September 17, 2017 – Yesterday was a gorgeous day. It was a bit brisk in the morning but fabulously warm by early afternoon, so we grabbed the boards, tossed them on top of the truck, and headed for Sasamat Lake, a spot that we’d never visited even though it’s so close.
A wrong turn landed us at Belcarra Park, but the waters were calm and there weren’t hordes of people so we parked the truck and carried the boards down to the beach for a saltwater paddle.
We are still new to these things and they’re a pretty solid exercise in balance, particularly when dodging newbie kayakers with target fixation. Seriously, there is a whole ocean and you have to try to run us down? The smallest waves seemed to threaten us with a dunk. We wobbled around for about three quarters of an hour, dropped to our knees when pleasureboats went roaring by sending their wash in our direction, and enjoyed looking down at jellyfish passing beneath us. We paddled around the small bay to the East and realized we’d been here SCUBA diving a lifetime ago. We remembered it being an evening that we’d been the first in and the last out on a night dive. It’d been a great dive, filled with grunt sculpins, poacherfish, and a ton of other cryptic fish often seen only at night. The little houses we remembered are long gone, monster homes have replaced them. I wonder if people still dive here?
We came back to the beach, loaded the boards back on the truck, and retraced our steps to figure out where we’d missed the turn to the lake. It wasn’t that far, and we decided it was a good way to clean the salt off the boards and ourselves. There wasn’t a place to drive right down to the lake, so we got as close as we could, parked, and then lugged the boards and paddles down to the beach with a few rest stops along the way. We need to buy some shoulder carry straps for these things. 35 pounds sounds light, until you have to do it with one hand and under your arm…it leaves bruises and over distance it gets heavy on the fingertips.
The lake was like bathwater and so calm that there was barely a ripple, and it was crustal clear. Sasamat Lake is a tiny little lake and it is hard to imagine how packed it must be if all the parking are filled. But it’s the third weekend of September, tourists have mostly gone, and locals are sparse. There are two or three small beaches, and the rest of the lake is mostly forest to the edge, with a walking trail around the entire perimeter. At one end is a private camp with yurts and cabins and dozens of canoes on the dock.
In a number of places along the shore were clusters of native yellow pond lilies, with a few last straggling flowers standing up above the water. Near the private camp there were pink waterlilies, not native. I used to have them in the pond back at the condo; apparently they have become a bit invasive in some areas. Pretty, but they don’t belong in the lake.
I like my little yellow pond lilies better. They aren’t as showy, not so flamboyant, but I love them, they bring back memories. When I was a kid I always admired these yellow flowers poking their heads above the water. They grew thick in many parts of the lake where we had a cabin. They’ve always seemed to me to be giant aquatic buttercups.
As we left the lake we could see that the smoke from forest fires had pushed back in and partially hidden the mountains behind its haze.
Today the temperature had plunged and the smoke was thick across the Lower Mainland, but the heavy rain that pushed in late in the day has probably washed most of it out of the air.
It feels like fall has arrived.
And that’s what kind of weekend it was.