We got dropped off at the northern most tip of the lake. It was rather disconcerting when our Kia Sportage drove away without us. We were committed then.
We packed our canoe and set off on our 23 mile journey.
It was about a 2 1/2 hour paddle to Wee Sandy Beach, our first campsite. When we arrived, it was neither Wee Sandy, nor a Beach–the lake was that high. I can’t tell you how many fire rings we paddled over throughout our adventure. And the weather? We had more rainy days than sunny, but we must have been totally in the flow of Nature. When we had to make camp, it was dry. When we made our meals, it was dry. When we had to paddle, it was smooth as glass, with the exception of day one. When we took down our camp, it was dry. When we decided to take a hike up to these huge rocks, it was a nice day. When we decided to take a break and hang around camp, it rained. I was reminded of the Camelot song “A law was made a distant moon ago here, July and August cannot be too hot, and there’s a legal limit to the snow, here, in Camelot…etc….” The only funky day was our last day, but it didn’t start to rain until we had arrived back at Smiling Otter and were putting our stuff back into and on top of our car. We could live with that.
Camping is work….putting up, taking down, pumping water, making fires, fixing meals, dragging food bags and cooking gear to bear caches, dragging our bodies up trails to explore, etc. Aside from car camping, I’ve not done any heavy-duty trips since my 20’s. Back then, it wasn’t as much work…and if you were tired? Nothing a good night’s sleep couldn’t fix. Now, as an old fart, it’s a little harder–just as much fun, mind you, and we’re already planning our next paddle–but I was tired, and it sure felt good to sleep in a bed when we arrived at my brother’s in Spokane.
Oh, the best thing about our experience and the weather? We were totally alone! Nobody wanted to camp. It was like we had the whole Lake to ourselves for 6 days. We ran into the Rangers a couple of times. And the last day we were there, a young couple hiked in from town, arriving around 11:00 pm the night before. They slept most of the day, or stayed in their tent, anyway. Other than that, it was just Mr. Al and me out in the piney woods.
And it was very beautiful. I mean, British Columbia, right?
We stayed at Wee Sandy for a day and then paddled down to Nemo Beach where Nemo Creek spilled into Slocan. (There was a creek at each campsite.) We thought Wee Sandy Creek was high and out of control….man-o-man, Nemo Falls was wicked. We stayed a day as well and took a hike up to these huge boulders and cliffs. We hiked through an old growth cedar forest and I fell in love with the cedar trees. I wonder if it’s because their leaves are so much like redwoods? Up around the boulders the trail once again hooked up with Nemo creek. It was just as wild up there. Moss, mushrooms and ferns. We were hot so we pressed our faces onto the moss covered rocks to cool down. It smelled so clean and moist. Softness.
After Nemo…a camp high on a bluff, we had our longest paddle–about 5 hours. We took our time and paddled in silence, just taking in the sounds and sights of the ravens, osprey, and ducks with babies. I think the lake was just too high for other creatures, or we just weren’t paddling at the right time. And, lest I forget, pictographs! I am so fascinated by them. I wonder what they mean, you know? It’s all pure conjecture. But what is so fascinating is how similar they look to those we saw last year at Lava Beds Nat’l Park in NorthEastern California, and the petroglyphs on the Big Island of Hawaii. Just fascinating.
Our final campsite was Evan Creek. The falls there were like the others…lots of white noise on our journey. There is a metal bridge spanning these falls and the water was awfully close to the bottom. It thrummed on the loamy earth near the bear caches and toilet as well.
Since it rained most of the day, we spent the time organizing and repacking our equipment, consolidating where we could. That night, was a tremendous thunderstorm. When you’re cozy and dry, which we were, it was wonderful.
Evans Creek was closest to town and seemed the most used. It was also at the base of two trail heads so had a lot of traffic passing through when the weather was nice. We found some extra garbage hiding about that we packed out with us. There were also huge, rusted logging contraptions laying about–gears and winches and things I don’t know about. Didn’t pack that back. I think it had historical value, anyway.
During our final paddle, July 1st, we saw our first bear. It was a mother with her two adorable roly-poly Disneyesque cubs. As we paddled by, she sent her babies up a tree and kept watch on us. Sensing we were benign, she called them back down, and they scampered to her side. Even tho my camera battery had died, it’s an image I’ll keep with me. Cameras? We don’t need no stinkin’ cameras!
But pictures are still pretty cool and I’m posting a bunch, so hold on tight and keep your peepers open.