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Showing posts from 2015

Kayaking the Petite Peribonka River

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All the waterways around Lac Saint Jean are large. Even the Petite Peribonka River.

You can easily access the Peribonka River and the Petite Peribonka River, from . . . guess where? The town of Peribonka, located on the north shore of Lac St-Jean at the mouth of the Peribonka River.

The Peribonka River (French: Rivière Péribonka) is a river in the Lac-Saint-Jean area in Quebec, Canada. It is about 450 kilometres (280 miles) long. It flows into Lac Saint-Jean at Pointe-Taillon National Park and is the largest tributary of this lake.

There is a public boat launch in the town of Peribonka and parking nearby. Just stay on Hwy 169 to Peribonka. The launch is right next to the road at Rue Edouard Niquet. You'll see the docks. A company at the launch also rents kayaks for day paddles along with a small plastified map of the area. If the captain isn't there, just pick up the VHF radio on the door and call him. The instructions on how to reach him are posted. He's usually nearby. T…

Cycle to the Chutes a Michel in Saint Felicien, Quebec

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When we arrived in Saint Felicien, Quebec (Canada) with bikes and sea kayaks, wondering what to do and where to go, several locals asked, "Have you been to the Chutes a Michel yet? No? You really should go. You'll like it."

So we did. We changed our tentative plans to cycle the Veloroute des Bluets around Lac Saint Jean and headed off trail to find the rapids and falls.

When more than one person is convinced you'll enjoy the place, your curiosity won't let you pass it by. We easily found the almost hidden access to the cycle trail that leads to the falls with directions from the owner of Maison Banville Bistro where we were having lunch in Saint Felicien, and now I'll help you find it too: The Chutes a Michel on Rivière Ashuapmushuan.

From downtown Saint Felicien follow rue Sacre Coeur (street) towards Beaudoin Street. At the end of rue Sacre Coeur in a quiet residential neighborhood, look for the little off-road trail hidden in the trees and bushes. It feel…

Where to stay and eat in Saint Felicien, Quebec for kayakers and cyclists

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I don't usually talk about accommodations, but when visiting the Lac Saint Jean region in Quebec, Canada for cycling and kayaking, this was my biggest problem!

Figuring out what was available and where to stay. I didn't know the area at all. Internet research left me scratching my head. The most common lodging to be found in this area was B & Bs (gite), my least favourite type of lodging.

B & Bs are hit and miss. But I stumbled across this little jewel, Maison Banville in Saint Felicien, by sheer luck. In the heart of town, you'll find it at 1086 boulevard du Sacre-Coeur. Or visit their website at www.lamaisonbanville.com.
This is where cyclists like to stay while touring the 256 kilometre Veloroute des Bluets that circles Lac Saint Jean. It's perfect for road warriors. You've got services: B & B, bistro with great food and a company called Equinox Adventure shuttles cyclist's luggage from accommodation to accommodation around the Lac Saint Jean re…

Paddleboarding with lightning vs paddling with the sunset

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The glow on the paddleboard is so different.

With lightning strikes in the distance refusing to let night fall, the board, the lake, and the sky emit an eerie, electric glow.

At sunset, in the absence of impending storm, the board has such a warm glow.
But, both signal it's time to head home.

Safe and happy paddles.
The BaffinPaddler

Discover a cute kayak launch in Val Morin, Quebec, Canada: Paddle Riviere du Nord to Lac Raymond

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When you stumble across a nice place to launch a kayak and someone with a smiling, friendly face comes out of a beautiful little mountain theatre across the road to greet you and asks you to tell others about this place, how can you say no. And he didn't even know I was a paddle blogger.

Remember the beautiful facade of this building. It's right across the street from the small public launch on Riviere du Nord in Val Morin, Quebec. Or Google the address of Theatre du Marais and put it in your GPS: 1121 10th avenue. Free parking is on the street next to the theatre.

Sorry, there is no public restroom in the Parc de la Riviere at this launch site.

We visited on a day with constantly threatening black skies of rain.

Here's another jewel of a place I really don't want to share because I like it. I want to be greedy. It's a day paddle route. No camping along the way. But, I'll let go and share it in the hope that you save some of the time we spend exploring good pl…

Are you prepared for fishing lure encounters?

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Remember me?

No I forgot to look.

Are you prepared if you step on me?

No, not really. I guess I could take off my paddle bootie if you aren't stuck in my foot. I left the wire cutter in the car.

Now that you found me, what are you going to do with me?

It doesn't happen often, but this is the second time I almost stepped on a big fishing lure with multiple barbs. This one is bright red and easy to see, but with all the interesting scenery surrounding me, it was easy to miss. I only noticed it when I knelt down to take a photo.

Location: An island in Baie des Girard, off Saint Gedeon, Lac Saint Jean, Quebec, Canada

This is why I wear a good paddle bootie with a thick sole and not neoprene paddle socks. Protect your feet!

Now what to do with this lure?  I can't leave it on an island shoreline to wash back out into the water unattended or leave it where it sits for someone else to step on.

I planted the fishing lure firmly into a dead tree.
I thought I'd tell my blog reade…

Friendly duck alert

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I thought I'd take a close-up picture of a cute little duck swimming up to my moving kayak on a cold mountain stream with light current. My hands on the camera, the paddle in my lap.

The nose of my moving kayak kept getting closer to the duck, surely it will divert? But the duck did not change course. It turned directly towards the nose of my kayak and kept swimming towards it. We were headed for a nose to bill collision.

Yikes. I can't run over a duck! I dropped my camera and grabbed my paddle for a quick stop (back-paddling). My waterproof camera is attached to my paddle jacket and has a paddle float for good reason.

Yes. I brake for ducks. Some are a little too friendly. "What's in your lunch bag buddy!"
Happy paddle trails.
The BaffinPaddler

Welcome to kayaking the dreamscape of Saint Gedeon, Lac Saint Jean, Quebec, Canada

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This is a little jewel of a location for sea kayaking without the sea. It's big water with ocean feel on a giant lake: Lac Saint Jean. So no worries of reading tide charts. And the water is warm enough for a swim in summer. Two thumbs up!
A lake formed like big round bowl can be boring in a kayak so it's nice to know where along its shores you can find a beautiful archipelago of islands and big craggy bays with interesting granite rock outcroppings and semi-sandy, gravely beaches to park on around the lake.
We found it here: Saint Gedeon. We had the feeling of being lost without getting lost. Big water on Lac Saint Jean, with lots to explore and endless places to wander - so close to our accommodation.
After paddling the islands off Saint Gedeon and the nearby Baie des Girard,I remarked to my paddling partner that I didn't want to share this spot on my blog. How selfish! He told me I had to. So many paddlers share favorite paddling places, I've got to do the same. Tha…

Harmony with your kayak

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Harmony with your kayak. Where do you find it?

My kayak has a message in the seat. Harmony. After five years of paddling this kayak that I love, I suddenly noticed it. I was just reaching down to swab out the water behind the flexible back bend. The message in the seat made me stop for a few moments and I wondered, why didn't I notice it before? Harmony in my seat. If it's a brand name. Good choice.

I always felt it when I got in. Harmony with this kayak. And, especially, harmony after I learned how to adjust the seat and foot pegs, harmony after I found a paddle or two that I liked to paddle with, harmony after I took some kayaking courses, harmony when I found some good paddle mates, and harmony when I keep exploring and learning.

If you don't feel harmony in your kayak, perhaps look deeper. Is it your kayak, the paddle, your technique, your attitude, gear that doesn't work or perform to your needs, your paddle knowledge, your fitness level and diet, the people you …

Sunscreen your kayak

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It's motivating to sunscreen your kayak before a trip, whether it is plastic or fibreglass. I have one of each. For me, it's the only way to get motivated, otherwise I keep putting it off. And I know on a trip, the kayak is going to spend a lot more time in the hot sun. But, it's important to do it properly. There are several different brands of product to sunscreen and protect your kayak. I used Aerospace 303.
The kayak also looks beautiful after a proper cleaning and treatment, sometimes even showroom ready. And, I feel better when I'm tripping knowing I've given it some sun protection. It also reminds me to bring my human sunscreen too.

Here's a link to my article on sunscreening your kayak and how to do it properly according to the manufacturer's instructions.

Sunscreen your kayak! 303 Aerospace Protectant. Time to think about it

Happy paddles!
The BaffinPaddlr

Accidental paddle art

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There are lots of benefits to cleaning out the kayak gear bags before a little trip to cold water. You find stuff!

Some of it is necessary stuff. Some of it is stuff you forgot you had. You find out some of what you want and need is hidden somewhere else and you spend hours tracking it down. But finally, the mess is assembled and all the sand and grit is dumped back outside where it belongs.

Geez. Look at all this stuff! It's frightening? It's beautiful? It's all good stuff! Now to pare it down and bring as little as possible. And this is all the day tripping gear. The kayak camping gear (sleeping bags, lightweight 2-man tent, pots n' pans, etc.,) are another story and packed away in bins. My paddle partner laughed, "You have a lot of shit down there!" I guess he forgot half of it is his!
But what's this? A long lost clementine hiding in one of the gear bags. Perfectly desiccated and preserved and hard as a rock. It has a faint scent of orange flavoured …

Happy St. Patrick's Day from The BaffinPaddler

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It's St. Patrick's Day. Time to tip our hats goodbye to the ice fishing huts on Lac Deschenes (on the Ottawa River) in Canada's National Capital Region.

Today the wind gusts were a wicked 65 km/hr (40 mph) making it hard to hold on to this flimsy green hat from the Dollar Store!

The ice fishing huts are all off the lake now, well ahead of spring thaw.

Here's a last look at this winter's cozy temporary village on Lac Deschenes with its spattering of quirky little heated ice-fishing huts. 

How these small, transportable shelters can harbor heat and not melt a hole in the ice are a mystery to me.
Winter recreation on frozen lakes wouldn't be complete without the majestic views of the snow kiters flying by on windy days.
Lonely? Check out the views. The Aylmer Marina and the cities of Gatineau and Ottawa are your next door neighbors. It feels remote, but it's not.
Personality. Each hut has its own story. It's tempting to peek into the windows.
Today, the li…

Greenland Bound — A Paddler's Pilgrimage: What's your favorite clip?

At the 10th Reel Paddling Film Festival World Tour, Greenland Bound — A Paddler's Pilgrimage won best Sea Kayak film for 2015.

I can see why. It has won my heart and given me new paddling inspiration. If you haven't seen it yet, you may want to have a peek:

Greenland Bound - A Paddler's Pilgrimage from Ontario Sea Kayak Centre on Vimeo.

I've already watched it ten times today. It's such a wonderful story, beautifully shot and narrated.

The story follows James Manke and James Roberts as they travel to Qaqortaq, Greenland, to experience the culture and participate in the 2014 Greenland National Kayak Championships. They returned to Canada with gold medals, smiling faces, many happy memories and newfound friends.

Dubside is also featured.

Do you have a favorite scene or clip from the video? 

I certainly do. It's the rolling iceberg that tries to steal the scene from James Roberts as he's competing.

Fantastic! Enjoy!

You can also find more about their adventure o…