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Bike nut that also whitewater kayaks (and swims). Former cave and technical diver (hung up my fins)
Bike nut that also whitewater kayaks (and swims). Former cave and technical diver (hung up my fins)


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Bowron Lakes part 3

Matt had been up for a while when I finally rolled out of my sleeping bag. Several sleepless nights and a fair amount of paddling were starting to take their toll.

We ate a quick breakfast and broke camp in good time, and just after the party of four canoeists left, portaging their canoes and gear around The Chute and the rapids behind it, we pushed our boats out into the very last part of Isaac Lake and floated around the bend to line up and drop over the Chute. The previous evening we'd been scouting the rapid and noticed a tree blocking the immediate exit, if a boat ran the chute and just stayed in the current it would run right into the log jam. We formulated our own ideas for getting around it - Matt ran into the drop backwards and ferried across to river right, I ran the drop forwards, eddied out left, then ferried across the whole rapid. The Chute was a bit of a disappointment, levels were so high that most of the whitewater was washed out.

However the river got better. Just downstream was the section called the Roller Coaster and that rapid was in full swing, I'd not taken a 17ft boat through whitewater before but after about three seconds my concerns passed and I enjoyed it as much as I would have in a playboat. I turned to check on Matt and he was whooping as his boat splashed through the rapids, so I figured he was doing ok too :)

The fun stuff was over very quickly and we had to take out to avoid the signposted waterfall. As we packed the boats onto their carts for the short portage the canoeists passed us hauling their boats. I was glad we paddled the short river section. Dragging our kayaks, we stopped to check out the 'waterfall' - the first section was a good class II-III rapid that I'd have loved to run in my playboat. Matt was looking a bit cheated, it was obvious he figured we could run it. We had a discussion about how they obviously had to stop boats going through there in case Johnny-first-time-canoeist capsized with no lifejacket on, but then just downstream I heard a thundering noise and we moved to the edge of the trail to check it out. There was a huge class V drop which at normal levels maybe one or two people I know could have run... at the current water level it would be suicide. We both looked at each other and I said 'that will be the waterfall then'.

The next part of the circuit was tedious, short river runs followed by short portages around difficult rapids. I was getting pretty good at packing my stuff into my carry-bag, putting my cart together, strapping the kayak on the cart and hauling, but my original fix for the lost wheel pin was totally inadequate on the rougher trails and the gaffer tape would scrape off. Matt fixed that by zip-tying my cart wheel on.

Before too long we'd done three portages and we were on McLeary Lake. As we started to paddle down the right side of the short lake, we could see another trapper cabin on the left shore. I said to Matt that would have been our stop the previous night if we'd been able to keep going... part of me thought it would not have been too much further, but then it is easy to think that way when you are dry, it isn't raining, and you haven't paddled all day. And as Matt pointed out, it may have been occupied last night.

I found myself worrying that the portages had taken a couple of hours out of what we already knew would be a long paddling day, and I tried to force myself to stop thinking about the time and relax. That became easier as we left the lake behind and funneled into the Cariboo river. The weather started to improve and the clouds that had veiled the scenery parted to reveal the mountains. Matt kept asking me to take pictures, we were both loving the occasional sun and the view. Added to that it was very relaxing to just let the current take the boats, with the odd correcting stroke to avoid wood in the river. We agreed that this was the best part of the trip so far.

There were some stumps and other hazards in the river and it wasn't long before we came on a wrecked canoe. It wasn't - we were relieved to see - the party that we'd stayed with the night before. It looked relatively clean so it was hard to tell when it had happened, but it was very obviously abandoned. We shouted to ensure there was nobody nearby in need of assistance. The whole boat had buckled and cracked in the middle, evidently it had got sideways on a stump and the current had destroyed it.

The river widened and slowed slightly and eventually deposited us into Lanesi Lake. My shoulders and torso had appreciated the break and started to complain as soon as I began the long paddle up the lake. Lanesi was nowhere near the length of Isaac - maybe a third the size - but it was significant and I knew we had to cover the whole of it and a lot more in order to keep our trip to five days.

Pretty much out of nowhere a very strong headwind hit us and within minutes we were smashing through big waves. The wind was catching my inactive paddle blade as it came out of the water and blasting it backwards which was making it harder to paddle. I put my head down and paddled as hard as I could into the wind, occasionally having to track diagonally to keep toward the shore. When I did that, the waves would break across the boat and swamp my spraydeck, and had me paying close attention to keep upright. Up ahead I could see Matt, head down, powering on through so I just kept going too. After a few minutes I stopped fretting and started laughing at the ridiculous weather. I wondered briefly if I'd finally lost it, a few days kayaking in the wilderness and here I was laughing like a maniac in a 20 knot wind as the waves crashed over me. Maybe the next step would be running around naked covered in mud and talking to mushrooms.

We pulled into the lee of a headland and saw two canoes pulled ashore - sure enough it was the group of canoeists we'd left with that morning. Their canoes had started to take on water faster than they could bail it, so they'd been forced to stop. Matt checked our position on the map and we were both stunned to discover we'd covered almost a third of the lake. We braced ourselves and pulled around the headland but the weather had changed totally and the wind was non-existent. Paddling on we started enjoying the views as the clouds shifted and the mountains surrounded us once more. Hugging the right shore of the lake I listened to the eerie silence of the rainforest on the slopes of the mountains, broken by the occasional exotic-sounding bird call. I wondered what it would be like to be hiking through that, and I felt rather small and insignificant.

As we basked in the sun and put another third of the lake behind us, we could see another weather front ahead towards the end of the lake. We determined to try to paddle for the end before we got hit again... bizarrely we had a tail wind on the lake, but the clouds were moving toward us. Crazy mountain weather.

Another problem that started to become apparent was my lightweight packing. I'd packed five normal days' worth of food, not five days of paddling for 6 hours a day. Matt had extra and we had the jerky and granola that his wife had made us, but I was starting to find that I was hungry more or less constantly, and everything I ate was not enough. As the afternoon drew on I figured I'd have enough for breakfast, a handful of jerky and a Mars bar for lunch, and an energy bar for our planned last day. We really couldn't afford to hang about.

The storm hit us as we made our way towards the end of Lanesi Lake, thunder rolled overhead and we stayed tight in to the trees on the right shore. Every time we tried to round a headland we'd battle the wind, until right at the end of the lake we rounded a bend and the wind died. Soon it was overcast and a little rainy, but we could deal with that. We passed into Sandy Lake and paddled gently up the right shore. It was getting late, and Matt asked what I wanted to do. My body told me it wanted a very large burger, some beer and then a nice warm bath but since we were some miles from any of those, I figured we had to press on. We were both feeling pretty strong still so we agreed to keep paddling as late as we possibly could. Matt figured if we could get through Babcock and Skoi lakes, we'd get all the portaging finished and just have a relatively easy paddle the next day.

We started to pass campsites where sane people had decided to call it a day several hours ago and were sitting around chatting and eating. I'd been sitting in my boat for so long that most of my lower body was numb, but I didn't want to get out since I'd chill and all the water trapped in my drypants would slosh down my legs. As we got to Babcock lake though, we had no choice. Helpfully the rain returned as we took out to portage onto the lake. Slogging through the muddy trail I could feel water sloshing about so I took off my boots and held open my latex ankle seals. Water poured out and although I was chilled it felt much better without a pint of water in each leg. The rain stopped and we did too briefly to chat with some campers on the edge of Babcock Lake, but the mosquitoes were bad and I didn't want to stand around long, soaked as I was. We powered across the lake and the rain closed back in, but I wasn't really in the mood to look at the view so I just focussed on paddle stroke after paddle stroke. It was hard to keep my head up. Looking back I noticed the campers watching us go, I guess they thought we were nuts paddling into the sunset.

There was a really short portage at the end of Babcock, leading to Skoi Lake. As I got to the end of it, happily chatting to Matt now the rain had stopped, a big Moose stepped up right in front of me out of the lake. Matt said over my shoulder 'don't move'.

The Moose was evidently disgusted by the smell of unwashed paddler, since she jumped straight back into the lake and swam. I heard some distressed sounding grunting, and realised her calf was still in the lake too. I'd recovered from my surprise enough to grab my camera, and took a couple of pictures as they got out on the reedy far bank. We put in and had to paddle through some twisting reed beds to get out into the main lake, all the time keeping an eye out for grazing moose. As the small lake opened up the sun came out just as it was dropping behind the horizon, and the lake steamed in the pink sunset. A Loon sat in the middle of the lake giving it's weird-sounding call. Another moose watched us suspiciously from the far side of the lake and ran off as we paddled closer. I smiled to myself - if we'd stopped when we should have, five or so hours ago, we'd have seen none of this stuff.

We took out at the end of Skoi Lake and it only took a few minutes to haul our kayaks across the short portage. We were the only people at the campsite on the shore of Spectacle Lakes, so we decided to stop there for the night. My final dinner of two rehydrated chicken breasts, some cheesy mash potato and some green beans tasted like Heaven. I savoured each mouthful, eating by the light of my headlamp. We'd paddled for 11 hours more or less continuously, apart from the portages we'd only stopped very briefly for lunch. The last thing I remember as I lay in my sleeping bag was the haunting sound of the Loon on Skoi Lake, a few hundred metres behind us.

After breakfast the next morning we packed up and headed out fairly early. Just as we were leaving the people we'd talked to at Babcock Lake the night before turned up, obviously we were NOT early starters :) We paddled just in front of them for the whole of the Spectacle Lakes and it wasn't clear where Spectacle finished and Swan Lake started, but they were still with us as we passed reedy islands in Swan Lake, looking for Moose. There were none, so we pressed on. The canoeists pulled into a campsite for lunch whilst Matt and I pressed on and stopped at a site Matt had been to before on the Bowron River. I ate my last handful of jerky and made a smug comment about how my next meal was going to be a burger with all the trimmings. We were both looking forward to a big meal... I think the previous day had really taken it's toll on both of us.

We pressed on and wound through the reeds on the Bowron River - finally taking our first wrong turn of the trip - looking for Bowron Lake. I was really starting to get the hang of turning the long sea kayak so the twists and turns of the river were fun. The sun was out too. We started the long paddle up Bowron Lake and I was disappointed to see it was so... civilised looking. There were houses and cabins and for the first time in several days we heard engine noise as powered boats came down the lake. Bowron is a recreational lake and apart from the first kilometer or so there isn't much to see. Matt asked which shore I was planning to paddle and I told him the shortest route - straight up the middle! I aimed for the end of the lake and got on with paddling. Looking at my watch I figured we'd be done by 2.30pm. All that time looking forward to my Bowron adventure and here I was wondering what kind of time we'd get to Tim Hortons.

At the very end of the lake we took out, high-fived each other and then dragged our gear up the short hike to the car park. Matt brought the truck down and as we loaded up a park ranger asked for our names - they'd had an emergency VHF call from a party of two guys in the park. Apparently they'd been forced to pull ashore in the bad weather and they'd simply run out of food. The ranger had been hopeful we were the guys, and went back to figuring out a rescue. We mentioned the wrecked canoe we saw, but apparently that had been there since last year.

Driving back into the real world we decided to stop at Wells and eat. However after a very strange cafe kicked us out - they had customers but told us they couldn't serve us until 5pm - we went to a gas station to get coffee and as we opened the door the lady in the fully-stocked looking store told us they couldn't sell us anything except gas. Bemused, we decided to head for Quesnel and hope that Matt didn't fall asleep at the wheel. I looked at myself in the mirror - half closed eyes, red face and hair standing up like I'd had a bad fright. Matt looked little better. The people of Wells probably figured we were escaped from an asylum.

We ate a couple of burgers each in Quesnel, followed it with a bunch of doughnuts and finally arrived home in the early evening. For several days afterward all I could do was eat, sleep and scratch my mosquito bites.

Now the rain, pain and insects are a dim memory I'd be tempted to do it again sometime. In August or September. Preferably during a heatwave. But there are so many other places to explore here...

Hope you enjoyed the write-up.

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Bowron Lakes part 2

I'd been willing myself to sleep for maybe half an hour or so in the half-light when the distinct sounds of something in the campsite snapped me wide awake. As I lay there I could hear something picking it's way around and I tried to slow my breathing as it seemed deafeningly loud in my ears. If it was a bear, the rational side of my brain tried to argue, it would be crashing around and making a racket, not sneaking. I was just starting to relax again when there was a big splash from the direction of the lake. I sat up in my sleeping bag, debating on whether I should open the tent door for a look, but as that involved moving and therefore making noise I laid back down and tried not to think about how much my tiny one-person tent resembled a nylon coffin.

Whatever it was obviously decided to take a cooling swim in the late evening, I lay awake most of the night but if it did return to the campsite I didn't hear it. Early in the morning it began to rain and the drumming on the tent must have eventually lulled me off to sleep for a couple of hours.

After breakfast, breaking camp and a discussion about the previous night's intruder we finally got onto Isaac Lake at around 11am, much much later than we had intended. We knew we were going to be paddling all day and we had been told that the wind was bad in the afternoon, but for some reason it just took ages to get going. As we set out the canoeists that we'd started with came into sight and shouted greetings. I had a few misgivings, based on the fact that they were planning to take seven days and we were planning on four, and here we all were at the top of Isaac Lake. We should have been long gone!

The rain made it difficult to motivate ourselves, and it was so much cooler that I ditched the t-shirt and shorts and paddled in my dry gear and thermals. We quickly left the canoeists behind. Isaac Lake made a ninety-degree turn to the south so we crossed it and effectively took the 'racing line' through the corner. It was initially a little daunting to be out in the middle of such a large lake, but by the time we made the second crossing I was fairly accustomed to it. Matt had mentioned that paddling down the middle of lakes is not great because you get no sense of momentum, it doesn't feel like you are making any headway. Added to that I found it was kind of dull as there really wasn`t much to see, so I concentrated on keeping my paddle blades square in the water, twisting to put the blade in at my toes and pulling it out at my hip. In this way the first part of Isaac Lake slid slowly by. We occasionally paused for snacks and drinks, Matt`s wife had made us some delicious granola bars which provided a much needed boost.

Late in the afternoon I started to realise I was really damp and cold, it came as a slight surprise since whilst we were moving I was generating enough warmth to be comfy. We came upon a guy fly fishing from a small headland and as we pulled alongside Matt had a chat with him. We`d arrived at one of the few log cabins that are dotted around the lakes, and there were four guys sheltering from the elements. They invited us in and as I stepped out of the boat I realised what sort of state I was in, my teeth simply wouldn`t stop chattering. Where I`d been sitting in a puddle on my seat all afternoon it had soaked through my drypants and was now pooled in the bottom of each leg, unable to get out past the latex seals. I hugged myself and tried to keep my teeth clenched as we walked up to the cabin. Walking in the door we were hit by a wall of warmth from the wood stove the guys had going. They made us hot tea whilst we stood right next to the stove and tried not to melt our drysuit seals.

There was a campsite outside the cabin, just across a bridge and gushing river and it turned out that the four guys had camped there last night waiting for the cabin to become free. I got the impression they weren`t planning on moving out any time soon. The fishing had been good and they`d caught a bunch of large trout which they were planning on eating. I was concerned that it was getting late and we were only halfway down Isaac Lake, with a whole pile of paddling to do in the cold and rain, and I really didn`t want to consider moving more than two metres from the wood stove. It would also be really nice if someone could see their way to stoking more wood in and making me another tea, thanks very much.

Matt had similar ideas - he'd not realised how cold he was until he tried to talk to the guys in the cabin and the words came out jumbled. After a discussion we decided to put our tents up outside, and leave our wet gear in the cabin to dry out. Since I only had one pair of thermals it seemed like an award-winning plan. Unfortunately the four guys were not the best campers in the world. There were fish bits strewn around the tent pad and in the river, and they`d cooked last night`s catch directly on the camp fire grill which when added to the food scraps left in it, now looked like the world`s best bear attractant. We put up a tarp for a kitchen area and small tarps over the tent pad, then put Matt`s tent up. As both tents were soaked from the previous night and Matt`s was a two person, we decided to share a tent in the hope our combined body heat would dry it out. Matt sponged the inside but it was still very damp. Added to that the crashing river, which ran either side of our tent pad, was on the rise with all the rain. Slowly but surely our kitchen area started to flood and a new streamlet ran through the campsite.

We tidied up the campsite and threw the fish guts out into the lake, but went to bed wondering if the bears, flooding, or hypothermia would get us first. The gushing water and constant rain kept me awake all night.

In the morning we had a wet breakfast but were much quicker to break camp and after having to bother the still-sleeping young guys in the cabin for our drygear we were out on the lake by 9.30am. It was raining on and off rather than constantly, and we made good headway as there was a slight tailwind down the lake. We were determined to make up for the previous short day.

After paddling for an hour or so we came across one of the larger group campsites and paddled up to say hi to the group that were breaking camp there. It was getting on towards 11am and they were showing no signs of hurrying to get on the water. It made me wonder if perhaps we weren't being a bit ambitious trying to get done in four days... a week would have allowed more cup of tea/feet up time. We chatted to members of the group for a short while until one of them pointed back up the lake to the large storm making it's way down the valley toward us. Suddenly the tailwind didn't seem like such a bonus, and we hastily said goodbye and paddled down the lake.

In the increasing wind I found that if I paddled fast enough I could catch the small waves that were passing us, and surf briefly. That passed the time until we grabbed a quick lunch in the boats, whilst the rain beat down around us. The lake seemed to be an endless series of headlands, we'd reach one and then aim for the next, and so on. Finally, after what felt like forever, the end of the lake came into view several kilometers away. The rain which had been picking up all afternoon turned into hail and the surface of the lake looked like a badly-artexed ceiling in all directions. Both Matt and I were pretty keen to finally get off Isaac Lake! At the very end the lake narrowed into "The Chute", a well-known rapid that led into Isaac River, and there was a group campsite with a wooden shelter right on the banks. Matt thought it would be a good idea to haul our wet selves and soaked gear in there and attempt to dry out, or at least wait out the worst of the rain.

As we arrived we saw that two groups of paddlers had beaten us to it, four people we'd met at the orientation on day one and inexplicably, the big group that we'd talked to that morning. Given that we'd only stopped for a few toilet breaks and snack breaks, I started to wonder if we were just slow paddlers! Matt mentioned that two people in a big canoe was probably more efficient than one person in a sea kayak, so I went with that ;)

It was only about 3pm so we figured we'd get dry and warmer and then make tracks for McCleary Lake. We got to the shelter, which was essentially a big wooden roof, open at the sides, with seats and tables. And most importantly, a wood stove. Some kind soul had even left dry wood. The canoeists had got a fire going and pretty soon our grand plan to push on started to fade along with our enthusiasm. We'd keep making target times - if it has stopped raining by 4.30, we'll go. Eventually at 5pm we made the decision to stay the night in the campsite, so we'd have dry clothes in the morning. In typical Canadian fashion the other people staying in the shelter were so friendly and were trying their hardest to get us to stay the night and party with them anyway.

As soon as we made the decision to stay, the rain slackened right off as if someone with a strange sense of humour had turned off a tap. A couple turned up in another canoe taking the number of people in the shelter to 21. They looked like drowned rats and didn't really have any appropriate rain gear. The girl especially looked very, very cold. We all shuffled around to make more room at the wood stove, and threw some more logs in.

By the time Matt and I put up the tarp and tent, the Sun had come out over the mountains across from us, and everyone rushed down to our tent pad to bask in the evening rays. Our site was right next to the lake, out of the trees and was in the full, lovely, warm sunlight for the short half hour or so before the Sun dipped behind the mountains. The change was incredible and people that had been huddled around a small stove all afternoon were now taking canoes out fishing, running the Chute, photographing the sunset, and generally behaving as if they'd never seen the big yellow ball in the sky before.

We were too tired to do much partying but judging by the noise some folks had a pretty late night :) As I tried to drift off I took stock of our situation. It was the end of day three and we'd only just reached the end of Isaac Lake, about the halfway point of the circuit. Finishing in four days was not feasible but if we pushed really hard tomorrow we should finish in five. As we'd both packed food and fuel for five days we SHOULD be in good shape. Provided, of course, we could cope with the weather.

Part 3 soon!

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Bowron Lakes part 1

The last few weeks had been mostly about park and play surfing on the local playwave until the level dropped recently, so it was quite a change to think about a long kayak tour. But Matt and I had been planning the trip for weeks, and I'd slowly been accumulating camp stuff and other items which I figured would make my life easier. A week before we were due to leave we had a meeting which I think was more designed to ensure that I wasn't just going to turn up with my kayak and a toothbrush, Matt went through his kayak camping checklist but unusually for me, I'd had my own checklist on the go for several weeks. I was, pretty much, as prepared as I'd ever been for anything.

We decided to head down to Bowron Lakes Provincial Park on Sunday evening and camp in the main campground, then head out on the lakes first thing Monday morning. Sunday night passed slowly and I don't think I slept, just lay in my sleeping bag listening to forest sounds and wondering what they could be. In particular there was a thumping noise that sounded like a single-cylinder bike being started, I assumed it was some inconsiderate camper starting a powerplant for their RV, but Matt mentioned it was some sort of Grouse trying to attract a mate. Evidently he was somewhat less than irresistible as the noise went on into the early hours.

Next morning we got up and packed up camp to head over for the mandatory Provincial Park orientation at 9am. Full of oatmeal and optimism, we sat and watched a DVD about how to avoid becoming bear food. Then the park ranger told us they'd had to encourage a mother Grizzly and cub out of the main campsite that morning. So the sounds I heard were not ALL Grouse.

All the other people starting their tours that day were in canoes, and had to have their gear weighed. Matt and I, in kayaks, were given our park passes and sent on our merry way.

The first part of the circuit is a huge portage - the longest on the whole tour - and for the first hour we grunted and sweated in the warm weather, hauling our kayaks on carts. I'd thrown almost all of my gear in a backpack and was dragging a light boat, Matt had gone the opposite way and was struggling just to move his heavy kayak. We started to take turns hauling his boat, and it wasn't long before we were both wondering just how far 2.4 kilometers really is. We were hot and tired, and hadn't dipped a paddle in the water yet. Added to that the warm day brought out mosquitoes by the million, and any body part that we'd missed with the bug dope was quickly turned into a pin cushion by the annoying insects.

When the first lake finally appeared, we found that we were the last to arrive. Everyone that we'd last seen weighing their gear was already there, despite us only seeing one other boat on the portage trail. Two people pushing one canoe was obviously much more efficient than a person pushing a kayak. This was a theme we were going to see more of during the week!

We were far more organised at the lake shore though. I had my kayak in the water in minutes, and even with all the gear he was packing Matt was not far behind. We put in and I tried to get a feel for moving the heavy boat around. A couple of cheesy snapshots and we were underway, leaving the canoeists behind. The first part of the lake was a grassy river delta, and we slowly wound out into Kibbee Lake. We were obviously on some sort of mission... although Kibbee is quite small we almost flew across it in twenty minutes. My kayak cart was strapped across the bow hatch and I kept hitting it with my paddle, about halfway across I noticed that I'd lost an axle pin. We'd done one of three planned portages for the day, and already we'd have to figure out how to attach my left cart wheel. Grr.

We stopped and ate a quick lunch on the far shore of Kibbee lake, and contemplated the next portage. I broke out the duck tape and my cart was not quite as good as new. The first canoeists turned up as we were leaving and the kids were all wondering whether to eat or portage first. Matt had less in his boat but the portage was harder, almost all uphill and the sun was out overhead making for hot work. We passed bear poop on the trail and I made sure to make plenty of noise, probably if we encountered a bear it would have a good laugh at us sweating and dragging our kayaks, but I didn't want to take the chance.

At the end of the portage, mosquito bitten and sick of walking, we put our boats out onto Indianpoint lake. It had a completely different character to Kibbee, and was much longer. We hugged the left shore and I noticed how quiet it was. The lake was particularly pretty, forested right to the shore and surrounded by mountains. Towards the end it narrowed right into another river delta and I realised we were paddling upstream. The sea kayaks made easy work of it though and we wound through into a small, shallow stretch of lake. At the end of it was a sign telling us where to portage. We were both pretty happy that we'd got to the third portage, once out of the way that would be our first day target completed.

We decided this time to haul our gear the 1.6km and then come back and get the kayaks. The mosquitoes were simply ridiculous, there were more than I had ever seen. We'd slapped bug repellant all over and the whole portage all I could feel was insects pinging off my arms and legs where they were trying to land. At the end of the portage the level of Isaac Lake was so high that all the ground was marshy and there was a lot of standing water. Hence the mosquitoes. We were planning to camp there originally but I told Matt we'd be better off a few hundred metres down the lake. We jumped in our kayaks and headed off, looking for a campsite.

Camping on the Bowron circuit is all in designated sites, to keep down erosion and other environmental concerns. The campsites are all numbered, and we stopped for the evening in #12. It was beautiful and we were able to watch the sun slowly sink behind the mountains. I had a look around and found a log and using Matt's axe I started chopping some wood for the fire. Matt made pizza for both of us and it went down well with the dried Lasagne dinner I had. We were both pretty pleased that we'd done almost a quarter of the circuit and three long portages. Tomorrow we'd have a paddling day and hopefully manage the whole length of Isaac Lake, some 30 kilometers. It was light so late and we sat around our fire watching the smoke cross the lake. Eventually we headed off to bed and I sat again listening to the utter quiet.

We were in the wilderness.

More to come!

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