Saguenay Fjord 2013: Day 4


The landing at Anse aux Ilets Rouges

Map Day 4

Anse du Portage to Anse aux Ilets Rouges

Data - Day 4: 

  • Miles Paddled - 9 miles 
  • Moving Time - 2 hours, 42 minutes
  • Moving Average Speed - 3.3 mph
  • Stopped Time - 13 minutes
  • Overall Average Speed - 3.1mph
  • Trip Odometer: 49 miles

Before turning in I had a bright idea.  Why not open my Crazy Creek chair and lay it flat under my sleeping bag between my shoulders and my hips to get at least a little padding?  So I did.  And still got a lousy night's sleep.  I kept waking up and shifting position to get comfortable.  I was usually awake and packing up my gear before 5:00 AM.  But this morning I was still in a half sleep state when Scott called, "Don, are you awake?  Get up!  We've got bad weather coming this afternoon.  We need to get on the water quick to get to our next camp before the storms hit".  It was 5:30.  

Somehow I got everything knocked down, packed and into my boat in an hour.  By 7:00 we were all in our boats and headed for Anse aux Ilets Rouges.  The campsite at Anse du Portage was so beautiful, I really hated to leave it so abruptly.  

I was the last paddler as we started out.  I guess my body was still not fully awake and I was not feeling well physically.  I was asked to take the lead boat position.  This was a bit humiliating because I know this is a strategy to keep a slow paddler from falling too far behind.  But soon my body loosened up and I was having to slow down to let other paddlers catch up.  

Sag/Day4/SK - 04

The morning was gray to the South, the direction of our travel, while behind us were mixed clouds and blue skies.  A gray sameness covered the land we paddled by as the sun rose in the Southeast, shrouded in heavy clouds.  The shoreline was lined with massive rock formations that lifted abruptly out of the water.  These were blanketed in places with trees, tall pines or Aspens rising to the sky and punctuated here and there by huge rockslides.  The scale of the place was immense.  It made our boats look tiny by comparison.  

Sag/Day4/SK - 02

We hurried along, first against the incoming tide and 12-15 mph headwind, then with the tide as it turned to flow out of the fjord and a lighter headwind.  We passed around an unusual small island shaped like a gumdrop and behind a larger island into a beautiful mirror smooth bay where we lingered for a few minutes before pushing on to our campsite.  We arrived at Anse aux Ilets Rouges just after high tide which made landing easy, as the outgoing tide grounded our boats in place near the high tide mark.  

Sag/Day4/SK - 26

This campsite, like the last one, was spectacular.  But to enjoy the gorgeous spectacle required either an uphill tramp through a muddy, crudely developed trail through the woods, or a parlous trek across slippery rocks.  I tried both, first trying the woodsy trail to get to my camping platform, then trying to return over the rocks.  And of course, I slipped and took an ungraceful swim, landing on my butt and back in water about two feet deep.  I flailed around not able to get up because the buoyancy in my boots and wet suit kept my feet floating above my head.  Finally I was up, uninjured accept for feeling silly because of the clumsy show I had put on.  

Sag/Day4/SK - 11

I fear that I often make it sound like all of these marvelous places we visit are full of physical difficulty and discomfort.  And that is real to an extent and needs to be considered if you are planning a trip like this.  Equipment may fail (Big Agnes), the weather may turn against you, the physical demands may be daunting.  And yet this is the only way to really experience the beauty of a place like this.  

You cannot truly experience the qualities of a wilderness like this one by blasting down the middle of the fjord in a powerboat, eating dinner at a restaurant and sleeping in a warm room in town .  You experience the essence of this place by paddling close to a rock wall that towers three hundred feet straight up above you and continues down for some three hundred feet below the water your boat floats on.  

You experience the vertical nature of the place by hauling your gear seventy feet up above the low tide mark to your tent platform.  You understand the impact of tides when you experience what a tidal range of twenty feet can mean as you carry your boats above the high tide mark.  And you come to know that the only way you can experience the quiet beauty of a place like this is to endure these hardships for the reward of something truly elusive and special.  


Our campsite was close to Baie Sainte Marguerite, an area where Baluga whales gather.  The bay itself is off limits to boaters, including paddlers, but it is OK to hang out outside the bay in the hope of spotting Balugas.  It is illegal to pursue them, but you don't have to move away if they come to you.  

We expected to look for Balugas tomorrow morning.  But, because we had gotten into camp today at mid-morning, Bruce, Tom, Robin and Kaare decided to carry their boats to the water and go looking for whales.  Scott and I stayed in camp using the excuse that someone had to stay in camp to protect our gear and keep the marauding red squirrels  from eating all our food.  This quartet did indeed see some whales at a distance which was a good omen for seeing more whales tomorrow.  

Video Diary of the Sanguenay Fjord 2013 Trip: Day 4

Tonight's dinner was one of the meals Alan sent, tuna noodle casserole.  Tom and Scott did most of the preparation on this one.  It was a tasty meal that would stick to the ribs, giving plenty of carbs and protein.  

On to Day 5 ——>

 © Don Yackel 2020