Day Four on the Circuit
After all the miserable rain of Day Three, it was a treat to wake up and get paddling on Day Four. Yes, our tent was soaking wet when we rolled it up and put it away, even after we shook it out vigoroiously, but these actions marked a new day.
By Day Four, Tee and I were beginning to get our stride. We weren't always the last canoe of the pack, and the other canoes in the end positions weren't always just taking in the scenery. We couldn't maintain a deep digging in of our paddles for a long time, but it helped that we could do it more effectively than when we took off on Day One.
We still paddled Isaac Lake, but this was to be our last day on it. As we canoed, we spotted bald eagles and ospery; slim falls wandered around on the interior hills.
Keeping our rain jackets handy was an every day occurrence by now. Tee wore his rain pants, as well. By the middle of our paddle, I wished I'd kept out my rain pants, because my walking pants were soaked.
Once we set up camp and built a fire in the shelter that services three campsites, we were feeling pretty good. Half of the shelter was lined up with our gear, drying it out. At first we occupied all the tables in the shelter, but not long after we moved in, an older couple arrived at the shelter and set up their camp at an adjoining campsite.
The couple was Burt and Dehlia. They were so cute! Both of them were in their 60s, and were avid outdoorsmen. This was their fourth time around Bowron. After they got their camp settled, and they took ownership of one of the picnic tables in the shelter, Dehlia ambled over and we began to chat.
Besides canoeing, this incredible pair sea kayaked, although Burt could be, at times, too hard core in this sport for Dehlia's taste. They hiked. In fact, Dehlia said her recipe for success in staying active was to walk 90 minutes every day, rain or shine. It worked for her, because she was one hip lady. Burt was quiet. He'd nod politely as you'd walk past him, but rarely did he strike up a conversation, or help maintain one when one of men would try and chat with him.
At this point on the circuit, Isaac Lake meets up with Isaac River. Where the two join, there is a small "falllet," if you can imagine, and it's called "The Chute." You can run a canoe through the Chute, but it's not a good idea to do so with gear in it, because usually the canoe will then capsize.
By the afternoon, the sun came out to play. The boys were ecstatic. They threw on their swim trunks to go swimming. Tee came and talked to me as I laid down in our tent, trying to get rid of the pounding headache I devloped while we paddled that afternoon.
"Mom, can I do the Chute?"
"Yeah, E. and Vlad are going to do it, with their life jackets on. Can I do it, please?"
I was not at all comfortable with the thought of Tee body surfing the Chute with only his life jacket on. He can swim, but he's not a strong swimmer. I got up to check out the situation.
Vlad and E. did run the Chute, body surfing. They did so feet first, just like you would if you were in a capsize situation. I watched them from the shore, wondering if I should let Tee do the same. The current at the bottom did bring you back toward shore, but I wasn't sure he'd be able to break free of it, and make it the rest of the way to the bank. Vlad assured me Tee would be fine, and that he'd wait at the bottom fo the Chute for Tee.
I wish you could have witnessed the smile Tee had on his face as he reached the river bank, after running it. He had such a good time. Up to this point, our trip contained far too much plain existence without playtime, so I was very happy to see the kids enjoying themselves. Tee asked if he could run it again, and I gave him my blessings.
I headed back to our tent to lay down again, but I did toy with the idea of throwing on my bathing suit and trying the Chute myself. I wasn't in my tent for long when Dehlia stopped by, announcing that she and Burt were getting their suits on, to make a run. I was quite surprised, since she was worried about the kids doing it. She stood next to me on the bank, brows knitted together in concern, as Tee made his first run. What the hell, if the couple in their 60s was going to do it, I was too.
As it turned out, everyone in our group ran the Chute in their life jackets. It was so much fun! Dehlia did it twice, with Vlad catching her at the bottom, so she didn't float down stream. She said she'd now do this every time she returned to the Bowron circuit. Pirate Jay and Lower Case Jay ran it a couple of times in an empty canoe, and they said it knocked them around a bit. They didn't dump it, though.
As dinner cooked, a rainbow appeared between two points of land down river, with the end sinking into the Isaac River. The view was stunning, and we all snapped bunches of pictures of it.
I have to say this was my favorite day of the trip. We spent a lot of time chatting, getting to know each other better. Ike told us stories from when he lived in Alaska. The boys started a chess tournament, which occupied them for hours. Pirate Jay whittled a canoe paddle that each of us signed, and we hung it from a rafter beam before we headed out the next morning. Dehlia and Burt were so nice. I was amazed at how she brought needle point with her, and kept the white fabric clean.
I shook things up a bit as we sat around the adult campfire. We started it in the site's fire ring, overlooking the river. All the men in our group were making a point to not swear in front of me. It had reached a point of absurdness. So, when Pirate Jay burned our popcorn on the fire grate, then offered it to us, one of the guys burnt the tip of his finger on it and started to swear. He quickly stopped himself and I said," Come on, let's just say it. Pirate Jay f#cked up the popcorn." I startled P. Jay, because he fumbled his popcorn cup, spilling it all over the ground. We all got a good laugh from this, and all the guys loosened up a bit after that.
When Dehlia and Burt packed up the next morning, she made a point of stopping by and giving me a big hug. She thanked me for my friendship during the past 24 hours, and then they were off to finish the circuit. After we got back, and we had dinner with the other group from our troop, I found out that this pair caught up with them, and had such pleasant stories to share about our time together at the shelter on the Chute.