BC – Bowron Lakes Day 1

12 teams assemble at the Reservation Centre on Day 1. They are allowed a maximum of 60 pounds on the canoe. Once their weight has been confirmed, they start the 2.4 km Kibbee Lake Portage and the Amazing Bowron Lakes Race begins.
Teams must paddle and portage a total of 116.4 km through the Central British Columbia Wilderness around the chain of lakes that forms the Bowron Lake Canoe Circuit. Bowron Lakes Provincial Park has been protected for over 80 years and the canoe circuit with its seven lakes and 10.5 km of portage trails is rated one of the top 10 canoe circuits in the world. Over 5000 people a season paddle clockwise around the circuit taking an average of seven days to complete the course. There are 54 campgrounds spaced around the circuit. 

Most campgrounds have two or three tent pads, a bear proof food cache and an outhouse. Some campgrounds have cooking shelters and enclosed cabins. Officially no overflow camping is allowed at each campsite. If your team arrives at a campground that is full, you must proceed to the next campground! The last team to check in may be sleeping on hard ground!

Day 1.  9:10 AM
Teams 1, 2 and 3 from Cranbrook are first on the portage trail. Team 4, Peter and Marg are next to be weighed. 58 pounds in the canoe. They’re off – uphill to Kibbee Lake. Backpacks on, Peter decides to attach the canoe rope to his pack and pull the canoe, dogsled style, with Marg in the back making sure the canoe stays on the trail.
An hour later, the rain finally stops, they reach Kibbee Lake, just as the first three teams are about to start paddling.
Team 5, Janice and Luis, from Washington State with their Kevlar canoe and dry suits are close behind. They quickly load their canoes and are off, catching teams 1, 2 and 3. Team 5 is not seen again until Day 7. Team 6 from Germany, packed too much gear must to do a double portage, and fall way behind. They are never seen again by Peter and Marg. The other 6 teams are not seen for a few days.
Kibbee Lake is an uneventful paddle, with the sun peaking out for a few minutes here and there. 30 minutes later, they come to the second portage, 2km long uphill to Indianpoint Lake, and a repeat of the Kibbee Lake Portage, only shorter.
Indianpoint Lake is 6.4 km long, and was a lot choppier than Kibbee Lake. However, the overcast conditions kept the daytime heating and the wind to a minimum. The time is approaching 4pm. Teams 1, 2 and 3 decide to stay at Camp 8 near the end of Indianpoint Lake. Peter and Marg are now in third position having been overtaken by team 7 from Britain. Camp 9 is at the end of Indianpoint Lake and the start of the portage to Isaac Lake.
A crash of lighting breaks the silence. A thundershower starts falling. Team 7 decides to start the portage. A few minutes later a family of four with two girls ages 7 and 9 pull in to camp 9. The mother and her cotton jeans are soaked, totally unprepared for the weather. The girls hang out in the food cache to stay warm. The parents huddle under a tree. Peter and Marg head for the outhouse to wait out the storm. The torrent of rain comes down, the canoe is half full of water. Camp 9 has only two campsites. Camp 10 at the end of the portage has only two sites. Two teams are ahead of Peter and Marg. Should they proceed to camp 10 and risk having to paddle to camp 11 or 12 on Isaac Lake if Camp 10 is full? They decide to stay at camp 9 for the night. At the end of Day 1, they are in third place and have not been eliminated from the Amazing Bowron Lake Race.
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About petergsimmons

Global citizenship is conferred on those who have lived in a variety of countries, and who don’t identify with any one culture. I am such a person. Having lived in Jamaica, Canada and Japan, I have been exposed to First World/Third World, East and West, North and South. This has lead to a rich living experience, open-mindedness and curiosity about the world around me. This variety of living conditions in human landscapes is coupled with equally diverse travels in natural landscapes from the jungles of South East Asia and South America to the Arctic tundra; tropical beaches to the Himalayas, resulting in an incredible journey through life itself.
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