the best. Jim N.

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