Paddling Through Clouds
The Bowron Circuit is a 120km paddle and portage route in British Colombia. There are 6 portages to haul you, your canoe and gear over, 12 lakes to paddle across, 4 rivers to negotiate and 44 campsites to choose from, all conveniently arranged in a rectangular route.
Due to it's popularity we had to book it a month in advance. We were told by the park ranger that there were about 200 people spread out around the circuit with around 40 being admitted each day. We therefore expected to be paddling behind a long line of canoes, but only came across a handful of people all week.
The weather had been extremely wet and windy beforehand and I was a little apprehensive about spending 6/7 days out in it. But I needn't have worried, the weather improved almost as soon as we got on the water, with clear blue skies and calm water on our second day.
The portages ranged in distance from 0.4 to 2.8km and undulated over tree stumps, puddles and muddy dips. Fortunately we were allowed to put the canoe and 60lbs of gear onto a 2 wheeled trolley - much easier, especially for Dave who always got to carry the canoe on his shoulders!
The Lakes also ranged in size from 32km in length to 1, the larger of which could get high waves if the wind picked up, once again we were lucky, as me and rocky boats don't go together very well!
The rivers were reasonably swift flowing, with the usual logs, dead trees and rocks to avoid which the Canadians refer to as deadheads and sweepers. You also had to exit the river well before you were swept over a couple of waterfalls, fortunately these were signposted well in advance.
As the days got warmer so did the water and a lunchtime and evening swim was extremely refreshing, although I was given a helping hand or shove once or twice by Dave.
The scenery was incredible, huge towering mountains rising up steeply from the shoreline, their summits and ridges still retaining some winter snow, some glaciated and some lower and tree covered. The reflections on the calm water were stunning, it really was like paddling through the clouds on a silver highway. It was hard to put your camera away and continue paddling, as I was often reminded. There is something so peaceful and relaxing about gliding through the clear and calm water, the only sound is that of the soft splash as your paddles dip into the water, as you gaze around at the majestic mountains you are reminded how fortunate you are to be able to spend time in this truly beautiful part of the world.
This trip had been on our tick list for a few years, ever since hearing about it from a great guy who had taught us how to paddle in Algonquin, Ontario. Thanks Paul, it was a fantastic recommendation and we are now looking for another route to paddle.