Chilliwack River Trip Report – April 2, 2017
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.