Day 1 #highlights from my personal journal – August 1

This is a big family trip. My whole family (6), my sister Alison’s whole family (5), My sister Robyn and her husband Ted, My brother-in-law Matt and his daughter (my niece) Vivian. A total of 15 people ranging in age from 5 to 50, in 6 canoes and seven tents. The trip will take 7 nights and 7 and a half days to cover 116 kilometres (14k portaging).

Bowron Lakes Canoe Circuit – Provincial Park Map. Start is located in upper left with the portage to Kibee lake

The morning began at 6:30 with a text from Matt. His truck did, in fact, decide not to start. The morning was full of problem solving. Matt was able to get a truck last minute. They could take the trailer of canoes but not the big Mullet. Alison and Dave had to drive out to PG from Quesnel to pickup the canoe.

Matt was all rigged up the day before. The “Mullet” is too large for the canoe trailer at 44 inches wide at its center. Photo credit: Matt Wood.

We headed out to the registration office at the trail head to let them know we were running late. In the end, our 9am departure turned into 1pm. Everyone took it in good stride. In our wait for the Chattertons Ted took charge in replacing a tube on one of the canoe cart’s wheels, one of the Boy Scout carts. The Chattertons brought two homemade PVC carts. Ours broke about 500 meters down the trail. It was clear to me (and Lisa before me) that the other wouldn’t make it much longer. 50 meters down the trail carrying the broken cart I heard a wheel pop. I didn’t bother to find out whose wheel popped I just went back to the registration desk and rented 3 sets of wheels. Sure enough, 100 meters back up the trail I met Jaron with the remnants of his PVC canoe cart (it essentially exploded).

Jaron supervising me, Matt, and Ted fixing the first flat tire. Photo credit: Lisa MacDonald.

I arrived back to our stalled canoes to discover that not one but two of Robin and Ted’s tires exploded. The plastic rim on one basically disintegrated. Things got moving much more quickly after we got these new wheels. All save for Matt. His canoe cart wheels were just not up to the task. Skinny little no-flat tires that made pushing the canoe feel like you were moving through mud.

We didn’t reach Kibee Lake until after 3pm. It was after 6:30pm when we reached Indianpoint Lake. Camp itself was another two hours off. Jaron went for a swim as soon as we arrived. I was impressed with how long he stayed in the water. Apparently it was quite warm. I thought a few times of swimming but never did. My back hates me and it wasn’t long before I was super stiff.

Vivian and Matt day 1 in Matt’s 17’ Clipper Ranger.

At Indianpoint we radioed back to the trailhead to see if they could bring Matt out another set of wheels. They told us to do so if we had trouble as they were coming out later that day anyway. Turns out we missed them. No wheels – we’d suffer through. After setting up camp for the night (site 7) the power boat rolled up with a set of wheels for Matt. This group of contractors have been so great. They deserve a medal.

We’ve had the most brilliant weather possible. The temperature climbed to about 26. Hot enough to get you sweating but not so hot to be unbearable. The clouds cast shadows on the wooded hills making images to discover. It was idyllic. Around 10pm after cleaning up for the night and crawling into bed a storm rolled through. It lasted about 10 minutes. The lightning show was excellent even from inside the tent. All in all, despite all our issues things seemed to conspire to give us an excellent day.

Lilli stole my phone and took this disgruntled selfie. Her face says about everything you need to know about our rough start.