Paddling the Manicouagan Crater?

-- Last Updated: Sep-27-05 3:14 PM EST --

Hi - have any of you guys paddled the Manicouagan crater in Northern Quebec? Perhaps you have photos or stories from your trip...
My friend and I are looking to visit next year - any advice would be appreciated! images/manicouagan.jpg

Be careful
Here’s a trip report found on another site:

CP, Montreal PQ --Questions are being raised about certification for outdoor guides following the release of a police report on a canoe trip that went very wrong last summer.

According to the Gagnon, Quebec police report, a guided group of American tourists set out on a canoe trip on Manicougan Lake. As the Full Circle Tours goup of 12 prepared to launch at Gagnon, the guide suffered a hernia lifting a cheap canoe off a van and was rushed to hospital in Baie-Comeau. According to the assistant guide who took over the group, the senior guide had time only to instruct him to “take the group to the put-out at the dam”. Manicouagan #5 is located 60km south of the lake, on the Manicouagan River. The guide was not the only resource they lacked. It turned out they also left a bag in a rented van – a bag containing what turned out to be the group’s only maps, gps and satellite phone.

“We looked for the gear for two days before facing the fact we didn’t have it.” said Paul Addled, the assistant guide. “We all discussed the matter and agreed the route was simple enough that it wasn’t worth going back and ruining the trip.” Little did they know what an adventure they were in for.

The group was totally unaware Lake Manicouagan is a donut-shaped reservoir, formed when the dam filled an ancient meteorite crater. Had the group headed south down the east shore, they would have reached the lake outlet and the river. Unfortunately, they chose to parallel the west shore, which is actually the east shore of a huge island that fills the center of the lake. At 75km in diameter with rugged shores, the lake’s gradual curve is not apparent from the water.

Addled said they became utterly perplexed as some of the group noted and insisted the position of the sun, which, as they unwittingly turned west, then north, started rising in what they thought was the west, and set in the east. “Yeah, it just made no sense whatsoever.” said Addled, “Who would imagine a lake shaped like a circle? We had some very forceful personalities that insisted nothing was wrong. Those who disagreed with them had no explanation for what was going on, so it seemed best to just keep on going and see what happened. We started to question our sanity, and the atmosphere of the trip got quite strange at times.”

Because the group had food and time to reach the dam, they got all the way to the north end of the lake again before being reported missing. “We never dreamed something like that would happen, and we thought we were on schedule.” added client Sally Forth contacted by phone in Shinekteky, New York. “So we weren’t running out of food or anything like that. The sun thing seemed a bit odd, but I trusted the others knew what was best.”

The alarm was raised when the group failed to show up at the dam. Several days were spent searching the east side of the lake for aftermath of a canoe accident. When no trace of the group was found, the search area was expanded, eventually to the west side of the lake. The group was found, a little hungry but healthy, still on the central island’s coast, but just opposite their starting point in Gagnon and now headed southeast. “The lake got narrower, so we thought we were in the river.” added Addled.

“I’ve never seen so much confusion in my life.” said bemused Gagnon QPP officer Marc Soleil, describing the surreal scene as the group tried to fathom why they were being rescued and how they had somehow returned to Gagnon. The group was rushed to the town clinic for checkups and symptoms of poisoning as a result of their confusion and incomprehensible bizarre stories about “bad water” and the sun’s orbit reversing.

Some of the clients said they probably won’t book with the company again. Apparently however, other clients fully enjoyed what they called their “altered state adventure”. Some of them, including Forth, have already signed up again with the company for a trip described on Full Circle’s website as being a “Forest Wander” in northern Saskatchewan’s boreal forest.

Manicouagan crater…

– Last Updated: Sep-28-05 10:15 AM EST –

Yes - I've seen that one...I was looking for something a bit more positive, it sounds like that trip was a horror story from start to finish!
I've looked online and there doesn't seem to be much about it - lots of photos from space but no decent maps, the highest point on the island (René-Levasseur Island)is called Mount Babel.
it would be great if someone had photos of a trip or knew of a company that might operate in the area...

Trip log
I think that trip log was posted on “The Onion”

I first saw in on April 1st.

The names tell the story…

Along the same line…
Similar to the classic book on paddling the Niagara River “Over the Falls” by Hugo First


– Last Updated: Sep-28-05 7:25 PM EST –

Hilarious guys...

Did you ever make it to Manicouagan?
Your original post on the giant lake was from 2005 so I was wondering what became of your plan. I’ve been interested in paddling Manicougan for a long time and have also had difficulty finding info. I was wondering if you ever took the trip and whether you might have some stories or other info to share.

Manicouagan Reservoir
Wanted to comment our web page has a few photos and information on this destination: - in the next week or so, we’ll be updating it with larger photos, more photos and more information.

Hope this helps you decide to visit this part of the world and enjoy the beautiful scenery and warm hospitality. Beware of black fly bites in the summer.


Oh ya?
This story is obviously a hoax! Anyone reading it will soon see why, just the paddler’s names for one are a dead giveaway!

Anyway I was speaking with a tourist guide from the area recently and the trip can be easily organized by ckecking in at the Auberge located on the east shore of the lake just where the road nears the lake. It’s about a 2 week paddle, give or take a few days for weather, etc. The geology in the area is awesome, he told me.

I’m ready to go when you are!

So it appears…
… that no one has ever done Manicouagan? I’ve been thinking about it for some time and would certainly like to hear a first hand account. Maybe it’s time to mount an expedition??

JH Bahn

Looked at going there recently
found this trip report to be interesting:

been there
although not canoeing…

A lot of driftwood along the shorelines we visited. Would be hard to find a campspot there.

excellent report
I like it. I tried the picture link and it didn’t work.

picture link works now.

interesting to say the least
nice report about a dream trip. Thanks for posting that.

flooded meteorite

– Last Updated: Dec-09-06 4:11 PM EST –

Last year along the North Shore of the St Lawrence we met a couple who had just finished the
trip the day before.
They were from Holland, in their early 60's, using a tandem folding Kleeper.
They did it clockwise and mentioned going from one side of the shore to the other dependening on the prevailing winds and their location on the circle.
They had some really big water days including a 4 day layover waiting to make the last crossover back to their launch site.
The set up they had was an open kayak and he mentioned getting plenty soaked.

It is one of the world largest meteorite impact areas in the world that was then flooded by a hydro Quebec project .

Oh it cost them one car window that was shattered by debri from a passing truck.
If you head up that way be prepared for the driving up there it's "different".

Wish I had got an e-mail adress from them.
They were certainly mighty happy folks when we met them.
Along with whatever topos they could get they also had satilite imagery maps as well.

We will be looking to do the trip in the next couple of years.

ps don't forget the bug spray.....

Edit: I see now that the above link are the people I met..!!

nice folks
I just saw the link…these are the people I did meet while on the North Shore. That’s Great I thought I would never see or hear about them again.

What a pleasant surprise!!

I wondered

– Last Updated: Dec-10-06 1:54 PM EST –

I thought their report and yours sounded identical. But you said "last year" (which would be 2005) and their report said the paddled the Crater in 2006.

Had me confused.

I see what you mean we haven’t quite started this new year yet…it was indeed this past season of 2006.