Sunday, October 06, 2013

Shuswap River

We broke out the canoe for our sort-of-annual Shuswap River paddle. Unable to find anyone to join us on short notice we brought bikes for the shuttle.

After dropping the bikes at the Trinity Valley Road bridge we continued up to Dale's Hand Launch at 14.5k up river.

After putting in, and being the veteran paddler that I am, I carefully assessed the river for any downstream hazards.

Satisfied that all was well downriver I then made a good long assessment of the upriver hazards.

Before someone politely suggested that paddling would be a good idea if I didn't want to be cycling back by headlamp.

Some years the river is packed with spawning salmon. This year there were fewer sockeye than normal. Instead in some places the river was thick with big coho(?). The coho aren't as spectacular as the bright red sockeye but they certainly make up for it with their sheer size. Enormous fish. It's hard to take any decent photos but we did get one or two of some smaller sockeye on a narrow side channel.

We stopped here for lunch and were munching away on sandwiches...

When just to left of this photo a bear eased itself into the river and began swimming across to a small island. Best part? We had two pairs of binoculars ready to go and so were both able to watch at the same time without resorting to fisticuffs. He (or she) slowly climbed up the opposite bank and ambled wetly along the shoreline before disappearing into the trees. It was very cool to see. Shortly afterwards we drifted downstream and by chance saw him swimming across again behind us.

What else? Kokanee, sockeye, coho. Loads of bald eagles. A few kingfishers. Brenda got stung by a wasp. After 4 hours of paddling and just as it seemed to be getting a bit tedious Trinity Bridge came into view around a corner.

Where we swapped the canoe for bikes.

Phase 2 went off without a hitch and we were back at the car in less than an hour. A great way to paddle a section of the Shuswap.