Bowron Chain 2022 – Day 7 & 8

It has become clear that I need to do these last 2 days together else risk never getting this done.

Swan Lake at sunset

Day 7

The sun was shining when we got up. It continued all day. The water was warm at Rum Lake and people began swimming with the dawn. I put the triathlon suit on that Linda gave me and which somehow made it on to the chain with us. I looked ridiculous in it. But it was great for swimming.

As we were all leaving Rum Lake Lilli got a timer photo of the group.

The perspective on this photo really makes Matt look like Andre the Giant and the rest of us hobbits.

We had a bit of a traffic jam at the Babcock Creek portage. These west side portage trails are ridiculously nice. Ted put the rescued canoe on Matt’s canoe cart we abandoned on the first day. Carrying the canoe would have been easier. Ted started pushing it but I urged him to help Robyn. It was Lisa, Lilli, and I working to push our canoe and the rescue canoe in tandem. That didn’t last long. I pushed on with our fully loaded canoe and left Lisa and Lilli with the empty one. Reaching Babcock Lake I dropped my canoe and went back for them. I gave them a break and pushed it the rest of the way in. It was ludicrously difficult. We were beyond lucky to get a replacement for Matt and Vivian that first day. This little canoe cart with an empty canoe was like pushing a freight train uphill. 1 star, not recommended.

We caught a tailwind and raised a sail across Babcock Lake. By Spectacle Lake that tailwind turned to a head wind and we had to paddle hard. We all stopped at the first sandbar and enjoyed the sun and the water. We got some great group pictures there thanks to Lilli.

The water here with the sand was excellent.

We stopped at the cliffs just past Pat’s Point and I climbed up and made the first leap into the water. As I was climbing Lisa tried to get out of the canoe and slipped. The canoe stayed up but she went fully in. Thank goodness she was not hurt, didn’t hit her head on the rocks. She was holding her phone but all seems well. It is supposed to be water proof after all. This was Lisa’s second fall in the water on as many trips. After my jump Jaron, Steven, Ted, and Kirsten all made jumps. I went twice, the boys 3 times and Kirsten at least once. She is a brave one.

We made the final paddle to campsite 50 in sunshine and a light breeze. Unfortunately, there was a small party setup in the group site. We had to give them the bad news that these sites are reserved. They did not take it very well. But they packed up and moved on.

We had a great evening talking and eating and enjoying the beauty of this site. A moose and calf took up eating in the reeds across the lake. Robyn went for a swim and found herself sinking in some serious mud. It made for some great comedy. It was a wonderful last day and last evening on the chain.

Day 8

We were up and on the water earlier than any other day on the chain. We departed at 9:15am. Everyone was in high spirits and the sun was shining in a blue sky. We had a good paddle through the Bowron River. The water was as high as I can ever recall it. We chatted with Vivian and Matt through the river and much of the first part of the lake. We bunched up part way down before striking out on our own. We led the way. The Chattertons made an impressive dash at the end to arrive just moments before we did.

Christi was at the dock just a few minutes after we rolled up. We took our time loading up all the canoes and the Fishers dropped in on Becker’s lodge to get the story on our rescued Prospector. 

It turns out the canoe was rented by a couple from New York. They hit a sweeper in the Cariboo River which turned the canoe over. It floated away from them and hit a rock. The couple thought the canoe was torn in two. They weren’t far off as it had folded bow to stern backward when we found it. They had to be rescued by the rangers. They stayed at Beckers Lodge and paid for a replacement canoe right away. Becker’s didn’t seem to mind letting the wreck go. Robyn and Ted hope to breathe some new life into it. I strapped it to the top of my Jeep to get it home. I think the consensus is to name it Hellboy (the brand is Hellman) and it has gone through hell and back. They hope to make it a family canoe open for anyone’s use.

We went straight from the chain (we were rolling out a little after one), to Barkerville. We had a great time walking up and down Barkerville’s Main Street, visiting Abby Fisher at C. Strauss, and spending our money on sodas, baked goods, and candy. We watched the water wheel show and had a splendid day in the sun. We all went save for Matt and Vivian who rushed back to town for hamburgers and hot showers.

Lilli and I hiked up to the overlook above Barkerville and got a selfie. I am proud of her for getting around the chain in good form.

Dad and Lilli in Barkerville

After Barkerville it was straight home to Kim and Linda’s. They’ve gone to Summerland. This made it easy for us to spread our gear out in the house and start the wash. When the washing machine was going we headed to Walmart to pickup shampoo, conditioner, aloe vera for our burns, and shaving cream. From there it was off to the Rec Centre. That was just what we needed! Getting in the hot tub was mighty uncomfortable on burnt skin. Poor Jaron didn’t make it past his calves. Both his legs have some nice burns. The sauna and steam rooms worked well for him though. We had fun on the Tarzan swing and the diving board too. There was plenty of hot water at the pool and no one had to wait in line. Brilliant.

We wrapped up the evening with Pizza from Domino’s and French fries from McDonald’s. It was a great day. I am pleased with the kids. They did a great job on the chain. I think we’ll talk about this adventure for many years to come. I am looking forward to that. They endured some difficulties and problem solved well. They were met with much grace in their journey. Without the long experience that I have on the chain they are unlikely to see just how remarkable the weather they had was. I don’t know that it could have been any better. They got a taste of the rain, a taste of headwind, of heat, of cold, but nothing overwhelming or beyond their capacity. It was almost as if it was perfectly tailored to their abilities. 

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