After kayaking in New York over Labor Day weekend, we continued our way North into Canada.
With no rain on the horizon and low water throughout much of Quebec, we decided that spending a day on the Ottawa river with guaranteed water would be a good idea - and it was! Even without playboats, we entertained ourselves on the fantastic
waves and holes that the Ottawa is known for. I now know just how fun a wave can be, and I also now want to go back there with a playboat!
After the Ottawa, we headed to the Rouge for the classic Seven Sisters section which was dropping in. On our way out of Ontario we stopped for gas and struck up a conversation with a lady getting gas. Turns out she was the mom of our friend Stephi Van Wilk, who was also heading that way. So we called Stephi up and arranged to camp and boat together the next day. I love it when random things like this happen and work out so well, and it seems to happen more often than not in kayaking!
After the day of running laps on the falls, we continued driving North to the Valin, which currently had water and due to some late moving rain may not be runable the following day.
The Valin is well known for the perfect 20 footer, ‘The Honeypot’. But what I didn’t realize is that the final gorge is stacked boulder gardens in the class V range.
The paddle in surprised us; it was so flat we actually all began to doubt that we put on the right river. But once the goods started, there was no doubt in our minds as ‘The Honeypot’ is the second drop of the run.
Downstream we made good time, making a long portage around the triple drop and running more great rapids. At one rapid, the group scouted and picked lines, and picked poorly. This resulted in me taking a header onto rock and spraining my neck. The paddle out went ok, but that night my neck began to tighten, just as the rain rolled in.
A friend we had met during our trip to Europe invited us to spend the night at his house near by. The next morning I had very limited mobility in my neck. The rain had brought the classic Neilson river in, and our friend Evan could even arrange someone to show us down the A and B sections which would result in making quick time through the run. But with my neck being in its current condition, we decided to head to the big volume run a short drive further North, the Mistassibi. This run is best known for the ‘Black Mass’ which is a world class big wave at spring flow. For us, the river was merely 6,500 cfs and still resulted in huge features.
After finishing the run, we headed south to begin our drive home. It was Friday afternoon and we were 23 hours from home. We drove 4 hours that day and camped at the Jacques-Cartier for a nice fluffy dawn patrol lap on the Tewkesbury section. The run proved to be great class III to IV and we made quick time through it, hitting the road back to the states by 10am. Fifteen hours later, we found ourselves at the Gauley where we boated on Sunday before finishing the trip back home.
The end tally of the trip was 11 runs - 10 of which were new for me, 56 hours (~3,300 miles) of driving, 1 shot air conditioner, and despite our “best” efforts to endulge in Quebec’s famous ‘Poutine’, we failed and never got to enjoy the culinary goodness that Poutine is. I guess that’s a good reason to go back!