Paddle: Southen- central BC Shushwap lake, sicamouse to the narrows

Quick Summary

Summary: This is a 3 day weekend paddle along part of the shushwap lake. Date of trip: Aug 22, 2003
Distance of trip: around 40 km
How to get to the set in point: Sicamous
How to get to the take out point: Sicamous
River Grade: NA, Lake trip
Paddleing partners: Richard, Darrel
Level of experince of group: Novice
Level of experince of the trip author: Novice
Camp sites used: marble point 10km
at the narrows 20km
Weather Conditions: Good, some what smokey from the forest fires buring in BC at the time.
Trip rating: Good, A bit crowded for house boat traffic, and other motor boats, but not to bad.
Good points / Bad points: Warm Lake, Lots of house boats and other boat traffic. store at the narrows.
Boat style used: All in sea kayaks
Map (toporama)

"Map is Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada, Department of Natural Resources. All rights reserved."
map from the website http://toporama.cits.rncan.gc.ca/toporama_en.html

Click for a more detailed map.

Ramble on about the trip

trip 'planing'

Richard invited me out on this trip, weeks earlier he started thinking about it. It original destination was taken off the list, as the area was closed due to forest fires burning this year. The Shushwap (sp?) was the second choise. Originaly I had turned Rich down, I'd planned to do some work, and my wrist was still bothering me. However, day before the trip Rich made a comment like "you know, with the wife and baby out of town right now, this may be your last chance"... 5 minutes later we were in the car going to go rent the kayaks for Rich and Darrel.

After loading the two rentals on Rich's 1980-ish Honda Civic, we swapped cars at work. I took Riches car home, and loaded my kayak on the roof too. Such a small car looks a bit overwhelmed with three kayaks on the roof. Later that night rich and his wife came over, we went for supper. He decided to leave his car at my place, and took mine home for the evening.

Day 1:

Next moring at 6:00 am or so Rich and Darrel were at my place, I was part way through packing up my stuff, much of it currently scattered all over the living room. After about 10 minutes, I was ready to roll. Only one problem could not find the keys to Rich's car. AFter about 45 minutes of searching the house and car, calling the place we went for supper last night. we could not find them anywhere. In desperation, Darrel, who drives a late 1980's ish civic, put his key in the car, and twisted... vrooom... how's that for lucky, off we went.

The drive from Calgary to Sicamous is about 5 hours or so, I'm not exactly sure, as none of us had watches, and the car clock was broken. We spent a lot of time drafting behind the trucks. We must have been a bit of a sight, three of us crammed in the car, all the gear piled to the roof in the back, three sea kayaks, all longer than the car on the top.

Well we made it to the lake safe and sound, in fairly good time to. After buying a camping pass for the lakes, getting lunch, unloading kayaks and gear, then loading the kayaks with the gear, we were on the water just after 3:00. It is a warm day, there is smoke in the air, enought to make the hills around the lake appear washed out. One guy watched us unload the car, I think he was surprised of all the stuff that came out of the car. He actually commented how surprised he was that we got it all into the kayaks.

The destinaltin of th trip was never finalized, kind of a lets see what happens type trip. The first day out we paddled along the east shore from Sicamous. it was the first time on a fairly large lake for myself, first time in a sea kayak for Darrel, and the second time out for Rich. I guess that makes Rich the most experinenced, with a week long trip down in Baja. No matter how you look at it, though, not a lot of expeirence in the group.

After paddling from under the bridge, we could see to the ] point to which we needed to paddle around. We were guessing at how long we figured it would take. The consensus was that it would be about 1/2 an hour. 10 minutes later after paddling in flat conditions we were passing the point and onto the next. The shore has changed from the sandy river delta, to the rocky sides of the mountians running into the lake. Paddling first day

The lake started calm, letting us get the feel for the kayaks, trying to serf the odd wake from a power boat, as evening started to fall though, the wind was picking up, the waves were now such that it was hard to notice the wake from the boats. They were starting to break, at about 2ft tall. The first one to slap me in the chest was a bit of a shock, as it came 'out of the blue' and broke into me. the picture to the left is as the waves were starting to pick up, still only about 1/2 the size the got to. I really enjoyed paddling in the waves, it was a lot of fun, bobing around, correcting the steering, occasionally 'surfing' int the odd power boats wake, it did slow us down though. Sunset first night

It was getting close to sunset, and we pulled into Marble beach and set up camp (todo:verify the camp name). The picture below shows the sunset after we had setup camp, and eaten, it was fairly brilliant, as a result of the suns light refracting through the smoke from all the fires burning in BC at the time.

Day 2

Day 2, I was up earlier than my kayaking mates... the back just will not let me sleep in past 5:00am yet. Today I do not mind, Surprisingly, it is still a bit windy this morning. I spend the time just wandering around the campsite, checking out the 'light house' on at the point. Anyone from either coast might be dissapointed in these... nothing like the romantic structures that protected the sailors for over a century. Just a structure, maybe 10 ft tall, with solar panels to power the lamp in the day. At night they'ed give off the bright flash to warn the house boats away from the points. Still pretty interesting.

I exchange a few words with another early riser, a lady out collecting fragments of marble from the beach... okay an odd thing to do, but she seemed like a nice lady. Rich is up now, he wants to go check out the light house so we make the walk again. It's just nice being out n' about on a fine morning. Rich pulls out his book, and mutters somthing like, I never have time to read, started this book months ago. Sits down in a patch of sun that has just come over the hill/mountain beside us and is warming the beach. The waves on the lake are smoothing out a bit, looks like it will be a good paddle accross to the other side, and north to the Cinnemousun narrows.

Back at the campsite, Darrel is just waking up. He really needs to move. When he found out I snored, he decided to sleep on the picnic table. But getting hungry now. Not long after we have our morning breakfast. First we had to select the flavours of oatmeal we wanted to eat. My firt time eating Instant oatmeal in a long long time. They ad flavours now, I ended up mixing up a few packets of apple cinninomin, maple sugar, and a cinimin spice... not to bad, but a little sweet. Hits the spot though.

After breaking camp, loading the kayaks we are on the water, the waves are negligable now. And the wind is nothing. I wanted to go strait accross the lake and cruise up the side of the shore. Rich and Darrel wanted to cut diagonal accross to the narrows. After a while, I was having a bit of trouble keeping up with these punks, and so desided to head in closer for shore. That way I'd just paddle at my own pace, just more pleasant that way. I was admireing the houses/cabins of Aline hill(?) , I could summer out there. Some nice shacks. No roads in as far as I could see, boat access only. (note Aline Hill is further north on the map than shown)

Not far north of Aline Hill Rich and Darrel had pulled in to shore and were breaking out lunch. I pulled up, Rich seemed to take a few pics of me comming in. I'll have to get one or two from him and put them up her. Lunch, was peta break, Humis/peanut butter. I forgot how much I like Peanut butter, tasted great that day. There Is an old washed up floating pear just next to us. I walked up, pulled the hat over my eyes, and had a great snooze. Not sure how long I was out. Rich and Darrel were doing exactly the same thing, none of us bothered with watches for this trip.

From here we paddled up to the narrows, the trip is nice, folowing along the side of the shore. A few motor boats are out, but not many are pulling skiiers, most seem to be running some kind of errand run from the house boats out on the lake back and forth to towwn. The odd house boat slowely over takes us and passes, but most are far enought away that we just watch them go by.

As we near the narrows, the house boats are in closer... one comes by close enough to try and catch. The goal being to get in behind the wake and get pulled along. None of us have really done this before this trip, so we do not have much sucess. Actually, I did not have much sucess, Darrel got in righ tight with the house boat, and really kept up easily. I was to far out, and kept getting further and further out. I think this is the first time I wished I'd had a rudder, I kept twisiting in the waves and could not quite keep up.

The house boat ended up turning into the narrows, we on the other hand wanted to hit the floating store out on the lake. So Darrel had to get off his free ride. A bit of a trick getting out of the kayak, and onto the floating store. the deck is up about 3 ft. I thought for sure one of use would end up swimming. There was a 'dock hand' helping us out. after we were all up, and amazingly still dry, he made a similar comment. He tells us that people fall in all the time doing that. All that was lost was Darrel's Water bottle, it fell off the deck in the struggle to get up on the dock.

It's a nice break up there, we all indulge in an ice cream. Sit back on the benches provided and relax for 1/2 an hour. The dock hand guy tells us to stay on the south side of the lake, as there is less wind on that side. Off we go, and set up camp for the night. It is still light out, so off we go again.

This time with empty kayaks we cross the narrows, and head up Seymore arm. not far, only as fare a Neilson beach. Apperently this beach is world famous for a party beach. The house boats are just staring to come in as we are out there. One after another, Tunes cranked. the come crunching up on the beach. All filled with young folks out for a good time. There's the guys with the giant catus mounted out on the deck (like 20 ft high), all dressed in mexican toggas, and sombraros. There's the stagett boat. and about 15 other boats all individual parties, comming together in one super party.

Well our kayaks are empty, we were down to 3 beer, but they were back accross the lake. We beached our kayaks, and walked up and down the shore to check out the show. Had a few comments like, 'you're the guys on the kayaks', or when asked what boat we were on, and saying were came by kayak "Kayaks!, why would you be in kayaks?".

It's still light, we decide to head back, Rich and Darrel pick up the beer, sleeping bags, and a tarp and head back to the beach. I opt for the relative quite of this side of the lake, and a good night's sleep.

Day 3

Next morning after packing up the tent and stuff, I'm sitting on the dock, waiting for my partners, wondering what kind of shape they will be in for the paddle back... we need to make the full cruiser type moter boat. There is a family that camped in their boat, Turns out they are from Bowness (part of trip in one day. The guy, is out making coffie, offers me a cup, with some Bailies in in. Good stuff. After about the third cup, I can see way off in the distance (maybe a mile) the flash of the paddle blades. Sitting back watching them rollin, the look like they are doing okay.

Can you see them Gettin close herheree

After getting in our kayaks, and saying fairwell to the folks in the boat, we are off. It is around 10:00. Later than we would have liked, but not to bad. The water is very calm, and we make good time out of the narrows and back onto the arm towards Sicamous. We are really trying to catch the wakes of the house boats now. we get one to the store, not far at all, but then we are going the wrong way. This is an older slower boat that moves just faster than our cruising speed. It would have been a nice easy paddle beind it. After that nothing.

We end up going 'strait' accross back to Marble point campsite. This put us on the left side of the lake, and out of the south bound house boat traffic. Still the condition are very nice for most of the trip to Marble point campsite. A slight head wind picks up just before landing.

We found a road hockey ball floating infront of us. Well can't leave litter in the lake so we snap that up. Pretty soon we are playing some sort of game between catch, cricket, and kayaking. just using the paddles to bat the ball to each other. It is surpisingly hard to hit a lightly toss ball at you with the paddle. Not sure what the house boat people thought but it was some fun, which broke up the manotony of the paddle.

little while later a found a water bottle floating, and grabed it. Darrel chimes up with a 'hey, that's mine'. we are about 8km from the store, and the lake is about 2km across. Pretty small odds of ever seeing it again. Hmm, I was thirsty, and out of water so down it went.

Lunch is again peta and peanut butter. Yum yum. Actually, in our last minute packing, we kinda forgot about lunch. We had breakfast and supper covered for each day, and snack food. This was our snack food that doubled as lunch well enough. A couple other campers come over and chat with us a bit. a few of the guys are interested in the homebuild kayak I'm using.

We are done lunch and lazing around, when the one house boat on the beach starts to disembark, and make the run south. It is going to pass right by us. It is one of the faster, bigger, newer boats. we madly pack and try to get out and reach it to ride its wake. So close, this was just to fast for us, but not much. We ended up following in the wake for probably 2 km. Even with out the wake, we had the benifit of it smothing out the water a bit. After that it was just, the smooth rhythm of stroke, stroke stroke.

The banks to our left are rock, coming steeply down right to the lake, Very pretty, but not the most welcoming. Another house boat, this one older is passing us... I'm out closer to the shore and do no make it over Rich is right in tight... later I learn that he scared the lady that came out back brushing her teeth. I guess she was not expecting to see a kayaker right behind her. Once again Rich and Darrel are out ahead of me a fair bit.

I'm paddleing pretty hard, as I don't have the wake working for me, I looke over and a boat is out fishing. the angle between him, me, and the shore makes it look like he is at a stand still... which means I'd be too. some kind of current? No, he is trolling, and I'm going just a tad faster... still the illusion was a bit disheartening.

The shore has pulled back from us now, as we have passed the edge of the Monashee mountain forming it. Now although further away, the shore is a nice beach running into the lake. It is the delta of a Eagle river The trees are not the cold hard pine trees, but the giant willows, I recall as youth growing up in Kelowna. very nice, but we need to get back to the take out point. We still have a 5 hour drive home.

Coming in under the bridge is nice, we are done our trip. Not like other paddles where they are always to short. This one really hit the spot. Loading the gear, into the kayak, we end up talking to one old time local, he had been there when we set in too. Nice guy, we chatted about other areas to paddle around the area and what not.

I think I'd definatley like to come back and check out the rivers and other lakes in the area. Maybe somthing a little more remote next time though. Drafting behind the house boats was fun, but I'd rather they were not there at all.

Copyright Myrl Tanton 2003-2005


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