Sunday, March 20, 12022 HE
Project Paddle is my attempt to circumnavigate some select lakes in the Vancouver area. You can read about the backstory and relevant details here. And here are the stories of the lakes I have already completed: Day 1 (Burnaby Lake), Day 2 (Deer Lake), Day 3 (Səl̓ilw̓ət (Indian Arm) to Sasamat Lake), and the start of Day 4 (‘Triple Crown’: Brohm Lake). You can see the remaining lakes I plan to circumnavigate here.
Rationale: I grew up in Squamish and went here as a kid, so there is some nostalgia there. I remember the water being crystal clear. We will see how my memory checks out.
Estimated Travel Distance: 83 km
Estimated Area: 0.06 km²
Estimated Circumference: 1.1 km
I made my way back up to the Brohm Lake parking lot under drizzling rain. One lake down, two to go (possibly three).
In the past, when I have done multi-location SUP days, I have partially deflated my board and then fit it into the trunk of my car. But, knowing I was going to be doing three lakes, I asked my neighbour, Peter, if I could borrow his roof straps. Only owning an inflatable board, I don’t have roof straps. I also have to give a special kudos to his wife, Liz, who dropped the straps off at my front door while parenting their three children, all under seven years old, while doing the last-minute preparations for their spring break holiday. Knowing this, I had offered to come by their place to pick up the straps. But, instead, she just appeared at my door. After experiencing the ease of loading my board to the roof of my car, I may have to invest in some straps.
I had left our roof box at the Wilson’s. My inflatable was a breeze to lift onto the roof bars of our car. We have a Subaru Outback, which is convenient to load things onto the roof due to its low profile. Straps on. Now, a brief Sea-to-Sky Highway drive to see how my fastenings hold.
It’s a gnarly exit from the Brohm Lake parking lot onto the highway. The Whistler traffic is coming downhill and fast! I merged and made it to Cat Lake without incident. The road to Cat Lake is a dirt road with some decently sized potholes. So keep that in mind for your vehicle choice if you plan a visit. I once tried to ford a river up past Devine in my wife-to-be’s 2003 Mazda Protege. So take my word of warning regarding the road seriously, or perhaps I’ve grown more prudent with age.
On arrival at Cat Lake, I was super happy to have borrowed Peter’s roof straps. It was so easy simply unhooking my board, then re-attaching the fins and leash. I did worry about how my inflatable would fare at highway speeds, but it was a non-issue. It wobbled in the wind but was stable. Did I mention how easy it was with no need to pump up? It only takes about five minutes to pump but is considerably more physical effort.
The weather, that is, the rain, was holding out as I made my way to the shore of Cat Lake. Of the three lakes, it has been the longest since I have been to Cat Lake. I remember the rope swing at the sloping beach at the northeastern side of the lake. And that there were several makeshift rafts, made from driftwood and topped with plywood sheets. It was slightly different today.
I launched from the recently added family-friendly day-use area. It is now one of four large docks that surround the shore. There was no sign of the old rafts either. But there is still a lot of driftwood on the lake.
I launched into light rain on calm water with a cool breeze on the lake. I decided to go in a counter-clockwise direction.
Within a few paddle strokes, I was navigating through some of the shoreline driftwood. And this was driftwood in the literal sense. Free-floating logs that I needed to move to create a passage. I could have gone around, but it was funner to go through.
The rain stopped briefly before starting up again. It was cold out, so I kept paddling to stay warm. There were some menacing clouds over the top of the eastern lakeshore.
The image below gives you a sense of the appearance of most of the shoreline. Apart from the areas with docks, much of the lakeshore is endowed with deadwood. You really need to be pussyfooted on Cat Lake.
And below is one other look at the shoreline. From the eastern shore, this time looking west.
I rounded Cat Lake quickly. The water was calm and the setting peaceful. Hardly anyone was around aside from a few people I saw from a distance at the northern dock and some voices of hikers or campers I could hear in the woods. Should I stay and play on the calm waters? Or make my way toward Murrin Park for lake number three? Or option three, head to Stump Lake for a fourth bonus impromptu lake? I checked my watch. It was almost 1400. I still had lots of time. Stump Lake it is! I text-messaged Annie an update that I was off of the water safely at Cat Lake and moving on to Stump Lake.
But as I packed up my kit, I decided to reconsider. Probably better to get home earlier and have some family visit time. I sent Annie another message that I would head straight to Browning Lake. In my mind, I mulled over the idea of the Four Lakes Trail Hike and SUP adventure for the future.
Next stop, Browning Lake…
[And a small comedic sidenote. After viewing this post Annie says, “You wrote all this for a kilometre” 🤣. Well yes, but it is slightly in jest and part of a bigger story honey… never mind.]