Travel Story - The Bowron Lakes 

Scenery the world comes to B.C. to see

Page 2 of 4

The food caches speak for themselves. They are at every campsite and at the beginning and end of every portage. Bowron is full of bears, some of the grizzly variety, all hungry, many knowledgeable about humans and their inherent laziness. Leave your food pack lying at a portage instead of in a cache and you just might go hungry or go home.

With the rugged Cariboos as backdrop and crystal waters with a healthy resident population of rainbow, Kamloops and lake trout, Dolly Varden and Kokanee, you can do worse than troll a line and meander gently along the southern shore of Indianpoint. Streams from the McCabe Ridge provide feeding stations for hungry fish.

Dan Greene, with whom I made my first traverse of Bowron, told me about a guy from Pemberton who claimed to have done the circuit in just under 24 hours. He didn’t tell me why but I suspect it had something to do with the lingering effects of a blow to the head. This isn’t one of those places where you want to power your way to a new world’s record. Two weeks isn’t nearly enough time… but it’s twice as long as you probably need if you don’t dally. Dally.

The third portage, from Indianpoint to Isaac Lake is, as you might guess, the third longest and last portage of any length. It’s also the last walk you’re likely to take for a few days. Issac Lake goes on and on and on. It forms an inverted "L" with the first leg 6.5 km and the long, northwest to southeast leg just over 31 km. Long and narrow, Isaac is, nonetheless, treacherous if a wind comes up – and I’ve seen microbursts come up with virtually no warning and whip the waters from glassy to maelstrom in less than three minutes. Hug a shore.

The south end of Issac is developed with numerous campsites, a shelter with a wood stove and, generally, lots of people. It also marks the beginning of some river stretches, including a roller-coaster of a chute you might be tempted to run to save a 300 metre portage. Give in to temptation… but portage your gear; you’re as far from the start as you are from the end, too far to go without food.

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