Ottawa/Gatineau to Portage-du-Fort

After resting a couple of days at home in Gatineau, we resumed our journey up the Ottawa river from the Aylmer Marina. Several friends were there to see us off.

Our next challenge was the portage around the hydro dam at Fitzroy Harbor. Fortunately we were helped by Scott and his daughter who loaded our canoe and supplies into their truck which saved us a lot of time and effort.

After Fitzroy Harbour, we had an invitation to stay at Linda Plante’s and Paul Tardif’s home at Lac des chats on the  Ottawa River.  We were treated royally to warm beds, great food, beer, wonderful company and then a yummy breakfast that got us going the next morning.

The weather is still quite variable with rain, wind, sun and sometimes even a little snow!

Mid May Snow

Early May and that is snow on our tent

Frequent rain kept the water high so we found fast water where it is normally calm resulting in more portages than expected.

High water rapids

Snow and high water on a normally calm part of the Ottawa River

The next big dam was at Portage-du-Fort.  Here we were helped by Brenda and Normand who offered us a place to stay, food and portaged our canoe with their truck.

We have been so lucky to meet many kind and generous people thus far on our trip.  We are very grateful for all your help and support.  Many thanks to all of you.

Love my paddle… Cherry wood grain is a thing of beauty…paddle wood grain

We made it… and we’re leaving again!

Well, we made it to Ottawa, 500 km upstream later! The current is unbelievably strong and high this year – the highest it’s been since at least 40 years. There’s massive flooding all along the St-Lawrence, but the Ottawa River is particularly bad. This gave us the opportunity to paddle in forests, in streets, over bridges, lamp posts and islands that no longer existed. The worst thing about it is that the water level is still getting higher… We saw the Ottawa River gain 45 cm / a foot and a half in a night! The flood gates are open on most damns. Here are a few picture of the flooding:

 

We also had the chance to have a few interviews! Here are some links:

 

Here are a couple photos of the interviews:

 

Anyways, tomorrow morning (Sathurday, May 6th) we’ll be leaving again!

Talk to you soon!

-Pascal

Update

Wow!  This is a lot harder than we expected.  For the past 3 days we have been battling strong heads winds and  an extremely strong current on the St Lawrence (we are paddling up stream).  Having record high waters and an extremely rainy spring have not made it any easier.  On Sunday we had to wade in the water and pull the canoe because the current was just too strong to paddle against. Yesterday we did a short 40m portage at the Becancour port due to super strong current.  But we are having a fun time and are both really happy.  We have seen lots of raptors and migrating birds.  So far when we get up in the morning everything is covered in ice: gloves, pfd’s, zips, boots, etc. but we expected the temperature to drop below zero in April.

On the water!

After a few delays for equipment and ice on the river, our expedition left from Cap Rouge, a few kilometers west of Quebec City, on April 21st, 2017 at 9:45AM.

The whether was not ideal at 3 degrees with rain and wind gusts of up to 50 km/h but with our North Water spray deck and Kokatat dry suits for protection we were able to launch.

Once we got out of Cap Rouge, the wind was behind us for the most part but the waves were well over a meter and at times washed right over our canoe. The spray deck saved our day.

Here are a few pictures of the launch:

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Installing the spray deck

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Pre launch TVA interview

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Into the St Lawrence!!!

Click here to follow our journey on an inReach map.

Progress from Cap Rouge:

  • April 21st: 30 km, just east of Donnacona. Strong winds, large waves and rain.
  • April 22nd: 28 km, Leclercville. Rain and strong current.
  • April 23rd: 29 km, just east of Gentilly. Head winds 30 km gusting to 50 km, strong current. Sun and cloud.
  • April 24th: 31 km, mouth of Riviere Nicolet at Trois Rivieres. Great day, good weather, lots of migrating raptors and other birds. Short portage at Becancour Port
  • April 25th: 41 km, 5 km east of Sorel. Hard day but made good progress.
  • April 26th: 44 km, Verchères.
  • April 27th: 24 km, Berge des Écores in Laval. Very strong currents in rivière des Prairies but lucky we had a small tail wind. Stayed with Pascal’s grand-parents overnight. Decided to do a short “car portage” for the rest of rivière des Prairies.
  • April 28th: Tried to launch in Lac de Deux Montagnes but with 50 km/h wind gusts and very choppy water had to return after an hour. Took a rest day at Pascal’s grand-parents.
  • April 29th: 21 km. Launched at Club De Yacht Laval-Sur-Le-Lac at 5:45 a.m. to avoid winds. Stopped at Oka due to strong head winds and very choppy water.
  • April 30th: 46 km. Portaged around dam at Carillon and stopped in Grenville.
  • May 1st: 51 km. Just east of Rockland. Biggest day yet! Difficult to find dry land for a tent so we got permission to camp in a tool shed for the night.

Our Canoe has Arrived!

What a joy it is to see that canoe! Shipped by truck from Atikokan, 100 miles West from Thunder Bay, the canoe came in a super sturdy crate. It  took Neal, Pascal’s cratefather, half an hour to unscrew all the screws with his multi-tool (he forgot to bring a drill). In the crate, it was also wrapped in plastic so that it wouldn’t scratch during the shipping. The canoe is a Wilderness 18 from Souris River Canoes. It’s 18 feet long and it only weighs 50 pounds! That’s great for us because it’ll make us go faster on the water and it won’t be too heavy during the many portages we’re going to be doing. It’s made of 5 layers of Kevlar. You can see the pure Kevlar color and we really think it looks great! Here are a few pictures of the boat:

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Wilderness 18, a wonderful tripping boat.

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Here, you can really see the form and the length of the boat, as well as the “ribs” that give more strenght

Constant and I took it for a test run a few days ago and we absolutely loved the way it handled. Since it’s quite round, it was a bit unstable but it really isn’t something for us to worry about. With all our gear in the canoe, it will be just fine. Here are a few pictures of us trying it out:

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We flipped it to see how it handled once in the water. It really caught the current and it wasn’t easy to swim in the current with our drysuits either. We really don’t want to tip during the trip! Hopefully the spray deck we’ll have will help us if ever we do tip. You can really see the ribs here!

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Pascal trying it out solo.

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Here we are, with the sun shinning through the boat. What an amazing canoe!

We’re waiting to receive our spray deck from NorthWater to go on the water. We really can’t wait to start paddling – in just a few days! See you then!

Winter has arrived!

Two Sundays ago, Constant, my girlfriend Catherine and myself got together at the Camp Air-Eau-Bois. While Constant was going to his workplace, Catherine and I were going to my favorite place in the world to relax a bit. We were all met with splendid beauty: it was the first snowfall of the year.

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It was quite the slippery car ride to get there because of the snow and ice build. We made it safely and without any trouble but just couldn’t make it up the last steep hill before camp. We parked the car in a parking space not too far from the road that leads to camp. After a walk in the howling wind and the blowing snow, we took a peak at the lake which is right next to the base. It was so dark and mysterious that you couldn’t even tell at what level the water was nor where were the waves. It was the first time I ever saw the lake like that. We then made our way to our final destination for the night and Constant arrived shortly after we did. We had fun cooking our meal and making pop corn on the fire because there was no electricity (a tree fell on the power lines).

After a good night’s sleep and a quick breakfast, we went out to a nice little lookout, the PPV. It’s one of the three amazing lookouts that you can go hike to from the base camp. Here are a few pictures of our view:

After the hike, we had another nice supper and Catherine and I were off to the city again. Overall, it was a great little vacation!

A trip to Montreal

 

The weekend of the 12th of November was quite a good weekend for us. We had to go to Laval for camp Air-Eau-Bois’s annual end of summer gala. We decided to take advantage of the opportunity to the fullest. I had the chance to try out his new reflex camera I bought for the trip and we also went to Montreal to talk to some members of the team Les Chemins de l’Or Bleu. They did a very similar expedition last year, so they are a great resource of information and knowledge for us. With Martin Trahan, the organizer of the team, and Valérie Jolicoeur, the person who took care of the logistics and the preparation of the team’s food, we took our time and asked them many questions, ranging from food prep, food shipment, itinerary details, gear and general tips and tricks. We left Martin’s superb apartment (that has beautiful paddles on the walls) with a good feeling in our chest and many less questions. We are very thankful to them both for all the help they are providing us.

In the pictures, you can see me having fun with my camera in the car coming back and the case that I use to carry the camera. The pictures from now on will be a bit different from the other ones we posted, since I’ll be taking most of them. Hope you enjoy them!

We’re getting a new canoe!

We will paddle an average of 40 km per day, for roughly 180 days. That’s a lot of time to spend in a canoe so we want to enjoy it as much as we can! The canoe plays a huge role in the trip because it will influence our speed and our overall comfort.

Therefore, we decided to  go all out and chose a canoe that would meet all of our criteria. Our 4 main points are weight, ruggedness, capacity to hold gear and speed. Making a canoe that excels in all these aspects is quite a feat. Surprisingly, we found one! The  Wilderness 18’ by Souris River. Let me tell you, it’s a beast of a canoe. It’s super fast, has plenty of room for gear and is incredibly rugged for it’s very low weight (46 lbs.). Another cool thing about this canoe is that it’s made of Kevlar, which is quite easy to repair.

Constant and I have paddled several times in another canoe by Souris River, the Quetico 18.5′.  We absolutely fell in love with it. It was super fast, it had a huge capacity and an amazing stability. It is also extremely light for it’s length, which makes it a great canoe all round. The difference between this canoe and the Wilderness, is this one is not quite as fast and a bit more stable.

All to say, we’re both really excited to use this canoe for 6 months and we can’t wait to see it! A video showing it off will definitely be made once we get it!

Welcome!

Hello there! Welcome to La remontée des sources‘ new website! We made it because we wanted you to come along with us during this journey – canoeing across Canada while trying to reconnect as much as possible to Nature. We want you to be able to have a window into our mind, see what we are planning to bring, where we will be going and to follow us once the expedition is taking place. There are 6 months left until we start canoeing and there will be another 6 months of canoeing, so we have plenty of time to spend together!

Please take a look at our different pages and don’t hesitate to leave a comment or an e-mail!