Coldwater River from the First Nations Blue Church to a municipal park in Merritt
By Mike Dickinson
Wednesday June 29, 2016
Moving day at Rivers and Lakes Week. We start the day with a scenic drive from Coalmont to Tulameen and beyond on dirt roads till we reach the highway again. Luckily the roads were being graded so our caravan of canoes had no surprises. We first check the levels at the park and then organize the shuttle to the put-in at the Blue Church.
We were 5 Tandems and 3 solos: Mark & his daughter Kate (visiting from Montreal!), Mike & Dave, Ber & Diane, Bernard & Bill and Suzanna & John, and finally in the solos Nick (Kate’s spouse from Montreal), Carey and Skylar. It is worth mentioning that this was Nick’s first trip downriver in a solo canoe and he was loving it! It was a nice hot sunny day with many adventures:
- There were some shallow bits that gave us extra exercise of getting out & in.
- Skylar found a frog and named him Greg. Then Skylar tipped and the frog was free.
- After lunch, we came across a log jam without a leader in sight. Dave and Mike were at the edge of it trying to eddy out and had some difficulties. The rest of us played it safe and eddied out a bit higher up. We carried the boats over the tree and then around a second one. Some kids were cooling off at the river’s edge and were quite entertained by our little posse.
- Each boat was greeted along the way by a First Nations woman “Hello Good People”.
- John & Suzanna did their first self-rescue and managed to reach the shore without the wood.
- We came across a walking bridge that was quite low so we had to line the boats underneath and walk around.
- The next walking bridge was a little higher so we just had to duck to pass under.
We took out after the Voght Street Bridge in Merritt and headed to the N’kwala Recreation Site to set up camp along the Nicola River. The Coldwater is a scenic and enjoyable grade 1+ river that demands some attention with several wood hazards.