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weighing the kayaks

At the park center weigh station.  The signs on the right were samples of trail and campground markers we would see along the way.

Before starting on the Bowron circuit, paddlers must attend a park ranger briefing which covers safety, navigation, bear awareness and other special conditions along the way.  Once paddlers start down the track, it quickly becomes a one way trek for 72 miles, with only a few radio's along the way for communication.  The gear for each boat is weighed and any gear exceeding 60 pounds must be carried on one's back during portages.  Maintaining good trails for wheeling the boats is very labor intensive, so the boat weight is limited to prevent the wheels from chewing up the trails in the frequently wet conditions.  In our case, the kayaks had small enough storage compartments that our gear just met the 60 pound limit.  Canoers have more space and hence tend to exceed the limit.


Loading

Don, loading the kayak after weigh-in.


First Portage

Our first portage.
From the the park headquarters, our journey started with a 1.4 mile portage to Kibbee Lake.  We had each purchassed a set of kayak wheels from Wheeleez Inc. (Kayak Cart with Tuff Tires, Model # WZ1-KCC-TT) and these rolled well on the trail.  While the trail wasn't steep, it was a steady uphill pull.  We did not realize that in our first three portages we would gain 1,000 feet.  There were pullouts about every fifteen minutes which were useful for catching our breath.  We found that by using the car tie down straps to rig harnesses for our chest or waist, we could take the pull off of our arms  and make for easier going.

The first three portages were each about 1.4 miles, and these were the longest.  We did each of them in just under an hour.  The remaining portages on the trip were much shorter.



First strokes

On Kibbee Lake, taking our first strokes of the trip.  A water trail in the high grass lead us to the open lake.

Don in his eddyline

Don, in his  eight year old Eddyline Raven.

First waterfall

Surrounded by mountains, we were seldom far from waterfalls.

Dan looking at Rockies

As we head east towards the end of Kibbee Lake, we are enthralled by the view of the Canadian Rockies.

Bath

Our bath, at 4,000 feet, in crystal clear gacial melt, gives new meaning to the word, "envigorating."

Camp 1

Rem and Dan relaxing in our first campsite of the circut.
There were frequent campsites along the way and they were well marked.  These were primitive in that they had no electriciy or running water, however, they had clean septic outhouses, big steel bear lockers, and prepared tent locations of well drained gravel and sand.   We had rain every night but one, and it was a pleasure to not have to deal with puddles flowing into our tents.  Near the campsites were usually located areas where wood had been felled.  These areas were marked, and it was up to the paddlers to use their axe to chop the wood into usable size and transport it to the campsite.  Campers were astonishingly thoughtful, and usually left a few pieces of dry wood to allow the next group to get a fire started before they had to go gather wood.  In 72 miles of paddling, I did not see a single piece of trash.  Virtually everything not used was packed out.


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Links:

Bowron Lake Park Map

Bowron Lake Provincial Park Website

Don's Home Page: http://www.jali.net/

Don's email: websterdr@yahoo.com



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