Trip Report: Lower Chilliwack River: Mar 27, 2022
This was supposed to be an Upper Chilliwack trip, but the river was a little high, had changed it’s course last fall, and I thought maybe it was better to paddle something else today.
We opted for the Upper Seymour instead, but it never rose to a good level. Neither did the Lower Seymour. So after much waffling, we took our last choice, the Lower Chilliwack.
Rebecca and I, Marc, Dave A, Owen L.
We started at Mail Box rapid. I did not dump, but I was the first to run into trouble, and had to get out to set the canoe right. Getting pinned on a rock had something to do with paddling too far in the shallows. Duhh. Ironically, trying too hard to play it safe made the activity more hazardous.
We paddled down the post box rapid. Had it changed? Or did we just hit more holes? A second drop below wasn’t there before but was there now. It had changed. We had a few dumps. But when does a few become several? Lets just say we had several.
We came to the braid above Osbourne. We went to the right as usual, thinking it was safer. But we met a log across the water, just out of view, below the horizon line. It reminded me of a crocodile the way it lay in waiting, peeking up from below, hoping to remain unseen so it can catch you. We stopped just in time and were able to walk our boats. Then another wood obstruction, and another. We scouted very carefully and got to Osbourne, and lunched there after 90 minutes.
Somehow before lunch, one of us lost a shoe. I think the assumption was we would not be needing to walk any more gravel bars. Wrong. Our troubles were not over.
Marc took the lead after lunch, and boat scouted every turn, guided us down every drop. There were trees everywhere. Trees on the banks, trees in the shallows, in eddies, trees in the middle, trees on trees, and trees. For some, you just had to pick the right channel. For others, there was a safe circuitous route. And for others, you just had to get out and walk once in a while.
Not far before the Vedder bridge, two fishers had a jet boat parked in the eddy. It might be fair to say that canoers don’t like jet boats on their river. But there doesn’t seem to be a law against them, except that all boats are required to operate in a safe manner, and how can travelling at speed on a narrow river be safe at all? But there was an upside. If a jet boat could get up the river this far, then we knew at least that the remainder of our paddle could be clean and unobstructed.
We finished late, very tired, and accomplished in an adventure well carried out. Thanks to Sasha S and Owen W, who weren’t on the river today but who had paddled it last week and forewarned us of the challenges.