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Cariboo River

Moving smartly down the Cariboo River

In and unusual manner, the Cariboo River flows tangent to Lake McCleary, allowing the water entering McCleary via the Isaac River, to continue on down the Cariboo.  Our Day 5 began with a short paddle to the south end of Lake McCleary, and then we paddled hard to match the speed of the Cariboo River, which was flowing westward.  Our briefing warned us of snags and deadheads (submerged logs) on this river, as well as occasional rapids, so we took turns paddling lead and pointing out the tell-tale riffs in the water which gave evidence to these obstructions. 

It was difficult to concentrate on the water, as the scenery was compelling, with big mountains to our left, shrouded in the morning fog.  This was bear  country, with both brown and black bear likely to be enjoying the huckleberry bushes which could be found along the banks.  It was also moose country, and we were anxious to get a glimpse of one.  We saw neither moose nor bear, but  it was an exhilarating 4.5 mile paddle.

We were paddling at a good pace, as we had set an ambitious goal of paddling westward, first down the Cariboo River, then the eight mile long Lanezi Lake,  then Sandy Lake and and finally more Cariboo River to Una Lake, a total distance of 17.5 miles. 

Dan and Rem each had a GPS, and we had learned that when we were feeling fresh we could paddle about 4.2 miles an hour.  Our sustained rate over many hours seemed to be 3.8 miles an hour.  We found that we needed a break about once an hour which usually lasted about 15 minutes.  Interestingly, our strongest need for a break was the first one in the morning.  After about 45 minutes of paddling, our legs were screaming for relief, apparently because our ligaments had not been stretched out yet, and having our legs straight in front of us was uncomfortable.  After the fist break it became easier.

Our kayaks were faster than the canoes, but not by much.  We would see canoes ahead, but it would take a long time to catch them.  We were probably half a mile an hour faster than they were.  We did not see other paddlers often, but perhaps twice a day we would slowly pass another group.

Cariboo River 2

As the Cariboo River enters Lanezi Lake, Don enjoys the morning scenery.


Break time on Lanezi Lake.  Steep mountains plunged into the lake on both sides, making for no beaches and very few decent pull-outs among the large boulders.


A range of large mountains lined the south side of Lanezi lake.

Sunny beach

After a day an a half of rain and cloud, the sun broke out and we soaked up the warmth.


A canoe goes by as we break on Sandy Lake.

Una Lake camp

Our camp at Una Lake.  Una Lake was a small lake that opened off of the Cariboo River, but it had numerous campsites and served as a hub for paddlers wanting to hike to Cariboo Falls, and for the turn northward towards on the final legs to Bowron Lake.

Una Lake Sunset

Sunset on Una Lake.

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