Harrison Lk. paddle - Aug.17th-21st - ClubTread Community

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post #1 of (permalink) Old 08-07-2008, 10:12 PM Thread Starter
Headed for the Mountains
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Burns Lake, BC, .
Posts: 286
Default Harrison Lk. paddle - Aug.17th-21st

We're going for a paddle on Harrison for a few days. Aug.17-21

Plan to explore up the West side, possibly hop across to East side (or paddle the long way) to see Rainbow Falls, then make our way out on the Harrison River to Island 22 in Chilliwack.

If anyone's interested in joining us, let us know.

Thanks, Canoeheadted.
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post #2 of (permalink) Old 08-09-2008, 05:46 PM
Summit Master
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Vancouver, BC, Canada.
Interest: Canoeing, Hiking, Fishing and Bear kissing.
Posts: 4,501

Heya Ted.. my mom just sent me an e-mail asking me to respond to this CT thread because she read of your intention to paddle down to Island #22 from the Harrison. She doesn't actually know that you and I have been friends for some time from the CCR forum though. The reason she e-mailed me about this thread is because people die when they try to paddle out of the Harrison and into the Fraser.

The junction where the Harrison and Fraser meet is called "Calamity Point" and they call it this for very good reason.

In short you have a convergence of two very large rivers flowing in completely opposite directions, causing some of the weirdest effects I've ever seen, very deceptive because it's deep water so you dont actually see any sign of really wild waters like big standing waves, very dangerous because you wont know your in it till it's too late and some giant whirlpool all of a sudden just forms right underneath your hull at a point where your too far from shore to escape.

I had a rather exciting experience that I will never repeat when I tried to do this same paddle once, actually I succeeded but just barely by the skin of my teeth. I had finished paddling the Harrison and had passed Kilbee. I had been warned to stay far away from Calamity point but the problem was, both rivers were just so wide at the point where they meet that I simply didn't realize I was in it till it was too late.

I remember just paddling along, I could feel the pull of the currents but everything seemed manageable enough while I was looking for the exact spot where the two rivers met when all of a sudden a whirlpool 60 feet across (no joke) just formed out of nowhere off my starboard stern, I was less than 10 feet from it's outer edge and I swallowed a lung when I saw it's spinning center vortex sucking water down fully four feet below the surface of the river.

My bow paddler (Frenchy) was paddling on the port side and didn't see it right away, all she knew was that the bow started swinging the opposite direction. I remember telling her to draw, at first just sternly, then after saying it three or four more times getting progressively louder and more frantic, I finally let out one last blood curtailing shriek that would rival that of only the fiercest of girl scouts....


I'll never forget what Frenchy said in her thick Parisian accent as she put her absolute last ounce of energy into one last pull on her paddle, "I CAN NOT!"

Luckily her last and final effort pulled the bow just far enough away from the spinning whirlpool that I was able to force us back towards shore.

I guess what I'm trying to say is... dont paddle out of the Harrison and into the Fraser unless you know that area extremely well. The only safe way to do it (relatively speaking) is to stay VERY close to shore on river-left when coming out of the Harrison, and keep hugging that shore till you've completely paddled out of the Harrison and are now paddling upstream (against the current) on the Fraser. At that point you can ferry across the Fraser, turn around, and start hugging river-right on the Fraser till you pass Calamity point and feel the current is manageable enough to resume your float.

Gimme a shout on my cell if you need more info... Cheers!
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post #3 of (permalink) Old 08-09-2008, 06:29 PM
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Location: Chilliwack, BC, Canada.
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Thanks for adding to the thread Monster, that warning was a good read. I have been interested in doing a paddle from Harrison to Kilby, via Harrison River and have a vehicle waiting in Kilby. I would like to check out the petroglyphs as well along the way.

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post #4 of (permalink) Old 08-09-2008, 07:37 PM Thread Starter
Headed for the Mountains
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Burns Lake, BC, .
Posts: 286

Hey Andrew, Thanks for your concern (and your mom's).

What you described is exactly what we were planning to do. We'll probably sneak around the corner and track quite a ways up the Fraser.

Thanks to your TR's, I had read about your encounter. Last year when my brother in law (Herman) and I floated past on the Fraser, we did hug river LEFT as we went past. I had a good look, but with the lower water levels, there wasn't much action.

Though at any level, I surely wouldn't venture out where they join.

Thanks again, Canoeheadted.
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post #5 of (permalink) Old 08-10-2008, 11:59 AM
Off the Beaten Path
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Chilliwack, BC, .
Posts: 755

I've thought about this route for a while (off/on).

Why cannot one hug the opposite side as the rivers converge - stay right until down stream and then slowly move across ending up at Island 22?

Once - in a powered craft - I did get a little peak at the trouble spot but not enough to be of much help.

- G
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