Trip Report: Mid – Coquitlam River 20 02 22
I had to write this trip report because I _didn’t_ dump. Three wolves and a sheep, as they say, had voted on lunch. Who did dump? I won’t say. There were four of us. Myself, Leigh B, Owen L and Dave A. Dave had outfitted his hull with a high-tech version of duct tape, to protect the bottom. Owen had too, with a glass and Teflon composite. They must have known about _canoe shoes_, a temporary wooden sheath the voyageurs invented to protect their birch bark craft in rapids.
The water was high – about 17 CMS. After much negotiation about end times and take-out places, we settled on putting in just upstream of the David Ave Bridge. Thus we would paddle the lower half of the Upper Coquitlam, and the upper half of the Lower. Hence the name _Mid Coquitlam_.
The purpose was to get the last significant rapid before tapering down to easier water. But unbeknownst to us, the flow went up close to 20 or so CMS, an increase of 15%, and hovered there the rest of the day. And this made all the subsequent rapids, well, more than a little more significant.
We exited the eddy into some full-on excitement. That’s a funny rock in the rapid, I thought, it seems to be moving with the current! Oh, that’s not a rock, that’s an overturned canoe hull with high tech duct tape on it! And there’s a person swimming along with it too! I wondered if the swimming person was the owner of the overturned canoe. What a coincidence! And under that bridge. Was the bridge named after the person? Who could it be? I’ll never tell.
The second to dump had no hat, just a wig of thick hair. You could barely make it out beneath his helmet, whenever his head came bobbing up from below. He went by the name of “N’Elvis” apparently, so that the paparazzi would not be alerted if he were sited. But he would not be sited today. It is very hard to site or see anyone who is under water. But his hull was very easy to see, covered in a glass and Teflon composite.
We regrouped under the bridge. The one not named after anybody here. The hardest rapid was over. But there were many more to come. One of the last had a hole spanning most of the river, with one little chute you could scoot down on the side.
The third person to dump has a first name that sounded like the second’s last name. She got to the hole, but did not scoot down the side of the chute. She plunged into the hole instead, and capsized. Deftly, she self rescued, emptied her boat, and was quickly paddling again.
We took out at the Red Bridge. That is half way down the Lower Coquitlam. Normally, the water would be placid here, but today there was a strong current. Despite that 75% of the four of us fell in and I did not, I did manage to get wet as well. This is because I left my dry suit zipper open.
Strangely, all left happy and eager to paddle this river at this level again. The BC Hydro website, it seems, has answered our hopes. Work will continue on the Buntzen Lake penstock, and excess water will continue to be diverted into the Coquitlam River for two to three more months, into May.