Sunday, May 24, 2009

Tour 09 begins

- In English its 'Waterfall'. In Thailand it was 'Nam Tok'. In Norway its 'Fossen' but now we are in search of the 'Chutes of Quebec'!

Where do I start this story of such epic moments in its first week...
It all started relatively smoothly pulling out of 269 Twyford Rd with boat on roof, bags in boot and passport in hand.
The trip to Auckland was not a bad one and the check in to the plane with my years worth of gear and kayak was a breeze! Things were going so well! I got off the plane and settled in San Francisco Airport for the expected 18hr Layover with some wireless internet, an uncomfortable chair and regular updates on the loud speaker about terrorist treat level ORANGE!!! What does that even mean?
Anyway the hours ticked over and as it came time to sleep I made my way to the domestic terminal to sleep before my flight and check in at 6am!!! At 12.45am I made it to American Airlines check-in area and someone came over and said if I was on one of their flights I could not come with my kayak... They then changed me to 'Air Canada' and said they will now take you at 8am. I was a bit unsure about this but could do nothing! When I went to check in at Air Canada they had the same story and NO KAYAK policy! With only a few minutes till my original flight boarded I raced back there and made up a totally outrageous story about why I was switched over and they bought it! As the flight was boarding they rushed me through and i missed the $250 over sized baggage cost and made the plane! I then went on to leave my wallet on the plane in Chicago on my connecting flight which I just made it back for in time and then although I had told Lou when my flight was coming in we missed the vital info on flight numbers etc and they went to the wrong terminal in Toronto... about an hour later they found me and we were off!
So that was by far one of my worst travel experiences but all good because I made it and am now sitting in Quebec after a week on a sick mission!

-Josh and Lou Hanging out, Photo Tyler Fox

The first few days we hung out near Ottawa sorting cars and things and did a sneaky run on the Ottawa before heading into Quebec. On our way toward Quebec City we took a detour and ran a cool drop called Chutes Mont De Peine with a spectacular backdrop of a massive cascading manky drop.

-Josh Neilson, Mont de Peine - Photo Lou Urwin

-Josh Neilson Mont De Peine, Photo Tyler Fox

-Lou Dropping in, Mont De Peine, Photo Tyler Fox

-Tyler Fox Silhouetted in Mont de Peine, Photo Josh Neilson

After this we checked out Chutes Saint Ursule, which was run a few years back by Steve Fisher and Dom Chaput for 'Black Book'. In the case of this film it by far makes this drop look smaller than it really is! standing next to it puts it in perspective for sure! Its Massive and well worth going to see!

-Saint Ursule in it's entirety, Photo Josh Neilson

The next morning we headed a bit further north in search of a river called the Mastigouche. I had seen it in some clips before and it was the run in Quebec that I knew I wanted to run!

-Josh Neilson, top slide Mastigouche - Photo Tyler Fox

-Lou Urwin, Top slide, Mastigouche - Photo Tyler Fox

With a small hike in we were at the lake which marked the start on continuous gradient downwards!
Slide after slide was on the cards as we made our way down.

- Josh Neilson, Bottom drop of middle slide - Photo Lou Urwin

-Tyler Fox, Bottom drop, Middle slide - Photo Josh Neilson

-Lou Urwin Sliding the middle one - Photo Josh Neilson

Everything was clean and managable apart from one drop in the middle that had me on my toes.. It wasnt a big drop, it wasn't super vertical and it didnt have a big tow back... what it did have was most of the the flow going into an undercut wall at full pace on one side and into a toaster on the otherside with a narrow boat width ridge down the middle. With all the calculations made I rolled off the lip and along the ridge to the bottom in one piece and stoked!

Josh Neilson, The tight slide - Photo Tyler Fox

While this got the heart racing I knew that the best was to come. The take out slide is amazing, You enter on the left and slide down toward a wall then turn right and hold on... Coming off the left wall into the middle and down the ramp to the bottom! We ran this one over and over till we couldnt go any more. The run at this flow was sick and could definalty use a bit of extra water here and there but all in all it is a super fun run!

-Josh Neilson, Bottom Mastigouche Slide - Photo Lou Urwin

-Josh Neilson, Bottom Slide - Photo Lou Urwin

-Tyler Fox Claiming it! - Photo Lou Urwin

-Folow the leader, Josh and Tyler - Photo Lou Urwin

-Lou Urwin getting into it! Photo Tyler Fox

Successful days on the river like this are not as frequent as they may seem looking at different sites over the net. For every quality drop or river there are numerous drives up winding roads to see waterfalls that land on rocks or have dams above them etc etc. For the next day we found this to be the case but as energy levels were dropping we came across more!

- One of the ones that had potential but doesn't go! Photo Tyler Fox

We met up with David La Rouche and his mate John and headed to camp at a Riviere Gouffre Du Nord where we would put on in the morning and run a nice sloping drop now named 'Breakfast drop'.

-Josh Neilson having waterfalls for breakfast - Photo Lou Urwin

-Tyler with a serving of the same! - Photo Josh Neilson

- Lou following suit - Photo Josh Neilson

-David getting vertical - Photo Josh Neilson

-John rolling off! - Photo Josh Neilson

For the rest of the day we were in unfamiliar territory for everyone and headed in search roads next to blue lines on out maps. Within an hour we were standing next to more drops and slides but left these for the way home. The winner of the day though was hidden in behind a farm in the hills which thanks to John and Dave and their French speaking abilities we were up the farm track in to find 2 classic waterfalls and a third marginal one. With a bit of google earthing we have found that the section above has a series of waterfalls and slides which may be on the cards in a few days.

- Bottom 2 of 3 standing yet to be run, We'l see soon - Photo Lou Urwin

We are now based at Pat Levesque's house in Chicutimi planning for an epic week on the river. Yesterday we ran the Bras Louis which was a nice run but very cold! We put on and ran the A section first which was an hour of boogie water then the other guys had to leave back to work so they did our shuttle from the top again and we ran down to the end of the B section. The B section was a step up from A and had one portage for us but the rest went like mad! The last drop was unlike anything Ive run before. A skateboard ramp like entry which once at its lowest point then headed back up again over a huge rooster tail and then straight into the next drop. Super fun and even went back up for a second go!

-Josh Neilson rolling into the ramp drop - Photo Lou Urwin

-Tyler Fox doing the same - Photo Lou Urwin

the rest of the day we spent Driving up those roads in search of drops that all came to dead ends and no sight of the rivers... The never ending search for whitewater is often a long and slow process but when you find the goods its all worth while.
The next few days is set out for a possible few first descents, one which we found and others that Pat has found and keen to search out more. Stay tuned...

- Map Books, a must for every waterfall search mission - Photo Josh Neilson

- Believe it or not, The dark figure behind this 'DANGER' sign is a BEAR!!!! obviously the focus is a bit blurred as I am swiftly making my way back to the car! AGHHH RUN

1 comment:

E.G. said...

sik bro looks soo sick man never kayaked on the east canada side of things... listen to that song merytimes by classified... that shit would be a sick edit to all that dope yaking you are doing