St-Gabriel de Brandon/St-Zenon/Taureau dam photo ride report 14jan2018

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We had one severe thaw this last Friday! At home near Joliette we had  heavy rain, 11C in the afternoon, water everywhere, lost about 2/3 of the snow we had... and next in the night and Saturday morning a big foot of new snow... Mother nature is weird !!!!

In sum we had finished with near the same snow to the ground we had before. But with all this water that not had time to retreat before being covered with a foot of new snow we had to expect few days to restore all the trail system especially in the south of the region, that's why after a little research and checks we opted for a start from St-Gabriel de Brandon to go north up to the reservoir Taureau dam. Here is the track of the day we did:


Sunday morning, sunny with -30C!  We had the whole four seasons in one weekend, we were back in winter I guess! After fighting with the frozen trailer (frozen padlock, coupler, chains, top cover) and getting to our drop point we did a late departure from St-Gabriel passed 10:30


Beautifully freshly groomed trails



Some water holes here and there mostly frozen, here other traces of the thaw like this glacier


Further on the #23 trail the section maintained by the Club of St-Charles Mandeville was not grommed yet but ride very well. We met the dozer at grooming it when we returned at the end of the day ...



We passed Réal Massé


And continued on the #23 north


The amount of new snow was less in the north but the trail conditions were good


A few water holes here and there like this one, in the worst we seen. Can be cross easily, not deep at all


Otherwise very snowy scenery



We stopped to refuel and lunch at the Auberge Le Cabanon around 12:15


After we continued toward the taureau Dam on the #345 North


The club had done a good job in this sector there was not a single bump, a real magic carpet ride



Still have to be careful with the frozen water spots


And places that have been more flooded but no risk of breaking through the ice it's hard frozen back in this area



We dropped the #345 to switch toward the dam, a section of trail newly reopened this year


The Taureau reservoir dam


The catwalk that was closed a few years ago was redone a little wider than before at 62"and the big difference they removed the cement stairs in front which was forcing us to turn short on the corner of the building, a real great improvement


Otherwise a nice place to revisit that have some charm



At this point, we took the #360 east to loop through the Mattawin River Bridge. again a carpet ...


The light vapour on the river who betrayed the freezing temperature even on the pic 


Here the view across the bridge


Where we took another little break

Before continuing on the #345 to the south ...


here again top notch conditions with a little dazzling sun at some points


We stopped at this gang to see if they were needed any help with a tow and during this time a first dozer that started his run passed. Sympatic english peoples in this gang, maybe some boys on forum here?



Let's say they keep that grooming top notch there


We passed the Cabanon and continued on the #23 south by our morning path. They were also at grooming there



Here a small rear shot after passing it


The sun was falling down and the temperature too



We stopped to take a warming up break at Real Massé


And continued then towards the south. The section groomed by Mandeville had been did during the day and we cross the returning dozer. We finally been back to our starting point at St-Gabriel de Brandon around 6pm with 160 miles on the dreammeter.

In the end a very nice ride, with the intense cold the trail conditions were at their best they would be and this cold already helps to accelerate the reopening of trails further south but there is alot to do with fallen stake under the snow and rivers/ice bridge to check along the St-Laurence river sector. You can take a look here to check the last snowmobile clubs updates on theirs trails:



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Beauty post and pics.  Great report also.  OMG I can relate to most of those pics from last year.  Thanks.

Love stopping here.  Can't wait to see the dam now.  Thanks again

Edited by extreme600

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On 16/01/2018 at 8:54 PM, skidoo420 said:

Nice detailed trail report Towing  these pics of this area bring back fond memories of when we started riding in PQ in 1991

Thanks skidoo420! Did the trails were still groom as boulevard in those years? We began riding in 85-87 and it was groom two lane in some spots of St-Zenon area. We stop riding then after we bought our house and when we restart in 1994 we didn't see this type of grooming anymore...

On 16/01/2018 at 10:29 PM, Signfan said:

So the lac tureau dam crossing is open again eh?  Interesting.

Yep, that give us another ride option and it's always a good spot for taking a break

On 16/01/2018 at 10:48 PM, extreme600 said:


Beauty post and pics.  Great report also.  OMG I can relate to most of those pics from last year.  Thanks.

Love stopping here.  Can't wait to see the dam now.  Thanks again

Thanks extreme600! For the dam, even it is not official, it is possible to ride down aside the water evacuators. From there you can feel the power of the water flow that is sometime pretty huge! You post a really great pic too!

On 17/01/2018 at 7:01 AM, sledzz said:

Great report! Thank you!

You are welcome sledzz!

On 17/01/2018 at 8:39 AM, 603backcountry said:

Thanks for the detailed report Alain, looks great!

You are welcome 603backcountry! We would like some more new snow in the north but with the arctic cold conditions were mint!

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