Into the Wilderness…

bowron lakes

Bowron Lakes Circuit

As promised in my last post,  here is the first installment in my  Bowron Lakes wilderness escapade. Two weekends ago  I ventured into the wilderness to paddle the world famous Bowron Lakes canoe circuit [see map].  The circuit encompasses a 116 km chain of lakes, waterways and connecting portages.  The rectangular nature of the circuit and the dramatic beauty of the lakes are a result of a series of geological faults and subsequent glacial activity.  Six-seven days is the standard time one should allow for this trip.  We did it in four days.

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mosquitoes waiting for humans

We [Steve, Gary, Nicole, Phillip and Cliff] left Prince George [home base], around 5:30 pm on Thursday 27/6/2013 arriving at Bowron Lake Provincial campground around  9 pm.  We spent our first night at the campground. Mosquitoes were plentiful and hungry.  Missed my favourite pillow. Had to improvise. Had to improvise all trip long!

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gear and canoe cart

Friday, 28/6/2013. First day on the circuit.  We did the mandatory orientation at 9 am, assembled our gear and weighed in.  Canoes on the portage sections of the circuit are typically carried on canoe carts- two-wheel conveyances- used to  easy the “grunt factor” of the portages. The maximum weight in you canoe on the portage trails is not supposed to exceed 60 lbs.SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

The first leg of the journey is a portage; brutal is the only word to describe what was to be the first of three portages on that first day.  The end of the first portage brought us to Kibbee Lake [see map KL].  A short paddle brought us across Kibbee Lake to our second portage, another grueling hike which ended at Indian Point Lake [IPL]. Indian Point Lake is a much bigger body of water [6.4 km] and represented our first extended paddling session for that day.  Staying hydrated was a key issue as we paddled along.

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Isaac Lake

There were others on the trail with us including Susannah, a young woman from Germany attempting to do the circuit solo and three lads from Quesnel, a little town south of Prince George, {more on them later}.  We crossed Indian Point Lake and began our third portage which took us to Isaac Lake. In all we would portage a total of 6 km on our first day over seriously difficult terrain. I had been warned about the portages  but had dismissed the warning as just a “bit too much hype”. Now I’m a believer!

Isaac Lake is the largest lake on the circuit; about 38 km long.  Isaac Lake is “susceptible to high winds and rough water.” We experienced some of that windiness as we paddled the first 6-7 km of the north arm of the lake heading for our campsite at Wolverine Bay.  The wind picked up and the waves began to build.  Things were getting a little ‘dicey’ for a period of about 10 minutes. We had to “manage the waves”.  The danger was real.  I was beginning to feel some fear but the “still small voice of the Master” spoke peace.  Words of a familiar song kept running through my head: “He never sleeps he never slumbers; he watches over me both night and day…”

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Wolverine Bay cook shelter

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Canoes at Wolverine Bay

We arrived safely at our camp at Wolverine Bay; the end of  a long, grueling but good day. In total we paddled 15 km and portaged for 6 km. I was thankful  that I had some conditioning from playing soccer because this was my first time canoeing in a few years .  The verse for the day: They that wait upon the Lord will renew their strength…  To be continued…

Thanks for stopping by. Hope you enjoyed your read.

Cliff {AMDG}

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