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Dumoine River

Nature always feels close at hand when you're on the river; shoulders of natural growth adorn either side. Journey though an ever-changing landscape, or sit and spy, mesmerized by a flock of birds that congregate along the shore. It's a wilderness route, winding amidst evergreen and hardwood forests, with trees sometimes forming a canopy. Bring your camera to capture the grandeur of a doe and her fawn or the trees that are brilliantly coloured in the fall.

The Dumoine River, located at the border of Témiscamingue and Outaouais regions, is considered one of the best white water rivers in Eastern Canada. Experienced paddlers adore the Dumoine but those with just a bit of experience are amazed at their achievements when their journey ends. It is an opportunity to share a real wilderness adventure with your family.

Starting in Quebec this river cascades down a series of rapids and falls to open up to the spectacular Ottawa River. Interrupt your paddling with a short break to explore unique locations along the rivers and lakes. Stop to see an old logging relic like "the alligator, or to check out the quartz squeezed in the rock beside a waterfall, of coarse the wildlife is always spectacular. Grade CII and CIII white water will challenge you each day as you travel past waterfalls and high cliffs.

Fly-in Starting Points

You realize this trip is a genuine adventure as your canoes are tied onto the floatplanes. You takeoff for the upper reaches of the Dumoine, watching the river unfold below. You can see the river winding and the rapids that will provide so many thrills in the days ahead.

Drop Off LocationsAverage Flight TimeTrip Length (Days)
Hunters Point 70 minutes14
Lac Sept Milles35 minutes8-9
Lac Dix Milles40 minutes7-8
Lower Lac Dumoine40 minutes7-8
Lac Laforge40 minutes5-6
Lac Manitou35 minutes4-5
Lac Benoit30 minutes3-4

Portages

The Dumoine River is a mix of the relaxing wilderness with the challenge of white water ranging from CI to CIV. Portages are available throughout the route, several around waterfalls. Trails can be rocky but good.

Campsites

The river offers isolated wilderness camping areas fully immersed in the Dumoine's natural beauty, an average of one site every 2.5 km. Take time to swim, fish, and take pictures, before cooking on your campfire.

Shuttle Service

Vehicles may be left at our air base in Rapids des Joachims (Swisha) or shuttle service is available from our base to your take out point at a cost of $50.00 per vehicle ; arrangements must to be made prior to your flight. Pick up service from your take out point at the mouth of Dumoine River to our base can be arranged.

For those paddling back to the air base, allow an extra day of travel from the mouth of Dumoine River to Rapids des Joachims.

Words From Hap

I don't recall the number of times I've actually paddled the Dumoine River in Quebec, but it's one of those endearing rivers that nestles comfortably and indelibly into your soul. I do make an annual pilgrimage down the Dumoine, or one of its sister-rivers - the Coulonge or Noire, usually in the fall, because I feel the necessity to quell the urge to visit a kindred spirit that has given so much to me through the years. In fact, sad to admit, that I see more of these rivers than I do most members of my immediate family.

Part of the experience, to me, is flying in above the roads - to settle in quickly and quietly to the romance of the river; to camp a day or two in the calm before making the descent; to breathe deeply of the essence that defines these Quebec gems. Kipawa Outfitters has a cottage base on Lac Dumoine - an excellent start point for 7-8 day trips down the river. Lac Dumoine is virtually undeveloped, with few established campsites, and most canoeists who start their trips downriver, fail to experience the pristine beauty of the headwaters. Personally, I find it difficult to assimilate to any river expedition where one is immediately plunged into the maelstrom of rapids and falls, without first taking some time for reflection and calm. After all, most of us lead rather hectic lifestyles where we constantly rush amongst the crowd, finding very little time to re-connect with the natural world. We all need to find the time to "ground" ourselves, to escape from the tedium of every day life in the mainstream. A night or two on Lac Dumoine - in the least, flying in to Lac Laforge or Lac Manitou, fulfills not only the entire scope of the "adventure", but allows you to find some much-needed time to find repose and calm. From there, the adventure unfolds the way it should.

People always ask me what my favourite of the three rivers is, or when the best time to go would be, and these are truly difficult questions to answer. Why, because I could expound on the seasonal attributes and characteristics of each river to the point of being verbose and rhetorical. True, I do make an annual run down the Dumoine almost every autumn, at a time when the water levels are at their lowest (or so you would think), but with every choice you make there will be compromises. Last year, oddly enough, the colours were not as dramatic, and when we started our trip (at Lac Laforge), the water levels were extremely low. Heavy rains prompted a delay at Laforge but it was some karmic realization that the fowl weather, and the extra time milling about the campfire, was a good thing. The group bonded, we enjoyed the beauty of the lake, and the water levels came up significantly to early summer levels. And, I find the river more challenging when the ledges and eddies are more defined.

I was also impressed by the cleanliness of the campsites. Paddlers seem to be more responsible, and outfitters like Blackfeather have done a mark-up job at stewarding the river, as Air Swisha & Kipawa Outfitters have done on Lac Dumoine. After all, it is our responsibility to show "duty of care" in order to preserve the integrity of this Canadian showpiece waterway. Happy travels!

Note: Hap Wilson's new book, "The Cabin", is now available through your local bookstore, or by ordering direct from Natural Heritage Publishers or sunriseadventures.com