Trip Reports

Lac Ste Marie Day Trip 2021

Lac Ste Marie Day Trip

4Tourisme Outaouais site describes Lac Sainte-Marie as "the jewel of the Vallée-de-la-Gatineau, nestled among majestic mountains..." The rocky hills bordering the lake and the Gatineau River are not really "mountains", but their cliffs and lush forests are breathtakingly beautiful. In 1928, following the development of the Paugan hydroelectric dam, the old village was flooded and relocated. The flood transformed the lake into a much larger one, very popular with cottagers and boaters.

On Sunday 18 July 2021 our group of 8 club members paddled in 3 tandem canoes, a kayak and a solo Swift. We launched at 10:30 am from the rustic municipal lakeside campground. Public dock parking fee is $8 per day.

Mark S. had an ambitious itinerary for us: one lake, two rivers - 25K of paddling in total. First leg of the trip was south on the lake, past Ile Morin, until we reached Gatineau River where we turned upstream and paddled till lunch stop on a nice rocky site with good swimming.

After lunch we continued for another 1K upstream before reaching the mouth of Kazabazua River. We followed the meandering, wide part of Kazabazua on a mission to find out the exact place where it turns from a stream into a wide lazy river. I think that we have "almost" reached it, before deciding to turn back. The name Kazabazua (according to wikipedia) "is said to be derived from kachibadjiwan (kach meaning "hidden" and djiwan meaning "current") — a reflection of local topography as the Kazabazua briefly becomes an underground river before resurfacing a few dozen metres downstream". This river seems to have a colorful personality.

Speed boats were the only irritant on the trip, most of them kept the distance. Paddling across the glassy evening waters of the main part of the lake was mesmerising. We were back at the dock at around 6pm, tired yet satisfied with our paddling achievements and the beauty of the day.

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