Bikerafting - Gatineau river paddling

Fatbiking and packrafting

Photos and Text by Loïc Olivier

 We’ve got a micro adventure planned for today: we’ll meet up at Meech Creek, in Gatineau Park, ride the trails all the way to Wakefield, grab a bite to eat and packraft down the Gatineau River all the way back to Chelsea.

I grab the Chic-Chocs and secure it to the roof rack of the car. Alpacka raft, life jacket and paddle are thrown in the back of the car and off I go. Things are looking up! The sun is bright and the weather is slowly rising. It’s after 10am, let’s hit the trails!

The trails that we plan to ride today are relatively easy. Between Meech Creek and Wakefield, it’s doubletrack all the way up the 50s (trails #50 and #52). It mostly goes uphill in a straight line, and it goes downhill the exact same way. The trails can get a little rough. That’s where the Chic-Chocs truly shines.

With a bit of technique, I can ride over everything. Climbs are slow and steady and I can easily lift the front end of the bike despite having a packraft strapped to the handlebars.

The trails get steeper as we get closer to Wakefield. Holy fast downhill!! Once we reach the bottom of the hill, we take the highway underpass leading us to the Wakefield Mill. We continue down Mill Rd. for a few hundred metres and end up on Riverside Rd., Wakefield’s main drag. It’s sunny and warm outside. We park our bikes in front of Kafe 1870, grab a seat on the patio and swiftly order food and drinks. Damn, what a glorious lunch.

We could sit here all day but the truth is, we came to town for another reason. We saddle up and ride to the public dock so we can float down the Gat! We unpack our gear and quickly inflate the rafts. I remove the Chic-Chocs’ wheels and attach them to the bike frame, which is then attached to the bow of the boat. I settle in. The water is nice and cool. Time to slowly paddle our way back to Chelsea.