Monday, October 31, 2011

Shuswap River

A few weeks ago we paddled another section of the Shuswap River. This time we started just below Mabel Lake at a convenient put-in called Brants Hand Launch. From here it was about 25km of paddling down to Trinity Bridge.



The first order of business was to remove all man-eating spiders from Steve's canoe.



Swaddled up in many layers against the cold damp morning, a few strokes got us away from the shore and very quickly we were heading downstream at a ferocious clip.



Perhaps a little too ferocious for my amateur paddling skills as we very nearly dumped crossing an eddy line trying to avoid a mid-stream boulder. The bow of the canoe was quickly swept upstream in the reverse flow of water. Our $200 garage sale craft heaved heavily onto her down stream side and perched there for a few sickening seconds before settling down with us pointed back in the direction we'd just come from. Anyway it gave us a good vantage point to watch Steve, Fred, and Junko slide smoothly past with a few feet to spare.

We had thought that the salmon run was pretty much over but in fact the river was heaving with fish. There were enormous Chinook salmon everywhere, thousands of bright red Sockeye, and also what we guessed to be Kokanee. At times the water would explode with fish, scaring us half to death. We saw dozens of Bald Eagles, occasionally seeing one swoop down to snatch a salmon from the river, and also what we think were several Golden Eagles as well. The Goldens were huge.





Around the mid-point of our journey the river widened, slowed, and began to meander back and forth. We paddled lazily along in the warm fall sun.



It took us about 6 hours to reach Trinity Bridge including a leisurely lunch break. We hand lined the boats around one tricky section but otherwise it was easy paddling. Portions of the river are certainly flowing quickly but it's straight forward and very accessible for the weekend warrior who is comfortable with short sections of almost white water. The lower section of the river from Trinity to Enderby is much calmer.