Well today is my birthday and my present was two 1st descents around Saguenay, Quebec....best b-day pressie ever!
We started the week with a few Classics to Warm up around Chicoutimi before heading off into the wilderness to explore the upper Petit Saquenay & Riviere du Portage. Getting access to the upper Petit Saguenay turned out to be a bit of an epic as we found that the road we thought we could take to the put-in was private, all fenced off with security gate and guards floating around with guns in their cars...not an option. Plan B was also shut down, as apparently this rich-as dude owned the other road in as well. Luckily we came up with a plan C which meant backtracking towards Chicoutimi and taking a much longer road in as far as we could before the snow on the road beat us. Unfortunately all these logistics hold-ups meant we weren't going to get on the river this day. Because it was a 1st descent, we wanted plenty of time since we didn't entirely know what we were in for. So, the snow finally won and we decided to hike our boats in the three km's to the lake we would start out on. On arrival however, we realised that this wasn't the lake we thought and we were going to miss a couple of km's of the river, stink but at least we found the river and we could spend the rest of the day running shuttle and chilling.
LU - Bras Valin, classic Chicoutimi run...almost got kicked out of put-in by motorbike riding, no-english speaking Quebecers chasing us down on their 4-wheeler.... welcome to Quebec!
LU - Valin
Brenna - Valin
Sooooo good to be in my boat again!!!
Josh - Valin
LU / Dave - Valin
Day 2 - Trying to get to the put-in of Riviere Haha.......NZ summer to Canadian snow = soft Kiwi...Brrrr
Thanks Level six for the sweet Drysuit....it's soooooo good!
Time for a new plan, denied by the snow, no 1st D today - real gutted! Off to the Riviere du Moulin.
Easiest Quebec Portage ever! Usually you get raped by trees!
Josh- stoked to finally hit a rapid with a clean boof!
Time for some Quebec delicacy...Poutine....for those that haven't had the experience - that's Fries, Cheese curd & gravy, heart attack in a bowl but pretty tasty.
I think I can...I think I can...battling into the Petit Saguenay
The things we do to get to the river....
That's one big-ass Moose!!!
Hiking our boats to the put-in for Riviere Petit Saguenay
An afternoon to Chillax...no we didn't have delicious fish for dinner :(
LU - punching the hole, Petit Saguenay
After all our chill time the day before, this river only ended up taking us 3 1/2 hrs to cover around 25km. First half of the run was class 3 continuous boulder garden boogie style, so was fast moving, then got a bit steeper and highlight was a 20ft waterfall. Was pretty crazy when we hit the private area of land, within minutes a couple of guys rocked up to see what we were up to, they said we weren't supposed to be there and not to take any photo's, pretty suspect but they were nice enough and we were on our way.
Blaker - Dropping off 20ftr, Petit Saguenay
Next stop, setting shuttle for what I was really looking forward to...the Riviere du Portage. Tyler, Josh & I had scouted a huge triple drop the year before and were looking forward to checking it out with less water. Unfortunately, the 1st big rapid brought carnage...Sammy took a roll onto a rock shelf and dislocated his shoulder. We sussed out the way back to the car and Sam and Blake began the mission of getting Sam to the hospital. Besides poor Sam's injury, the river was sick, nice tight gorge stacked with class 4-5 rapids, a couple of portages but not too bad for a Quebec mission where rivers often have a few manky drops. After the gorge section, the river opened up and got shallow and flat, we pushed pretty hard but this continued for hours with the occasional class 2/3 for a reprieve. By the time we got to the triple drop it was nearly 5pm and we had been paddling solid for the last 8hrs, we were stuffed! Unfortunately the third drop was still pretty sketchy and we really didn't have the mental or physical capacity to think about running it so it was onwards downstream. Expecting more flat water, we were pleasantly surprised to come into another gorge, we shook off the exhaustion and enjoyed the class 3/4 rapids out to the lower petit Saguenay wave trains and back to the car and a cold brew. Total shattered, we sacked up to meet up with the stakeout boys and hit chicoutimi...Hard! I partied like it was my birthday, and the next day ate Junior Chickens for breakfast and lunch....
Send in the probes - Level 6 paddlers Brenna and Dave wait for a sign from below as Tyler & Josh check out whether we can get down the gorge.
LU - Riviere du Portage
LU - Riviere du Portage