K2inCanada's Blog

May 6, 2013

Timber!!

Filed under: Canada, Fishing, Travel — K2 in Canada @ 11:15 PM

Apr 27-28 weekend – our first fishing weekend of the season. Bit earlier than usual since it was still April. But the weather forecast for Vancouver was for heavy rain, the forecast for Merritt was for dry and mix of sun and clouds. They also forecasted strong winds of 25-30km/hr for the interior but they aren’t always right, right!? Well we left Vancouver and its rain-threatening sky behind and got blown over the Coquihalla into Merritt. Literally. I have never seen big waves like that on Nicola Lake. It was windy!!

To kick off the lake fishing season – well Jeff had already done day trips – we decided to go to one of our favourite lakes, Little Pete. There are two campsites we would normally stay in but the first one was busy and the second one had a tree down blocking the road into it  –  which was already there last fall. Planning ahead though, we had left our little bow saw out and cut through that tree in good time. It wasn’t too big of a tree, maybe 20cm across. And of course we had campsite number 2 all to ourselves – actually I think we are the only people who stay there, not counting the cows and coyote we see there frequently. But the cows are not yet out in the open. The ranchers can’t let them out onto crown land till June. So this time we were just sharing it with some birds. A lot of birds mind you – the swallows were going crazy over the lake darting on and off the surface to pick up insects. That’s a good sign for fishing!! If it would not have been blowing 20knots gusting to 35… How do those tiny little birds manage to fly in this. Determined as always, Jeff headed out onto the lake not minding the wind. I hate it though when it is windy – makes casting a fly line from the float tube very difficult and I don’t like it when a hook buries itself into the back of my head. So I did my favourite camping activity… walking up the hills, following the cow trails, looking for wildlife. The sun was out and I was able to dress lightly – and it was only April!!! The wind was cold but the trees took away most of its force. I did not encounter much in the sense of wildlife on my walk except for an area with a LOT of bear poop. Obviously a small bear family had spent some time near my favourite rock up the hill from the campsite (you get nice views from there). There must have been 7 to 10 droppings in a small area of different size telling me this must be a mom and at least 2 little ones. Or maybe it was the family of four I encountered just below this hill last year in the fall. Anyhow, they weren’t around anymore even though I searched for them along my cow trails. You may think that isn’t the wisest thing to do LOOKING for bears but actually I had a better chance getting hit by a falling tree than encountering a bear that day. I heard at least 2 come crashing down on my walk even though I didn’t see them. It’s not that the wind was really that strong but there are quite a number of dead trees around – pine beetle devastation, which isn’t quite as bad here as some other places we go to. The area around Little Pete is a bit more open woodland with some nice old trees. Well old is relative – this area had been logged before but the trees have grown back on their own accord which generated a forest that seems more natural to me than the densely re-forested woods you find in most of the province accessible by logging roads. Maybe that’s why I can spend hours just walking through it, up and down the cow trails, sit for a while to watch the birds or squirrels or chipmunks… Back in camp though I finally got my wildlife encounter. Three deer were walking across the open knoll above the lake. They were looking at me but obviously not too concerned. And the muskrat was out on a stump near shore – right in the bright daylight. I spent the rest of the afternoon setting up camp and getting us firewood. I set the tent up well away from any suspect trees. When Jeff finally got blown off the lake we were ready for a nice evening at the campfire eating bratwurst from the BBQ. It got cold though once the sun disappeared.

Day 2 was pretty much the same, except the sun was hiding behind a thin layer of clouds. The wind was a bit less, yeah, but it felt colder. While Jeff fished I read a bit and went for another walk discovering some new cow trails to follow, had a little chat with a woodpecker that landed on a tree right in front of me. I was sitting on my rock up the hill waiting for the bears to show up – they never did, sigh.  And when I got back to camp I decided to fish for a bit finally – wind seemed to be tolerable. Unfortunately though I had grabbed the wrong waders – I took Jeff’s and they were leaking like a sieve, right in the crotch area. And let me tell you the water was NOT warm. But hey, that’s what makes neoprene so great. Once you warm up that water between the pants and your skin your are actually ok – until you have to move and more fresh water gushes in. Jeff had been slaying fish all day. I got my first one in less than 10 min – good size too –  and 4 more in the next 30min. That lets you forget about your wet bum. But then nothing for 10 min and my bum started to complain as it was sitting in a puddle of water, so was my left foot. On top of that the wind got stronger and stronger again. So I was off the lake again in less than 1 hr. To my surprise Jeff came off shortly after as well and we started packing up around 3:30pm – early for us. We decided to use the spare time to stop in at the pub in Merritt for some beer and food. Well we almost didn’t have any spare time. We made it maybe 100m down the trail to get back to the main road and there was this big tree blocking the track – no way around or below it. I thought I had heard a huge crash the day before…. With it being about twice the size of the tree we cut on the way in we looked at our little bow saw and thought “This is going to take a while….” On the one side, the tree was about a meter and half up in the air as it was suspended on an old tree stump. It was quite awkward to cut over our heads and we had no way of telling which way it would roll once cut. Also this tree was thicker than the bow of our saw was deep – by quite a bit and we had to try to make cuts from different sides meet… But after 45min or so the big piece we had been cutting finally came crashing down and now lay across the trail. No way we could lift it. I was worried we had to cut it into smaller pieces but luckily we were able to roll it off the road.  Jeff sure did most of the work. Finally we were driving again only to be stopped once more after another 50m. TWO more trees down – at this rate I figured I will be late for work the next day… But these two trees were quite small we had them cut and were on our way in no time. And lucky us, those were the last trees down. The pub food was well deserved…

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