Previous Post – Day 8: From Die Hard Rapids (Km 81) To Rapides Enragés (Km 60)
- distance: 16 km
- time: start – 9:00 a.m. ; finish – 1:00 p.m.
- portages/rapids: 1/4 includes 2 Falls
- – W-R49 C1 “Tri-Play”
- – W-R50 Falls PRR 100m / C1 275m / Falls PRR 150m
- or PRR 600m “Gallinotes”
- – W-R51 C1 50m
- – W-R52 C2 250m
- – W-53 Swifts / C3–>C4 PRR 300m “Chutes a L’Ours”
- weather: Sunny with some fluffy clouds, very warm!
- campsite: CRCS09 at head of portage with a great view down river – wonderful “front porch” perhaps the best campsite of the trip,
A leisurely 9 a.m. start to a day that would end four hours later! On the menu were two upcoming sets of rapids – Wilson’s R49 (“Tri-Play”) and R50 (Gallinotes). Staying with the main flow of water on a river with late-season water levels, we were through R49 in no time.
The Gallinotes set of rapids and falls (one at the top and one at the bottom) required a bit more work. We did the 100 meter carry around the first set of falls and then paddled down to just above the second set where we did another mini portage. According to the gps track were at the top at 10:20 and were paddling away an hour later.
The Gallinotes’ bottom set of falls, while nowhere as dramatic as the ones at the top, did have some rock outcrop that we walked along as we framed some more shots of the rapids. A short gorp and gatorade break here and we moved on.
Just past the swifts below the Gallinotes Rapids we paddled by the point (just above Km 55) where some canoe trippers portage into the Coulonge after a shuttle from Fort Coulonge or Davidson to Lac Jim. That leaves the pressed-for-time paddlers two or three days back to the Chutes Coulonge (Km 12) and their vehicle. They do get to do a series of swifts and easy rapids as they head down to one of the river’s nicest camp spots, the one at the top of the Chute A L’Ours (Bear Falls) at Km 43. [We rank the site #1 of the ones we stayed at. Perhaps we should let Canoe Trip Advisor know!]
Not far down from the sandbar campsite we went through a series of swifts both above and below the confluence of the Coulonge and the East Coulonge.
A last set of supposed CII rapids which we ran down the middle and it on to our goal for the day – the campsite at the top of Chute A L’Ours. The approach involves going through a set of swifts to the take-out just above a sand beach on river right some distance above what Wilson rates as CIII -IV.
The image below is the view from half way down the Chute A L’Ours rapids; you can barely make out our tent on river right just above the beach front.
We spent the rest of the day – a beautiful sunny one – relaxing, sipping on cups of filtered coffee, and walking the various trails, including the portage trail to the other end. Cameras, tripod and our handy little saw came along for what was a combination of picture-taking and trail maintenance. The other end of the portage also had some nice campsites – but none quite like the one at the top of the rapids!
The tent site is nestled in a stand of pine and birch. One majestic pine dominates the scene but given the erosion of its root system you can see its inevitable fate as time erodes its foundation.
In our rambles down the various trails around the campsite we did come upon a thunder box, a rare find along the Coulonge. It was only the second we had seen, the first being on our Lac Grand island at the end of Day 1.
The Chute A L’Ours campsite made for a perfect last night on the Coulonge River. Coming up was a big question mark – What do we do when we get close to the Chutes Coulonge? We had not found out any information about a portage that would take us around the 30-meter drop and the gorge below. The one contact i had made – Jim Coffey at Esprit Rafting in Davidson – had offered to arrange a shuttle round the falls if we needed one. However, I hadn’t gotten back to him before our departure. We figured we’d give him a call when we got the top of the Chutes Coulonge.
We were hoping for the best!