BC rivers – the beginning

A summary of the rivers we've paddled since crossing over into British Columbia.

After heading up to Vancouver to pcik up goodies from MEC and Gav, we went to Squamish to pick up boats and celebrate David reaching his first quarter of a century. 20th July, we finally got to paddle some fresh water again at the Mamquam. This had a rather interesting shuttle, but Macy did very well while Jerald the Jeep decided he was a little thirsty. However even though the fuel light came on and we were some distance from the main road, he survived. This was a river Sarah had done before and the guidebook told us the first rapid was indicative of the rest of the run. It started as a low volume boulder garden and soon flatted out to a rather too low volume gravel bed, and so I thought it would be a very nice gentle run with nothing to worry about. There was lots of water in creeks on the sides of the road with all the rain we've been having and I hoped that wouldn't make it too high but it seemed simple enough. Suddenly the river picked up somewhat and became more continous than I was expecting. Towards the end the additional streams had doubled the volume of the river and there were some more interesting high volume features with lots of waves and a few stoppers. It was a fun river even if it wasn't quite the gentle warm up that Gina had hoped for and I had expected. Apparently it was a little higher than when Sarah had run it, but it was still below medium levels according to the guidebook.

Next stop was the Chiliwack with its several sections – Simon and Cheryl had pointed out one as being more pool drop and good fun, so we decided to go with that. It was lovely grade three bouncy waves with some trees to avoid, but nothing that caused any problems. Part way down, we were waiting to see the other group when two boaters came down. Dismissing them as 'not part of our group' we started to recognise the boats and kits – Simon and Cheryl had caught up with us. After admiring my new cag, and catching up on what we'd been up to since Skook, we carried on downstream. This was a great fun tigger like river – a rather relaxing float down.

Some people hadn't had enough water for one day and did another section which was pushier. However at the put in, an icecream van rather conveniently pulled up, so I made the most of the opportunity and shared an ice cream with David.

We went back to the same section today that we had paddled, but the rain had worked its magic and brought up the river by a reasonable amount, and talk started about the Slesse Creek.

David says:

Slesse creek was a 3/4 in the guide book – exactly the same as every other river in the area – so we decided to look at it. From a logging track we could scout the canyon, it was a short fast section with lots of waves, small holes and confused water, but it looked great fun & most importantly it was clear of trees. BC seems to have a big problem with trees falling into the rivers. Conrad found a sign that says some trees are deliberately placed in the river to stop gravel bed erosion or to encourage fish habitat, not good for us kayakers. Soon after the Slesse creek put in was a river wide tree, but no eddies above it – it was a time to invent an eddy – which we did to varying degrees of success. I ended up deciding it was easier to paddle through the tree and let Claire use the eddy I was in, but I flipped and ran it upside down, which was fine. Fearing that this would be the the same for the whole river, Cheryl and Claire got off, leaving Conrad, Simon and I to run the rest. There were more trees, but we'd spaced out even more and were far more cautious, so didn't have a problem – I think the smaller group helped too. The canyon was awesome, though, and made the tree limbo worth while.

Tomorrow we're driving towards the Rockies but will stop off and see some animals in a rehad centre in the morning.

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