Archive for October, 2002

My Trip on the Bowron Lakes

Monday, October 21st, 2002

The following is taken from an essay I wrote for English around October of 2002.

In the summer of 2002, my brother Jason, my Dad, my friend Chris and myself paddled the Bowron Lakes circuit. The circuit is paddled by over three thousand canoeists every year, and it is still as clean and pure as it was a century ago. The 116.4-kilometer adventure holds many memories and stories, which are undoubtedly untamed and rugged. It is located 120 kilometers east of Quesnel, and is a magnificent wilderness of 149,207 hectares.

The first day was the drive up to the lakes. On the way, we had lots of fun in our new Suburban. We saw many different sights, and played games while listening to our ‘hip’ music like “Staying Alive” and “Sweet Home Alabama”. Prior to the trip, we had bought plenty of candy and snacks for the ride, and among them were scotch mints. Since my Dad was driving, we had to hand him one every time he asked for it. Once, we handed him a small white rock, which we had acquired during our lunch break, and he popped it in his mouth. It took him about a half a minute with us laughing our heads off to figure out that the mint tasted a little funny.

When we reached Barkerville late in the day, it was empty. So while my Dad called home, the three of us ran down to the end of Barkerville, jumping around everywhere. We enjoyed ourselves, especially since it was empty, and it was our first time ever to Barkerville. We ran around until it was almost dark, and then we got back in the truck, and drove down the 28-kilometer gravel road to the park. Since it was twilight, and we were on a small road, we saw an abundance of wildlife, including several moose, and a swarm of moths. Once we reached the park, we rented a room at the motel, and spent the night there. I slept straight on the cold floor because there were only two beds, and one bench.

The next day, we woke up and bought food at the bed and breakfast restaurant, where we met several other people who were starting at the same time as us. We had pancakes, sausage, hash browns, and orange juice, and Jason had a milkshake. We arrived at the launch station on time, and were told to unpack. We unpacked our gear, and when we were finished, found out that the lady thought we were there for the second showing of the information video, which everyone is required to watch before beginning the circuit. This became a problem, since the second showing was 3 hours later. Since it was the park lady that made the error, she set us up for a private showing after the first showing. The video was boring, but not too long. It outlined the short history of the circuit, with a great deal of safety rules and guidelines. After the video, we weighed our gear and only just fit under the 60-pound limit per canoe.

The first injury was inflicted on the first stage of the journey, a portage down to Kibbee Lake. While portaging, Chris and I began to run a few times, and at one point Chris tripped, and I had to run the canoe into the bushes to avoid running him over. He suffered minor injuries though the canoe was barely touched.
The first lake was short, and I was paired with Chris, while Jason was paired with my Dad. At the other end of the lake we found a set of gloves for kayaking, so Chris and I put on one each and they fit quite nicely. We spent most of the first day rotating between portaging and paddling. Later, on Indianpoint Lake, the water was really shallow. It was so shallow, that Chris and I decided to get out and walk the canoes. At the same time, we both hopped out of the canoe into the foot and a half of water. To our surprise, it wasn’t just a foot and a half of water, but also sand into which we sank another two feet! We starting screaming for the other canoe, but all they could do was laugh! I managed to pull myself back in quickly, but Chris wasn’t strong enough! He was left submerged in the water a good two minutes before we got the other canoe over, where he took another few minutes to pull himself up and in! It became one of the most memorable lessons of the entire trip. In all of the first day, we traveled a full 21.6 kilometers to campsite 15, where we were forced ashore by threatening clouds.

The day was not over yet, for we still had camp to set up for the first time. It was a rush to set up our tents before the rain, but we managed because the rain never came. When it came time to cook, we realized that we had forgotten our pots and pans, along with our stove. This was a true problem. Since we were lucky, we had conveniently landed at a cooking shelter site, where it had a large wood stove where we could cook. The first problem was that we would have to land at these campsites the whole way, and they were few and far between. The second problem was that we had to find pots. Again because of our luck, there was also another group at this campsite who was willing to lend us their pots! I started a fire while we were waiting for the pots, where we starting burning the garbage we had collected and because I had grown entirely bored of picking the scrumptious blueberries.

The second day started early, but since we had to boil our water for breakfast on the wood stove, we got on the water late. We had plenty of time to plan, so we decided to paddle all the way down Isaac Lake to the next cooking shelter, which was a full 31.2 kilometers. The water was exceptionally relaxing and still, and the light breeze from the mountains was refreshing. We had picked up a piece of wood at Barkerville, and stuck it in the front of our canoe. Later, Jason came up and stole the wood to create the game “capture the wood” to keep us entertained. We also spent countless hours reciting quotes from all the Star Wars episodes. It was surprising how fast time flew when we were playing our games.

We paddled for hours and hours before we stopped for our lunch break around three. We ate a quick lunch, and relaxed for a while. Chris and I explored a little, and found a small creek coming from the mountains, where there was a large patch of mud in the middle of the wide delta. We ran, jumped, and played in the mud for a long time before we continued on our exploring. Later, my Dad called us back, and we jumped back in the canoes in a hurry, for my Dad’s watch had stopped working, and we had lost track of time. For all we know, it may have really been four when we stopped for lunch, and we may have been there an hour or so. This was not good. I had also taken off my sandals to go in the mud so that I wouldn’t lose them in the mud, but later I realized that I had lost them nonetheless for I had left them on the shore near the mud.

Swiftly, we continued our journey and our games down Issac lake.

Wall Calendar: October 2002

Tuesday, October 1st, 2002

Posted June 8, 2007 at 8:47pm

This is a page from my wall calendar back in 2002. It’s posted here because it does more good here helping me remember things than it does stuck in a pile of loose papers and binders in my closet.