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Matt and I took another trip down the Mattawa River, this time with Mike along! Once again, we started at Armstrong Beach in North Bay, and paddled to the Marina on the Ottawa River in the town of Mattawa.

May 18, 2006
Drove to North Bay
Stayed the night at Donny's place (Thanks Donny!)

Today's portage distance = 0 m
Total portage distance = 0 m
Today's paddle distance = 0 Km
Total paddle distance = 0 Km

May 19, 2006
Shuttled car and trailer to the Marina in Mattawa, thanks to Donny for doing the shuttle for us!
Put in at Armstrong Beach in North Bay
E through Trout Lake to Portage de la Tortue (not actually a portage, since the rapids were blasted out to provide motor boat access)
E through Turtle Lake
P200 m River Right "Portage de la Mauvaise Musique"
Camp on Island site on Pine Lake

Today's portage distance = 200 m
Total portage distance = 200 m
Today's paddle distance = 23.4 km
Total paddle distance = 23.4 Km

May 20, 2006
E through Pine Lake
P450 m "Portage Pin de Musique"
N then E through Talon Lake
P300 m River Right "Portage de Talon" (around Talon dam and Talon Chutes)
Camped near cliff at Talon Chutes, halfway across the portage

Today's portage distance = 750 m
Total portage distance = 950 m
Today's paddle distance = 13.5 Km
Total paddle distance = 36.9 Km

May 21, 2006
E on Mattawa River
CBR (CI) "Descharge des Perches" or P150 m River Right
CBR (CI) or P200 m River Right
P100 m River Left "Portage de la Cave" or CBR (CI)
CBR (CI) or P50 m River Right
CBR (CII) "Portage de la Prairie aka (Little Paresseux Falls)" or P287 m River Left
P402 (un-runnable) around Parresseux Falls River Right
Stop to check out "Porte de l'Enfer" (Gates to Hell) - one of only two native Ochre mines in Ontario
Continue E on Mattawa River
CBR (Swift) into Bouillon Lake, or P30 m River Left
E throught Bouillon Lake
P150 m (CI-II) "Portage de Roches" River Left, or CBR
CBR (CI-II) "Porage Campion" or R185 m River Right (turn left and follow paved road after a short section of trail)
Continue E on Mattawa River
Camp on Island site before Chant Plein Lake

Today's portage distance = 652 m
Total portage distance = 1602 m
Today's paddle distance = 19.5 Km
Total paddle distance = 56.4 Km

May 22, 2006
E on Mattawa River
E through Chant Plein Lake
E on Mattawa River
P100 m around Hurdman Dam (by taking shortcut - full portage is 300m)
E on Mattawa River to Town of Mattawa
N on Ottawa River to Mattawa Marina

Today's portage distance = 100 m
Total portage distance = 1702 m
Today's paddle distance = 8.2 Km
Total paddle distance = 64.6 Km

Maps & Info:
  • Darren Cope
  • Matt Fallowfield
  • Mike Proper

  • Coming Soon


Here's the journal that Matt wrote on our trip:

"Mah-tuh-wa-tuh-Ott-ah-wa" Take II (with Mike this time!)

May 18, 2006 (Day 0)

I worked until 11:30 am and then came back to Woodstock to gather up my gear and have a quick shower, then I was on the road to Mike’s place in Paris. I got to Mike’s at shortly after 2, got all of his stuff packed up and ready to go by about 2:45, and we were ready to rock. We went from Paris down the 403 to Brantford where we stopped at Wendy’s for a quick bite to eat. Then we headed down the 403 East towards Toronto to hop on the 427 and go up to the 401. However when we got to Burlington we heard that there was an accident on the 403 in Oakville so we decided to take the 407 up to the 400. We got there with no problems, and we got off the 400 at Vaughn Mills Mall to use the washroom. When we went to get back on the 400 North we saw the sign for “400 North to Barrie”, and drove right past it and ended up heading South on the 400. We turned ourselves around at the next exit and finally got back on our way to Barrie to pick Darren up. We ended up getting off at Highway 88, and crossing over to #27 due to some really backed up traffic. We got to Darren’s just off of Essa Road in Barrie at about 5:15 pm. After we got everything packed up there we headed to Zehr’s to pick up some last minute things. We got gas and hopped back on the 400 North to North Bay. Of course because Webber’s was open we HAD to stop there! We also stopped at Timmie’s for a coffee, and then we were off to North Bay to Donny’s (aka. The Martini Master). We finally got to North Bay, but got turned around with some false directions from Google maps, but we found ourselves at Donny’s doorstep for 9:00 pm on the dot. We unpacked the truck into the basement to re-pack everything together while drinking some Alexander Keith’s. We headed to bed around 11 pm, so that we could get up early to go and do the shuttle to Mattawa.

May 19, 2006 (Day 1)

We awoke to the dreaded alarm clock at 5:30 am, and went to the gas station for me to gas up and Donny to get air in a tire, then we hit highway 17 to Mattawa. When we got to Mattawa we parked the truck and trailer at the marina and headed back to North Bay to go out for breakfast. We arrived at Dave’s Diner at 7:45, and I must say that I was quite impressed with the food, the best we’ve had before a trip in quite some time. After breakfast we returned to Donny’s to pack all the gear and canoes onto his trailer to take us down to the North Bay MNR office (the marked put-in for the trip), on the west shore of Trout Lake. We got to “stepping stones” at the East end of the lake after a few short resting stops. All the way down Trout Lake we had a tail wind, I know quite a surprise!!! After passing “stepping stones” we entered Turtle Lake where we headed for the site Darren and I stayed on the last time, however it was occupied. The people that were on the site had motor boats, chainsaws, and a dog. There were also quite a few coolers, so we predicted that they were out for a weekend of drunken fishing. So after finding that nice site occupied we continued on to the portage to Pine Lake (Portage De La Mauvaise Musique 130m on the right of the swamp). We loaded up the boats and then floated while eating lunch of Stonners, Cheese, roast beef, and granola bars. We found our camp site on a small island in the middle of Pine Lake, got a fire going and the tarp setup. Mike and Darren got the tent setup while I was tending to the fire (wet wood doesn’t burn too well…), and then Darren and I went for a paddle to find some drier wood while Mike pumped water and kept the fire going. When Darren and I returned with wood we got to cooking dinner. Threw some foil wrapped potatoes in the fire, and some steaks on the grill. Was a very tasty dinner if I don’t say so myself. It was so good I got it all over myself, and had to wash my hands and face. So to the edge of the lake I went, soaped and rinsed, then proceeded to get up and my only foot that I had weight on slipped, then I ended up in the lake for a 5 second swim fully clothed and hiking boots on too. I got changed into some dry clothes while being laughed at, and then we got supper dishes and other stuff all cleaned up. There was no where to hang a food pack, and we figured being on an island we were pretty safe to just leave the barrel in a safe place on the ground. Now here we are, I am still being laughed at for swimming, in the tent writing the journal. Its now probably about 7:45 or so and it will soon be bed time, so that’s all for tonight.

May 20, 2006 (Day 2)

Woke up to Matt’s alarm on his cell phone at about 5:30am, turned it off and then went back to sleep. Didn’t know that a phone would turn itself back on to a set alarm! Got up the second time and had breakfast of oatmeal in the misty rain, packed up the gear, soaked tent and tarp. We made it on the water in decent time with Matt in the solo boat, and Mike and Darren leading the way. We headed East on Pine lake to Portage Pin De Musique – approximately 300 m. Along the portage we saw the noted big round holes along the portage just after crossing the road. We started off down Talon lake where the wind picked up and we rafted to drift while having a water break and we figured since it was one of few times that mother nature worked with us, we should make use of it. We stopped at Grasswell Point for a washroom break and a short rest, and then we continued down Talon Lake to a semi sheltered spot for lunch. We had bagels, cheese, German salami, polish sausage, and granola bars for dessert. We continued West on Talon Lake until we got to Talon Dam/Talon Chutes. We proceeded to look for a place to camp, deciding that where Darren and I had camped before wasn’t sheltered enough from the elements, and we found a nice flat sheltered spot just down from the last spot. We setup the tent and tarp and the we went exploring. We set off across Talon Dam to the North shore of the chutes. We found many nice camp sites and took some cool pictures. One spot had three trees that were all uprooted with rocks entangled in the roots. We back tracked to the dam and went past it following a small trail. At what appeared to be the end of the trail there was another nice flat and sheltered campsite to the North of the buoys at the dam. Then we spotted another trail heading north from that camp site and decided to follow that. Mike and I stopped walking, but Darren kept going and found some cool flowers and then he found the remains of a Magnesium Brucite Mine. There were several old machines including a diesel water pump, elevator, crushing machines, and a shaker with many conveyors linking the production line. We took a ton of pictures there and we went a bit further to find the mining pit and a maintenance shed. While wandering back towards the dam we came up with the idea that along the side of the trail all of the trees were very young. Mike determined that a red pine tree was right around the 20 year old mark. As we kept following the trail we also noticed that there was a fairly flat and wide strip that ended directly across the river from the end of the access road to the dam. So we think that the mining company built a road to cross the river and access the mine, also allowing them to get their equipment back to the site. (Upon reading more into it when we got to the site we found that the mine closed in the late 1940’s) Returning to the campsite I cooked supper of spaghetti, dehydrated sauce, and stonners while Mike and Darren went for a paddle to pump water. Just after finishing up supper we noticed that the grey cloudy sky had moved away exposing the blue sky, and very few white puffy clouds. YAY, SUN, BLUE SKY!! We decided that we should go and find a place to sit in the sun and enjoy it, so we hiked up to a high point on the south side of the portage trail. On this high point we found some evidence of a porcupine, scat and scratching marks on a tree. Also noted was a lot of deer scat. We cleaned up our gear and now we are sitting up on the cliff right beside the chutes writing the journal and relaxing in the SUN! We are looking forward to our paddle tomorrow with lots of rapids to run. And I am sorry to say that nothing too terribly comical happened yet today!

May 21, 2006 (Day 3)

Woke up lateish to find the same fishermen out below the chutes that were there when we went to bed. We were glad to see that the sun was still out and there were few broken, scattered clouds. Darren boiled up some water for oatmeal while we took down the tarp setup. Ate the oatmeal then packed everything up and took off a bit after 10 am. Paddled a short distance to Portage Des Perches – approximately 75 m. We used the portage to scout the C I rapids, both the tandem and solo boats were run through cleanly. We then returned to the river, where we paddled another short distance to an unnamed portage – approximately 130 m – to scout another C I rapid. Another rapid cleanly run with only one rock bumped between both canoes. There was only a short distance to the next portage, Portage De La Cave – approx. 80 m – a C II rapid. After scouting the rapids Mike decided to let Darren and I run both boats down. We ran the first one down with a slight rub at the bottom. However the second was run down with a crash at the bottom, but we still remained upright, although we did break the bow seat (just pulled the rivets out). After cleaning the water out of both canoes we continued down a small swift, C I. Just down from that was Portage De La Prarie – Approx. 200 m – C II.

Darren and I again ran both boats down cleanly it was a ton of fun. Mike took some pictures of us paddling down. The next stop on the river was Paresseux Falls, a must to portage – approx 300 m. When we got to the end of the portage we paddled out in front of the falls to take some pictures, then we found some parts of a deer skeleton (Skull, Shoulder blade and some other small bones). Stopping at Porte De L’Enfer (Gate to Hell), we decided to take the kitchen pack up into the ochre mine to eat lunch of pitas, cheese, onion and tuna. Our next stop after lunch was Elm Point (the electrical site). We found the electrical outlet but we were still unsure if it is a live plug because we forgot to bring something to plug into it. Standing enjoying the peace we could hear a waterfall or stream, so we went to check it out. We found a marked trail so we decided to follow it. We hiked all the way up to the top of the waterfall, crossed over the stream and proceeded back down to the canoes. There were lots of cool pictures taken through the hike. When we got back to the canoes we looked at the map and figured out that we had hiked up at least 40 m, and it might have been as much as 50 m to the top of the waterfall. Just as we got back into the boats it began to rain again. So we put on our rain suits and then headed to the swift into Bouillon Lake, the swift turned out to be just an opening between the river and the lake this time because the water was higher. Portage Des Roches was our next stop, and after scouting Darren and I ran the boats down cleanly again. Our next stop to scout was at the top of the Campion Portage – Approx. 100 m – C II. I took the solo boat down and then Mike and Darren followed. From there on down it was a long, uneventful paddle, we saw lots of little mini waterfalls emptying into the river. Working our way down the river we passed a hunting and fishing resort, and an unmarked private land campsite to an unmarked crown land camp site on an island. We set up the tent and then started the freeze dried goulash soaking in water (mushrooms, carrots, onion, cabbage, corn, chicken, beef, peppers, beans and potatoes). Since we were all soaked we climbed into the tent to warm up and start the journal. After supper we washed dishes, and got back into the tent. Mike fell asleep and Darren and I are looking at the maps finding some cool stuff. Soon it will be bed time and tomorrow we have to unfortunately take out and head for home. That’s all for today.

May 22, 2006 (Day 4)

Woke up somewhat early to a chilly wind to get started on our last bit of paddling. Ate breakfast of oatmeal and some warm water to warm up. Oddly enough we found that we had totally emptied the food barrel for the first time in the history of our tripping together. No GORP left, NOTHING… just garbage! Once again we packed up our soggy gear and then it began to rain again. Headed east across Chant Plain Lake where Mike and I saw two more crosses on the North shore of the lake. Darren and I never noticed them the last time we were there. Darren had a conversation with a dog that came charging at us from a house, and slammed on its brakes when it got to the waters edge. Then we returned to the river on our way down stream to Hurdman Dam. We portaged around the dam – Approx. 180 m – and put back into the fast moving water below the electrical portion of the dam. Off we were again East through Boom Lake, and then back into the last stretch of the river. Again an uneventful paddle, I think it was because none of us were really looking forward to going back home! Just into the town of Mattawa we saw a totem pole, and a sign on the little island in the middle of the river just before it meets the Ottawa River. Took some pictures of that, and then paddled out into the mighty Ottawa River and on over to the Marina to the truck. One of the marina workers came over and helped us carry our gear up to the truck, then we got our stuff packed up and had a beer before we got changed. We left the Marina and headed to a variety store to get some milk and candy. Then we were off to North Bay to Colonel Hoagies for lunch of Bacon Cheese burgers and fries. After our good lunch we headed back down highway 11 for Barrie, only hitting a little bit of slow traffic, but made it to Darren’s in decent time. We got gas and then stopped at Quizno’s for another bite to eat. MMMMM… Prime Rib Quizno’s subs… Left Barrie heading back to Paris to drop Mike off we had some small difficulties on the way… The rim on the trailer was damaged and it was “floating” on the studs of the hub (very noisy), and a CV joint went on the truck. However we did make it to Mike’s at about 6 pm. My mom and George came to pick me up in Paris, take the trailer back to Grandma and Grandpa’s, and then I finally got back home to Hil and Hunter around 8:30 pm. I guess tomorrow it’s back to the good old grind… back to work for all three of us. We had a good trip overall and now we are looking forward to the next one, as usual. Thanks again to Donny for the hospitality and then shuttle, it was good to visit again! Some day Donny, you’ll have to come on a trip with us!

  This page was last updated on August 17, 2006 at 01:37 AM