The Bowron Lakes circuit is in central B.C. East of Quesnel. Its a 116 km circuit through the high mountains with over 10 km of portaging.
Our six day adventure started by portaging from Bowron lake Park headquarters uphill to Kibee Lake.
There is over ten km of portaging spread out through the circuit. We rented a cradle with pneumatic wheels that is strapped to the canoe. We wear our backpacks and pull the canoe with two other gear bags in it. A great system but also there were some very challenging trails that are steep and rocky.
Next is Indian Point Lake, where high winds came up suddenly so we camped for the first night at campsite #8. Warm swimming after a sweaty day. The late evening brought a thunder and lightning storm show!
We then portaged into Issac lake, which is is about 36 km long. We planned on paddling long days here as the wind can blow up and force us off the lake. We paddled about 7.5 hours and stopped at Campsite 22.
The previous night’s lightning created this forest fire for us to watch from our campsite. As the wind picked up we would watch each tree burst into flames.
The day started getting light about four am so I got up then and Valerie would get up before six every morning on her own. We wore our PFD’s 100% of the time on the water.
The end of Isaac Lake is a fun chute where Valerie thought she would die in the rapids. After taking on some water the trusty 40 year old Grumman canoe got us through upright, despite a slight navigational error…
Valerie’ reward after the raging river was a night in an old trappers cabin converted to a shelter where we dried out our gear and chilled for the rest of the day. I managed to get in some fly fishing the next morning.
The clear waters disappeared as the caribou river was in flood from storms upstream. We paddled hard to clear fallen trees into the river; we past two canoes smashed open against log jams.
After another big mountain storm of squalls, thunder and lightning the morning was calm and a weird fog on the water made it look like we were going out of our world into Middle Earth! My navigating skills saved us from that adventure!
Every morning we would stop between 1.5-2 hours for a break to both stretch and a hot chocolate I would pack in a thermos from breakfast.
At one point we paddled down river past the route to Una lake to hike down to the caribou falls. One stunning scene after another.
A hike down to the 75 metre falls was a great change of pace. Paddling a 500 lb canoe up the caribou river was a chore, but knowing what was down river gave us incentive!
On our last day we paddled through an amazing huge swamplands. We had a break on shore and looked over a mother, bull and baby moose that we thought we were going to have to paddle past. The bull was huge and Valerie was scared. Since the channel was flowing too fast for us to backpaddle, our survival strategy if charged by the moose was to overturn the canoe and hide under it while the current takes us downstream. We got by without incident and saw fave moose on the last day.
Since all good things comes to and end we stopped at Williams Lake for showers and steak. The following day the truck overheated in the mountains past Linten and we had to hitchhike back to get the truck towed in…