We were hoping to canoe the Murray River right from the east branch of its source, the glacier fed Bulley Creek. According to the map, it looked possible, but we were unable to find any info from the locals. Responses to our inquiries about this stretch ranged from "No problem, it's easy." to "It's illegal; there are five watefalls and 8 people have died trying it in recent years." That last response was from a local river-boating expert who has lived in the area for 30 years, but I just couldn't see it, as there was no waterfalls marked on the back road mapbook, which has other waterfalls clearly marked.
Anyways, we decided to see for ourselves. We headed southeast from Kinuseo Falls on the Bulley Creek FSR (an old logging road.) This is Castle Mountain.
This is called the Shark's Fin, well because...
We saw a cougar cross the road somewhere between that pic and this one.
Arriving at Bulley Creek 30km or so later, we found it to be beautiful, but pretty small yet.
End of the road
We waded up the creek for a half a mile to see if the tributary marked on the map gave the creek any more volume. It didn't. But we did learn that the water was the COLDEST either of us had ever experienced, coming straight from the Bulley Glacier only 7 km or so upstream. Feet were numb near instantly, but it was warm out. This later proved to be a bad idea, as I got wicked blisters on my heals from my newish sandals and walking in the water, and of course I couldn't feel them until it was too late.
But it was fun. Situations like these, though, were around every bend so we reluctantly decided that this trip was for when we had two days, or at least a full one. With packrafts it would be even better. I am working on getting Bill to buy one.
Back up the road, we found a deactivated logging trail, which we were just able make with the Hilux. It looked like it was heading down to the Murray, so we pressed on as far as we could.
Eventually, we had to walk on the ATV trail. This pile was still warm.
But we found the Murray.
Unfortunately, it was really shallow and there were strainers all the way across the river. It was already 1 or 2 o'clock so again we had to turn back. I had to get home that night still and this was more like a 12 hour trip in our estimation (besides the 4 hour ride home.)
So we went to Plan C.
Driving back up past the falls, we hit the Old Kinuseo Falls Road (the one that I had tried from the other side on this RR's trip.) I knew (now) that the bridge was out, but that the route was traverse-able by ATV, so we thought we could see if we could access the creek from the site of the missing bridge.
Check out the beaver dam holding the pond 10 feet above the road. Bill is standing at the water's edge.
I was surprised to see that there were lots of white-tailed deer in this area. Behind her is a typical road deactivation.
There were a couple tricky spots, but we made it.
The creek started off looking boring, but got better and better the whole way through. Again, we had zero intel on this trip (I don't think many people canoe out here) so Bill was worried about waterfalls the whole way...
It was our first trip of the year, so we had to work out the pecking order again
. Don't worry, we really do
I got some good footage of the rest of the trip, which I'll upload to my youtube channel once my internet revives.
It was 9:45 in the pm by the time I got back to camp (and my bike), ate a quick supper and hit the road again.
I left most of my gear with my buddy, so I was light as a feather bombing down the gravel. Didn't have time to explore, but I stopped for this pic when I hit cell reception on the Heritage Highway. My wife was wondering where I was by now...
By the time I hit the gravel on the Hiding Creek/Redwillow FSR, it was dark and the bugs were starting to get intense. It felt like I was in an old school Star Wars simulator, dodging stars at warp speed. Except they were moths. And the no-see-ums (tiny biting bugs of which I don't know their real name) would get in my helmet and bite me continually and painfully along my hairline and behind my ears. I thought I might have contracted lice for a second there before I figured out what was happening.
Here's where I stopped on the Elmworth highway to try to shake the vile creatures from my hair.
I arrived home at 1:30 in the morning; cold, tired, and happy.
End of interlude.