After having finished my first canoe camping trip and discussing it with another friend, the Mattawa River came up. This is a historical Voyageur route between North Bay and Mattawa with only a few rapids and easily accessible. Every year, there is race on this river but we weren’t there to race!
This was a learning opportunity, first time organising logistics by myself and “leading” a camping trip with everyone else having no canoe camping experience. I had brought a few barrels and drybags in case someone needed them but upon checking everyone said they were good. Lesson 1 – double check. One person had put their gear inside a plastic bag which did not hold up during the trip and unfortunately we had a perfectly good, water-tight barrel in the car…
In any case, my father and my friend’s joined us for this trip. We had borrowed 2 canoes, picked-up one extra from a local outfitter and set off.
The river was fairly nice, a few easy portages, some nice scenery and a couple rapids into the mix. My father and I decided to run all the rapids having a the rental royalex canoe. We advised the others to portage the rapids seeing as they had a fibreglass canoe but they wanted to run it anyways. Unfortunately they hit a rock and made a small hole in the bottom, nothing serious but a reminder of how fragile they can be in rapids! They decided (like the other canoe) that maybe portaging wasn’t so bad after all.
The final section of the river was among a variety of cottages and houses, taking away a bit of the wilderness feeling but overall it was an enjoyable river. This easy river, not too long with a tiny bit of easily portageable rapids good as an introduction to canoe camping.
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