Friday, September 9, 2011

Bowron Lake Canoe Circuit '11 {Day 5: Isaac Lake}

Zachary packs up the kitchen table.

Isaac and Caleb load the kitchen gear into the pack amidst gear buckets and bear caches.

Peter maneuvers along the slippery rocks at our "picnic" site in the pouring rain on the shores of Isaac Lake.

One of the many awesome waterfalls along Isaac Lake

AJ discusses something important (or unimportant as the case may be) with Zachary.

Day 5 finish line: the very end of Isaac Lake

Group shelter at site #29 contains hundreds of hand-made wooden markers and graffiti messages left by passing paddlers.  A sign in the shelter reads, "Leave Your Mark" and another promises to remove any with inappropriate content. 

Our Bowron Crew warms up by the wood stove in the group shelter after a long, wet paddle.

Being prepared for the terrible weather helped, but divine providence providing a wood stove shelter on the worst night of our trip lifted our spirits considerably.  Our arrival at campsite #29, to a blazing fire tended by fellow travelers, sharing a roomy sheltered space to dry out and relax during the torrential downpour was truly the light at the end of a long day's tunnel.  The community shelter at various times during our brief stay contained:

  • a pair of young bachelors from Idaho
  • a pair of married "not so old" brothers-in-law from Oregon/Central Washington; (with wives/sisters left in motor homes with wine in Wells) passing around their great "Bowron" book
  • a menagerie group of kayakers from Germany, Blaine, and points in between
  • our crew of Boy Scouts and adult leaders (us!)
  • gear strewn everywhere to dry
  • community stories of the day's travels and the previous night's various stormy challenges
  • a shared shovel for digging trenches to free the standing water welling up around our tents
  • various make-shift kitchens making a variety of suppers
  • shared tea time
Remember the lost & found Keens from Day 2?  Tim grabbed them from the beach as we launched onto Indianpoint Lake, assuming they had been abandoned by one of our crew.  Actually, they belonged to a German Kayaker, who was overheard telling her tale of woe, lamenting her lost Keens while in the community shelter at site #29.  Peter was given the role of Keen-returner, and for his efforts was rewarded with a decadent giant chocolate caramel candy bar!

This is the end... of Isaac Lake.

Kakaks approach campsite #29 in the early evening hours of a dreary day on the Bowron Lake Circuit.

Want to see more from Day 5?
  • Visit the online album @ Picasa Aug 22, 2011
  • Catch the video of the pounding rainstorm or the video of our peaceful approach to campsite #29 at the end of Isaac Lake
Glimpse of Day 5:
7:02AM: awake to a wet-wet-wet day; dark skies, soggy gear
8:49AM: short break from the rain after delicious oatmeal breakfast; final pack-up and loading continues
9AM: kitchen taken down, tarp shaken out; Kimberly voluntarily takes water filtration duty, it's a chore getting water to flow freely with all the sand in the system
9:23AM: nearly ready to shove off and someone jokingly asks, "Did everyone get sunscreen?"
(Unable to take notes during the Day 5 paddle; it's an extremely wet journey to the end of Isaac Lake. Made a brief stop an an inhospitable rocky, mossy alcove for lunch: giant chunks of summer sausage {carved with a pocket knife on a make-shift cutting-board-bucket-lid} and Triscuits.)
2:15PM: huddled in a covered community shelter at site #29, warming by the wood stove
3PM: water boiling on our camp stove on a picnic table inside the shelter; instant soup for everyone (a full bowl of soup splashed on the floor when bumped by the broom being used to sweep up a packet of soup mix spilled on the floor: a comedy of errors!)
3:15PM: One brave swimmer, AJ, takes a quick dip in the lake and comes to warm by the fire; card games, guessing games, whittling, visiting, staying dry in the shelter while the storm rages on with thunder and lightening.
4:48PM: Fleet of kayaks approaching shore; one paddler with a distinctly German accent says, "There might be another group here."  Indeed!
6PM: Peter and Judah prepare Chicken Yakisoba for dinner; community shelter takes on the feel of a hostel.
9:50PM: A bit of noise still coming from the shelter, now only inhabited by Boy Scouts, who have hung a few hammocks and put Thermarests on table tops, table benches, and the cement floor for a night's sleep under a real roof.

Day 5 Quote: 
"This is the creepiest camp out I've ever been on!" 
~by Peter, during the intense raging rain with thunder & lightening storm.

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