Canoeing through Forests and alongside Mountains

I recently traveled to British Columbia to canoe the 116 km circuit (lakes and portaging) in Bowron Lake Provincial Park.

The park is a large wilderness area situated on the western slopes of the Cariboo Mountain Range. I could not help but take a deep breath in as I noticed the amazing smell of the outdoors when first stepping off the plane in Prince George. But this was even more true everywhere else en route to, and in, the park – fresh and crisp air. It reminded me of smelling the air camping as a kid in Alberta. The landscape in the park is undeniably diverse including mountains, forests, hilltops, marshes, and waterfalls traveling down the mountainsides into the lakes.

After a short orientation on the morning of our start date (we skipped weighing gear since we were carrying everything on the portages, ‘traditional’ style), we set off. Traveling clockwise around the circuit, the longest portages were on the first day. We made it to Isaac Lake on the first afternoon. It was surprising to see how calm and glass-like Isaac Lake was on our first and second days given it’s size (31 km main arm). The weather was fantastic and the park relatively quiet. We were able to camp at a great site next to a cold creek, which provided a stunning backdrop for swimming!

We had heard about the silt laden waters of the Cariboo river but never expected to see tongues of fresh water interacting with the milky grey silt water at the end of day two. The silt flowed through to Lanezi Lake, where we encountered a torturous head wind, causing white caps and stopping any families with young kids in their tracks. Thankfully the headwinds died after lunch on our third day. Headwinds notoriously cause you to go half the distance with twice the effort!

The last two days were certainly relaxing with a stop over on Unna Lake and a trek to the 24 m Cariboo Falls. It was impressive to stand next to these falls without a barrier and feel the shear power as the water rolled over the edge. The park is without a doubt a spectacular adventure through rugged glaciated mountains and cold deep lakes.

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