Lark Paddle: Alouette Lake

Wednesday, July 14, 12021 HE

Our Family Camp 2.0 for this summer was at Alouette Lake in Golden Ears Provincial Park. Our Family Camp 1.0 was in Sasquatch Provincial Park at Deer Lake. This trip, the second one, was with my brother and his family.

On the website, Alouette Lake is listed as being the ancestral lands of several indigenous tribes. According to this Wikipedia entry, the original western name for Alouette Lake was “Lillooet Lake”. But since there was the larger Lillooet Lake already in nomenclature it was decided to rename the lake (and river) Alouette Lake in 1914 to avoid confusion. The French word Alouette, which means lark, was chosen since it was melodious to Lillooet.

We had camped at Alouette Lake two years ago, but on that trip, the weather was cold and cloudy so we spent minimal time at the lake. Plus it was before I had my iSUP. So for this trip, I was keen to check out the lake and do some paddling!

We arrived later in the day on Tuesday afternoon. We were staying at the Gold Creek Campground walk-in sites. Not as easy to access with young children, but it was all that was available to book in the high-demand coronavirus camping era. Our site was right on the point closest to the water. But, what we failed to realize from the maps that we looked at when booking the site was the elevation change. The link above is to the terrain view in Google Maps which does show that the site is elevated. The other thing that we noted was that it was quite windy at our sites. We were catching the winds coming from the southern end of the lake. The winds weren’t unmanageable, but worth having some warm close or a fire to warm up with when in the shade of the tree canopy.

Here is a shot of our campsite looking eastward into the rising sun.

Our campsite.

Getting down to the water quickly required taking a relatively steep trail. Which with young children was a bit more challenging but doable. While my brother and I set up the finishing touches on our campsites our wives decided to brave the path to the lake with all of the children.

After setting up camp, my brother and I set out to rendezvous with the rest of our families for a pre-dinner swim. But by the time we were ready to head down they were already heading up from their exploration. We braved the swim nonetheless. I was a bit worried as we were already in the shadow of Blanshard Peak. I am a bit of a priss when it comes to water temperature. And there was a fair amount of wind blowing from the southwest. But the water was warm and my brother convinced me to swim across the mouth of Gold Creek to North Beach. The wind was resulting in some decent wind waves coming into the mouth of the creek and onto the shore of North Beach. I took note and factored that into my morning paddle plan.

I was up early the next morning albeit with an Adam Meakins “Spicy Spine”. Too much rushed camping packing, coupled with a ground/air-mattress sleep.

After cooling off my spine with some gentle movement and getting dressed I was off to our car to gather my board and then brave the lake path. This time with at least 14 kilograms strapped to my back.

But it was all worth it when I got down to the water. In the twilight, the sun was making its way over the top of the distant eastward peaks.

A lark about to get ready on Alouette Lake.

As I prepared my kit there was a group of sun watchers making their way across North Beach to the point to get into prime sunrise viewing position. You can see them getting into position in the photo below.

A lark ready to set out on ‘lark’ lake.

The wind was coming from the southwest and it was already relatively strong. Since I assumed it would only get stronger as the day grew warmer I decided to paddle southwest down the lake upwind so that I would have an easier return paddle. The only problem was the view was toward the sunrise in the opposite direction. I slowly made my way out so that I could maximize my sunrise viewing.

Sunrise on Alouette Lake.

You can see the wind already leaving its mark in the photo below. The cat’s paws resembling capillary waves were present at 05:45.

Cat pawing the lark.

I took two panoramic shots to try to capture the entire lake. Below is the shot that was taken from south to north.

Panoramic shot from south to north.

And from north to south.

Panoramic shot from north to south.

And here is a short clip of the sights and sounds from the morning.

From there, I turned to head south upwind. Below is the view at the point just before Campers Beach.

The point north of Campers Beach

And here is Campers Beach viewed from the east.

Campers Beach.

I looked back toward the north end of the lake. The sun looked spectacular and I sort of wished I had paddled in the other direction. Though this direction would prove to be the better choice wind-wise.

Looking toward the northeast side of the lake.

I made my way far enough south to see the south end of the lake. But it was getting late so I decided I should return home. The image below is this point near the south end of the lake.

The south end of Alouette Lake.

Just after the point in the image above, I turned to head back to Gold Creek. Now I was paddling into the sunrise with a decent tailwind assisting me. I was curious how much windier it would be in the afternoon as the temperature and wind picked up?!

Heading back to Gold Creek.

And here is the view due north through the valley that Gold Creek runs through. Off to the left of the image is Evans Peak. And out of view continuing to the left would be Blanshard Peak, Edge Peak, and Golden Ears.

The view north through the valley that Gold Creek runs.

Below is the sun making its way higher in the sky as I head back to Gold Creek.

Another view northeast.

Here is another image, this time looking westward looking at Evans Peak. A touch of snow can be seen to the right of Evans Peak on Edge Peak in the background.

Evans Peak from Alouette Lake.

And one last view of the sunrise looking northeast. On the other side of the ridge in the distance would be Stave Lake. The slope on the right leads up to Mount Crickmer.

The northeast view of Alouette Lake.

There is no cellphone reception in Golden Ears Park. This is amazing for disconnecting and tuning out. But as a result, the map for my GPS recording was a bit off. I forgot to download a map of the park in advance of being out of cellphone range. In any case, it seems Google Fit was able to come up with something after the fact.

Screenshot of Google Fit activity tracker.

And here are some estimated statistics. It was windy out, but not to the point where my peak speed was greater than 13 km/h. I think Google Fit must have just averaged things out and in the fudge factor estimated my average speed low and my maximum speed high.

Screenshot of Google Fit activity tracker.

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