Algonquin Provincial Park - Lake Travers - Campsite

Petawawa River

Lake Travers to Lake McManus

June 17 - 20, 2005

Algonquin Provincial Park - Sand Lake Gate

Canoe Trip Reports

Petawawa River

Trip Preparation
Day 1
Day 2
Day 3
Day 4
What worked well
Lessons Learned
Photo Gallery

Day 2 - Lake Travers to Crooked Chute

Packing up camp on Lake TraversEveryone was in a good mood as we packed up camp this morning. There is something about being on a canoe trip and knowing that there is nowhere that you absolutely have to be for the next 3 days. No alarm clocks, no schedules, no meetings, just you, some friends and the great outdoors.

The weather wasn't the greatest for mid June - it wBunchberries on the portage around Big Thompson rapidsas a grey, overcast day with the odd bit of drizzle coming down. On the other hand, as we started out on Lake Travers it was nice and calm, a good morning for lake paddling.

We were probably at the portage around Big Thompson by about 10am. We portaged Big Thompson completely, although folks from a different group portaged across the island and ran the bottom half. The portage runs along river right. This portage was well used and easy to follow Looking back up Big Thompson rapids from the put in at the bottom but it was also a bit rugged. It was quite manageable, just required a bit of up and down clambering over rock. The put in is in an eddy with just a few waves left to float through before the river smooths out again. The river is quite narrow and runs fast through a shallow gorge below Big Thompson. It was a beautiful section, but it was clear that we were committing to the route, there wasn't going to be any paddling back upstream if we didn't like what we saw further dEnd of Big Thompson rapids - Petawawa Riverown.

We portaged the gear at Little Thompson and scouted the rapid. The Whitewater Guide says it can be run on either river left or river right but the standing waves on river right were looking pretty daunting. In the end the choice was made for us when providence, or rather carelessness took a hand. We thought that we had pulled the canoes up enough at the portage takeout but we had not tied them. As we were sizing up the rapid, one of the canoes got dragged off the bank and proceeded to run down the route on river left on it's own. While it doesn't show well on the map, there is a bit of a headland that juts out into the river here. On the upstream side, there is a small beach, about 6' wide and the empty canoe happily ran right up to the beach where I grabbed it. From there I ferried back out and around the point to the downstream side where we were loading the gear. Having seen the line, Josh and I figured we could copy it and run tightA clumsy, but successful, run of Little Thompson rapids - Petawawa River down river left to the little piece of beach safely enough. When we ran it, we didn't hug the shore tightly enough and got pushed wide of the beach, running into the rock headland. Not a graceful move, but we kept our lean to the downstream side and the current carried us out and around. We then ferried in behind the headland and reloaded the gear. Next time around, in the same water conditions I would still take the river left route, but eddy out to the right behind a big boulder. From there it is an easy front ferry out of the eddy before turning downstream to clear the headland. Meanwhile Scott and Dave portaged the 3rd canoe down.

After Little Thompson, we stopped at the island campsite at about km 52 on the Petawawa River Whitewater Guide map and had our lunch of PB&J sandwiches. The island was small, but very pretty. There would be virtually no firewood on the island and the river was still narrow and fast enough to discourage trying to collect any firewood on shore and brGrillade Rapids - Petawawa River - Algonquin Provincial Parking it out.

After lunch we continued on down the river looking forward to Grillade which was the first rapid we had planned to run when preparing for the trip. When we got to the takeout we unloaded the canoes and pulled them well out of the water. We then portaged the gear watching the rapid as we walked. The Whitewater Guide rates is as a Class 1 rapid and other than being a bit shallow and rocky, there were no technical obstacles and we could have comfortably paddled down loaded. So we walked back up and ran the canoes down. Well, actually we ran the first 2 canoes down, the Josh and I went back for the Scott and Josh coming down Grillade Rapids - Petawawa River3rd canoe. Brownie had been running back and forth along the portage with us and as Josh and I lined up for to start down with the 3rd canoe, she realized she was still on shore and that there were no more canoes left. Now keep in mind that she had across the portage and back twice already and she knew the rest of the group was at the other end. Unfortunately in a moment of panic she forgot that and decided she was being abandonned so she start swimming out towards us, but by that time we were already in the current on our way down the rapid. Once she was in the rapid, Brownie decided she was better off on shore, but it took her about half the rapid to make it back to shore. WeCrooked Chute rapids- Petawawa River (c) D. Carsonaring her lifejacket helped her, both staying afloat and cushioning the rocks.

Shortly after Grillade is the start of the Crooked Chute series of rapids. Again, according to plan and playing it safe we stopped at the first takeout and portaged the gear to the 2nd takeout. The portion above the chute is rated as a class I to II rapid and the advice we had was that running down to the 2nd takeout was common and fairly safe. Well this time, that top section of rapids was completely washed out sCrooked Chute rapids- Petawawa River - Algonquin Provincial Park - (c) D. Carsono we comfortably paddled the canoes down to the 2nd takeout which saved us about 500 metres off the distance we had to carry the canoes. There is a 3rd takeout which would have cut the about 500 more metres off the portage, but the advice was not chance it. So we portaged the canoes and the gear from the 2nd takeout around the bottom part of the chute.

It was getting a bit on towards dinner time and the various groups on the river were clumping up a bit. I'd been thinking of camping at the Chute since I thought it would be a scenic spot to spend the evening but the rest of the folks thought it would be rather busy, so we pushed on to find a campsite for the night. Not sure what I was thinking but in the end I didn't even get a good loLooking back towards the Crooked Chute from our campsiteok at the Chute itself. I did see it from the bottom once we were on the water, and Dave took a couple of pictures that he shared, but I do need to go back if only to get a good look at this famous Algonquin landmark. There was a really nice looking site right across the bay from the put-in at the bottom of the Chute but it was already taken. If you are looking at the Whitewater Guide, it is worth noting that where it shows a campsite on river right on that bay is actually the Crooked Chute cabin, which can be reserved, but it's not aBrownie - a German Short Haired Pointer and a great canoe tripping dog "first come first served" tent site. As it was we only had to go just around the first bend at the bottom of the bay to find an open site.

The site was dry but I remember the underbrush being quite thick and it definitely felt like it should be very buggy. Fortunately there were hardly any bugs around the whole weekend, which was much better than we had expected when we planned the trip for mid-June. Dinner was dehydCampsite below Crooked Chuterated chili (using the recipe from "The Wilderness Cookbook - A Guide to Good Food on the Trail") and corn bread dumplings.





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