The trip from Summit Lake to Hudson’s Hope was great but had its moments to be sure. It seems that almost every leg of the expedition so far has been more difficult than I’d anticipated. That is okay though, just makes it all the more memorable! Besides, if it were easy, everybody would be doing it right?
From Summit Lake, I headed down to the very aptly named Crooked River. Crooked is an understatement. Hairpin turns, one after another, numerous class 2 rapids, all on a river that, at times, is little more than a canoe length or two wide…….if it sounds like fun…well…it was! Until I came to a very NASTY section, a few hundred meters long, that took 90 minutes. The already narrow river became braided into a series of tiny channels, all running through dense alders and underbrush with no easy way through or around. It was a combination of wading with the canoe, through water ranging from waist high to ankle deep, pulling/ lifting over many, many beaver dams, working over…or under…downed trees, breaking away dead branches to open a “channel”, hauling from one channel to the next…..Nope, that part was not all that much fun! Found an awesome campsite though less than 30 minutes after coming out of this mess!
The next day, also on the Crooked River , turned into a torrential downpour, by the time I’’ called it a day and unloaded the canoe, I was shivering madly as I quickly changed into warm, dry clothes….nice warm Valhalla Pure base layer and my Gore-Tex from Moonstone Mountain Equipment, 2 of my sponsors. After changing, setting up the tarp and tent, things quickly improved. Amazing what warm, dry clothes and a pot of hot soup can do!
The following day put me on Macleod Lake under a beautiful sunny sky, perfect paddling weather. I met Darryl on the lake, out fishing and he gave me a huge Dolly Varden (similar to a trout) for my supper. I stopped in at the general store at the end of the lake, this little building used to be the main building of the old Hudson’s Bay Company post back in the heyday of the Fur Trade. Across the lake were more buildings, leftovers of a bygone era. The “General Store” was moved across to the new highway years ago but is still only a few hundred meters away from its original location. Camp tonight was along the banks of the Pack River, just above the Cross-Rapids.
I’m about to enter Williston Lake at this point, a huge manmade reservoir backed up by the WAC Bennett Dam near Hudson’s Hope. The lake paddle consisted of two “Arms” of the lake, the Parsnip Reach and the Peace Reach, each one being roughly 115- 120 kilometers long.
The Parsnip Reach was an enjoyable paddle, I was even lucky enough to have mainly tailwinds, always a bonus. Light winds, mostly sunshine and perfect temperatures. The Peace Reach was just incredible, some of the most scenic paddling I’ve ever done. A relatively narrow lake with the Rocky Mountains rising steeply on both sides, it was like canoeing heaven. I’ll try to post my photos next time I get online, they too are on disks back in the canoe.
The portage around the WAC Bennett Dam went fine and I was surprised to be informed I WOULD be allowed access to Dinosaur Lake, the lake created by the 2nd Dam downstream. Originally I’d been told it was off limits due to security at the Dam. Fortunately Mark, the plant manager, drove down after I’d begun the portage and told me it was okay, they let me through. He sent Jim Sanford along to help get me back to where I’d left off and down to the water at the foot of the Dam.
The paddle down Dinosaur Lake was a HUGE bonus for me, it was so beautiful! Awesome cliffs and terrific scenery. As I paddled along, the silence was repeatedly broken by numerous small landslides and at least one rather LOUD crash from a falling boulder about 50 meters away. A bit close for comfort but no damage done.
At the second Dam, I portaged into the town of Hudson’s Hope where I was met by Bill Lindsay who kindly ran me around town and treated me to supper. Bill also kindly put me up for the night and was a huge help. Thank you again Bill, I appreciate everything you did for me!
The trip from Summit Lake to Hudson’s Hope was a great trip in itself, hard at times but very worthwhile. If you ever get a chance to visit the town of Hudson’s Hope, do so. Beautiful little place and some of the best people I’ve ever met!
Like I said, this will be a short update. Photos to follow next time. I’m a bit behind on my writing right now, the paddling portion of the trip is leaving very little time for anything else. I’ll do my best to get caught up before my next time online though. Hope you all are having a great summer so far!