Reply- Great count Phil and I in as it is our Anniversary.
It was the first sunny day in a month with a huge blue sky with happy clouds on April 2 in Vancouver. Heading towards the mountains in the Fraser valley it was back to winter conditions; cold with storm clouds. A year ago on this same trip the highway in Abbotsford had been glorious with tulips for the festival.
This year there wasn’t one shoot to be seen. Onwards to the Vedder bridge (a bit confusing with the new swanky bridge ready to go up and the excitement of the Beaver clan sharing stories of their latest adventures huddled in the old mud hole parking lot).
The always prepared Dave Westell sporting a metal ladder beside his double canoe was at the ready to make the rock wall easier for the canoe entry at the usual put in place. It was decided to temp fate and start further up river at the mailboxes. There were 11 paddlers in 10 boats on the sandy shore being led with a review of the river signs and a strong reminder to get those feet up if you found yourself swimming as the water was motoring and there were large boulders.
We were off down a fun rodeo rapid.
More fun maneuvers were to be made through a series of waves. Skillful surfing pursued, with more exhilarating rapids and everyone managed to skirt by a large hole, thankfully. It was smart call to have go river left.
The goal of lunch was to eat quickly and stay warm but enjoy the sleet deluge. The Beavers huddled and danced. Many friendly fishers lined the route, we skirted the wood and appreciated the eagles. It was a joy to paddle the last bit with Dave in a relaxed, mindful state enjoying the surfing, popping around deadheads and under branches. We marvelled at the new deco bridge footings and felt the warmth of the sun. We pulled out at the stone stairs with some Beavers making the take out and others taking a more scenic tour.
After the shuttle we had a fun surprise. A special meeting on the river bank. Thanks to Irene Gauvin for baking a moist carrot cake, (gluten free, egg free and within the 100 mile diet) with decadent cream cheese icing. Claude shared his red wine and thanks to Carey for supplying the coffee mugs to make it look more professional in a public place for the onlooking walkers/bike riders gallivanting along.
What a thoughtful celebration with a toast to end the day that will be remembered fondly for a memorable Anniversary. The sun caught up to us and as we looked back at the snow covered mountains we appreciated this glorious setting, amazing river and of course how grateful we are for whitewater canoeing, being with friends, having soulmates and thankful for being alive and living.
A new bar has been set for finishing trips. Thank you Irene for your thoughtfulness, time and baking talents.
P.S. Other stories made history but what happens on the river stays on the river.
Paddlers: Claude Gauvin-Leader, Marlene and Dan, Anne and Alain, Denise, Carey, Dave Westell, Yurik, Andrie and Phil.
In case you missed it, the first ever Gunwale Grub Throwdown took place at the April 2017 Beaver Canoe Club meeting. Many thanks to all the members who came out and put their taste buds to work!
And the winner is …
- Jenny W. won the gift certificate from Valhalla Pure Outfitters in Abbotsford for her entry in the Entrées category: Chicken Cranberry Couscous
- Jenny also won a gift certificate from Skyview Outdoors in Surrey for her entry in the Snacks category: Chewy Granola Bars
- Madeline W. won the People’s Choice Award for Daniela’s Delights and took home a gift certificate for a “Cut Like a Chef” class for 2 from Knifewear in Vancouver.
A big thank you to these local businesses for their generous support!
- Next time you are at Western Canoeing, check out the Valhalla Pure store next door. In addition to outdoor clothing, they carry a wide range of paddling accessories.
- Located on Scott Road & 110th Ave. in North Surrey, Skyview Outdoors is filled to brimming with camping and paddle sport gear.
- If you are at all serious about knives, you must go to Knifewear at Main and 26th Avenue in Vancouver. They have a huge range of beautiful Japanese knives and accessories which you can try out. Many are affordable.
As promised, here is a compilation of all the canoe tripping recipes from the event (pdf).
It wasn’t easy putting together such an event and have it run so smoothly. Dave W. did a great job as MC. Margaret C., Cody W., and Christine L. did a superb job as our official judges. Our treasurer, John G., tabulated all the scores. We have James W. to thank for the excellent action shots of the event. And I would not have been able to do it without the consistent input and support of my planning team. These fellow foodies dedicated 5 meetings (with food of course!) to shaping the event: Leigh B., Rose D., April W., Pam F. and Madeline W.
There is no telling what talent hides among the BCC membership!
All the best for your next wilderness cooking adventure,
This outing was my first as a trip leader.
We had good weather, just a light wind and some fresh snow on the surrounding mountains for a pretty backdrop. Perfect for paddling.
Five boats were on the trip. Christine and Bruce came on their first BCC trip in a Clipper Escape. Rose and Dave brought their Wenonah Rogue. Bernard brought two solo canoes from his extensive fleet; a Clipper Freestyle for Jen (which she had never paddled before) and an Old Town Penobscot 15 for himself. Mike brought his Old Town Tripper and let me paddle bow seat, having forgiven me for almost over boarding him with a diving board on the Nickomekl.
We left the parking lot launch point on schedule and headed towards the south end of the lake. This is a scenic part of the lake with many old stumps still remaining from the raising of what was then “Trout Lake” by BC Hydro over 100 years ago.
In the south end we passed a large structure on the shore with a floating boom around it. Some, including me, were wondering what it was. It turns out this is a water intake for the Burrard gas fired electricity generation plant in Port Moody.
We then headed for the north end of Buntzen where we stopped at the beach for a snack and rest. A resident raven took off across the lake with Bernard’s bagged gloves, returning moments later without the gloves desirous of a treat. While there we tried out the suspension bridge and got a glimpse into McCombe Lake.
This north beach was home to Tunnel Camp. Starting in 1903 miners tunneled east 3.6 kilometers under Eagle Mountain to Coquitlam Lake. There is still one house left standing in the bush from this time. There was another village a little to the west for the hydro station workers.
After lunch, we had a pleasant but uneventful paddle back to the put in. Thanks to Mike for being so genial in allowing me to swap people in and out of his boat so we could try different boats. Thanks to everyone who came along.
by John Gardiner