Bowron Chain – 2022 Day 5

Day 5 – August 5

A broken canoe.

We had a later start this morning. I don’t think we all left the shelter until 11:30 or later. There was quite the logistics to sort out with strapping things into canoes and deciding what we’d all do. Matt and Vivian left first and portaged around the chute followed shortly by Jaron and Steven. Several groups went through the chute and one canoe rolled over. They managed to collect all their gear and no one was harmed.

The chute. High water made the 90 degree turn and rapids relatively gentle but still a fun challenge.

Robyn and Ted opted to go through with all their gear. They managed to get everything packed away in dry sacs and felt pretty confident. Alison and Dave also took the kids through, though they walked their backpacks down in advance.

Alison had some trepidation about taking the kids down the chute with their gear. I helped her get things tied down and reassured her it was safe to take her kids through the chute. The Mullet is nearly 4 feet wide and deadly hard to tip. I once had 8 boys in that canoe and made many attempts to paddle up the chute. Sure enough, they went down unharmed in the end. Robyn and Ted followed and also came through fine. Robyn apparently got a lap full of water multiple times through the roller coaster when the front of the canoe submerged.

The portage trail from the chute takeout to Isaac River was as bad as last September, muddy, roots, and rocks.

Lilli dodges the mud on a rough portage.

The Isaac River was navigable with one set of rapids. i foresaw It would be a challenge getting in and out of the river with so many canoes so the party separated with the Woods, Fishers, and Boys upfront, and Chattertons, Butlers, and us at the back. We all met up at the end of McCleary Lake watching a moose eat. The water was very high making the intake from the lake to the river nothing of consequence. We spent the float down the river largely with the Fishers. The sun was shining. My knees would end up with a slight sunburn.

Entering Lanezi Lake

As we emerged from the river onto Lanezi Lake we separated but soon the Fishers and us spotted something odd in the water. The Fishers reached it first. It turned out to be a broken and sunk Prospector canoe. It looks like it set out from Becker’s Lodge on July 26 registered to a Warrick. It would be interesting to learn the story there. The canoe was completely cracked in half and either end sticking out of the water – the middle weighed down with mud.

The sunk canoe.

We were soon all formed up around the crash site. Ted and I tried lifting it out but it wouldn’t give. We then tried lining up all the canoes and paddling in a line to see if we could drag it free.

Our canoe train working to pull free the damaged canoe.

When that failed (not surprisingly) I was ready to give up but Robyn had her mind set. She decided to get in the water. I’d have joined her but Lilli and Lisa were solidly against it. Kirsten was soon in the water to help and she was shortly followed by Steven.

They worked on the canoe for a good half hour or more. The water wasn’t deep, rarely over their heads. They managed to get the mud off and the canoe turned over and drug to shore. They plugged a few holes with tree branches and got it mostly straightened out.

Robyn working to free the canoe.

The canoe is a nice one though I think beyond repair. Though maybe not. I suspect Ted will tow it back and see about whether it can be repaired. The whole experience made for a great adventure in the day.

Canoe finally free.

When all was setup with the canoe Lisa and I raced ahead to get a fire going for our wet friends. Turns out they didn’t really need one. They were all fine. The blue sky, scattered as they were with billowing clouds, was warm enough to keep everyone in good spirits.

Campsite 33 is in perpetual shade. It is a nice site but it really could use a bridge over Turner Creek to the shelter. The water is high and the beach minimal. With a bigger beach it would have been nice to get out in the sun. Still, we were comfortable here. We played another couple games of nail and hammer. Matt won in two turns on the first game – it was very impressive (regardless of the soft wood). We changed the rules up a bit for the second game. You sink your nail and then work on a centre nail for the win. Ted LLP sunk his nail, then the centre nail before any of the rest of us could sink two thirds of our own nails. Punk.

Lisa actually captured a Live Photo of his winning strike. It was awesome.
Darkness falls on campsite 33.

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