I recently went on a solo canoe trip. It was from Hudson’s Hope to Peace River. It took me seven days of paddling. Reason for the trip, being? You may ask. Partly because they’re starting the process of damming the river once again (South of Fort St.John). Also, because I sorely needed some ME time.
DAY BEFORE LEAVING: The house is a royal disaster. One can’t run a business, work a full time apprenticeship, plan for a 8 day wilderness trip and have a personal life worth living, without something that will lack. Gear everywhere, waiting to be sorted into the ‘go’ or ‘no go’ piles. Then shortly after it got packed in whatever was waterproof. I was going through everything I’ve ever owned that related to camping, trekking or canoeing. Or freaking out about not being able to find my GPS.
I said my goodbyes to my girlfriend, as she was heading out to school on the other side of the country. I eventually got on to the highway roughly at 9am. Which was already making me late at the end of my 3.5 hour drive. Met up with my return driver Roland and we made the last 75km jaunt out to Hudson’s last hope.
The first thing that I noticed coming into the valley was that the river was running high. Which was of a little concern because of the wet wet summer and being that close to the dams meant the water level could change any which way at a quick rate. Because of this and a few other things, I’m nervous. Roland and I unpack the car and load up my new 14′ canoe.
Under that cold and grey flecked sky, Rolly gives me the proverbial push. I’m
now gliding backwards into the unknown.
Promptly after my driver pulls away, I know I’ve forgot something. My waterproof, disposable camera! Damnation and tarnation! I looked all over town just to buy it. Because I’d promised a few people pictures. These pictures are from my cell phone camera and some other previous River trips.
I just had to commit to myself that I would remember this trip, write it down and take the odd photo with my cell phone (I would have taken more, but it was often my means of communication to the outsiders.)
Anyways, back on topic… Camera-less and GPS-less I paddled. I was bound away. The skies had cleared and the sun appeared. The weather had turned.
…When I first seen it I thought “That might be a good stay.” A small island with the blue water flowing all around it. No bears or cattle. The hum of the highway filtering through the trees, just across the waterway. Then I seen it, the dishrag. It was bright blue and hanging from a branch, off of some random tree on this island I was leering at. I bee-lined it for the blue because I knew that there was this might be my chance at a nice camping spot. When I landed I knew I got lucky. Outhouse, picnic table, two trees spaced perfectly for my hammock and a proper fire pit. It being the only spot on the island, what more could you ask for?! It’s bittersweet that it’ll probably be underwater. :(Sorry no pictures…):
DAY TWO: After a refreshing sleep on a nice patch of moss. I awake, pack up camp and leave this little gem (by the name of Hawk Island). I also found a reasonably big eagle(?) feather and bleached deer hip bone to bring with me.
Due to my BC river map also being a road map there were little to no details that stuck out on the river. Placing a finger on the paper and saying “I’m here, for sure.” would be a bad practice due to the fact that I was way off on my previous day’s distance. My island, which didn’t show up on the map, was way behind where I thought I was. I had some time to make up.