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Le Taureau / Le Malbaie

Saturday-Sunday Aug 7-8, 2004
Kayak: Brian Frost, Robyn Battle, Kenny Robinson, Fred Coriell, Justin Beckwith, Stefan, Julie Dion, Jeff Watson, Ed Clark, Simon Wiles
C1: Alden Bird
Difficulty: advanced WW
Level: medium
Gauge (cfs): 12 cms
Author: Alden Bird

This past Friday night Justin and Fred and I drove up to Canada and met up with a whole cast of characters to run Le Taureau, a river I had long heard about, but never "closely examined."

The Taureau ("the bull" in french) is 15 miles long. The rapids build for about 5 miles from flat to class IV, and in the middle 5 miles it is entirely class IV and V. There are supposedly more than 100 rapids, and I believe it. There are supposedly 18 class Vs, and I believe it. Paddlers used to run the Taureau in two days, and I can see why. It took us 5.5 hours and we portaged just twice and scouted only four times.

It was a long day. When we got to the lunch spot halfway through the hard stuff, it already felt like a very long, hard river. The rapids weren't heinous -- no harder (except two) than the West Branch of the Deerfield -- but there were so many of them, so many people in our group (which tends to crowd the eddies) and this river is truly in the middle of nowehere. Add all that up and when we got to the beers at the end in my car, I felt pretty accomplished.

Next day we went to the Malbaie, which featured the most adventurous shuttle of all time and a river that is absolutely in "God's Country," as they say. After the challenging hike in, we were greeted with a warm day and a fun river. It was very relaxed compared to the Taureau -- a good way to wind down. The best part of the trip was a clean 30-foot waterfall. Fred went first and landed flat in the pile of white at the bottom. From the cliffs above we all heard him yell "It's SO SOFT!" So I went ahead and charged off. It was like jumping off my house and yet landing in powder. I swear I didn't even feel it. We even went back for a second run off it.

All in all, it was a great trip. I'll be back to that friendly addiction, that Taureau -- with a smaller group and smaller number of flips!

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