BOWRON LAKE CANOE TRIP
~ June 10-18, 1969 ~
In Memory of Paul Pugachoff (20) my good friend who died in a climbing accident July 11, 1973 on Guye Peak near Snoqualmie Pass
We were young, brash, and fearless, and didn't take kindly to others telling us we couldn't do this or that in the outdoors seeking adventure. So, I asked my good friend Paul if he'd like to go on an adventure with me into on of Canda's remote provincial parks, which would eclipse 76 miles mostly in a canoe, but with several portages. Paul didn't hesitate and said "you bet." With that, I arranged to rent a canoe for 8 days therefrom the Bowron Lake Lodge, so we practiced prior down at Angle Lake for months with my Uncle Don's canoe.
"You boys are kind of young for this trip," the owner of the lodge said when we pulled up and inquired about our canoe. I replied, "well we are aware of what it takes." He gave us our canoe and we were soon off, after loading all our gear into it.
Up the Kibbee Lake Trail we struggled with too much gear, realizing now it would take one guy carrying the canoe on his back with a yoke, while the other backpacked gear, then a return trip back for the other backpack gear. We switched off when the canoe wore one of us out. At Kibbee Lake we loaded up and proceeded to its other end and made camp for the night setting up the two-man U.S. Army canvus tent we had. We did some fishing that evening without much luck. The food we carried to sustain ourselves was mostly canned, heavy to say the least!
Onto Indianpoint Lake Trail portage the next day, more gruling work as we just had way too much gear, never mind the biting black flies in the 80 degree heat. Eventually, we made all the neccessary back & forth trips to Indianpoint and rowed out finding a suitable camp at Kruger Creek. Still some 80+ degrees, so the lake was a welcomed bath. Fishing was better catching a few rainbow trout for dinner cooked over the fire. Moose seen, bear tracks in the sand.
Next day: a navigable creek and portage to huge (never-ending) Issac Lake, then camping at Wolverine Creek. The scenery grand with Mt. Preever and Wolverine Mtn. dominated the surroundings. And yes, the black flies were still biting us!
In the morning, we packed up and rowed what seemed endless to Betty Wendle Creek, the weather still very nice with blue-hued skies and in the 80s, we set up camp there. In the evening, I caught a nice lake trout about 4 lbs which we had for dinner along with some spuds we had brought, and canned corn.
Overnight, the weather changed to bad and it began to rain and blow, we hurried in the morning to get going as our next camp was to be at McLeary Lake, below the Issac River and falls, a good 15 miles away. As we rowed over the waves; here comes a guy in a canoe holding a bed sheet attached to poles liken to having a sail, he wizzed right by us. "Why the Hell didn't we think of that," both Paul and I said to one another!" He blew by us like we were standing still. He was he first human we'd seen in 5 days as there wasn't anyone else doing the loop, he never said a word, just waved bye, bye...
At the end of Issac Lake, we entered the Issac River, it was navigable but only a mile or so, kind of dangerous and fast, then it was portage, then back into the river, then portage again around the 35 foot plus falls, we set up camp in the rain just below the falls on a side hill, where its roar kept our ears flooded all night. We didn't eat much that night, too tired, wet and sore! It had been our most hardest day yet.
Into McLeary Lake in the morning and onward down the Caiboo River, where a bull moose charged at us from the shore, we rowed fast to get away! We entered Lanezi Lake with the waves pounding us, the rain non stop, we damn near were swarmped several times. We continued on down to Sandy Lake making camp at de Witte Reed Creek right on the sandy shore, built the usual fire for cooking and warmth, during the night the moose ran 2 feet from our tent, damn near over us. Needless to say, never camp on a sandy shore where moose run around. Not much sleep!
Day 7: Weather alot better, ate a good breakfast feeling strong and good, so we made a side trip hauling the canoe up a scant steep way-trail to Hunter Lake, where the rainbow trout fishing was superb, big ones to 6 lbs. Back to camp in the afternoon, then proceeding onward to into Babcock Creek, Babcock Lake, a rail portage to and from Skol Lake, into Spectactle Lake, camping on a point mid way down. During the evening a canoe came by us with a couple in it heading out we'd guessed, they must have been a day or so behind us, the only other humans we'd seen since the guy and his bed sheet. The Carriboo mountains were something to behold!
Day 8: Up early and broke camp for the final stretch into Swan Lake, down the Bowron River and into Bowron Lake, more moose along its shore feeding on its lush grasses. Late afternoon, overcast, we rowed into the Bowron Lake Lodge dock, there the owner said, "starting to get a little worried about your guys, but figured you'd be along any day now." Paul and I just smiled and gave a nod, later telling him abouit our trip...
Guye Peak - S&R Recovery - July 11, 1973 Paul B. Pugachoff Jr. 20, Seattle, wa. fell to his death at 1:00 PM while climbing with Gary Clark. Clark was unable to reach Pugachoff, estimated to have fallen 500 feet. At 6:10 PM FS Ranger Ken White and 3 other FS personnel from Alpental located Pugachoff. A 9th Cav huey was brought in at cave Ridge where 3 of 6 members were flown to White's location in a FS chopper to aid in the evacuation.
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