Kayaking Kootenay Lakes – July 2022

In early July Andrea and I traveled to the Kootenays (SE British Columbia) to pick up her new Delta kayak and join friends on some lake trips. Our first excursion was a 2-night trip in the northern end of Slocan Lake, departing from New Denver.

Photos © Alan Burger and some where noted © Cynthia Bush.

Departing from New Denver to cross Slocan Lake.

The maiden voyage of Andrea’s new Delta kayak on Slocan Lake, 5 July 2022.

We camped at Wee Sandy Creek campsite in Valhalla Provincial Park on the west shore of Slocan Lake – a lovely campsite next to the frigid creek which was in full spate from melting snow.

Our camp at Wee Sandy Creek campsite.

Wee Sandy Creek campsite.

This female Common Merganser regularly came fishing in the shallows near our camp.

At the end of a wet spring, the wildflowers were thriving and many were in full bloom.

This lush carpet of Twinflower (Linnaea borealis) was right at our campsite.

A closer view of the tiny Twinflowers (Linnaea borealis) with the flower stalks less than 10 cm tall.

A short hike from the campsite takes one to a high bluff with great views over the lake and mountains to the east, north and south. A lovely spot to end the day.

Sunset on the mountains to the south of Slocan Lake.

Enjoying the view from the lookout bluff overlooking Slocan Lake.

The next day we had a relaxing paddle for about 7 km northwards up the western shore. There are many scenic cliffs with fascinating rock patterns, and lush forest with diverse conifers and deciduous trees.

Paddling along the western shore of Slocan Lake, 6 July 2022.

Our flotilla heading up the shore of Slocan Lake.

Tom and Kim along multi-coloured cliffs.

Andrea below another colourful cliff.

Slocan Lake had a heavy dusting of pollen, which accumulated in many places to make a dense yellow layer, through which we paddled. Pollen production from the millions of nearby conifer trees was exceptionally heavy this year.

Floating pollen producing amazing patterns. Photo: © Cynthia Bush

In many places along the shore the yellow pollen layer covered most of the water surface. Photo: © Cynthia Bush

Paddling through pollen.

Patterns in the pollen.

Yellow pollen on the waterline and colourful cliff plants make an interesting display.

Along the shore we encountered many flowering plants, including this rose – likely Nootka Rose (Rosa nutkana).

A bumblebee busy pollinating the rose flowers.

A thick carpet of moss and lichens coming down to the water’s edge.

Paddling in calm water – Slocan Lake, 6 July 2022

We went ashore in a few places, to explore the forest. In most places there was a thick carpet of moss with a variety of flowering plants.

Cindy checking out the flowers among the carpet of moss.

White-veined Wintergreen (Pyrola picta) with the flowers not yet opened.

Round-leafed Rein Orchid (Plantathera orbiculata) just starting to flower.

Prince’s-pine (Chimaphila umbellata) with flower buds not yet opened.

And lots of Twinflower (Linnaea borealis).

An adult Bald Eagle perched along the lake edge.

We also spent several hours exploring the trails out of Wee Sandy Creek campsite. One trail follows an old logging trail built before 1910 in the days of horse-logging. This is an impressive feat of construction along very steep slopes and into the canyon of the creek.

The trail along the roaring Wee Sandy Creek. Parts of this trail follow an old early-1900s logging trail.

One of many big red cedars along the Wee Sandy Creek trail.

In the deep forest were many Queen’s Cup (Clintonia uniflora) and mushrooms.

Kim and Helene along the Wee Sandy Creek trail.

Helene and Alan relaxing at camp. Photo: Cynthia Bush.

With the threat of changing weather, on the third day we packed up and made a leisurely trip back along the west shore and then across to New Denver.

Helene and Cindy heading home – New Denver is visible across the lake.

Alan with Helene in the background. Photo: Cynthia Bush.

Heading back to New Denver with the peaks of Kokanee Glacier Park in the distance, 7 July 2022.

Common Mergansers were diving for small fish where creeks entered the lake.

Yellow Monkeyflowers (Mimulus guttatus) with an unidentified white flower behind making a colourful shoreline display.

Common Harebell (Campanula rotundifolia) was indeed a common plant along the shoreline.

And did I mention that we saw many clumps of flowering Twinflowers (Linnaea borealis)?

Andrea and Helene crossing the glassy-calm Slocan Lake.

Cindy powering across the lake.

The next day, July 8th, we took the kayaks to Kootenay Lake, paddling from Proctor southward along the south arm of the immense lake.

A Great Blue Heron along the shore of Kootenay Lake.

A wolf spider, about 1.5 cm in length, on the cobble shoreline at Irvine Creek beach, Kootenay Lake.

Pictographs on a cliff overlooking Kootenay Lake. We speculated that this is an ancient memorial to honour those who drowned when canoes capsized on this immense and unpredictable lake.

Two species of Swallowtail butterflies mud-puddling (sucking up water and salts) at a wet spot on the shore of Kootenay Lake. Photo: © Alan Burger

Canadian Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio canadensis) – Kootenay Lake. Photo: © Alan Burger

Pale Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio eurymedon) – Kootenay Lake. Photo: © Alan Burger




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