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.