The Bowron Lakes, British Columbia        

Carol and I should have known better. Mentally, we were finished with our two year Cross-Canada adventure on September 8th, 2004 - the day we arrived in Williams Lake. The last five weeks of unseasonable wet and cold had taken their toll and we were so utterly thankful to finally have a roof over our heads. Just a few days later however, having barely moved into our new home, we found ourselves headed north to the Bowron Lake chain. This was due to a previous agreement made last spring when we were still feeling fresh and ready to go. Our original group had been six strong and included Carol, myself, Kate Sulis, Tory Bowman and Shawn and Laura Housden. The weeks of rain however, had flooded Shawn and Laura's basement, leaving them with a mess and preventing them from coming (the five weeks of rain mentioned earlier was not an exaggeration)! This left four of us and a terrible looking extended five-day forecast. The clip below is the actual forecast for the days we were to be on the chain. It had to be one of the worst forecasts we had ever seen with a minimum 80% chance of rain every day! Carol and I, waterlogged as we were, were ready to drop out. Kate appeared indifferent but, although she wouldn't say it, I suspect she really wasn't very keen. It was only Tory's unbridled enthusiasm that eventually got the group out the door for a shorter three day compromise trip up the chain's west side (as opposed to the full 6 to 8 day loop).

In the end, the weather wasn't as bad as threatened and although it rained, it didn't do so continuously. It was predominantly cloudy with spots of rain and the occasional spot of sun. Despite Carol's and my complete lack of enthusiasm we had pretty good time. The Bowron Lakes were indeed beautiful and the wildlife that came out to play made it even better. We awoke the third morning to a big bull moose grazing just off our campsite at Una Lake and saw two more moose during the paddle home. We also hiked into Cariboo Falls and saw one of the more spectacular and violent falls we had ever seen. The Cariboo River is a fair size and at the falls the river bottom simply drops straight away. The water slams down, impacting into the water below with such force that great streams of water get blasted high into the air before hitting the cliff walls and washing back down - a very violent place. It helped that all the recent rains had produced spring-level water run offs. During the last day of our excursion, we were treated to the photographic moment of a lifetime on Spectacle Lake when a low rainbow formed, cresting just below the tree tops and ending on Tory and Kate's canoe. Too bad we messed up the photo!

Because of this beauty (and perhaps because of a lack of similarly connected lake circuits in the province), the Bowron Lake chain is a busy place. Even in the cold, wet September weather we saw a lot of people. The fact that Kate, who has been around the circuit something like 10 times, kept saying how quiet it was, lead me to believe it must be a real zoo in the summer months. It is also a very domesticated park with outhouses, bear caches, fire pits and the like at every campsite. This is a good thing as the number of people using the park would quickly compromise the environment if the park staff didn't keep on top of things. They appear to do a very good job and we would like to return someday when we are in a better frame of mind.

Stephen & Carol

Moose grazing

The gang


Ready for rain

Cariboo falls

Time for dinner


Awoke to another overcast day

Kate and Tory


"Road" signs



Highway portages

Kate, where are your wheels?

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