April 27th, while testing MEC's Serratus Poseidon PFD, I plunked my canoe down on the dock at Burnaby Lake Rowing Pavilion. I went straight from work to the Lake. There is a large parking lot & its usually easy to get close to the pier & ramp down to the dock. It was a gorgeous afternoon and I watched the Burnabay Racing Canoe Club practicing for a few minutes before I headed out on my own. Their canoes are extremely narrow in beam and I was amazed at the balance skill involved in staying upright!
From the dock I headed NW hoping to find Still Creek before exploring the rest of the Lake. Only later, while looking at aerial photos of the lake, did I find out that you have to head NNE to find Still Creek which is navigable up to 2-4 kms if water levels are high enough (or conversely low enough to go under culverts). Anyway it quickly becomes shallow and choked with lily pads as soon as you leave the dredged main channel that the rowers use. I got into the mud and as I slid my paddle into the muck POW!! a school of carp exploded around my bow and shot off in all directions, 15-20 feet per run! I was extremely surprised. ... and again on the next thrust of the paddle when one of these rather large carp bounced off the bottom of my canoe and another splashed me with mud! Interesting...
Having figured out this was dead end I pointed my bow E towards the other end of the lake. Keeping to the N side of the dredged channel to stay out of the way of the rowing shells, their outboard coaching vessel and racing kayaks, I poked along the edge of the lilies until coming up on a large beaver lodge. A heron was perched on it probably waiting for a meal from any unwary carp small enough to fit down his throat. I pulled over here to read a book and have a snack and as I read I noticed the lazy stirring of more carp under the lilies and even, after about 1hr, a beaver coming out of the marsh edge and heading for the lodge. As I reached for my camera he slapped his tail down & disappeared.
The lake can be done end to end in about an hour but if you stop to look at birds (this is a bird & wildlife sanctuary) and other fauna & flora you will probaly do what I did and spend about 3 hours here. There are all kinds of ducks, Canada geese, the fish, herons, many different birds, beaver, dragon flies etc and it all makes for a nice afternoon or evening paddle & if it's clear at night, even some stars. The Brunette River exits the E side & you could probably stick your nose down that a short while, but there is a dam not too far from the lake.
Paddling is easy and any wind doesn't kick up much more than 6-8 in. wavelets. Keep an eye out for the rowing club members as I get the impression that they don't appreciate inattentive recreational users. This is an excellent beginner level or wildlife watcher paddle.
Getting there: From westbound Hwy #1, Take the Kensington Exit and turn left to get you N across the #1, then right once into the Burnaby Lake sports complex at the grass fields & left att the sign for the Burnaby Lake Rowing Pavillion. From eastbound #1 take the Sprott exit and turn right on Kensington into the grass fields and right again, then left into the Rowing Pavillion.
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