Saturday, October 26, 2013

Bowron Lake Canoe Circuit Day 7: Returning Home

Today's Travel: Bowron River - Bowron Lake
Km Paddled: 11.2    Km Portaged: 0 (except dock to the car)   Total Km Traveled:  117. 6

We woke up on our last morning to a frosty landscape.

Mark boiled up some water for oatmeal.

Good bye little cabin.  We had a great trip.

Now to paddle the 4 km along the Bowron River to Bowron Lake.  Our Gnome had a great trip too.

Lots more beaver lodges were spotted along the river today too.  But no actual beaver.

Looking back from whence we came.

One last snack on Bowron Lake.  One last look at the mountains from the water.  

 The end dock.  Time to load up the car and head home.  Wow!  What an absolutely fantastic trip. 

Friday, October 25, 2013

Bowron Lake Canoe Circuit Day 6: Over the Beaver Dam

Today's Travels: Babcock Lake - Portage - Skoi Lake - Portage - Spectacle/Swan Lake

Km Paddled: 16.4                   Km Portaged: 0.8                Total Km Traveled: 106.4

Another super foggy morning.  We could hear the birds on the lake splashing around.

We decided that since this was a little lake, the weather was calm, we didn't know the status of the grizzly bear and we had a GPS, that we'd head out across Babcock Lake, regardless of the fog.

After an 2.8 km paddle, we got to the first portage.  There were grizzly tracks in the sand here as well, so off we headed down the 400 m trail.

The second lake was calm and foggy as well.  The eagle flew by as we set out across the 800 m Skoi Lake.

The start of the second portage of the day and the last portage of the trip.  A great little walk down this 400 m path through the forest.

Our poor little cart at the end of the portages.  But it made it through all 10.6 km of portage.  Great job, Mark.

There were also grizzly tracks at the end of this portage.  Mark was checking them out when I burped.  He jumped, startled by the sound, thinking it was the bear.

Time to head out on Spectacle/Swan Lake.  But it is still foggy.  And this lake is a lot bigger.  Ok, let's travel by GPS.  Ummm.... Lindsay, you need to pay attention to the GPS when we can't see the shore as a reference.  We're not going in a straight line.

Boy, is it ever shallow here.  I kept banging my paddle against the sand.

And suddenly the fog lifts and we paddle into the clear.  This is a view from where we came.

Our dwarf friend is traveling on to the lonely mountain.

We stopped at the picnic shelter for lunch.  While we ate, Mark carved an axe to hang on the wall with the other travelers' trinkets.

Paddling up the lake.  What a beautiful day. 

We decided to make it to the little cabin for our last night.  But the map was a little unclear about how to get there.  Let's try this way.... there's a channel marker.  Ummmm....  there's a beaver dam.  But the marker indicates this is the way to go....?....  Ok, let's go over the beaver dam.  Everyone out of the boat.  Balance carefully on the sticks.  Float the boat over.  Time to get back in.  See any angry beaver?  No?  Good.  Wow, there are a lot of dams in this marsh land at the end of the lake.

We made it to the cabin.

Mark chopped some wood for the wood stove. 

The inside of the cabin.  The walls were covered in carvings.

We didn't even have to sign our names.  Someone already had.  (we excuse their typo)

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Bowron Lake Canoe Circuit Day 5: Tracks in the mud

Today's Travels: Sandy Lake - Cariboo River - Unna Lake - Babcock Creek

Km Paddled: 6.9 (plus side trip to Unna Lake) Km Portaged: 1.2 Total Km Traveled: 89.2

Another foggy morning.  We lay in bed for a few minutes listening to the ducks playing in the lake.  As the bacon and eggs sizzled in the pan, the eagle flew by.  Even after everything was cleaned up, the fog was still thick.  But since we'd be on the lake for a few kilometres and the water was calm, he headed out anyway.

The GPS showed us the way and we did our best to keep the shape of the shoreline within vision.  It was a very shallow lake, therefore we often were quite far off shore just to avoid hitting our paddles on the sand.
About 3.1 km later, Sandy Lake ended and we arrived back on the Cariboo River as the fog started to clear. 

We left the fog behind us as we started down the 4.0 km river stretch to Unna Lake.  The river was wide and slow.

We found Unna Lake.  We paddled through the horse tails to get in to this little lake.  We're now into the pine lands - complete with beetle kill pine.

We enjoyed the views of the mountains,  the same mountains we left yesterday.  We stopped into a campsite to cook up some smokies for lunch.    There were many tracks across the beach where we pulled up the canoe - moose, bird, and wolf.
After a great lunch, we paddled across the lake to the waterfall trail head.  We were all excited to see the 24 metre high Cariboo Falls.  Excited to see the double rainbow in the spray off the falling waters.  But when we pulled up to the trailhead we were greeted with a big sign that said "Danger Trail"  and flagging tape that indicated the trail was closed and we weren't to pass.

We paddled out of Unna Lake and back upriver towards Babcock Creek.  We looked to the left and saw a cow moose hanging out in the golden grass.  Just like the picture in the brochure.

We got to Babcock creek and paddled upstream to the portage.  We had to walk a part of the way since the creek was so shallow.  In the mud, there were grizzly bear tracks.

The bear went the same way we were going.  But darkness was coming and it was either portage to the next site or head back to Unna Lake.  So onward we went, slightly stressed about the fresh bear tracks.  We got to the site, and sure enough there were also fresh grizzly tracks that went right in front of the site.  It was a nervous night, hoping that tracks were all that we'd see of that bear.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Bowron Lake Canoe Circuit Day 4: Emerging From the Fog

Today's Travels: McLeary Lake - Cariboo River - Lanezi Lake - Cariboo River - Sandy Lake

Km Paddled:  23.7           Km Portaged: 0            Total Km Traveled: 81.1 

Today we woke up to fog.  Thick, thick fog.  We couldn't see the lake, let alone the mountains, from the cabin.  Although we could see the moon up above us in the sky. Probably not the best idea to venture out towards the river in the fog...  especially since the brochure reads "Be alert that navigating the Cariboo River requires care and attention. Submerged dead heads and sweepers are the main hazards."

Hmmm,  sounds like we should probably wait until we can see before heading out.

So we sit and wait.  Mark spent the time sharpening the knives.

Finally the fog lifted and the mountains reappeared.

So we set out across the remaining 700 m of McLeary Lake.  There we found the swift moving waters of the Cariboo River.  Time to find the safest course through the river.
How shallow is that spot coming up?  Which direction should we veer? What...  bump, bump, scrap.....  stop.   Ummm... I think this gravel bar is pretty shallow, and we're only 150 m into the 5.2 km river stretch....  Lift up with the paddles, and... we're off.  Now look out for the dead heads.

Find the right current.  Let's go!   

What a fun ride down the river.  Some spots had good current and there were lots of riffles.  While the fog was gone, some area still had mist rising off the water, giving the area an eery feel.  The eery sounds made by some of the bobbing sweepers added to the atmosphere.

But through it all we had great teamwork in our canoe.  I think all newly weds should try paddling down rivers together.  It builds communication much more than any lake ever could.

Then the river just flattens out, gets wide and enters into Lanezi Lake.  The clear waters of the river gave way to the silty aquamarine waters of the lake.  And the eagle flew by.

The fog lifted off the lake as we drew nearer, allowing us to enjoy the reflections in the blue-green waters.

Time to have a little lunch and look back whence we came...

and where we're going.

Every family needs a mountain.  I found my family's on Lanezi Lake.

Welcome to Bryan's Peak!

Complete with delicious tasting waterfalls.

Paddling through Paradise.

Gorgeous mountains were on all sides of this 14.8 km long lake. 

We just had to stop for one last look at the mountains before our journey would take us back to the foothills.

From here we paddled another 1.2 km down the Cariboo River and 1.7 km on Sandy Lake before finding campsite 37a for the night.

There was even time for Mark to have a quick 'swim',  though the water was so shallow it was more of a wade and splash.

After dinner, we gazed at the stars and found Andromeda, Pegasus and Hercules.  Then we cuddled in to read an Agatha Christie novel.

Good night from Sandy Lake.