Widgeon Creek – March 12 2017
The forecast was for light rain Sunday so Carole and I were not surprised when we arrived at Grant Narrows under cloudy skies and sprinkles. It was 0930 and waiting there already was Mike D; we had not met before but after brief introductions we learned much about Mike’s passion for local trips as we unloaded our canoe and began readying for the trip. Mike was undecided about whether he was coming along as he was not in the mood to paddle solo today but we would wait to see who else was coming. Shortly after, Leigh B. and Gord B. arrived together ready to lead the trip and after more introductions, Ryan and Nancy arrived along with their two kids Tyler and Violet just in time to extend the greeting rituals. Together we all readied our boats for launch and Mike decided not to come along, but he was game to chat while the 3 traveling parties readied for the trip.
By 1020 all boats were loaded and ready to go and soon after we slid our canoes into the river and began the crossing over to the entrance of Widgeon Creek. The water was calm, there was no wind and the skies seemed willing to accommodate an optimistic departure. Moving across the flats just inside the channel entrance, the tide was in slow retreat and the water level was an easy downstream current allowing leisurely upstream travel. As the sprinkles gave way to light rain, we were greeted by 2 ravens keeping watch over the water way from high on their perch in a barren tree on river left. Their motionless silhouettes and uncharacteristic silence suggested there were no animals around to warn of our approach, (other animals obviously know what to do in rainy weather). Meanwhile Violet was in a cheerful mood and ensured that Ryan and Nancy did not fall behind by practicing her power strokes while Tyler opted to take the Regent’s role allowing those around him to provide the ride.
The paddle up to the landing for the hike to Widgeon Falls was relaxing despite the increasing rain, we decided before departure that the weather today would not be good for the hike but we would stop there to eat. So, with the stubbornness that comes with BC outdoors people, our spirits remained high and we enjoyed our lunch under the wide canopy of a spruce tree. Leigh and Carole got more acquainted while Gord and Ryan and I exchanged typical fishing and paddle stories. Nancy was busy tending to lunch for the kids and tending to fading spirits as the weather was taking its toll. The rain continued but no matter, there was time to adjust clothing and tweak gear to prepare for what would continue to be a wet paddle back. The new pussy willows, hinting of the coming spring, watched quietly as we slipped away.
On the paddle back a remarkable discovery was made in the way of trip enhancements and wildlife viewing. Two people (who were not wearing their glasses) saw the same heron feeding by the side of the channel. The thing about it was that there was no heron that the rest of us could see, only a stick protruding from the mud? We realized the potential enhancements that could be added to any paddling trip by simply not wearing spectacles, could be a grizzly around the next bend!
The crossing back over Grant Narrows was calm much like the morning; the rain drizzled on and by now Violet and Tyler were ready to get back in the car; Ryan and Nancy sounded very happy with their Clipper “Mackenzie” as it is well suited to their family needs. Gord and Leigh were terrific paddling partners to lead this trip as they were both friendly and willing to share their knowledge and experiences. For our part, this was a first trip for Carole and I out with the Beavers Club, though we have paddled this area for a long time it was especially fun to do it with new people who made the rain seem like a pleasant day.