September 11, 2008

Bowron Lake Paddle

Bowron Lake Provincial Park is a BC wilderness park covering more than 300,000 acres of land with a system of six major lakes two rivers and several portages. Forming a backdrop are the rugged and majestic Cariboo Mountains. The complete canoe circuit is 72mi and Kim & I decided to do a 3-day, 2-night trip known as the West Side Trip, that takes you from the top Bowron Lake (Start) to Unna Lake and back.

Bowron is quite large, and I guess we were lucky today, the wind was nil, sun shining brightly through an indigo blue sky. What a great way to start a paddle!

We took our time crossing the Lake, alternating between open water and jaunts along the rocky shoreline.

As we approached the southern end, we noticed a few boats returning. After a couple of conversations, it was apparent that doing the entire circuit was indeed worth the effort. Most of the others had spent a week or so out, enjoying this great water wilderness.
The Lake narrowed into a flat, dead calm marshy area. A few puffy clouds developed overhead, adding to the beautiful reflective drama unfolding in the water and mountains ahead.

It wasn't long before we found the small channel through the brilliantly colored grass, a helpful sign seemed to point directly towards this muskrat lodge, signaling a short break to just enjoy this area that reminded us of Louisiana marsh!

We reached a wonderful campsite in the Swan Lake area, and decided to just stop here and enjoy the area. Our new 3-man REI sale tent popped right up, firewood was already provided...a little splitting, and we were in business!

We enjoyed a fantastic sunset, and as darkness grew, I setup my ham radio rig in the tent to try to get info on Hurricane Ike.

Morning brought another spectacular day on the water. An exploratory paddle was in order, so south we headed along the twisting shores of Swan Lake. Interesting shallows & pockets added to the diversity of views. Misty fog hung in the backwaters, while ultimate stillness across open stretches laid out vast mirrors ahead.

Having picked up some more firewood on the paddle "home", we settled in early that afternoon to just relax & enjoy the sites & sounds of camp......

On the way in, we had noticed an interesting campsite that deserved a closer look on our final day. Hidden at the rear of a quiet pocket, we found an old cabin, a well preserved piece of history. Although it was locked, we did manage to get a view of the nice modern king bed inside!!

Just a hundred or so yards away was a more recently built cabin, open for group use. We enjoyed "exploring" it's interior, paying particular attention to the numerous hand-made artifacts hanging from the ceiling.

We sat for a while out back, just enjoying the beauty of the marsh, and watching the many birds looking for an easy breakfast aong the tall grass.
The trip out was every bit as enjoyable as paddle in, and now the current is with us, allowing us to just sit back and enjoy the colorful grasses sway like Hawaiian skirts below.

Again luck is with us on our return through Bowron Lake, and as I watched Kim round the last point with "civilization" in the distance, deep inside I know that one day we'll be back to explore & enjoy the entire 70 miles of this Canadian treasure!