View topic - DuChef TR Summary July23-Aug 1 2017

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PostPosted: August 4th, 2017, 9:07 am 
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Joined: November 16th, 2007, 1:11 pm
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Location: Virginia
I will post the longer story in the future, but wanted to get some general comments out quickly.

The DuChef is magnificent! We put in at the bottom end of Lac Laganiere and took out about 5 or 6 kms below the confluence with the Ash. Aventuraid ran our shuttle - took about 5 hours. We left our truck at kmpost 36 on the access road where there is a little gated lane down to a camp. However, we paddled past the spot unwittingly, and wound up finding another access spot, where an older road runs down to a meteorological station - then walked up the road and drove the truck back down. This road meets the access road at kmpost 36.

Our water level was ok to start - about 185 - and steadily fell down to 125. The rapids on the upper reaches were bony at 185. Once we hit the confluence with the Nestaocano it got better, but still pretty bony. However, it probably allowed us to shoot the RIVs a little easier. We ran or lined everything with the exception of the CVI portage - which was not a difficult portage. Most of the SIV ledges were easily lined. One of the last RIVs on the map should be a SIV or maybe SV. There is a portage trail there, but we lined it on the left, which was probably not the best idea. Campsites marked on the map are not always there. A lot of beaches have washed away, but the sand has made beaches in other places.

One thing to note that slowed us down a bit, there is a place where the river splits around an island, and looking at the map, you have a choice of going right through an RI, and then lining an SIV, or go left and have a series of IIIs and IVs to contend with. The right channel is not passable at this water level - there are a series of 50m long, riverwide stone dams with shallow pools between. You have to go left.

The difference btwn the Chef and the Mistassibi (which is my only comparison point in the region) is immense. Where the Mist is generally hemmed in by steep hills, or a moonscape of burned land, the Chef is stunning in its vistas. Its valley is wider, and constantly changes from a narrow little river to a big wide river, from cliffs to rolling hills to small mountains. Just absolutely stunning views around every bend. It does not have the endless RIs and RIIs that the Mist has, but the flat sections move pretty well with a double blade. On our worst day we knocked out 30kms of mostly flatwater in a stiff headwind (took 10hrs of paddling).

The wildlife was thick! Otters who swam along with us, beavers, moose, and bears - lots of bear sightings and many, many more tracks - no trouble though. Evidence of people is nil until the last day when you cross under the last bridge - then we saw a couple out on a date on a beach, and another couple fishing near their cabin. But that was it.

Thanks to whoever was ahead of us - someone in a green boat from the marks on the rocks - we appreciated the sawn firewood left behind. Hope your marshmallows turned out good! (we found your sticks.)

Gorgeous river - well worth the the time it takes to run it, and worth the time it takes to get there. I don't know the history behind the name, but I can just imagine them saying - "that's the river of big rocks, you can hunt there. That's the river of big water, you can hunt there. That one - that's the Chief's River - leave that one alone." It felt like a very special place.

More details and photos in time.
Here is garmin link - https://share.garmin.com/ChristianCotz
Was talking with Ben up on the Albany throughout the trip via our InReach devices - pretty cool to keep track of each other that way.

Christian

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PostPosted: September 16th, 2017, 11:15 pm 
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Joined: November 16th, 2007, 1:11 pm
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Location: Virginia
A brief addendum:
We left the truck on the gravel road at Km40. The turn off for the service road to the river gauge station is Km36.

At our water level we passed the first S4 without noticing it. We may have run the second S4 had we been feeling our oats more, but on the second day, still fairly full of good food, we played it safe and lined right. We lined right on the other 2 S4s also. We couldn't find the GC at ~km263. The GC at km259 is up on a bluff. We ran the R4 at km253, then lined the R3/4+S3/4 combo down the right. The 2D camp at km223 is barely a 2D - barely a site. We camped on a small sand bar between the 4c and 3c marked around km212. The P around the C6 is straight forward and not difficult. But, at km263 the river splits around an island - the map shows a series of R1s around the right side, followed by an S4. The left side shows an R4, R3, R4. We tried to go right here, but the right hand channel around the island was blocked by a series of 4 long exposed cobble bars that we would have had to dragged the boats over. Instead, we shot the 4, and shot the 3, but the second R4 is more like an S4 - there is a portage trail on the right, but we lined down the left (probably wasn't the smartest choice). The S4 at km180 is more of an R4 - we ran it, and only stayed upright by sheer luck and hull design. The R4 at km171 is a beast, and we lined left. The R3 runout is very fun, and there is a campsite below the rapid on river left - very nice spot. We ran the R4 at km169. The GCs at km147 are nice - the smaller island closer to river center has an elevated campsite in the pines, and a thunderbox.


Link to the helmetcam documentary is https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ocvonLN7gew&t=1094s

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"There is nothing - absolutely nothing - half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats." - WATER RAT, The Wind in the Willows


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PostPosted: September 18th, 2017, 8:42 am 
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Joined: June 23rd, 2001, 7:00 pm
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Location: Newmarket, Ontario Canada
Glad you had a fabulous trip! Wish I could view the video, but it is "blocked by your country due to copyright issues."

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PostPosted: September 18th, 2017, 3:23 pm 
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Joined: January 3rd, 2010, 5:59 pm
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Location: Kanata
http://eachvideo.com/watch?v=ocvonLN7gew&t=1094s
Try this link. I got it to work.

rab


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PostPosted: September 18th, 2017, 8:56 pm 
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Joined: November 16th, 2007, 1:11 pm
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Location: Virginia
Thanks for figuring that out, Rab!

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