Sunday, 9 September 2007

More More More Canada

We arrived in the town of Clearwater, where we met our guides and transferred all our gear into waterproof bags. We then headed off down about 45mins of winding backroad to the edge of Clearwater Lake itself. This place was already pretty remote but across on the other side of the lake there was no habitation for miles & miles. If you want to travel anywhere from the other side you apparently needed to beat your own trail!

Excitedly, we packed our stuff into our canoe, along with some group bits from the van. Interestingly, several of the group were really nervous about the canoes - I guess we forgot that not everyone is most at home on the water! And so, we set off...

Clearwater Lake lives up to its name - the water was icy cold and crystal clear. It's also clean enough to drink, so we all enjoyed paddling along, dipping our mugs over the side. The scenery was superb and it was so quiet (apart from all of us calling across the water to each other!)

After a couple of hours of paddling we reached our camping spot and pulled up on the beach... literally:

We set up camp amongst the trees along the edge of the lake. It was simply idyllic. That night there was a monstrous campfire and lots of tasty real ale and Fireball was consumed. After some increasingly silly campfire games, we all suddenly decided to go for a midnight paddle on the lake! This was SOOOOO much fun - paddling around in the PITCH black. All we could see were the stars straight up through a haze of low cloud and the faint glow of the campfire between the trees. In many ways, this was when you felt most remote - drifting silently in the middle of nowhere and not even being able to see the middle of nowhere. It also made it ideal for sneaking up on people...!

I'd post a picture but, well... it was dark.

The next morning I was awake early and watched the sun rise over the opposite sure. Again, it's impossible to describe. Everything was just so serene and beautiful. This was the view out of our tent...!

After a peaceful walk on the beach, others began to stir and breakfast began...

I have to say that this is probably my favourite campground ever - it would take quite a lot to beat it. Though, I guess the facilities were pretty primitive (toilet = hut up the hill with a stinky hole in it and sharing the whole area with bears!) Even so, it takes some beating!

After an extensive pancake breakfast, with many accoutrements, Taz and I decided to paddle across to the other side of the lake and catch up with the rest of the group later, who were going for a short hike in the next bay. On the opposite beach, we met two older ladies from Salmon Arm, who'd been travelling up the lake in their canoes and camping in on various beaches for the previous 4 days. One of them turned out to be English, which was slightly random! That was one of the fun things - meeting random people in random places.

We paddled back to the beach where the others had set off for their walk, had some lunch and took the obligatory canoeing picture:

Chris then suggested people should go for a swim in the lake. Having drunk and dipped hands/feet in already, we were aware that it was VERY cold: certainly single figures centigrade and we thought probably only a couple of degrees above freezing. Chris & Lori plunged in (the latter screaming) and I then decided that I'd probably only ever be there once, so why not. Swimming shorts on an CHARGE...!

Let's just say there was swearing and it was cold! Worth it, though!

To be continued...

No comments: