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North Broughton Kayaking Adventure

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North Broughton Kayaking Adventure

August 31st, 2014  · stk

Greenway Sound Forest Recreation Site | Aug 20

As with most trips, the first night in a tent is always a tough one. Rachel tossed around a bit, waking each time she rolled over, trying to get her body accustom to the firm surface. Scott also slept poorly, tossing and turning through the night. At one point, however, he got up to go pee, as he ventured outside the tent he was amazed by the stars. They were so plentiful, and the Milky Way was so full, that as he stood there gazing up at them, he almost fell over backwards. Not only were there so many stars, but they seemed so close that he felt like he could reach up and grab a handful.

We woke this morning to the sound of the ravens calling above us. It was barely light so we rolled over and closed our minds to the raucous for another hour or so. At 6 AM, however, we were both stirring again as the cacophony of noises increased in intensity. We got moving, happy to have an early start as there was no wind and the water was smooth, but there was a fog hanging around.

Scott got out of the tent to heat the hot water for morning coffee/hot chocolate and oatmeal while Rachel packed up the sleeping bags, Thermarests, and took down the tent. We lingered over our morning beverages as we tried to make more order of some of our gear. Scott also took some time to clear some barnacled covered rocks out of the kayak beach. Rachel tried to help him but the mud was sucking the rocks in and the barnacles threaten to shred fingertips. Nonetheless, with his tougher skinned fingertip, Scott did his part making towards clearing the beach for other kayakers to come.

The fog rolled in and out, leaving us to wonder what type of conditions we were going to have for the day, but as we were finally ready to launch, the fog has receded leaving us a clear view of Vincent and Percy Islands, with the mainland behind.

We were suited up with life jackets and spray skirts on when Scott looked at Rachel putting on her hat and sunglasses. It then occurred to him that he didn't know where his hat and sunglasses were. We check the tent area, the cooking area, where we had unloaded, and everywhere else that we could think of. We looked and looked but the hat and glasses couldn't be found. At last, after about 20 minutes, we decided that they were either in the bottom of a bag, stowed away in the kayak, or we were leaving them behind hanging on a tree or sitting on a rock somewhere.

It was a short paddle over to Vincent island. The map was misleading, making it look further away than it really is. We had initially wanted to paddle around the west side of Vincent Island, but the current was noticeable so instead we took the leeward side to the east. We then took a diagonal packed from Vincent Island towards Drew Island and the numerous rocky islets between it and Dixon Is. It was very scenic paddling with the calm waters, kelp beds, islets, a seal, otter and lots of water fowl about.

We made our way between Broughton and Dickson Islands, and into the bay before the entrance to Carter Passage. Our map notes that the current at the passage entrance can be as much as 7 knotts, but we were only an hour or so from tide change and so it wasn’t terribly significant, and even less so because it was flowing in our favour. Once into Carter Passage, however, we seemed to have either no current or an opposing one. We gently made our way along, marveling at the fact that we hadn’t seen another boat (or kayak) since James had dropped us off the day before, yet we were in such a beautiful boating area.

It was actually James who had encouraged us to take Carter Passage rather than paddle around North Broughton Island. He had stated that we would find Greenway Sound (on the other end of the passage) more interesting than Wells Passage and Sutlej Channel. The only thing that we would be missing would be Sullivan Bay Marina, but being that it was really our first day out, there wasn’t much desire to visit a store or marina. So we took James up on his advice and enjoyed the quiet and scenic paddle down Carter Passage towards Greenway Sound.

We stopped for a pee break about 2/3 of the way along Carter Passage. We had been in the kayaks for just over two hours now and our bodies were needing to stretch. We get more accustomed to time in the kayaks as we are out longer, but the first couple of days tend to be a bit of an adjustment. Once back in the kayaks again, we were soon going through the narrowing at the other end of Carter Passage. Our map indicates that this entrance is only passable at tide above 3.7m. Thankfully we are in kayaks and the tide was near around that height, because even as it was, we seemingly skimmed across the boulders lying just below the surface.

As the passage widened again we saw our first boat. It was moored near Broughton Point between Carter Passage and Greenway Sound.

We decided that we had better stop for lunch before we ventured around the point and into Greenway Sound because our destination for the day wasn’t far into the Sound. We pulled up on a beach with a gentle slope of barnacle encrusted sandstone and pulled out our lunch bag. We feasted upon pepperoni sticks, cucumbers, cheese, bagles/nann, peanut butter, gorp and other snack fixings, Pringles and cookies. We had packed salad as well, but it didn’t get broken into because we had packed the bowls away somewhere and didn’t feel like searching for them. Nonetheless, it was a tasty lunch and a nice break.

As we sat on our beach, we looked at the yacht moored nearby and wondered what type of people vacation like that. Some time later, we had the opportunity to find out. The occupants got into their little zodiac and as they were passing by our lunch spot, they stopped to enquire about our trip. We later came across them at Greenway Sound Recreation Site as they had just come down from the 2km walk/hike to Broughton Lake as we were setting up camp. They are on a 4 month cruise from Annacortes WA and were a nice couple. We asked them about the for sale sign on their boat, and found out that they are asking $450,000 for it. That is the type of person that vacations like that ? people with lots of money!

After our lunch stop we made our way across the arm of Greenway Sound and headed towards Greenway Point. Just as we were nearing the point we noticed a black bear foraging for his lunch at the tide line. He was busy turning over rocks and chomping on the muscles and crabs. We allowed our boats to drift by and we got to watch him for a few minutes before he noticed Scott and then Rachel. He stared at Scott for 15 seconds or so, before giving a disapproving grunty growl under his breath and headed off into the bush. Sorry to interrupt your lunch buddy.

As we ventured around the point, Greenway Sound Marine Resort came into view. We had seen the resort noted on the map, and had entertained thoughts of purchasing a hat and sunglasses for Scott, some extra toilet paper, maybe some socks and certainly a couple of beers. However, as soon as the resort came into view it became apparent that it was closed. As we neared it, it we could see that not only was it closed, but that it is somewhat abandoned. Some of the docks are all askew and twisted and the buildings are all closed up. So much for our shopping expedition.

We pulled up on the rocky beach at the Forest Service Recreation Site and unloaded our gear. We found a coupld of picnic tables in a nice grassy clearing. The sun was with us, basking us in it’s warmth until about 7pm when it ducked behind the point across the sound. Thankfully we are the only kayakers at the site because although the clearing is quite large and complete with two picnic tables, there is really only one spot flat enough to put a tent.

We made camp and watched a couple of yachts tie up at the abandoned resort docks. The couple that we had spoken to at our lunch stop came down from their hike to the lake and later on another lovely older couple came through as well. This second couple were so thoughtful they asked us if we had anything that we might need, like fresh water. As Broughton Island is big, there is fresh water here and we are able to pull from the stream by camp, but water will certainly become an issue late on in this trip as we make our way into the Broughton Archipelago and are around smaller islands with no lakes or mountains.

After setting up camp we decided to go for the walk up to Broughton Lake. James (water taxi) had told us that his dad had been up already this year to do some trail maintenance and that a couple of years ago they had built a 2-hole outhouse near the lake.

The trail was in good condition and although it started as a steep climb up away from the campsite, it soon joined an old logging road that took a more gentle track up to the lake. James had told us that it was a 2 km hike each way, but we think it was less than that. We got to the lake and followed the trail around a short way, along what looked like a log road, to a small wharf with a swim ladder. Perfect! Scott soon dove in and after a while even Rachel decided to brave the cold water and freshen up. The water really wasn’t that cold and we each took a couple of dips before allowing the warmth of the sun to dry us off.

We lingered at the lake for about 40 minutes before we decided to venture back down to the camp. As always, the hike back seemed significantly less than the one out. Is it because it was downhill or is it just that one is familiar with the territory and seeing landmarks on the return trip? Anyway, when we got back to camp, Rachel was very relieved to see that our food bags had not been tampered with by any critters even though they had been unattended for about an hour and a half.

In camp we moved our kayaks around to the boat dock and tied them up for the night. This way we don’t have to worry about pulling them up and down the steep and rocky beach. It always seems that when we make camp in the evening the tide is relatively high, but then when we are ready to go in the morning the tide is low, making it more difficult to get our kayaks down to the water’s edge for loading. With the kayaks tied up, instead of beached, in the morning one of us will just walk around to the dock and paddle / tow them back to the beach and we won’t have to navigate the slippery rocks while dealing with their 70 lbs of unyielding bulk.

We lingered over the maps, making a plan for where we want to head tomorrow and a general plan for getting us back to Telegraph Cove. (The camp spots in this area are few enough that we do need to have a basic idea of where we are shooting for.) After that we began with dinner preparation (Beef Stroganoff ? yum) and journaling.

The sun is now down behind Broughton Point, if not below the horizon on the other side, and our dinner is now warming us from the inside out. It is time to do the dishes, tidy the camp in the last remaining light, and then settle for a, hopefully, better night sleep.

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