Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Franche Comté

Taking a break by the falls.

Packrafting the Doubs - November 2012 from Xavier DOR on Vimeo.

I had an email from Xavier. He and Mattieu were planning a paddling trip in Eastern France and did I want to go?


Tony from Zulupack was also coming along and would be bringing some drybags to be tested and photographed on the boats.

On the first full day out, we played around in rapids at a couple of spots on the River Doubs. The second of these play spots was the well known white water course at Goumois which we arrived at late in the day, and made only one run down before making camp beside the river.

It is shocking to reveal, but near enough an entire large bottle of single malt Whisky, a couple of packs of beer and almost the entire supply of cheese was consumed that night. 

We all sheltered under my Trailstar while we ate and drank, with the sounds of the river and heavy rain providing the sound track. It was late before each went to his own tent.

Over night the water level rose and in the morning the rapids had become both bigger and a lot whiter!


The majority of the day was spent on runs down the Goumois course and hiking with boats back to the start. With light threatening to fade we drove off to find more beers, more cheese and another place to camp.

The next camp was made at an exceedingly wet place beside the first of the following day's rivers, La Reverotte. In the afternoon it had started to rain and it continued, on and off, into the evening. The soaking trees dripped on to already sodden leaf covered ground. But, despite the damp, a campfire was soon burning, and it seemed unaffected by the light rain that fell from time to time.

The morning began on the narrow and tree lined La Reverotte. Some small rapids and drops made for good fun.

We followed the river to the point at which point it flows into the Dessoubre, and then continued down this broader waterway for the rest of the afternoon. We eventually exited the river by scaling its high, steep banks, using throw ropes to haul up the boats one by one.

Again, we headed for a shop to refresh the supplies of wine and cheese. 

Again, I thought we had bought too much. 

Again, it was all gone by the morning!

Contemplating the flames

For the final day of paddling, we continued down the Dessoubre. For many miles, great limestone cliffs rose up around us. And the river became more and more interesting, with more rapids and drops to enjoy.

In calm water on Le Dessoubre

Portaging a hydro-electric dam
Autumn was a good time to be out boating. 

Maybe the water wasn't as big as it would have been in Spring.

There was a bit lot more rain than we would have experienced in Summer.

But the rivers were very quiet (we met no other paddlers during the trip,so were not competing for space) and the autumn colours in the forested region of the Franche Comté were beautiful.

On the final morning, there was a pretty awesome cloud inversion on display from the high plateau. A nice end to the trip.

A fine cloud inversion,viewed from the high plateau.


  1. Wow, awesome trip David!
    Last year about the same time of the year I wanted to make a similar trip on the Doubs but eventually water levels were too low so I couldn't go. My intention was to portage the sections with harder rapids because I don't have a wetsuit, though watching the movie I think I should find that wetsuit soon! Looks so much more fun... especially to have a shower under a waterfall in the cold! :-)

  2. Very cool David! When exactly were you there? Any idea about the discharge on the Doubs while you were there? Could be interesting for others planning to raft there.

    1. Thanks Willem. It was the start of November for four days.

      The water level (according to info from Xavier) was:

      Goumois: 12m3/s on Day 1. 30+m3/s on Day 2. Dessoubre: 18m3/s on Day 3 and 4

      Day 2 on the Doubs was the best!

    2. Indeed, we were there from the 1st to the 4th of November. I took a screenshot of the water levels at that time for reference. Goumois => Dessoubre => A good source of information regarding the water levels is from the following link:,y_-340,z_650 (An interesting tab is the blue one "rapport aux années antérieures" / "comparison with previous years".. You can then click the area you are interested in.)

    3. 'Hope that helps -in case anyone is planning a trip there-

    4. Thanks for adding this Xavier

    5. Thanks for the info guys!

  3. cheese eating, but no surrender monkeys! Looks like 'quite' a fun trip...

  4. Pack rafting and Morbier cheese (?) - doesn't get much better than that!


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