2023 Pitt Lake Paddle and Row Trip.
Loaded up and ready to leave home for Grant Narrows. The weather prediction is for rain today, sun on Tuesday and Wednesday and then rain again on Thursday and Friday.
Matthew is taking the two new Greenland Paddles to check out. Which paddle will be the most comfortable to paddle a long trip with? He will find out.
Matthew and I leave home around 9a.m. for the trip to Grant Narrows. When we arrive, the Canoe Rentals and Launch fee building is gone. The last time I was here in May of 2019, there were canoe rentals and a $15.00 launch fee and a $20.00 fee for parking. Now there is no one to take your money. The canoes and the building is gone.
Route for day one.
Mast is up, I just have to take off the tie-downs to the trailer and in she will go. You never know, there may be some wind and I will be able to sail. I launch Gwragedd Annwn, tie her to the dock and go park the FJ. I help Matthew launch off of the beach.
Matthew launches from the beach. He is using the West Greenland Paddle that I made for him. The paddle is made from yellow cedar. It is 85½” long, the blade is 3¼” wide at the tip, 2″ at the shoulder. As Matthew leaves, I see that his aft carrying handle is dragging. In future, I will make sure that the aft carrying handle is on the deck and not dragging in the water.
There is a light rain and Matthew puts his rain jacket on. It will “mist” all day long.
Matthew paddles Anemone and I row Gwragedd Annwn up Grant Channel in the drizzle. When we pass the channel markers we see that there is an outgoing current…must be the start of the tide going out, as there was no real current at the launching ramp.
A flight of Trumpeter Swans flies down Lake towards us, honking loudly.
The dyke for the game sanctuary is in the background. Progress is slow as we are going against the tide, costing us a knot or two in speed. As you can tell, it is still raining, my swag tent cover is getting soaked through.
About three and a half hours after launching, we arrive at Raven Creek Campground. We paddle to the campground sign scouting out the beach.
Scouting along the beach.
Boats on the shore, checking out the campsite and setting up. No blisters and no sore shoulders, a successful day.
We are going to camp on the beach, well South of the Raven Creek Campsite sign.
Gwragedd Annwn on the shore. The tide is now coming in.
Matthew does some exploring along the beach. It never really stops raining.
Matthew sets up camp. It is almost dry under the trees. We found that the rain was light enough that we were not wet while paddling or rowing. I guess that we were drying off as quickly as we were getting wet. My jeans stayed dry, however, all of the varnished surfaces on Gwragedd Annwn were covered with beaded water, Anemone’s decks were wet. Everything not under a tree was wet or damp at the campsite.
Dusk. We have pulled Gwragedd Annwn up the beach well above the high tide line with her beach rollers. It is still raining lightly. With the North up-lake exposure of this beach, I have decided to camp ashore. My swag tent enters from the top so I have a tarp over the entrance to keep the interior of the swag tent dry. If I was sleeping on the boat, I have a boom tent to keep the swag tent out of the rain.
We put the cockpit cover on Anemone to keep the rain out and hang our food bags up in the tree. We do not have a fire tonight.
Route day two.
As predicted, Tuesday dawns bright and clear. No Rain! It was a cold night. No wind fortunately. Here we are beginning to pack-up in the shade (East side of the lake) for the paddle & row to the Dark Creek Campground.
Getting organized and having a breakfast of oatmeal. You can see Gwragedd Annwn on her beach rollers. Unfortunately, one of the rollers got punctured rolling her down the beach. Too bad, the rollers really made moving her up the beach easier.
The sunshine finally hits our campsite and we are stowing stuff in Anemone and Gwragedd Annwn for the trip over to Dark Creek.
Matthew is orientating himself to Dark Creek. We use the chart to pick a landmark on the West shore. We will paddle/row across and then follow the coast uplake. I hope that the beach at Dark Creek is not covered with drift logs and we can land there. The tide is coming in.
Matthew sets off first. Today he is using the smaller of the two Greenland Paddles that I made for him. This “storm” paddle is 84″ long, the blade is 3″ wide at the tip and tapers to 1¼” wide at the shoulder. The storm paddle is 10.4 ounces lighter than the regular paddle. Which will he prefer? Paddling conditions are GREAT! No wind and no swell. Only the occasional boat wake to deal with.
Looking back (East) towards Raven Creek. As there is no wind while I am rowing across, I am making 2 ½ to 3 knots.
At Dark Creek Campground (Dark Creek Provincial Marine Park). There is too much driftwood on the beach to land. We will sightsee, going uplake along the shore looking for a place to camp. If we do not find a campsite that we can land on, we will return to Raven Creek for tonight.
The mouth of Dark Creek. There is a mooring buoy anchored off of the mouth.
Paddling along the shore. Anemone looks well balanced…She suits Matthew. Matthew says that the storm paddle moves the kayak slower than the West Greenland paddle with the same effort. I guess that now he has a normal paddle and a storm paddle. The paddles are very light, 30.7 ounces (1 pound 14.7 ounces) for the West Greenland and 20.3 ounces (1 pound 4.3ounces) for the storm.
Matthew finds a crack in the shore to explore. Does it go anywhere?
The crack is not too deep and he does not get very far.
There are some Petrographs along the shore.
Usually you look for an orangey colour on the rock. Petrograph? I am not sure.
A few more figures.
Are the orangey dots pictographs too?
We keep following the West shore of Pitt Lake.
Defrauder Creek has a large beach area with almost no driftwood on it.
On the beach. Defrauder Falls are quite loud. They are marked on the chart (Pitt Lake #3062). 9.92km of paddling/rowing in the sun.
We walk up the creek to the falls
Anemone and Gwragedd Annwn on the beach at Defrauder Falls. Unlike the lower part of Pitt lake, the water in the upper part of the lake is quite clear.
A butterfly lands on our food bag. It looks like a Painted Lady. The only other bugs we saw were a few Bumble Bees. No mosquitos or flies.
Evening falls and we are in the shadow of Gloomy Peak. The tide is going out.
Our camp at Defrauder Creek. No need for a tarp for the Swag Tent.
Having a bit of a relax and getting the fire ready to go. The orange and black object on the table is a solar-charged battery pack to recharge our phones and my camera. Matthew used it to charge up his phone and the solar panels recharged the unit over the day. It has two charging ports so can recharge two devices at one. Actually worked well!
On the East side of lake, sunshine in the evening, West side, sun early in the morning.
Raven in the trees.
Golden Ears in the late afternoon.
Baked potatoes in the fire. We made up four of them, a potato, some butter and Onion, wrapped in tin foil.
Probably the best meal of the trip.
We sat near the fire as the sunset. When the fire had died down, Matthew put it out with several buckets of water.
Just about dark, time to hit the sack. I later woke up at 11:25pm. Gwragedd Annwn was rocking in the swell. I pulled her further up the beach. The night sky was incredible…inky, inky black and the stars were so bright. Sadly, my camera does not take very good night photos.
Route day three.
As predicted, we wake up to sunny and clear skies. Morning in the sun. It was a cold night, I slept in my mummy bag which I had inside my summer bag. I wore wooly socks, long underwear bottoms and top and a toque. I was warm enough. Matthew brought a winter bag. He did say that he will bring warmer shoes for around the camp next time, not Crocs.
Morning in the sun. the tide is coming in. The nice part about morning sun is that it makes your tent warm for getting out of your sleeping bag and putting on your clothes.
After breakfast, we pack up our camp and leave for Osprey Creek Campground (Osprey Provincial Marine Park) on the East side of the lake.
We leave Defrauder Creek behind. Again, the paddling/rowing conditions are perfect. No wind and flat water.
About half-way across, we pause for a snack and decide to go directly to Raven Creek. We can see that the beach at Osprey Creed is covered with driftwood. We have cell phone reception and I call my wife for the weather forecast. She says that it will be heavy rain starting overnight and continuing through Friday. Sigh, I guess the good weather will not last for us.
Perfect paddling conditions. Silky flat and no wind. Nearing Goose Island, Raven Creek is behind the island.
We are going around the East side of Goose Island. No easy landing here.
Big deadhead near Goose Island. No hazard for us.
Heading for Raven Creek
Landing at Raven Creek for a rest stop.
We talk about setting up camp early to get ahead of the upcoming rain. I call my wife for the latest weather report. It is not looking good, with heavy rain expected overnight and for all day Thursday. This means that we will be packing up camp in the rain and paddling/rowing home in the heavy rain as well.
The rest/decision stop at Raven Creek. Goose Island in the background. If only it was going to be like this tomorrow!
While we are at Raven Creek, a Bumble Bee crawls into my mug, looking for the Cranberry Juice I was drinking. While rowing, I always have a mug of something to drink. Today it is water mixed with cranberry juice. I usually go through two litres or so of fluids a day while rowing.
We decide to paddle/row back in the sunshine. The tide is also a factor. For an outgoing tide, we would have to wait in a rainy camp tomorrow until about 1pm for the tide to start going out. This will be wet waiting. Right now, at about noon, the tide is starting to go out…It will be an easy paddle/row home as opposed to the paddle/row that we had on the first day. Matthew and I decide to paddle/row back to the Grant’s Landing boat launch in the sun, making this a fair weather trip. About 2½ hours later, we arrive at the Grant Narrows boat launch, load up Gwragedd Annwn and Anemone and head home in the evening sun. 16.54km paddled/rowed on the last leg.
True to the weather prediction, the heavy rain starts overnight and continues through Friday. It would have been a soaker.
Total tip length: 36.23km or 19.56 nautical miles or 22.51 statute miles.
Paddling/rowing time: approx. 3½ hours day one, 3 hours day two and 5½ hours day three.
No blisters and no sore shoulders. Success!