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The Bonaventure is the secret mountain river of the east and we’re going back for 2016. In fact for 5 of the last 6 springs we’ve had great fun rides down this incredible river. It drops 1400 ft in 125km, with virtually no portages. This unique Gaspe River is said by many to be one of the most pristine wilderness Whitewater Rivers east of the Canadian Rockies. Flowing out of remote Lac Bonaventure, nestled high in the Chic Choc Mountains, the river features forested gorges, dramatic mountain vistas, and crystalline salmon filled waters. With a consistent dropping gradient, the river is characterized by virtually continuous technical Class I and, more often than not class II whitewater (with a few Class III drops in the gorge section) —all the way to the sea. Come join us for a great 7day wilderness canoe/camping experience. Previous whitewater experience is a good idea; the river is not ideal for people who have never paddled whitewater. There are no portages, but there may be a few short drag around some log jams. As the water is very cold, guests may want to bring along a wetsuit. Our trip meets in Bonaventure, P.Q the night before the trip. Our guides will be staying at a local riverside Hotel. You can book there as well or you could camp out in the nearby campground. The Bonaventure is a unique mini-expedition on one of eastern Canada’s most appealing rivers, the Bonaventure is a perennial favorite for many paddlers.
(Note: this is a suggested itinerary only, conditions on each trip may vary)
Day 0: Trip guests meet in Bonaventure, P.Q. the night before the trip. You can stay at the motel/hotel where our guides will be.
or you could stay at a nearby local campground.
Day 1: After breakfast we’ll board the vans and head toward Lac Bonaventure. Our drive will take us up along the X river and then high into the beautiful Chic Choc Mountains to the headwaters of the Bonaventure. We hope to be at the small source lake in time for lunch. After lunch and a quick review of paddling strokes we’ll head across the lake and enter the upper Bonaventure. The river here is narrow and very fast flowing. The 3km down to Petit Lac Bonaventure are very fast flowing shallow swifts. The only impediment here are possible sweepers which we have to be on the lookout for around the many bends. We may camp on the 2nd lake but if all is going well we will head on downriver for another hour or so to the next campsite. The river continues very fast with many class 1 rapids and occasional bigger sections. We’ll be paddling through an old burn.
Day 2: Today we’ll continue downriver thru the old burn and into the infamous ‘log jam”. Here all the deadfall caused by the burn has built up into several log jams which we have to negotiate our way around and thru. This can take several hours.
Day 3: We’ll continue on downriver thru many enjoyable class 2 rapids. Again the river builds in size, although it is still quite narrow. We’ll enter the ‘canyon’ section of the river today, paddling class 2 & 3 rapids and a series of ledges. Camp will be made at a lovely site in the midst of the canyon and right alongside one of the larger rapids of the trip.
Day 4: We finish the “Canyon” today paddling a number of drops and ledges. Scenery is stunning. After the canyon the river widens and the rapids generally become easier, although there is more volume. The current is still very strong but the rate of descent does decrease.
Day 5-6: It is easy going these days and we tend to make many km in a short time. The class 1, 2 and occasional class 3 rapids are more spread out but the current is still impressive. On the last day we’ll paddle to the Sea at the village of Bonaventure, Baie des Chaleurs. We’ll likely all again stay at a local bay side motel and enjoy a farewell dinner together before the drive home.
Merrilyn Lindsay business owner
David Wilkie, DVM professor and veterinarian
Peter Milliken, PC lawyer and politician
Didier Maclaine Pont invester/paddler
James Gardner vp – marketing
Chris Cunningham author