Down The Coulonge: Day 4 – From Tall Pine Rapids (Km 183) To Km 157

Previous Post – Day Three – From Lac Ward To “Tall Pine” Rapids (Km 183)

  • distance: 26 km
  • time:  start -9:30 a.m. ; finish – 5:30 p.m.
  • portages/rapids: 2/18 + 2 Do Not Runs
  • the W stands for Wilson and  makes use of his numbering sequence – see his essential book; R is Rapid and C is class; P is Portage and L is Line; RR is “river right”
    • – W-R22 C1T 75m top and C1 200m bottom
    • – W-R23 C1 20m
    • – W-R24 C1T 75m
    • – W-R25 C1 50m
    • – W-R26 C1 100m
    • – W-R27 C1T 100m
    • – W-R28 C1 10m
    • – W-R29 C2 75m “Batardeau” PRR/l or LRR
    • – W-R30 C1T 175m
    • – W-R31 C1T 100m
    • – W-R32 C1T 200m
    • DNR – Falls PRL 275m
    • DNR – Falls PRL 35m  or Line
    • – W-R33 C1T 175m
    • – W-R34 C1 125m
    • – W-R35 LO chutes + C1T 250m scout RR
    • – W-R36 C2 450m ‘fun and games” and then continuous swifts almost to R37
    • – W-R37 C1 75m
    • – W-R38 C1 200m followed by
    • – W-R39 C1 300m then by continuous swifts
  • weather: overcast and cloudy in a.m.; some sun in the p.m. then getting cloudy and overcast rain shower at end of the day while setting up the tent, then to cloudy with clear spots (see moon shot)
  • campsite: CRCS04 River right up a small embankment; room for perhaps 2 4-person tents or multiple 2-person



Another day, another twenty sets of rapids!  On the maps above it looks to be a very busy day.   A closer look will show that most of the day’s rapids were Class I’s with the only issue being water level.  Reading the main flow correctly so as to avoid running onto sandbars would prove to be the biggest challenge – not just on this day but on many of the ones to follow.  We would learn that the Coulonge River has essentially carved its way through a massive glacial gravel and sand deposit.  Occasionally there are spots where rock outcrop creates a set of rapids or falls.

morning mist below Tall Pine Rapids ont he Coulonge

morning mist below Tall Pine Rapids (W-R21) on the Coulonge

We left our Tall Pines campsite at about 9:30, intent on moving downriver about 25 kilometers.  the Wilson map (#4) had three campsites indicated between Km 160 and Km 155 and we figured to be at one of them.

a look back at our Tall Pine camp site - and the white pine obelisk!

a look back at our Tall Pine campsite – and the white pine obelisk!

A half hour’s paddle downriver brought us to a widening of the river and the field of water lilies you see below.  We also checked out another of the campsites indicated on the Wilson map on the island and were left scratching our heads as to why he would bother. It was one of the countless sandbar “campsites” that you’ll pass by if you paddle the river. Totally exposed and lacking in any adequate toilet possibilities, it might be better if they were not even marked on the map!   Only when we got home did we check Wilson’s map legend to see that P stood for poor;  that made sense of it all!


photo op on the Coulonge

photo op on the Coulonge



getting close to the flora on the Coulonge

getting close to the flora on the Coulonge

A bit more than 1 km. down (at Km 180) a logging road bridge crosses the river.

logging road over the Coulonge - Day 4

logging road over the Coulonge – Day 4

After the bridge we passed by a couple of campsites on river right – both were flat open areas on sand and had room for multiple tents and both are labelled M for mediocre on the Wilson maps (#3 and #4).



When we came to the Cascades du Batardeaux we lined and ran the upper part (W-R29) until we came to the top of the falls which we portaged around on river left as per Wilson’s detailed map.  this was followed by a number of other lift-overs and lining jobs that took us down the day’s only real rough stretch of the river as illustrated in the satellite image below.


the top of Les Cascades du Batardeau

the top of Les Cascades du Batardeau (immediately below W-R29)

leaving Les Cascades du Batardeau behind after a lunch stop

leaving Les Cascades du Batardeau behind after a lunch stop

Between W-R32 and W-R33 two sets of falls. Thanks to the incredible amount of detail on Wilson’s map, it is not totally clear on Wilson’s Map 4. The first one is pictured below – Le Chute Perley. It is a 275-meter carry on river left.

checking out Perly Falls (below Les Cascades du Batardeaux)

checking out Perley Falls (below Les Cascades du Batardeaux)



After Km 170, except for a CII set of rapids (W-R36) which Wilson labelled “Fun and Games”, it was kilometer after kilometer of swifts and easy CI rapids that carried us down the river faster than usual. (Our GPS track after Perley Falls averages about 8.5 k,/hour!)

We would finally find ourselves a campsite on river right. It was just a bit before 6 p.m. and the sun was out.  We did something we rarely do – instead of putting up the tent and perhaps a tarp first thing, we decided to put up a couple of ropes as clotheslines so that our rain gear and socks and a few other items could catch some sun and wind over the next few hours.  Not too long after our gear was hanging on the lines, we were treated to a twenty-minute late afternoon shower!  Stuffing our packs and loose gear under the canoe, we quickly put up one of the tarps to provide a dry area so we could recover from the surprise.  It stopped raining shortly afterward!

the Bros chillin' at the end of another day on the Coulonge

the Bros chillin’ at the end of another day on the Coulonge

Out came the sun again and up went the stuff that had been hanging on the lines.

moon over the Coulonge - Day 4 camp

moon over the Coulonge – Day 4 camp

On tap for the next day – a day on the meandering part of the river all the way down to one of our favourite campsites of the trip, the one at the confluence of the Coulonge and the Rivière de la Corneille.

Next Post – Day Five –  Km 157 to the Coulonge/Corneille Junction (Km 121)

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