Hatzic Lake and Slough 20-05-31
Well it all started with a precarious weather forecast that would bring gusty winds from the south and rain. I was recently on this lake with the same forecast and it was not a pleasant paddle in open water. Naturally when we arrived at the lake for this trip, the winds were from the north, with uncertain clouds that brought enough rain to keep us in rain gear for a good part of the day. Our 6 boat party included myself and Mike D, Brian and Sue McK, Karim W and Christine McG, Luke and Lucy M, Jaylene P and Ian C, and finally Scott and Sandra N along with their two children Erik and Halle.
We met at the Visitor Info Center on Hwy 7 east of Mission at 1030 am then proceeded to Neilsen Park about 8 minutes away. Moving gear down the long grassy hill to the shore was made easier by the 3 carts brought though some chose to slide their boat down on the grass. By close to 1130 we were on our way north into a small headwind. We crossed over to Shook Island and followed the sheltered west shoreline almost to the head of the lake where we crossed the last few 100 meters over to the entrance of Hatzic Slough.
A small rest there for gear adjustments or sips, and we headed into the slough. Hatzic Slough is a sleepy little water way that passes by farmland and a few valley residents whose properties back onto the small water front. There are 4 small bridges to pass under where you arrive at a narrow spot in the creek with enough dry space in the middle to stop for a rest or lunch. Most of the banks are overgrown along the roughly 3.5 km paddle up the slough.
With high water levels it was uncertain whether the landing spot at the top of the creek would be large enough to accommodate the group; so it was appealing when we passed by some inviting spots in the riparian zones of the residences along the way. So much so, that one of our more bold members landed and requested permission for the group to stop and eat lunch for 20 minutes or so. The owners were very gracious and granted permission so a very nice lunch was had. We reached the top of the Hatzic Slough just past the Dale Road bridge and stopped; a small parade continued 30 meters or so upstream where some private space was available for nature calls. After 20 minutes or so we all rode the gentle current downstream awhile then paddled back out to the lake.
We arrived back at the lake around 3 pm; from there one can paddle east to Chilqua Slough for a shorter 2km paddle each way, or follow the east shoreline of Hatzic Lake all the way around and back to the park for a longer trip. The group opted to return back near the same route we traveled in, given some people had notable distances to drive back home. All good though, there are new options for another day. On the way back we followed the north shore, where we saw, Ospreys and Eagles diving for fish ahead of us. The weather was calm by then and it was a gentle return to Neilsen Park. “Social distancing” was discussed in the morning so what teamwork could be done to assist each other was done to ensure everyone got gear back up to the parking lot in an efficient manner.
By all accounts it was a good paddle and an enjoyable new route for all. Thanks to Sue for pictures and as a side note, the property owners who allowed us to stop were given a $10 Tim Horton’s card as a “thank-you” courtesy from the club.
See you next time!