24 hours in ZEC Bras-Coupé-Désert

Published on September 2 2016

I rarely drive through Maniwaki by another road than the 105 and the last time I’ve done it was this past July, to reach ZEC Bras-Coupé-Désert with blogger Marie-Julie Gagnon, who was to do a piece on the place, and her sweet little daughter Maya. I must say, the road leading to the ZEC was quite a nice discovery!

For about two hours from Gatineau, the road is beautiful and even though the increasing number of large timber-loaded trucks tell us that we are heading deeper and deeper into the woods, Marie-Julie is surprised to see she’s still getting a signal on her phone. After the reception post however, these bars will disappear. We truly are in the woods.

If you didn’t bring insect repellent, your stop at the reception post is the time to buy some. I swear I heard Wagner’s Ride of the Valkyries when flies passed me by. And there were quite a few of them around. But after all, we are in their domain so we might as well get used to them. If you need fishing equipment, you can also get it here.

On the road leading to the cottage, we’ll encounter timber trucks and superb scenery. It really feels like we’re on a roadtrip God knows where but as nice as the view is, it is nothing compared to what awaits us at the Huard cottage, on Tortue lake. We forget about the bugs; nothing a nice campfire and the breeze from the lake can’t take care of.

After unpacking our stuff and remembering how to turn on gaz lamps (there is no electricity here), Marie-Julie heads out to take pictures of the surroundings. Maya and I discover the kayaks and we’ll definitely go for a ride later on but first, we have to explore the beach! It is quite large and better yet, private. There are no others cottages in the area so it’s ours, and only ours, to enjoy! The lake is huge and our kayak ride allows us to discover it a bit and it is not long before a couple of birds that give the cottage its name, loons (huard in French) show up. They’ll be there a while. Don’t forget your personal flotation devices if you plan of using the kayaks!


After a nice BBQ dinner, we light the mandatory campfire and roast marshmallows. When my two friends decide to hit the sack, I stay on the beach a little while longer to look at the stars. We will have spent only one night in the ZEC but I know that tomorrow, I’ll back into town well rested. In the distance, a haunting chanted breaks the silence of the night. You’re absolutely right loon; your lake is beautiful. And we will meet again.


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