Once the shuttlers returned, we quickly geared up and headed downstream, where our low flow was tolerable as the rapids built to long hard class IV boulder gardens which were mostly boat scoutable and super fun. Most of the run was just that: high quality class IV+ boulder rapids with enough pools to break the action but basically no flatwater. The scenery was better than expected with nice gorge walls but scouting was always possible (although not required except at Picard). Eventually the river opened up to some nice view of the cliffs and we came to the big rapid of the run: Island Falls. It was a little too low to run the left sneak, but the right side fall went nicely despite being a little tricky. A few bedrock drops and we arrived at the take out.
After a lot of semi-continuous read and run in a narrow canyon, the river opens up and gives some great views of the Gros Bonnet (Photo: JM)
Wanting more, a few of us headed downstream for the lower Neilson. The rapids got larger, although in general we thought the quality dropped. We all portaged the second rapid and the pothole drop. The pothole looked great, but my shoulder just wasn't ready for the beating that it was capable of dishing out. Soon enough, we were dodging rocks in the dusk as we rolled up to the take out bridge.
We had about 10 cms on the online gauge, which is about minimum. Still, this run is a classic, and was the first, but certainly not the last, Quebec river to exceed our expectations. This run would be phenomenal with a nice medium flow, but we weren't complaining about catching this gem in early July.