I wanted to do that trail for the last two years. But I needed friends that were ready to share the risks related to the uncertainty of the information. From the 1:50 000 topo map (the area is not map at 1:20 000), the elevation drop is in the range of 70 feet over the first 60 km, 5 rapids are identified; hoping that we can paddle them. We know nobody that already did the trail. How do they look like? These rapids will dictate if we can do it in two days. The weather forecast predict a windy Sunday (the day we plan to paddle the reservoir).
We are five: 2 couples (Bruno & Sylvie, Michel & Martine) and Marcel; 3 plastic and 2 fibreglass kayaks.
We have a four day weekend. The first day is mainly for preparation (Friday) and the last day is for back up (Monday, in case).
On Friday, we were ready to paddle at 16:00; we did only 9 km. We did 40 km on Saturday. We finished the ride with a 31 km distance on Sunday.
The facts and the observations:
• The elevation drop is 90 feet
• There are 10 rapids in total; only the rapid #9 cannot be paddled with sea kayak.
• Very few good locations for camping. You can have a long stretch without any acceptable location.
• The area is flat; it not easy to locate yourself; make sure you have the proper maps and navigation tools.
• The trail is a succession of lakes and river segments, keeping the kayakers at close range from the shore lines.
• The scenery and the fauna are fantastic.
• With a 20 km wind, we did not have to change our itinerary on the reservoir. But stronger wind could force you to do so.
• We reached the exit point on the reservoir at 18:15 on Sunday; as planned.
The River La petite Manicouagan feed the reservoir Le Réservoir Petit Manicouagan on which the Hart Jaune electric Central is located. This in turn, feed the mega Manic 5 reservoir 30 km downstream via the Hart Jaune River.
You start the ride at the bridge of the Peppler River, located at km 460 on the road 389 from Baie-Comeau to Fermont.
The exit point is located at HJ7 dam. The elevation of the top of the dam is about 20 feet above the water level.
You will find precise info on the GPS tracks. The time tags are included as well as exact location of the rapids.
You need two cars.
The Jacqui River and the Cassé River, are two rivers parallel to the Petite Manicouagan River. To be explore next year.
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