Terror on the Coquitlam River
Sweepers, water rushing at 9 cubic meters per second, and Bernard’s driving led to an exciting outing on the Coquitlam River last Sunday. With a meet up at the Port Mann boat launch at 10 am, and a shuttle organized by trip leader, Mike, a group of 10 Beavers and 3 non-beavers (plus one red-haired retriever in over-sized pfd) headed for the west side of the river by Kingsway Ave in Poco. There the intrepid Beavers launched into the rushing waters of the river. The old timers assured the newbies, Chris, Bruce and Jen (fresh off their Deer Lake Dunkin’ the day before: “Don’t worry you guys will be fine, it is only a class 1”. With that, everyone headed out and proceeded to oh and aw!, and the river quickly drove them into a pileup on the west shore where three canoes were grabbed by two sweepers , but cool heads and helpful shouting prevailed, no one capsized. My feeling the cool heads were actually sleepy heads from Saturday’s pub nite so thus remained calm. The sun was shining and the gaggle regrouped on the East shore and had a post sleeper discussion, while the canoes were emptied of water. Back into the river and with a bit of addrenilin to sharpen everyone’s eyes it seemed that everyone was enjoying the current as they escaped the city in this gem waterway right in the middle of Poco. After some great paddling the group pulled into the west shore again to have a lunch break and everyone got to practice their new strokes to maneuver into the shore in a very professional way. Al and Trish having a gourmet blueberry salad. While Krista’s and Guy’s dog enjoyed the water and showed amazing dog paddling skills in the river. Back in the river we watched Lee maneuver her single person mad river rampage canoe like she was dancing on the water as she helped folks out with how to read the river tips. As we crossed under the Pitt River road Bridge we were greeted with a shout from across the river “how far have you guys come” to which we Beavers answered” Kingsway.” Our exited observer responding with an un-whelming “oh”.
After the bridge we proceeded down now more meandering river enjoying the sun and April’s story of only ever being dunked once accidently.( we are trying to confirm this with Scott). As we neared the mighty Fraser and waved to the envious Colony Farm on-lookers we pulled into a small bramble creek . Where Mike explained the plan of of how we as a group now very experienced with river’s could easily handle one of the greatest rivers in North America , but please don’t hit the large toll bridge he added and stay out of the current as you may end up in New Westminster. We were ready and we headed into the Fraser in a nice orderly canoe line. Now I know how Simon Fraser must of felt as he saw the snow caps falling away into the ocean he new was near. Then a red canoe ,went shooting by us all out in the current Bernard and Jen doing their jet boat impresession, In a bit we pulled into the boat launch in a pro fashion managing not to mess with any power boaters. The boats were quickly brought out of the water with great teamwork impressing the boat trailer backing pickup drivers. James (the non beaver , but hopefully a new recruit, ) provided luxury shuttle service with his Jaguar.
It was a great sunny day on a river which seems a world away, hidden in the Vancouver suburbs ,hard to believe that in a day’s paddle we never saw one building until we entered the Fraser. Many thanks to Lee,Jen,James,Bernard,Bruce,Chris,Guy,Krista .April ,Pamand Trish for some great paddleing and especially to Mike our team leader for organizing this paddling escape from the city within the city.