Lac Kondiaronk May 2007 with two solo canoes.
Friday May 18th
Day temp 17°C and sunny.
Drove into Le Domaine at about 12:30. Although the original idea of canoeing from Grand Barrage to Lac Antostagan had been a good one, it was decided to try Circuit 16 in reverse just in case some of the portages were not passible. The Kondiaronk - Lower Antostagan area had taken the brunt of a wind shear in July of 2006. On the short paddle over to campsite C11-48 on Friday afternoon, we made a slight detour to see what was left of island site C11-65 after the severe wind damage of 2006. The island is totally devastated and the site now removed from service.
Saturday May 19th
Day temp 16°C, night 3°C, barometer falling.
A short paddle to the portage into Lac Barker. Felt lazy and made 3 passes of this up-and-over portage. Camped at C16-83. One good tent site with room for more on the beach. Went exploring in the afternoon primarily to check out the portages into Kondiaronk. A little work got the first two in tip-top shape.
Got back to the Barker campsite for a nice meal of dehydrated spaghetti sauce/bell peppers/spiced ground beef on fusilli. What a meal! Bugs getting bad so retired to the tent at about 19:30.
Sunday May 20th
Day temp 7°C, night -1°C, barometer steady.
Up at 6:45 and on the water by 8:15. As it was cool and a light rain, time was taken for a nice hot breakfast. We really needed it. The portages we encountered getting to Kondiaronk had severe wind damage from last winter over and above all the damage from last year's big wind. They took forever to clear - well at least make passable. We did not arrive at Kondiaronk until 15:00 even though there was only 1K of water and 700 meters amongst the last 4 portages. At least these portages are now quite passable.
We had to make several stops during the day for snacks to keep our energy up and warm. Thank goodness for peanut butter and Clif bars. The water was quite high and running fast through the chutes. At two of the portages the put-in was too close to the chutes for comfort. At the penultimate portage, we cut/bushwacked 20 meters upstream and put-in there.
We thought that the wind might be an issue on Kondiaronk as it was blowing in gusts from the west. On the short protected hop over to our camp, we noticed white-caps out in the middle of the lake. C16-73 is a nice large island campsite. The best take-out is facing South around the corner from the sign.
Monday May 21st
Day temp 16°C, night -2°C, barometer rising.
On the water by 8:15 with a Clif bar. The winds varied between 8 and 10kph gusting to 16kph coming at us. Canoe speed was between 3 and 4.5kph. By following the shoreline in the wind shadow and using the bays to keep land in front of us, canoeing wasn't difficult. Stopped at C16-62 for a nice hot breakfast and coffee.
Made it to C16-56 half-way down the lake by 11:30. It's our favorite site on Kondiaronk as it is in a bay protected from the winds, has a sandy beach and large open communal area. After knocking down one "widow-maker" I set up my tent and a closeline to dry out gear as the sun was hot.
At 17:45 as I am sitting near the campfire area a young wolf bounded past on the periphery of the campsite. Unfortunately it was way too fast for a photo. At 18:10 a hare hopped into camp totally oblivious to our presence. It headed over to Gerald's tent and either licked or tried to bite the tent fly. It then hopped right over near us and tried to eat a pot scrubber. After dark, a moose could be heard moving down the shoreline splashing in the water.
Gerald was worried about possible winds on Lac Poulter so he suggests that we not finish the Circuit and maybe do some exploring instead along the old circuit 16 from this end rather than the lower end that we explored last year.
Tuesday May 22nd
Day temp 22°C, night -2°C, barometer rising.
Up at 05:20 with a cold breakfast as to be on the water by 6:36 to take advantage of the calm. And what a calm it was. Near the shoreline it was glass-like. Stopped at C16-39 for a hot breakfast. The campsite is only OK with really only one pad. The landing is rocky and problematic. Right in the middle of breakfast, a humming bird with very irridescent green breast feathers stopped to hover right in front of me less than 2 feet away. What an experience. Sortly after, another hare came in to take a look at us. As this campsite is really only for a single tent, Gerald suggested we camp at the Kondiaronk Sepaq site for the night and then head into Lac de deux Isles in the morning. At the Sepaq site Gerald hitched a ride back to Antostagan with a maintenance worker to get his vehicle. He returned an hour later and suggested that we go get my truck. We had the Sepaq site to ourselves that evening. As the original idea of this trip had been exploring and as that is not happening, Gerald suggested that we head back home early.
Wednesday May 23rd
We head over to Lac Embarras for breakfast which, because of the bugs, is a cold one. We spend some time over at Le Domaine letting them know about the portages from Barker to Kondiaronk before heading home.
Notes:I'll have to try Lac au Barrage to Lac Antogtagan or Le Domaine via Kondiaronk another time as it has all the makings of a great solo canoe trip.
I've been trying to figure out how to get from the top of the Reserve back to Le Domaine. Something like Circuit 77 to Circuit35 to Circuit16 to Le Domaine. There is the possibility that Grand Lac Victoria to Lac la Perche to Lac Chartier, then Ruisseau la Roche to Lac Seton may act as connectors.This way only a small lower portion of Dozois needs to be paddled. Bushwacking will be required, of course, but, with luck, only a half-dozen short ones plus a few on old logging roads. A great idea for August or next year.