Canadian Canoe Routes
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August 2014 Francois Lk to Vanderhoof
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Author:  smithers bc [ November 15th, 2014, 11:20 pm ]
Post subject:  August 2014 Francois Lk to Vanderhoof

Completed this trip over 2 weeks around the middle of this past August. We had planned to paddle all the way to PG but the smoke from the fires and heat had us pull out early at Vanderhoof.
Overall though this was a great link up of a few different lakes and rivers. Not sure if this exact route has been done before?
We started at the far West end of Francois Lk which led to pleasant paddling with some great downwind sailing at the Eastern end.
The Stelako River was low flow. Generally Class 1-2 with the Class 3 waterfall section that has a well marked portage trail upstream of the falls on River Left. Don't blow your eddy turn here though as the falls are right below. The portage was very short and easy. We ran most rapids. Portaged a few of the sportier ones and some that were to bony. Also we picked some of the hugest saskatoon berries at the start of the river by the bridge:). The best campsite on the river is a few kms up stream of the waterfall on a slow moving river left S bend. Also a neat little granite climbing bluff across from camp.
Fraser Lk was a bit busier with boats and the Hwy near by so we paddled its full length in one day finishing at Beaumont Prov Park. Great camping right by the lake at this park, good swimming with sandy beach, playground for the kids and still some saskatoon berries left for rest day pancakes.
The short Nautley R that joins Fraser Lk and the Nechako R only has one rapid right at the outflow from Fraser Lk by the bridge. We scouted it from the bridge while the 1 st nations fisherman caught salmon coming up from the Fraser R. We lined the rapid only because it was shallow.
The Nechako R from the Nautley R confluence has some faster moving Class 2 water with some exciting wave trains and S bends to navigate. The water level was high. We assumed the dam upstream was letting out more water for the salmon. The level made for minimal camp sites. Also this section of the river is rather "sloughish" and not overly exciting. This along with the heat and smoke had us end the trip in Vanderhoof.
I believe the river livens up a bit as you pass Vanderhoof and get closer to PG?

Enjoy the pics. L

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File comment: One of many great lake side camps on Francois Lk.
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File comment: Berries, exploring old cabins with the kids = awesome.
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File comment: Smoky south side ferry.
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File comment: Anchored to a dead head out of the wind for a snack break East end South side Francois Lk.
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File comment: Stelako Tranquility!
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File comment: Kids around the corner on the rocks while we lower the boat on a "munter hitch" for all you climbers out there.
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File comment: The "must hit" eddy river Left above the first drop.
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File comment: Lower Stelako R camp.
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File comment: Fraser Lk pit stop into town for some ice cream!
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File comment: Scouting the Nautley R bridge rapid.
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Author:  Canoeheadted [ November 16th, 2014, 12:03 am ]
Post subject:  Re: August 2014 Francois Lk to Vanderhoof

Awesome trip! :clap:
Nice to see some local stuff.

I met you at the Superstore when you were passing through town.

Author:  Paddle Power [ November 16th, 2014, 3:53 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: August 2014 Francois Lk to Vanderhoof

Great trip. It's always wonderful to see parents taking kids out.

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