Kayaking from Swell to Swell – discovering Harrison Lake.
“Kayaking couldn’t be easier”, I thought as I pushed off into the clear waters of the Harrison. It was an effortless launch, first out of the truck and then onto the soft sandy beach of the lake.
In the early morning hours the lake mirrors the surrounding mountains as the kayak cuts effortlessly thru the glassy surface. Heading west past the “source,” steaming in the early morning light, we follow the shoreline to Sandy Cove, and notice a lone hiker pausing to admire the peacefulness of that secluded beach. Like us, she must feel the incredible pull of the surrounding nature.
Whippoorwill Point stands at the mouth of the Harrison River, the point where the river meets the lake. There, there is an uneasy turbulence which seems to break the calmness of the lake. As we move though that uneasiness and move down the river, it gives us a new prospective as the river landscape and we notice the energy of the water changing.
This passage has seen 10,000 years history – the Sto:lo peoples traditional fishing & logging, the gold rush and the stern wheelers. Even to this day traditional style log booming is the preferred way of safe transport from the head of the lake.
Pausing to drift, we take in the silence of nature before returning back along the shoreline towards the village.
The lake offers a tremendous diversity for water travel, but staying with silence of kayaking on the Harrison Lake and keeping close to the shoreline, one can take in many surprising sights.
Staying close to the rocky shoreline of the extended dike which is known to locals as the spit, you begin to notice the wide variety of waterfowl which call Harrison their permanent home. Ducks and Canada Geese, Bufflehead and Blue Herons are only a few that can be seen as you silently drift from swell to swell. Water proof field glasses are a must if you desire to closely connect with nature.
Continuing along the east end of the beach into the morning shade of Bear Mountain, you may find yourself drifting past the log breakwater at the yacht club and if lucky encounter one of Harrison’s Harbor seals, happily lounging on the log enclosure. These shy and timid creatures of the water enjoy an abundance of fish and the relative protection from orcas and other ocean predators that live in the open waters of the pacific.
With a shoreline like Harrison Lake, even the simplest Kayak excursion can be rewarding, but there are unlimited possibilities for diverse Kayak excursions or this lake, and of course one to fit any level of experience.