Besides its natural beauty, the Bowron Lakes are a wildlife sanctuary. Paddlers may see beavers, bears, otters, and moose feeding by the waterways.The Bowron River estuary is a birdwatcher’s paradise with an immense variety of bird life, including coots, mergansers, widgeon, mallards and Canadian geese. Campsites along the Bowron Lakes, set aside for our sole use, ensure the solitude so necessary for a meaningful wilderness experience.
Day 0: Arrival in Vancouver.
Day 1 – Transportation from Vancouver to Bowron Lakes, in our 15 passenger van. Pick-up is on the North Shore of Vancouver, early! Our campsite is at Bear River Mercantile. We will use the evening [dependent on our arrival time] to prepare for the next morning.
Day 2 – You’ll be wondering whether this is indeed a canoeing expedition as the two longest portages along the circuit are today. The portages are made easier by the use of specially designed carts which allow canoes and a some equipment to be wheeled between lakes. The first portage is to Kibbee Lake. Kibbee Lake is a short lake, only 2.4 km long. Just the ideal length to begin to work on technique and acclimatizing muscles. Our second portage (2 km) will take us to Indianpoint Lake. A short paddle will bring us to our campsite at Kruger Bay.
Day 3 – From Kruger Bay, Indianpoint Lake narrows and our route wanders through a small marsh. Beaver dams and lodges dot the area. The Isaac Lake portage (1.6 km) brings us to Isaac Lake, the longest lake on the circuit. Some of the most breathtaking alpine scenery is located along Isaac and Lanezi lakes. Our campsite is Wolverine Bay .
Day 4 – Isaac Lake is notorious for its winds and sudden squalls. We will get an early start to take advantage of the morning calm. This will be a day to enjoy the surrounding grandeur and absence of any portages. We will stop to see the cabin at Moxley Creek and take in some of the earlier “artwork” of circuit paddlers. We will camp along Isaac.
Day 5 – Once again we will get an early start to take advantage of the calm. Our paddle continues amidst the surrounding peaks and ridges to our destination at the end of Isaac Lake. This will be a short day. Weather and conditions cooperating, we will have time to play in the fast water of Isaac River.
Day 6 – It’s portage time again. The Isaac River connects Isaac Lake with McLeary Lake. After about a 1.6 km portage we will put in on Isaac River and cross over to the other side and continue portaging (1.2 km) to McLeary Lake. Along this stretch we will hike off the path to view Isaac Falls. McLeary Lake is but a backwater formed by the confluence of the Isaac and Cariboo rivers. Having paddled McLeary we will enter the Cariboo River for a winding (5.2 km) ride into Lanezi Lake. Our campsite is at Turner Creek.
Day 7 – Our paddle on Lanezi Lake takes us past imposing Ishpa Mountain (2530 m). We enter a short section of the Cariboo River at the end of Lanezi. This 1.2 km stretch of river brings us to Sandy Lake. Just before Sandy Lake are mineral deposits which attract animals. Sandy Lake is as the name implies. Shallow water and sandy beaches make it an ideal spot to take a dip. At the end of Sandy Lake we once again enter the Cariboo River for 4 km. Our campsite is Unna Lake. The vegetation is unique here, as it lies in a rain-shadow area, and as a result, is much drier than surrounding areas. After setting up camp, we will paddle to the south end of the lake and then hike 1.5 km to spectacular Cariboo Falls.
Day 8 – You will have become aware of the change from the high mountains and ridges of Isaac and Lanezi to a more undulating topography. We have to portage our canoes to Babcock Lake. Babcock Lake is an ideal location to observe moose, who enjoy the lush vegetation along its shoreline. A short (very) portage (400 m) will bring us to Skoi Lake. No sooner do we put in, than we begin another short (very) and final portage (400 m) to Spectacle Lake. Our campsite is Pat Point.
Day 9 – This is our last day on the circuit. We will leave early in the morning in the hopes of completing our paddle by mid-afternoon. Our paddle will take us past Pavich Island, once named Deadman’s Island, as it was believed that many Takullis died here from small pox. At the end of Swan Lake we will enter the Bowron River for 4 km. The Bowron River estuary is a prime bird area. There is an immense variety of bird life found here. The Bowron River empties into Bowron Lake and the last lake in the circuit. Our hope is that we will have sufficient time to visit Barkerville, restored historical center of the Cariboo Gold Rush. We will stay in Quesnel for the evening.
Day 10 – We will return you to Vancouver, arriving in the late afternoon or evening.