MV = Metro Vancouver Upper Pitt River by Packraft - Page 2 - ClubTread Community

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post #16 of (permalink) Old 03-09-2021, 01:37 AM
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Originally Posted by Mark_BC View Post
Anyone know how to delete the attached files duplicated below the main post? I want them distributed in the text, not all at the end.

Yes. Use Paperclip icon when inserting photos inline in text. So basically just edit the post, delete image then click on paperclip and insert back. Next time use paperclip from the start.

Super cool TR so far and thanks million times for this. I never explored this area & am more than little sorry now. Looking forward to next installment!
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post #17 of (permalink) Old 03-12-2021, 01:01 AM Thread Starter
Scaling New Heights
Join Date: Apr 2013
Location: Vancouver, , .
Posts: 57

Day 4 started with a steep descent through the forest down to the Pitt River. It was a fun hike, as I'd grab onto the blueberries and other bushes to keep me from falling as I made my way down the soft mossy slope. The forest became more luxuriant as I descended. Soon enough I picked up game trails; bear I presumed. At one point I swear I smelled rotting flesh which had me concerned since it could have been a bear kill and I wanted nothing to do with that so I didn't investigate. Near the bottom, the trail went by a mud wallow. I presumed again it was from bears but in retrospect I think it may have been elk.

The river and creek confluence was pretty much as I had expected it -- rocky and fast flowing, and the creek seemed too dangerous to ford since if I slipped I would have ended up in the main Pitt River. So I would have to paddle around the confluence and I got busy putting the packraft together and throwing my gear inside the pontoons. I didn't have a lot of time to hang around since I wanted to do this before the river rose in the heat. I wrapped a shirt around my head like a doughnut to provide a basic helmet in case I hit a rock.

I had the Gopro on my head and the video turned out pretty good.

After this I lined the packraft another 50 m down the river but decided it was too difficult and dangerous walking the big rocks along the shore so I reverted back into backpack mode. The river continued on with the same intensity as that paddle and it was a bit sketchy to paddle. I'd rather be safe than sorry so I'd hike the rest of the day.

I made my way down the south bank of the Pitt which intermixed between salmonberry / willow thickets and mature coniferous forest in areas spared the winter avalanches.

There were game trails above in the bushes so when I couldn't follow the riverbank I took to the trails to minimize the bushwhacking required. At times the bushwhacking was difficult and frustrating.

All the sandbars by the river had prints from some large ungulate which I presumed to be moose. Heavy grazing was evident in the salmonberry thickets so whatever they were, they were well fed.

It was interesting to see how large animals can impact vegetation. We generally have in our minds that natural ecosystems should have continuous beautiful luxuriant green vegetation, but that seems to be more a result of the lack of grazing animals in a lot of the places we like to hike (probably due to interactions or hunting by us). This area, which is completely pristine and undisturbed and supporting healthy herbivore populations, has expanses of broken / munched up salmonberry bushes all crinkly and brown drying in the sun from the damage, that appear quite untidy.

Unfortunately at one point my phone decided to automatically change the aspect ratio of the photos so from here on out they are narrow. I have no idea why it did that, and it's really annoying. Speaking of phones, I was navigating using Google Earth that I had viewed previously, so the data was stashed in the memory. I could see what was coming up and where I was, which was very handy. I used this with my iPhone on the Mexico trip. This time I was using a newer Samsung S8.

I crossed various feeder creeks as I went down and the first one I encountered was a little too large for my liking, so I followed it up the hill about 100 m to cross in a safer location. The rocks were pretty loose but I used my paddle pole with sock to stabilize. It was the afternoon at high flow and I didn't want to hang around there until morning to wait for it to go down.

Another feeder creek further down involved a massive field of loose boulders, debris and mud. It was all recently disturbed material so the rocks were not at all stable like you'd expect on a typical boulder field that's been around a long time and has settled. It was a little bit dangerous to cross.

Later in the afternoon while whacking through bush fields, I saw large animals up ahead. Moose!!! I whipped out the phone video and got some footage. Afterwards I realized they are elk, which makes more sense than moose this far south. I have, however, seen moose at Meager Creek above Pemberton.

Given how difficult it was for me to move through the bushes even on the game trails, I was at a loss to understand how a large elk could move around with massive antlers. They would get tangled in the willows. And I didn't see much evidence that they were ripping apart willows as they moved so what was going on? Maybe they don't move around much in summer and focus on eating salmonberry in their own little patches, and when their antlers fall off in autumn they can again move up and down the valley freely.

After this I found a campsite at the edge of a large rocky gravel bar, up against the bushes. It had been another difficult day and my shoulders were really hurting from the constant weight. The exertion of the hiking and scrambling wasn't too bad; just the compression on my skinny shoulders by the pack straps.

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Bridge Valley to Lord River and Taseko Lakes

Salsipuedes Canyon by Fatbike

Last edited by Mark_BC; 03-28-2021 at 07:54 PM.
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post #18 of (permalink) Old 05-19-2021, 02:50 AM
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Great adventure so far. Would love to make it to that part of BC soon.
Please let us know what happens next!
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post #19 of (permalink) Old 05-19-2021, 01:26 PM
Scaling New Heights
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This is so good! MOAR PLZ!! lol
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post #20 of (permalink) Old 05-19-2021, 06:36 PM
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I need more this is my favorite read on clubtread. what an incredible place, truly in the wild. if I could just hike this whole thing I would.
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post #21 of (permalink) Old 05-23-2021, 10:25 PM Thread Starter
Scaling New Heights
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Posts: 57

The next day I continued hiking down the river as it wasn't suitable for me to be kayaking. I was hoping the gravel bars would become more stable since they so far had been recently disturbed with large unstable rocks which was pretty treacherous.
I followed the south bank again along a riverside bench that was being reclaimed by vegetation. It wasn't too bad for making progress but was at the point where in a few years it would be dense and difficult.

I followed an easy game trail up through the salmonberry thickets which gave some nice views of the valley.

It then comes back down to the river near a snowfield right at the bottom of the slope. It was mid-August and still snow hangs around here at less than 500 m elevation.

Immediately afterwards the river goes up beside a cliff and I was forced to hike up and around.

Easier said than done. I followed a game trail but I was taller than four legged animals so I was getting hung up on all the vine maples swooping down across the very steep slope. There was some devil's club but fortunately sparse enough to avoid. I was getting very frustrated. It crossed a debris chute which was a little sketchy.

It ended soon enough and I returned to the river bank. The detour didn't go very far as the crow flies but I sure spent a lot of effort and suffered abuse, both to my body and my sanity. Looking back up the river:

After the cliff bypass, I followed the boulder and gravel bars another 800 meters to where the valley actually widens into a big old floodplain being taken back by forest, mostly cottonwood and alder with cedar and other conifers.

Google Earth showed an opportunity to hike away from the river for a little while and come back. This worked well and was nice and hot in the sun. I had lunch in the shade at the edge of the new forest of cottonwoods and cedar, on what used to be an island in the river that is now becoming one with the rest of the forest as the previous channel to the south-west fills in with vegetation, currently moss-covered sand and gravel bars drying out in the heat of the summer sun. I was entering the lower reaches now which can get the heat typical of summer in the Fraser Valley. But there was still evidence of flooding events throwing woody debris around all through here so maybe it is not free from the river just yet.

I continued on and stopped in some alder thickets to filter water from a creek instead of the river as it's silty and plugs up the filter. I eventually poked my way back out into the main channel with one last crossing of a giant fallen cedar log. From here I hiked as far downstream as I reasonably could before getting the packraft ready for some paddling.

At some point that day I needed to get onto the north side of the river since there is a waterfall / gorge that must be hiked around and the north side looked much better. Also, the south side has a significant feeder creek entering right before the waterfall and I had no desire to cross that. Since the river was now more tame from this point downstream for a little bit, this would provide an opportunity to eat up 800 m of paddling until needing to pull out above the waterfall.

I took Gopro video of pretty much that whole paddle but I'll just give you the part where I get stuck under a sweeper log...

It was due to inattention and not giving the river its due respect. I wasn't actually trapped, I was just trying to pull the boat back up. The power of only 6 inches of water was too much to hold the raft against and I had to let it go under the log. And people have told me since that the leash I had the paddle on is dangerous because it can get you trapped if you get seriously stuck on a significant sweeper. It is better to go free and clear.

That was a clear demonstration of the force of flowing water and how easily things can go sideways. When paddling this river I was always making sure I could see a pullout point downstream before proceeding to avoid getting stuck in sweepers or rough sections. But this incident was purely due to a lack of attention on my part and the seemingly tame flow at that point. You can just sense in the video how it sneaks up on me and by the time I realize what's happening it's too late, and I'm under.

After this I had to carry the boat a little ways downstream past all the log jams to put it back in and continue on to the pullout point which I decided would be a rooty steep riverbank that allowed me to get out of the main flow and climb onto the terrace above the river. That pullout is the lighter green patch further down the river in this photo:

After an hour I was ready to go in hiking mode and I made my way down the valley, which first consisted of a very dense thicket of salmonberry that was well over my head. I was following the clear game trails and was hoping I didn't meet the animals that made them, which I didn't. I wasn't sure if it was from elk, or bear and elk. Either way, both can be pretty dangerous if you sneak up on them. Although I was most afraid of bears, they would probably be a better animal to meet. After a while and through some mature confierous forest I was forced up the side hill a bit over large boulders with thick vegetation.

The game trails definitely helped but were sometimes hard to follow and sometimes took me away from where I wanted to go. But I pushed my way through and came back to the side of the river along some rocks for a while just as it started to enter the canyon. It was a pretty spot as you can see.

As the river began to descend the trail turns up the hill into mature coniferous forest.

The game trail is pretty obvious. Unfortunately I didn't have much water, as I didn't filter at the river, expecting to find something in the way of creeks along the way. The trail climbed up a ways and passed through some groves of large cedar and Douglas fir, with a lot of evidence of significant blowdown.

Unfortunately I was not finding any water due to the rocky talus underlying the forest here and I was getting very dehydrated. I was starting to panic and I left the game trail to move closer to the river but it was still in the canyon. I was getting really stressed out as I was imagining that this could be a dangerous situation since I had to keep moving, otherwise I would never find water. But as I moved I was just losing more water. I didn't spend much time looking for the waterfall to admire because of the stress of the situation, which is too bad since it will likely be a while before I or anyone else goes exploring here again. I left the game trail to head towards the river hoping that I'd find water but still none; I was eating all the blueberries I could to get some moisture. Finally the terrain descended back down to the valley bottom where the river gracefully and quietly exits the gorge from around a corner, not revealing what's upstream.

There is a little creek here to filter from and I found a nice campsite in the sand amongst the cottonwoods:

I had a nice big dinner and went to bed after looking at the moon, and Google Earth on my phone.

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__________________________________________________ _

Bridge Valley to Lord River and Taseko Lakes

Salsipuedes Canyon by Fatbike

Last edited by Mark_BC; 05-24-2021 at 01:22 AM.
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post #22 of (permalink) Old 05-24-2021, 02:46 AM
Headed for the Mountains
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Keep up the reports...please! I find reports on Clubtread, even since change of ownership, much more personal and enjoyable to read. Be careful in your journeys and enjoy all these unique things your are seeing!

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post #23 of (permalink) Old 05-24-2021, 03:33 PM
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Location: Aldergrove, BC, Canada.
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Great read! You don't get this kind of narrative on social media posts!
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post #24 of (permalink) Old 05-24-2021, 09:32 PM
Scaling New Heights
Join Date: Dec 2019
Location: Chicago
Interest: Hiking, backpacking, kayaking
Posts: 85

Absolutely stunning! I appreciated being able to follow along with your decisions as you read the environment, seemingly minute by minute. The short videos are a treat, rounding out the scenic stills. A packraft seems to work well in certain situations (trying to gauge from my experience with canoes and kayaks).
Gorgeous country. Thanks for a rich, exciting, plain over-the-top adventure TR.
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post #25 of (permalink) Old 05-24-2021, 10:35 PM Thread Starter
Scaling New Heights
Join Date: Apr 2013
Location: Vancouver, , .
Posts: 57

Thanks everyone. I really should focus on making a little movie out of it when I'm done writing it up. It's just so daunting.
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__________________________________________________ _

Bridge Valley to Lord River and Taseko Lakes

Salsipuedes Canyon by Fatbike
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post #26 of (permalink) Old 05-27-2021, 06:19 PM
Headed for the Mountains
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Posts: 453

A great TL> Love the pics. Would love to spend a month in the alpine / subalpine up there just exploring, rockhounding / prospecting, taking pics, and enjoying life. Thank you for posting it!
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