Thursday, July 06, 2006

Bowron Lakes

Where do I begin? Oliver Sperling, Mike Jonker, Ada Herman and myself took a 4 day tour of the Bowron lakes. An amazing adventure with amazing views, lots of laughs and swimming in the buff. I will just toss out a few highlights.
Day 1
Lowtar ( I believe his name was Lothar but you know) at the rental place was everything you could want in an outdoorsman and more. Here is a short conversation we had with him:
Oliver said, "where is the washroom?"
Lowtar replied, "Do you mean the shitter or the pisser?, The pisser is outside anywhere and the shitter is in the hall way behind you."
He had a bit of trouble with adam's name thought it was Ada, that Lowtar is a colourful character, if you go up there make sure you ask him his opinion on canoe carts. Love that guy. We set off about 1pm on saturaday and found a sweet camp spot on Isaac Lake (my favorite lake) after about 6 km of portaging and 15 km of paddling. We decided to hold up in a cabin shelter which might have been out greatest mistake of the trip (next to Jonker playing a 4 of clubs in a wizzard game). We tried to fend of the Noseeums the best we could with some bounce sheets ( a little experiment) and Oliver may or may not have been attacked by a rat. (Ada does not buy into Oliver's claim of rat running over his foot).

Day 2
We got up late and paddled about 25 km down Isaac watching osprey, loons, and the common mergancer. We arrived at our next and the nicest camp spot of the trip. No bugs, a sweet water fall that Mike found while bush whacking which is also the home of the American Dipper (a small blackish grey bird that inhabits fast moving creeks), a phenomenal sunset and hours of frolicking in the cold water under the hot sun free of any encumbrances.

Day 3 (27 km paddling and 2 km portaging)
We stirred late in the morning after a restful night and made our way to the danergous "chute"; a violent break neck funnel of water considered to be navigated by expert canoeists only. We nimbly handled the swift river (except the time when ada did not see the large rock in the water but my expert skills rescued the situation without incident.. not so lucky with the tree later on in the day). We all had high hopes of wild life on this leg of the journey after Jonker's wild tales of moose from 9 years ago but we had no luck. We settled in that night after a hard fought battle with the wind on Lanezi Lake in a black fly and mosquito swarm on Sandy lake (more rock then sand). Ada experienced a high and low moment of the trip at this camp site, the low being that his usual 20 minute bowel movements had to be cut short due to the enormous volume of mosquito's laying wait in the outhouse. I think that all mankind should cut a deal with the mosquito's so they leave us in peace during those more vunerable moments (see George from Seinfeld and the episode where he hits the squirrel.. also kramer and the merv griffin set.. Jerry has the girlfriend with the old toy collection, "you bring the box of wine and i will bring the turkey" - great episode).
Back to the trip, Ada's high would be his victory at wizard, a card game which was our entertainment for most evenings. Ada had trouble almost every game and usually had last place reserved but tonight was his night to shine although some could point to some incredibiling poor playing by Jonks as to the true cause of victory for Ada.

Day 4 ( 25 km paddling and 2 km portaging)
We hit the water quickly on day 4 becuase of the load of bugs at camp and made our way to Babcock creek where we dropped our gear and backtracked to Cariboo Falls. Ada's vision for objects had not been sharp all trip but he keenly spotted a creature swimming across the Cariboo river. We set off to investigate and discovered this squrrel swimming to the other bank. We (when i say we, i mean Ada and Myself.. we shared a canoe the entire trip) hastily grabbed our cameras to capture this grand event. Our canoe turned sideways as it drifted and the squirrel T-boned our canoe with a hollow sounding thud (that sound is something i will never forget). Ada and i had a good hearty chuckle and regard this as the greatest wildlife sighting of the trip, you just cannot beat a squirrel swimming into your canoe. We reached the falls after a short hike and enjoyed watching millions of liters of water crash down the 24 meter high falls.
We stopped for lunch at the end of the last portage of the trip and headed out on to the last of the lakes (spectacle and swan). There were a couple of beautiful beaches along the way, we stopped at one to fashion a quick sail which took advantage of the strong wind that was blowing that day, which died upon completion of building.
We paddled to a possible campsites at the end of swan lake and were dissappointed with what we found, so we proceeded down the Bowron river and shared a campsite with a very cool Swiss couple. We set up our tents with some frustration having not seen any large wildlife the entire trip but our luck quickly changed. During dinner a mother and calf walked right beside our campsite and spent 30 minutes grazing in the marsh as we watched and took numerous photos. Two more moose visited the camp that night as well as a few otters, a beaver and some toads. Just a great wildlife night.
But the night was still young, we headed into our tents for our last night on the lakes satisfied with great wildlife. Ada and Mike have been sharing a tent for the trip and developed a code word to get Ada to stop talking in his sleep. I had trouble sleeping and had been up for a few hours when i heard a litany of prophanity coming from Ada's tent. Ada continues to mumble something about saving Mike until Jonks asks Ada what the password is.. Ada pauses and answers the questions and asks why? Mike states,"Because you are saying stupid things." I laugh myself to sleep thinking the show is over but Ada is not really awake and proceeds to grab Jonk's arm then with a mighty kick to the back, knocks Jonks off his sleeping pad. Ada then falls back asleep leaving Mike in a heap in the corner of the tent.

Day 5 ( 10 km paddling)
We awoke early in hopes to catch more moose as we paddled the last stretch of Bowron River and Bowron Lake. We rounded a bend and found 2 more bull moose and 6 bald eagles. We finished our journey mid morning and headed for home with some sore muscles, loads of bites, and incredible memories.

Trip total - 116. 4 km, 7 moose, 9 bald eagles, 3 osprey, 1 beaver, 2 river otters, 1 swimming squrrel, many toads, loons, mergansers, greebs, american dippers, and 1 yellow headed black bird.


  1. Why is Adam's head turned with a look of interest to the left in that "free swimming" picture? Oh nevermind I remember now..

  2. Awesome pics - would not expect anything less from you Gary, great photographer. Good stuff. Glad you had a great trip. You got to enjoy peace and quiet before the arrival of your little one.

  3. Good times Gary...beautiful photos, and sounds like a good time too! Maybe if I go I too can meet this swimming squirrel!!! Wow! too bad Weezer's too weak to join you guys... :)