Widgeon Creek Trip Report – October 2023

A cool wind blew down from Pitt Lake, sharply greeting twelve members of the Beaver Canoe Club on the morning of Sunday October 15th, a brisk reminder that summer had ended and the fashion of shorts and T-shirts was over. We bundled ourselves up in warm clothes and wind breakers, and under the guidance of our trip leader Leigh, prepared to safely cross the Pitt River.
The barely sub-gale wind pushed against our flotilla of coloured canoes until we entered the wind protection of the mouth of the Widgeon Slough. It was as though we had crossed into another world. The air was suddenly still. The roar of the wind was silenced and replaced by the sound of a few chirping birds. The water was as calm as glass, so reflections of the shoreline draped onto the creek, accentuating the mix of fall colours and diverse foliage patterns. We paddled through the slough’s lush vegetation and meandering channels, framed by coastal towering mountains. Along the channel, we were greeted by a blue heron, heard the kyeer of a Northern Flicker, and later in the day we were joined by a wayward seal.

After an hour of paddling the wetlands, we arrived at the Widgeon Creek campground where we gathered together to enjoy a bite to eat and prepared to hike to the waterfall. Leigh and Marie stayed with the boats so the rest of us a could trek to the waterfall, assured that our boats would be waiting for us when we returned from our hike.

Our hike through the forested trail with slippery roots and boardwalks was decorated by exotic mushrooms of many colours, shapes and sizes: purple, orange, white, little ones, big ones, some as delicate as coral, others like knobby luminescent ghosts.

After a 45-minute hike through the forest, we arrived at the waterfall roaring through a series of broken channels and gorges. Surrounding the waterfall, the rock surfaces that had been polished for eons by the cascading water made ideal spots for people to sit comfortably and observe the power of water and marvel at the unique potholes eroded into the granitic bedrock.

We eventually headed back to the campsite to begin our paddle back home. Widgeon Slough is tidally influenced, so we were prepared to wade sections of the creek if the tides were low. Luckily, we had easy passage and meandered through the many twists and turns of the marshland.

Back at the mouth of Widgeon Creek, the winds were howling even more intensely than before, so the water was choppy. We paddled hard to ferry across the river – no more lily-dipping! Safely back at Grant Narrows Park, the winds were so strong that they lifted a canoe right off a car before it was tied. The toughest part of loading canoes was needing two people to hold each canoe on the roof racks against powerful gusts of wind while another person strapped the boats securely.

The trip was a happy way to spend a beautiful fall day. It was a pleasure spending the day paddling, chatting and hiking with twelve members of the Beavers: Peter, Deb, Marie, Jerry, Anna, Jim, Bob, Carol, Don, Rob, Kathy and our leader Leigh. Enjoying the outdoors together was a great success. Until we trip again on future paddles…

Submitted by Kath Sowden. 

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