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The Book, the Exhibition, the Stories behind the Images / by Ron and Lori Erwin

 © Ron Erwinp005-0606_MG_7771
Paddling into the Cariboos

After spending the night trying to cool off in a motel pool in Cache Creek we headed further into BC's hot interior to Wells Gray Provincial Park. Unfortunately the Clearwater Lake campground doesn't have any good swimming spots. We managed to find a place near the picnic grounds where we could dunk or wade at the edge of the cold water but had to be careful not to go out too far lest we got caught in the extremely fast current that could sweep us over Osprey Falls. There were signs warning about no boating yet there was a boat reeking of gas parked right beside us. Needless to say we survived the current but were rather pestered by some big and disgusting bugs. They were everywhere and would suddenly drop out of trees onto our heads, get stuck in my hair, crawl into our clothes or backpacks to suprise us later, or make a disgusting crunch sound underfoot. Apparently the fish like them though. We decided the only way to actually see this lake is by canoe (not to mention to find a good bug free swimming spot). So we rented one that evening and at 6:30 am the next morning we headed up the long and narrow Clearwater Lake on the mirror flat water toward the snow-capped Cariboo Mountains as this photo shows. We stopped at several campsites and eventually settled on Belleview Beach about 8km up the lake. There we swam, had lunch and I got stung by a bee on the inside of my knee. The nerve! But better me than Ron since he is allergic and swells up miserably. On me, the quarter-sized swollen red-spot disappears in a couple of hours. It doesn't mean it hurts any less though. At about 10:00am a light & cool breeze picked-up off the Cariboo Mountains to the North that was just enough to keep us from getting too hot in the shade of our umbrella. A little after noon a sudden hot gust of wind off the Kootney Mountains to the south turned our umbrella inside-out and thus changed the state of the lake for the rest of the day. It went from nearly flat to one with bow-topping waves. We decide perhaps mistakenly to head back south in the wave-whipping head-wind and across the lake to Divers Bluff to cut our 8km's back to the dock into smaller chunks. However once we set out again for the dock we decided that the best protection (not that there really was any) from the horrendous wind was on the other side of the lake. There were a few "tense" moments during our two hour paddle back to the dock and quite a few times we felt like we were paddling hard and going nowhere. However we eventually arrived safe & sound, even if we and the canoe were not exactly dry. We delivered the canoe back to its owner right at the promised time - 12 hours after we had set off. Ron remarked that the strong wind didn't even help to keep us cool in the equally intense sun. What good is a wind that doesn't cool you off? However we thought that it wasn't a bad workout for our first time out in a canoe for the season.

For more on Wells Gray Provincial Park in BC see: "Please DO eat the daisies (and leave the orchids alone) - more Wells Gray"

- Lori Erwin

Last updated: February 12 2022 Website © 2011-2014 Ron Erwin Photography
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