Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Bowron Lake Canoe Circuit '11 {Day 6: Isaac River; McCleary Lake; Cariboo River; Lanezi Lake}

Blue skies at the break of day, a welcome sight (to say the least)
Judah and I prepare lunches as the crew packs up for the day's launch.
Before departing site #29, Scouts ride the "chute" at the end of Isaac Lake, where Isaac River begins meandering toward Isaac Falls.

Taking full advantage of the morning sunshine, the Scouts shiver after braving the "chute" on Isaac River.

"I'm sad the boys didn't get to ride the chute," Tim shared as we settled down for the night in the pouring rain in our awesome waterproof tent on night 5.  On our 2007 Bowron trip, the chute topped the list of favorites, but day 5's dreary weather prevented any chute action.  But with day 6 came blue skies and sunshine, and the longed-for thrills of the chute!  All but one of our Scouts opted to ride the chute (in life jackets) and both Tim and Kimberly stood guard in the icy water down at the river's bend with throw/rescue ropes 'just in case.'  Perched on the (dry) river bank, mid-way down the rapid, I served as the crew photographer (big surprise!).   Each boy in turn, swiftly rode feet-first through the whitewater and swam to shore through the eddy which wanted to pull them back into Isaac River.
Lost & Found: Tim retrieves an assortment of paddles, left behind at the shelter after the crew departed on the portage to Isaac River.

Riding the chute set us back a bit on our departure time, but the excitement of swimming in the rapids made the delay worthwhile.  We decided to portage rather than paddle through the rapids in loaded canoes, so we started off on foot, nice and dry, but at a much later time than other days.

Whitewater beginnings: Launching onto our first river ride on a short section of Isaac River

Paddling Isaac River

The warning sign leaves little to the imagination...

Captain Caleb with Isaac in the bow, paddling on Lanezi Lake after safely navigating the Cariboo River.
No double canoe flips this time around on the Cariboo River, thanks to careful attention to detail, known dangers, and smooth navigation.  The momentum of moving water gave us a bit of a break, though some canoes picked up the pace with strong strokes and our fleet (still safely matched with buddy boats) became spread out with over a half an hour gap in between.  So far was our spread, that the early boats didn't even wait at their  mid-afternoon break, but continued paddling toward camp.  A competitive game of "collect the floating sticks" inspired weary paddlers and gave good humor and passing entertainment on the last hour of our day's journey.
Delightful afternoon paddle on Lanezi Lake
Home at last; site #33 on Lanezi Lake

Want to see more from Day 6?

Glimpse of Day 6:
10:27AM: slow pack-up, but blue skies above give hope for a dry day & the Scouts decide to ride the river "chute" (rapids) in life jackets rather than in the canoes
11AM: wet boys warming cold (clean!) bodies by the wood stove fire in the community shelter
11:53AM: still packing and loading canoes for portage
12:53PM: portage behind us; preparing to launch into Isaac River
1:30PM:  another portage to avoid Isaac Falls; steep up & steep down to McCleary Lake; lunch break
2:40PM: shoving off into McCleary Lake after lunch & a few quick hikes to view the waterfall
3PM: McCleary behind us; Cariboo River ride to Lanezi Lake begins
4:35PM: arrive at campsite #33 on Lanezi Lake, where rangers' power boat sits as a new pit toilet is being installed

5:53PM: campfire burning, thanks to Canon; AJ starts cheesy tortilla snacks
6:30PM: rain threatens, everyone is warned to make sure their gear is stored properly for the night (most heed the warning); spaghetti and meatballs for dinner, cooked by Zac & D
after dark: Scouts sing energetically (real singing; joyful, with harmony!) around the campfire

1 comment:

Crystal in Lynden said...

The pictures on the lake are all so beautiful.