Hatzic Lake Paddle 2021-08-08

With a mildly threatening forecast of possible rain we head out to the lake from our mustering point at the info center in Mission. As we get closer to the lake and a bit further into the mountains the clouds look a bit more ominous and there is light misty rain falling. Fortunately we have paddlers from Maple Ridge, Port Coquitlam and Vancouver with us and they all tell of nicer skies at home when they left this morning. This is good news since Mission typically gets the same weather a couple hours later so we are hopeful.

After a pretty efficient movement of all gear and boats down the long slope to the beach, we are ready to go. A brief safety chat and orientation to the trip plan for the day and we are off. The cooler, damp weather turns out to be an asset for us as all the nutty boaters are nestled at home all tucked in their beds (or something like that). Anyway, they are nowhere in sight and the lake is almost like glass with the gentle, misty rain still falling, but showing clear signs of subsiding.     

We paddle north from the Neilson Regional Park beach, along the shoreline until we round the northwest corner. We follow that shoreline east along the many docks and beach front houses until we find the last one on that segment of the shoreline. It’s a white house and it sits right on the corner where Hatzic Slough enters into Hatzic Lake. There we wait and collect the group before all 5 boats and 11 people head up the slough.  Our destination is a sand bar in the creek where the slough fizzles out about 4 km upstream. Our progress is marked by 4 bridges that we pass under, the last one only a hundred feet or so below our destination lunch spot. 

Now one of the challenges with this paddle is ability to get out of canoes between destinations, all the property is private along the shoreline so some local politicking is necessary. Earlier in the week I approached a property owner and gained consent to stop on their property for a short break and leg stretch on the way up, (it’s well worth it and all for the price of a $10 Timmy’s card).  The paddle is a serene, peaceful waterway with lots of waterfowl, Kingfishers, and Blue Herons (and a few farm animals for good measure); nearer the lake it’s common to see Ospreys and Eagles.

We reach our lunch spot and land comfortably on the sand bar. There is easily enough room for 5 boats but its cosy. Some paddlers bring chairs, others buckets to sit on while others choose to stand for the duration of the stop. After a half hour or so we were ready to head back down to the lake. We arrive in the lake around 2:30 with the weather still holding so we take the opportunity to have a look at the entrance to a second slough a few hundred meters to the east. We don’t go up it, only note where it comes out so those who are interested in launching near the bridge on Sylvester Road (much easier but very small space), will have an idea where they will pop out on the lake.

Finally we cross the lake to Shook Island and follow that shoreline around to the west, then south until we are directly across from our launch spot. An easy crossing, still no sign of the nutty boaters and before you know it we are back on shore. Some good team work and everyone’s gear is back at the parking lot and we are loaded to go. It’s a good day for everyone and we are fortunate with the weather.

Thanks to April W. & Pat F., Daryl S. & Margery, Darren K & Mary K (no not the make-up lady), Paula B & Chris, and our passenger Rose D. and of course my wife and buddy Carole for a terrific day!

Bob P


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