Archives for category: Canadian trips

Another Canoe the Wild wilderness whitewater canoe trip. 10 days and 9 nights on the NE Mistissibi River, Quebec, Canada with miles and miles of class I-III whitewater. Maine guides Tammi Matula and Nate Smith provided excellent instruction assisting the girls with personal growth while making life long memories!  See our 2020 summer canoe trip schedule here. Photo credits: Tammi Matula and Nate Smith.

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June 9-16, 2018, A week long whitewater canoe trip on the Bonaventure River of Quebec!  Good water level, awesome weather, great people and virtually no bugs! 16 people, all ages. Great fun for the whole family and makes for a great Maine summer vacation. Please visit our summer 2018 schedule to join us on a Maine adventure, 3 to 6 days in duration on the St. Croix and Allagash Rivers. Contact Dave Conley of Canoe the Wild for more information.

 

Bonaventure-River-Canoe-Trip-Vance

by Vance Gustin,

Deep into the wilderness of the Gaspé Peninsula of south eastern Quebec and nested in the foothills of the Chic-Choc mountains lay the crystal clear headwaters of the famed Bonaventure River. The shuttle up to the headwaters began by weaving its way up along the neighboring Cascapédia river on a paved road that seemed like the twisting back of a giant snake. As the road turned from asphalt to gravel the ride became quite a bit rougher and the canoes on the trailer bounced around with a muted thumping akin to the eager beating of our hearts. For some the journey had started in such faraway places as Wisconsin while others had made the somewhat shorter trip up from Portland Maine.

Far below the crest of the hill our tents appeared no larger than a child’s toys and the lazy wisp of smoke from the campfire was barely visible in the dying light of the sun.  Liam and I had raced up the rocky slopes of a hill adjacent to our campsite to catch the beautiful vista of the Bonaventure river valley at sunset.

“We should start heading back down before it becomes hard to see.” I said to Liam.

He quietly nodded and we began the trek down to camp. About halfway down we met Bo, Bence, Steve and Josh on their way up and I quickly snapped a group photo before encouraging them to join Liam and me on our descent. The first day on the Bonaventure had been interesting: we’d crossed both Lac Bonaventure and Petit lac Bonaventure and made our way down a narrow mountain stream to the gravel bar we now called home. Over the course of the next couple of days we’d be paddling through the maze of dry-ki (standing or fallen weather beaten timber) covered banks and shallow class one and two rapids.

Three boats were manned by father-son teams; Bo and Bob whose names I always confused usually were the first boat behind Dave who was paddling solo and the lead guide.  Bob had just retired the previous Friday and had plans for many different river trips this summer; he and Bo always seemed to have a smile on their faces as they weaved their way down between the rocks. The second father son pair was Steve and Bence who had done this river together some thirty odd years ago.  The final father son pair was Brian and Liam; Brian was introducing Liam to canoe camping for the first time and it was awesome watching them take their canoeing partnership from its fledgling stages all the way up to a fully functioning team.  The other boats in our entourage were Chris, a master of the Black Spruce pole, Josh and Tim who were very funny and warmhearted and myself. The group was a mixture of family and old friends. Most having paddled with Chewonki over the years,  a shared experience across the generations of the joys of the wilderness, a passing of the torch.

The trip down the Bonaventure River is an experience we won’t soon forget.  Early in the morning the birds start to sing their melodious sonnets and the fresh smell of spruce and fir trees mixes with the smoky smell of the fire. Soon the coffee would be ready and the warm feel of the cup in your hands was a welcome counter to the crisp cool air of the break of day. After a hearty breakfast had been served, gear was packed and loaded into the canoes.  The river itself was a translucent flow of water over a kaleidoscope of slate grey, reddish-brown and white striped gravel and rocks.  At times the water was so clear and calm it seemed as if you were floating on air. The river seemed to murmur gently encouraging the dancing canoes as they navigated the swift flowing waters. We ate lunch on gravel bars, occasionally skipping a rock or two across the river.  Tim, Bo and Bob were always on the lookout for the legendary Atlantic salmon and many a dark shadow or flash of silver was quickly investigated.  Some of the bigger class two and three rapids were scouted from shore and Dave would usually set up at their base to take pictures. The Bonaventure gorge had a couple of drops which the water level would not allow for safe passage and we promptly lined our boats along the shore.  The lower section of the river transitioned from shallow mountain stream to wide river cascading between salmon pools.  A large rapid would be followed by a deep pool and occasionally a friendly fisherman in his boat.

The second to last day on the river a thunderstorm sprung upon us from the south and we spent an hour or so huddled on shore in a stand of alders. Dave and I lit a fire to warm our companions and provide a distraction from the storm raging around us.  Tim and Brian managed to gather enough firewood to burn down a small village while Bo and Bence picked around the gravel beach looking for souvenirs.  Chris, Bob and Steve quietly conversed while huddled under their rain jackets.

“The storm’s about to let up” Tim would say in a hopeful voice during each small break in the rain.

Eventually the storm did pass but not before Tim had hopefully proclaimed our salvation a half dozen times.  The day did an about-face and the sun burst from the clouds in radiant joy.  The river cooled by the rain immediately released a thick fog about six feet high which lent an eerie feeling to our afternoon paddle down to camp.

Our last day on the river was an early morning affair with breakfast being finished before 6:15 AM.  A long drive lay ahead for all of us and we were eager to once again join the world of the twenty first century. It was a bittersweet feeling shaking hands and heading our separate ways.  However, I am sure that it won’t be long until we all once again heed the call of the river.

Vance has a B.S. in Chemical Engineering, E.I.T., and is currently a Graduate Research Associate at the Ohio State University, William G. Lowrie Department of Chemical and Biomolecular engineering.

Visit Canoe the Wild for more information on paddling the Bonaventure River, Next trip scheduled for June, 2018 

 

Trip Highlights from 2015. River trips including the Allagash canoe trip, St. Croix River, Cascapedia, NE Mistassibi river trip, Liard River Trip, Yukon Canada and Penobscot Rivers. also a few pictures from a moose photography outing and moose hunting wall tent base camps in the North Maine Woods. My 2016 schedule Maine canoe trips includes 3 day, 4 day and longer trips on Maine  and Canadian rivers. Most canoe trips are for the beginner, and no extreme workouts or conditioning required before you trip. An active life style including walking and stretching for a few weeks prior to the trip is helpful. Canoe trips are fully outfitted and guided. More information is available at Canoe the Wild.com

Pictures are of my 2013 summer canoe trips including the Mountain River Trip in the NWT of Canada, teen whitewater outing on the Bonaventure River in Quebec, two family Allagash trips, one couples Allagash trip and a teen day tour on the St. Croix River. Visit my Youtube Channel and view these pictures with added video clips of spectacular scenery and whitewater!

LINK TO YOUTUBE:  http://www.youtube.com/dgconley?feature=mhee

Visit Maine this summer for some of the best  wilderness canoeing in North America. The St. Croix River is one of Maine’s finest canoe & kayak trips known for its moderate whitewater and can be paddled all summer long. Other Maine destinations known for their scenic and recreational value- as well as their wilderness and wildlife- include the Allagash and Penobscot Rivers. Trips can be day tours, weekend getaways or longer. Canoe trips are a great way to rest, relax, explore and spend quality time with friends and family. Swim, fishing, view wildlife, photography, cook over an open fire and learn a new skill. Laugh around the campfire, star gaze and listen to the sounds of loons. Back country canoeing and camping has a way of bringing the best out of everyone. Choose the northeast for your next family vacation or group outing on a canoe camping trip and discover Maine as a top destination for wilderness adventure.

Dave Conley has been paddling the rivers of Maine and Canada since 1985. Fully outfitted and guided canoe trips offered during the summer months include day, overnight, weekend or longer for the beginner to advanced.

Maine Guide and Outfitter: We take care of all pre-trip planning, packing of group gear, menu, shopping for food and packing meals. With years of experience and many outings on Maine and Canadian rivers, we’ve become quite efficient with the whole process including best place to start and end your trip, where to camp, what rapids to scout, river distances and time needed to travel, points of interest, camp setup & takedown, providing quick shelter, proper fire wood selection, hot & hardy meals cooked over an open fire, and the knowledge & experience of your canoe route so you can have a safe and enjoyable time.

Gear We Provide: All necessary camping equipment including river bags to keep your clothing dry, sleeping pads, durable Old Town canoes, type III life jackets, paddles, tents, group tarp, cooking & eating utensils, meals while on the river.

Contact: For more information or to reserve a trip, contact Dave Conley at 207-551-8729, Email dave@canoethewild.com, Web: http://www.canoethewild.com/index.html