"Dog GONE, Mean Horseflies on the Nazko Lakes Chain"
This started out in April as a 2-3 person group trip. By Aug 28th my buddy
got work bound last minute & his brother couldn't make it over from England
so it wound up just me & my dog. This was that dry time in BC this summer
where they closed all the bush South of Williams Lake. Sept 1st was clear
and dry. I picked up the canoe from my buddy's (he had used it the week
prior). From Vancouver it was at least a 9 hour drive. Getting to Deerpelt
around 7:00 got me a great sunset. Deerpelt Lake is a pretty little lake
with some surprising activity. A loon couple serenaded me that nite but,
due to a very busy beaver I didn't get much sleep. The beaver was up and
down the 20' banks near the campsite all night long cutting branches for
forage & then splashing down the banks into the lake every 20 - 45 minutes.
Next morning dawned misty & cold. The sun didn't show until after 8:00 a.m.
As this trip was her first time in a canoe, ever, I had a tough time
convincing the dog that the canoe was better than swimming at the best of
times!! This morning she was in & out of the canoe 3 times. I finally
let her swim after me for almost half the lake. Deerpelt is short, only 800
metres or less, so that didn't take long. We went through the same process
at the put-in on Nazko Lake except she stayed put while getting out of the
reeds & bulrushes. Nazko Lake is the "Gem" as far as water quality (I
filtered my first 4 litres of water here) & fish! It is also the only other
lake you can access if you have a 4x4 or are gutsy with a 2 wheel drive. It
has a sizable island that has at least 1 campsite & fire ring. As the dog
was wet and she hates horseflies... well let me say it was interesting when
she pounced or snapped at them. She didn't ever dump the canoe but she
didn't like staying in it either (see later).
The portage between Nazko & Tanikul is the longest at about 800 metres. It
is fairly level and a good trail. The put-in at Tanikul is a steep scramble
down to the shore. Tanikul is interesting as it has cliffs and the falls
that spill off them are at the back of a small island with several campsites
& 2 fire rings. It is also the longest lake. I first spotted the Pelicans on
Tanikul. They are impressive, their size painting them like white sails against the dark green of the forested hills. I camped at the end of
Tanikul on a small hummock with the creek to the East & No-Name Lake to the
North. There is only enough room for one tent there. The dog of course was
first out of the canoe & into the thick silt at the white diamond take-out!
I recommend taking out near the creek exit as it is clearer and deeper.
After portaging the canoe to No-Name I settled in for supper & the night.
Next morning broke misty again & it was 10:00 am by the time coffee was done
& the canoe loaded for the day. I was aiming at the end of the chain some 12
kms away (one way). No-Name Lake was first and very quickly done with a
short section to line halfway. The portage from No-Name to Nastachi Lake was
a goat trail, fairly steep and rocky but short (200-300 metres). Nastachi
Lake was quite weed choked and a definite chore to get through. It also had
a lot of organic matter suspended in it but I filtered about 4 litres of
water here anyway. The portage from the end of Nastachi to Tzazatil Lake was
flat and not to long (300 metres). At the take out by Nastachi there is a
good camp site with fire ring and if I do this chain again I will make it my
base camp instead of end of Tanikul.
By the time I got to the end of Tzazatil Lake the wind had started to pick
up. In the stiff wind over the river mouth exiting the lake, hovered an osprey. I did not get into Tchusiniltil as that darn dog wouldn't stay in the canoe. She's freaked over horseflies & when they closed in just before the portage into the Nazko/Tchusiniltil section she kept jumping ship, so
after hauling her back aboard for the second time I had to turn around. As the wind had kicked up and was now in my face, all the way back to base camp at the S. end of
"No-Name" Lk I was cussing cause she couldn't wield a paddle. After portaging back to Nastachi she didn't want to get back into the canoe
either!! Same thing happened after portaging to No-Name. Oi vay, what a day!! One lone Pelican flew up the creek & low overhead as I was washing up the dishes from supper just before sundown. Beautiful!
Last day, the morning broke misty as usual and still sunny. Even as I got
water boiling for coffee I spotted a family group of otters playfully
porpoising down the lake (Tanikul) towards me. They swiftly passed & reached
the creek where they stopped & gambolled about. When washing up breakfast
dishes near the creek I spotted their frothy play spot! On the way back down
Tanikul a Bald Eagle lifted out of a tree on the cliffs and winged his way
South. A short while later I spotted & retrieved from the water, a wing feather he had shed as he sped South. Another group of Pelicans also
outpaced me fleeing South as I approached them at the island on Tanikul. By now the weather was turning for the worse & rain was threatening. The portage from Tanikul to Nazko was as gruelling before having to carry loaded at least 3 times (I obviously over packed again!). Back in Nazko, near the island, I tried to fish and as I cast the lure that darn dog jumped in after it!! TRIP OVER! From then on it was back to the car & load up to retreat to
I would definitely do this chain again preferably with someone who can paddle! No offense to my dog. It's attraction is the solitude and remoteness. While there were signs of people at each portage, there was not one other soul out there on
the chain for the 4 days I was there! That is hard to find these days!!
For the canoe route details and pictures, see the trailpeak entry right here