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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