Boating & canoeing – We use 5 hp Honda motors on our 18’ wood & canvas freighter canoe for moving people. We also use an old workhorse aluminium boat with a 5 hp motor when we haul tools. We have a yellow cedar and canvas, 16’light and responsive canoe. Our sturdy standby Grumann canoe aluminium, stable and steady in the water 17’.
Hiking – From our camp on the lake to the end of the lake is 1.4 miles. Our camp to the main meadow downstream on the river is a two mile hike. Hiking in an old-growth forest beside the river is an enlightening experience. We hike from our boat launch at the mouth of the river to a large meadow about twenty minutes downstream. From the meadow to the second tributary that flows in, is a 45 minute hike each way, through the forest beside the river. The hike to our first river camp, called Cottonwood, is 3 miles downstream.
Foraging – The summer season is short and fast with lots of change. The wild berries are very flavourful. Raspberries are quite abundant along the river. There are acres and acres of high bush blueberries and they constitute a major part of the bears diet, along with the salmon. They are a wonderful tasting berry and easy to pick for pancakes, pies, puddings and other delicacies. Huckleberries grow beside the highbush blueberries and get included in the same bucket. The habitat tends to be damp and shady, which is more attractive to the blueberries than the huckleberries. We also have some saskatoon’s and low bush blueberries but only enough to pick and eat on site. Wild Pacific crabapple grows on the hillside but is edible only for the animals.
This is wild mushroom country; particularly after rain showers. We do eat some of the wild mushrooms, but seeing and studying them in their natural environment is even more fun. There are particular environments where the mushrooms are the most plentiful depending on the species. For example; the Boletus grow in a very specific environment beside the river, some mushrooms like rotting wood, others like willows by the river, or deep moss, etc. Fresh nettle greens are plentiful, delicious and nutritious. We have a tiny herb garden and a large patch of comfrey and some wild medicine plants.
Exploring – Scenic views alone at each end of the lake can be impressive, but these are also active wildlife areas. The lake has resident fish but salmon show up in late summer and fall and this attracts other fish and many birds and animals
After the salmon have spawned and mostly disappeared, the steelhead show up, overwinter in the lake, spawn in the spring and then go back to the ocean. The environment along the lake and river in the southern exposure turns gold in September and loses its leaves in early October. Since this area is the very upper reaches of the coastal rainforest of the Nass drainage, the plantlife grows thick and fast. Visibility into the environment becomes much better later in the season when the leaves drop.