Our Bowron Lake’s Expedition began on a sunny morning leaving Tatlayoko enroute to William’s Lake to meet up with the other participants in our tour...Richard, Carmel, Wendy and Wanda. A quick visit with Elaine’s Uncle Gideon and Auntie Dora at the Float Base was very nice to catch up on how they were doing. Tony helped Gideon with a few new internet tricks which were much appreciated.
A final grub up at the lake and off we were to Becker’s Lodge at Bowron Lake. Our drive in was uneventful, but on arrival to the Lodge, our host being the ever helpful Hun managed to ostracize all the women in the group to the point they wanted to leave. A couple of wines later and a bit of food managed to ameliorate the feelings to draw and quarter this fellow.
Richard and I saw the benefit of the waterproof buckets and food bins, so went and hired these quietly. We sorted through the 3 independent groups of gear to whittle down what was not needed to get to a manageable level of gear to haul around circuit. After a long day everyone crashed.
Morning came rather early, with a few parched patrons looking for coffee and tea to get them revved up. Final bits of gear were loaded up and the final briefing at the paddle shack at 0800 prior to heading over to the park registration. Duly registered, sitting in for the park briefing and having our canoe cargo weighed (<60 lbs), the rest to be packed then off we go on our first portage of 2.8 km to Kibbee Lake. We were all soon puffing as the trail seemed to keep on climbing without an end in site. We all managed to survive this first ordeal without too much ado. The first lake was barely a lake before we began our second 2 km portage to Indian Point Lake. Again after much huffing and puffing we finished up the second portage in a mud pit.
Another 4km paddle and we reached our first campsite on a glorious evening. Everyone was quick to get in for a dip...to us the water seem balmy after Tatlayoko...to everyone else the water seemed frigid! Happy Hour seemed to cheer everybody up.
After Happy Hour our resident Graphic Artist saw fit to modify one of our rental paddle insignia to more appropriate reflect how the owner treated the group....he thought he was funny, so did we!
We had our first encounter with a group of Acadian tree planters as they rolled into camp around 9 pm well lubricated and situated themselves with a group of young women. More to follow on this group later.
Our next morning had a bit of a time mix up when Tony misread his watch and was up at 0545, Wanda beat him out of her tent. Coffee was on before the error was noticed and we had the whole camp up and going. Turned out to be a good thing as we needed the extra time.
Our first reload of the canoes was done in pretty quick order, then off we were. Two portages were the order of the day as our navigation proved “off”--turns out a large dead tree in the middle of a trail should be a sign that this is not an oft used portage. After our second portage through a giant mud pit, we continued down Issac Lake.
With a following wind and fair weather we made fabulous time, travelling 29 Km that day (Carmel and Elaine displayed their aptitude as back of the pack paddlers--even in canoes!). Finally, we settled into our best camp of the trip (mouse camp) with 2 tent sites--no sharing. After dinner, we had our next encounter with the maurading Acadians--who were on a “Bowron Lake Pub Crawl”. Scotch and rum cake was scoffed and photos taken before they headed down the lake..an extremely friendly troop.
Continuing our way down Isaac next morning, we discovered the "Acadians" had canoed until 2 am under the full moon and slept on the beach and were on their way to attack “the Chute” at noon. After our shortest day ever, we hurried to set up camp and watch the proceedings.
Passage through the end of Isaac Lake requires a ceremonial work of art. Tony carved, Richard painted to produce a masterpiece which we hung near a wooden banjo with the words “paddle faster--I hear Banjos”.
The afternoon was spent in much merriment watching many paddlers attempt the Chute (including our Acadian buddies--fully laden). We decided to play it safe and portage next day.
After several portages and a trip down the roaring Caribou River, we were into the “Lake of Doom” (Lanesi). During the passage across this lake, we were treated to thunder, lightening, squalls and our second moose sighting, finally emptying into Sandy Lake. Our happiness was short-lived with continued squalls, waves of mosquitos and wet wood. Thank goodness the sun came out and everyone enjoyed a sunset drink on the beach with our neighbours.
Next day, we were off down the Caribou, into Unna Lake and mesmerized by Caribou Falls. Carmel had an extremely close encounter with a moose resulting in thousands of photos before we set up our final camp on Spectacle Lake.
Easing ourselves into civilization again, we ate on real tables, had an attendant mosquito catcher and burned Tony’s trekking socks. Yes, we even had a morning visit from the requisite black bear snorting around our tent.
An quick paddle down the Bowron River and Bowron Lake took us back to the last portage to our starting point. Over too soon, Wanda suggested we try the Colorado next. The guys are reserving judgement.
All gear packed and off we go to Tatlayoko to sooth a few muscles.
It was an amazing adventure--one we won’t soon forget!