Saturday, May 26, 2007

5th Kayak Outing

Finally, after many years of thinking and talking about it, we set out from the Paugan Dam and headed north towards Lac Ste. Marie. We knew we'd only get part-way there before having to turn around but we wanted to discover this area of the Gatineau river and were curious to see how may islands were "kayak-camping" friendly.

We put-in at the boat ramp in the municipality of Low. The ramp is on the Nort-West side of the dam. There are signs at two places along highway 105 where you can turn-off to get to the boat ramp (shown by a blue diamond on the map below).

We made it up to "Ile de plomb" (Lead Island, don't ask me why) near the top of the map before turning back.

There and back, we paddled over 11 miles (18 km) in 4-1/2 hours including about 20 minutes for a shore-lunch. Bugs really weren't too bad at all, just a few during our lunch break. We had the wind in our face heading north, then it swung around and we had a 3/4 tail wind part of the way, turning into a 1/4 head-wind for the last 1-2 miles.

Paddling in this "reservoir" is an easy opportunity to get away from civilisation for a few hours. There are a bunch of cottages near the boat ramp but once you get going, there are very few cottages along the way.

We were somewhat surprised (not to say disapointed) with how few spots (if any) would be good candidates for overnight camping in a small tent. The best spot was probably where we stopped for lunch where there was room enough to set-up a 2-person tent but there would have been a number of rocks under the tent that made that spot less than ideal.

We had the pleasure of meeting 7 or 8 friendly kayakers who had set-out from Lac Ste. Marie in the morning and were paddling (one-way) to the Paugan Dam (with car thing back to Lac Ste. Marie).

The view of the Paugan Dam as we turned the last corner was impressive, from far away it looks more like a floating hotel than a power-generating dam :-)

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Saturday, May 19, 2007

4th Kayak Outing

Lac la Peche in the Gatineau Park. This time of year, do not venture unless you have a full can of Deep-Woods Off!

This was a recon-mission to survey the 12 camping sites on lac la Peche, to see which ones would be good choices for kayak-camping (most sites are ideal for canoe-camping).

Perfect weather, about 72 degrees F. blue sky, lots of sun, little or no wind.

Note to self: before driving 45 minutes to get to kayak put-in, confirm you have your kayak paddles! Where was my brain this morning :-(

2nd Note to self: don't foget first note to self, or else you end up driving home & back to lake for 90 minutes while you wife fights off the black flies and overdoses on Deep-Woods Off!

We found every site except #1 (didn't bother heading back, can't reserve this site) and #9 (we though it was an abandonned camping site). While many have a rocky shoreline, we found a few that were relatively kayak-friendly (sorry but were not going to tell which ones, don't want you competing for these spots with us).

Looks like this area got hit by a tornado last year...

Took us 3 hours to tour the 12 spots (including getting out a few times), not including the 90 minute detour back home to get the paddles!

All in all, we're really glad we we didn't bail out on this, it was a great outing.

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Wednesday, May 16, 2007

3rd Kayak Outing

About 4km on Blue Sea Lake; around Belcourt + Orlo Islands and back. Used the islands to block the wind & waves. Relatively cold day, didn't venture out very far.

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Sunday, May 06, 2007

2nd Kayak Outing

Perfect blue sky, winds around 10km/h, was thinking of Lac Phillipe but the access road is closed until the long weekend. Headed out to nearby Meech Lake instead. Paddled around the lake (11km in 2h15m) with a stop at the beach at the East end for lunch. Some flies/mostquitoes hovering around our faces during lunch but othewise a bug-free outing.

Lots of other kayaks (>12) and canoes (>6) enjoying the great weather.

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