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Pitt Lake trip schedule:

Friday May 17th

Just like the Squamish trip, we will load up the kayaks at the Club Friday morning.

11am meet at HSC and load kayaks on cars. Have other gear already packed. Drive to Grant Narrows.

View from Grant Narrows boat launch

2pm Launch at Grant Narrows Regional Park boat launch. $15 trailer boat launch fee, free for car-topped boats.

Parking for vehicles.

Overnight parking available for cars.

Raven Creek Campground

Paddle to Raven Creek Campground, 10km from Grant Narrows.

Vickers Creek, at the mouth of the creek

Saturday morning, pack up and paddle 17 km to Vickers Creek Campground, 27km from Grant Narrows.

Ashby Creek beach. Camping in woods.

Sunday Morning, pack up and paddle 15km to Ashby Creek Campground, 42km from Grant Narrows.

Many camping sites in the woods at Ashby Creek.

Monday morning, pack up and paddle 16km back to Grant Narrows about a 58 km round trip.

Return to Grant Narrows.

Background information:

Raven Creek Campsite is the most Southerly provincial government campsite on the Eastern shore. The campsite is on the wide delta at the mouth of Raven Creek. It faces North, so paddlers arriving from Grant Narrows mus pass completely around the delta to find it. The adventurous may be able to find the old logging route which ascends the valley but is eroded and ingrown.

Railway logging was used in the Raven creek watershed and remnants of the rail bed can still be found. The old piling south of Raven Creek are remnants of the booming ground for these logs.

Vickers Creek passes through a long valley on its route to Pitt Lake. The creek enters the lake at the south end of a kilometre-long delta.

Red Slough is on the right.

Red Slough has been called the Lower Mainland’s last great-undiscovered paddling destination. It is on the eastern side of the Upper Pitt River Valley. Its position at the far end of Pitt Lake places it 30 kilometers from the nearest public road at Grant Narrows. There are sandy beaches near the mouth of the slough o the eastern shore.

Red Slough is comprised of 437 hectares and is an important rearing area for salmon and trout and contains pygmy long fin smelt, and endangered species, and bull trout, a threatened species. A two-week survey conducted by the Ministry of the Environment identified 68 species of birds, Mammals included bear,cougar, deer, and well as wolverine and fisher. The latter two species are commonly associated with old growth forests. Some of the forest was logged at the turn of the last century, but part is old growth.

At low tide it may be necessary to drag a kayak through the shallow waters at the entrance to the slough which eventually narrows and deepens and forms two arms. The right channel offers approximately two hours of paddling and the left channel one-and-a-half hours. At high tide a passage connects the two.

Giant Black Salamander of Pitt Lake, winter colouring. The salamanders may be molting to their summer colouring during our trip.

Be on the look-out for the fabled giant black salamander of Pitt Lake!

At DeBeck Creek is the access point to the Fool’s gold trail, which passes through Burke Pinecone Park. Unfortunately, the trailhead is difficult to see from the lake. John Slumach’s gold mine is rumored to be somewhere along the trail.

Slumach was a elderly Katzie First Nation man who lived where the Pitt River flows out of Pitt Lake, a native hunter with an intimate knowledge of the area. In the early 1880’s, local butchers found gold bullets in some of the deer and mountain goat carcasses which they bought from Slumach. A dentist at the time, recalled a native who supplied him with raw gold.

In 1889, John Slumach began a series of wild spending sprees in the saloons of new Westminster, Each spree was paid with gold nuggets and ended with Slumach returning to his mine with one of the women he met while partying. Of these women, only the eighth was seen again. Her body was found in the Fraser, with gold in her pocket and Slumach’s knife in her back. Slumach was hanged for the murder of Louis Bee in 1891.

Old newspaper photo of John Slumach

It was said that Slumach murdered Bee to prevent him from revealing the location of the mine. The mine has never been found.

Some of the Pitt Lake pictographs.

Pitt Lake’s remarkable pictographs are located on steep rocks overlooking the lake. They are located on the Western shore between Dark Creek and Defrauder Creek. They are bright orange in colour and depict faces, shapes and human figures including that of a man in a canoe.

The pictographs make a direct reference to the epic account of Xa:ls who, in his journey along Pitt Lake, encounters a “another large tribe of foolish people” without homes, who ate “anything that grows on the mountain, and anything that drifts ashore”.  Xa:ls sends them to live under the lake where they become dangerous spiritual entities with the power to kill anyone but local people.  Sa:la proclaims that …”your customs shall be painted on this bluff as a warning to those who come hereafter”.  It is not clear whether or not Xa:ls himself painted the figures a t Pitt Lake only his admonition that “your customs shall be painted on this bluff as a warning to those who come after”.  The association of the paintings communicating the presence of a place of deadly supernatural power is, however, explicit. 

Are the Giant Black Salamanders the agents of Xa:ls ?

Ashby Creek has a narrow rock beach and the forest grows to the edge of the lake. Camping is in the trees.

Old logging steam donkey engine, West shore of Pitt Lake.

The old steam donkey engine is on the West shore of Pitt Lake, North of Defrauder Creek.

Pitt Lake May Long Weekend Trip

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Thanks to the internet and Glen Stedham’s “The Vancouver Paddler” for research material.