ZEC Kipawa, southwest Quebec

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Jun 12, 2012
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I did this trip a few years ago, maybe 6-7 years, not sure. I only know the pictures are from the first digital camera we ever had, one we got "free" by spending tons of money on Visa...

I became interested in ZEC Kipaw from Hap Wilsons book, Rivers of the Ottawa Valley. I searched around, made some phone calls and emails and found this site http://www.zeckipawa.com/canoe.html

Although the information is good on the site, I made copies of my emails with names, prices and phone numbers which I presented at the place you buy permits. The woman there only spoke French but she agreed ed with the emails and took my cash. They only take cash at the back country permit stations, so be prepared.

Here is the map of my 5 day trip. I started at Lac Ostaboningue in mid May. This is a big lake with motor boat traffic, but the days I was on the lake, boat traffic was almost zero.

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I paddled down Lac Ostaboningue into a bay that leads to my first portage into Lac Cooks. On Lac Crooks, I found a small place to cook some dinner on some rocks.
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I soon found a campsite after dinner, but this was a bushwack type of site on a flat spot I found on an island. At the outpost where you buy your permits they have a wall map with all campsites penciled in, I failed to copy any down, I had this thing about defacing my topos, no more.
I never had a real problem finding campsites, but a group would be wise to study that outpost map.
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I found the portages with no problem, all where clear of major blowdowns and marked. The weather was nice, the fishing slow, (I might have been a week early) but I had a good time. Just after this portage I met two guys in a canoe. We stopped and talked, they where moose hunters who where scouting for the coming falls season via a canoe/camping trip. Nice guys, they where not having much luck with the fishing either, too early they said.
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Fishing and Hunting in the ZEC's are popular, but somewhat expensive. I already had a season non resident fishing license and payed for the "ZEC" fishing permit. They do a good job keeping the area productive for the outdoorsman, so I was happy to pay. I never saw anyone else after portages. I did see a fishing boat on one other big lake. I saw boats cached on portage lakes, but no no one was using them. Here's a small dock built on the one other big lake I portaged into, it's there for paying fisherman built by an outfitter I would assume

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The lakes where as wild as I have seen, a small vacant hunt camp here or there, but no big cabins. There was some logging evidence, but I never heard any logging machines. I did portage through a clear cut which was somewhat different, but I understand the need for a working forest and have no problem with logging.

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After Lac Cinq Milles I entered River Cherise, which was a very pleasant paddle downstream. While on this river I came to a small cabin and saw a man outside. He waved me over and invited me in for tea and cookies. His wife was there, they came in via ATV to his trappers cabin. He was a First Nations person who had a permit to trap the area in the winter. He told me about old canoe routes, how it was trapping back in the day and other things about his life. I left feeling lucky to have met this couple. He said he saw no canoes the year before on this river.
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ZEC Kipawa is a nice place to canoe camp, when you think of how many people visit Algonquin Park not that far away from Kipawa, it might be a good place to explore for a change of pace.
 
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I have a really dumb question. How did you draw your route on a topo map Robin? I know I can use the tracking feature on my mapping GPS but frankly only turn the darn thing on when I want to confirm position.

Are you using GPS or Paint.. or something else? I imagine you a non techie guy. I am a non techie in many ways too.. but dumber. I can transfer the topo to Paint and that is about it.

Well relatively non techie.. You certainly now know more about websites than I ever want to!
 
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Joined
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That came off the website in the beginning of the story, I have no idea how to do that save a crayon on my pc screen:confused:
 
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Maybe someone else does! I like the longer trip described on the ZEC Kipawa website too.
Was there much moving water on the route you did? It seems portages are well marked and the chance of portage finding error not that great?

What is the best way to get there? It seems much farther than La Verendrye.

Omy .. I looked up the longer route on CCR..seems the beaver have made a mess of it.. (we probably don't need to go there again!)
 
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Joined
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I would say it's about the same distance as Temaggami, maybe closer. I took 17 east from Pembrooke, Ontario, then north on 63 to 101, then a right onto 391 to Bearn, Quebec. I followed a well used logging road from Bearn to Lac Ostaboningue where there is a parking lot. I left my truck there for 5 days with no problem.

For any trip into the ZEC Kipawa it's best to make a phone call to the websites "contact us" or email them, or better yet, both. Email so you have your info in writing. Then you can use that in the event someone at the outpost is misinformed or not fluent in English or there is a disagreement on current rates. They are very nice folks there at the outpost, cash only, and check for the hours and days of operation.

I see it's only $6 a day for canoe camping, that's a pretty good deal. Fishing is $100 for 7 days, plus a Quebec non resident lic, $65 for a season, $44 for 7 days, so if you fish this might be too expensive.

Yes, the portages where marked well, I did have a little problem following one trail when it skirted a clear cut, but that just meant I got to carry my number 3 Duluth pack a little longer that day....wish I could be doing that today....March drags on.:(
 
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Interesting to see a report from Quebec, haven't seen many of them.

It's fairly easy to do the route tracing if you have a copy of photoshop. Just import your digital map, trace your route, add info etc and export it back out in the format appropriate for your use.
 
Joined
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Interesting to see a report from Quebec, haven't seen many of them.
I have a few from LaVerendrye I'm going to post, Quebec is a good destination for us folks from the eastern seaboard. Most of the trips I have been on in Quebec, I seldom encountered other canoes compared to what I ran into in Algonquin or Temaggami.
To be fair, the routes I traveled in Algonquin and Temaggami where pretty popular routes at the wrong time.
But for east coaster's, Quebec has alot to offer.
 
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