So today's more laid-back excursion took us north of Sailcone Lodge on Minstrel Island to a part of the island group known as Thompson Sound, where we would meet up with Trapper Rick a legendary story teller and friend of the lodge. With rain still falling on the deck outside as we sat and ate breakfast, we weren't too sure how to dress, let alone what to expect from the day, so I ended up climbing into some layered wet weather gear and headed for the dock ready to push off for the day.

Dream Grizzly Trip - Day Three
Not the ideal conditions you want to see knowing you're heading out on the water for the day.

On the boat ride north, our guide for the day, Brook, did his best to try and introduce Trapper Rick and his experienced wilderness guide son Jake, and tell us a little about their way of life at their cabin on the banks of the Salmon-filled Kakweiken River.

Dream Grizzly Trip - Day Three
Brook - our captain and guide for the day.
Dream Grizzly Trip - Day Three
If it's at all possible, this part of the world gets more beautiful every day.
Dream Grizzly Trip - Day Three

The wildlife viewing continued as we passed by a number of bald eagles perched high above the water keeping an "eagle eye" out for potential meals just below the surface. Their snow white heads make them easy to spot on the banks, so we pulled up a couple of times to do a little bird-watching along the way.

Dream Grizzly Trip - Day Three
Jake stands in the distance ready to receive our boat.

Meeting Trapper Rick

Eventually we began approaching Trapper Rick's impressive makeshift dock. Along this final stretch of travel we noticed a number of recent significant land slides which, we were told by Brook, created tidal waves that as good as wiped out Trapper Rick's dock on more than one occasion.

Dream Grizzly Trip - Day Three
Dream Grizzly Trip - Day Three
Crossing the Kakweiken River was a largely manual but straight forward process.

Introductions completed, we piled into Rick's rock solid old truck and rattled and rolled our way inland towards a point on the Kakweiken River where we needed to cross using a boat and guideline, in order to reach his cabin.

Along the way Trapper Rick told us about the importance of the river in the area's annual salmon spawning season (which is now), and about the 7 or so bears that frequent the forest around his cabin that we may be lucky enough to see throughout the day.

Reaching the cabin I was immediately blown away by the simplicity and beauty of its setup and the incredible backyard view which money simply could not buy. Trapper Rick has lived here for over 17 years and sure had some wild and funny stories to tell about life on the river and about various visitors/tourists he'd had out that way in that time.

I was more than happy to sit on the back deck taking in the pristine, peaceful view all day while munching away on lunch, but at the same time I was kind of keen to check out the salmon situation in the river, so first Rick accompanied me down to the waterfalls just down from his property. While I sat in awe watching Coho Salmon launch out of the water in a struggle to head up river, Rick kept watch for bears with a can of bear spray clutched in his paws.

Dream Grizzly Trip - Day Three
It's fair to say Trapper Rick knew what he was doing when he set up camp out this way.
Dream Grizzly Trip - Day Three
Not a bad back yard if that's ya kind of thing - Wow!
Dream Grizzly Trip - Day Three
A blended shot of a single Coho attempting to head upstream. The struggle is REAL!
Dream Grizzly Trip - Day Three
1+ foot long, these leaping Coho salmon would be any fisherman's dream!

Following a satisfying lunch, we jumped into Trapper Rick's jalopy once again and headed further up river to a spot where we would be able to do a good spot of fishing. Rick stayed with David and Valda in the truck up on the road while Jake, Brook and I headed down to the river where we had a bit of luck with some good sized Coho. This place is like a dream for lovers of fishing. Wow!

Dream Grizzly Trip - Day Three
Even the dirt tracks around here are stunning!
Dream Grizzly Trip - Day Three
Brook drops in a line and gets a hit within minutes...
Dream Grizzly Trip - Day Three
Dream Grizzly Trip - Day Three
There's an element of guilt hidden behind that smile. It's just too easy around here!
Dream Grizzly Trip - Day Three

This good looking bloke below, in case you were wondering, is none other than Trapper Rick himself. I mean, just take a look at the bloke – he fits into this part of the world just beautifully!

Dream Grizzly Trip - Day Three
Trapper Rick puts in an appearance at the river's edge.
Dream Grizzly Trip - Day Three

After a few very entertaining hours, we headed back down to the dock to jump back in the boat and head back to Sailcone Lodge leaving Rick and Jake to go build a bear viewing platform (I think that's what they said they were going to do anyway). Haha, life on the Kakweiken River eh? – I love it!

Dream Grizzly Trip - Day Three
Farewell lads!
Dream Grizzly Trip - Day Three
Hastily making our way back to the lodge - always on the lookout for more bears.

Back at Sailcone Lodge

Back at the lodge we found 5 new people who had arrived just before we got back. A couple of Dutch couples, and Rob, a typical Aussie bloke who didn't take long to convince me that jumping in the hot tub with an ice cold beer while watching the sun fall behind the mountains in the distance would be a good idea. What can I say... blokes of a feather... 😉

Dream Grizzly Trip - Day Three
Back at Sailcone Lodge, new guests had arrived, along with the sun.
Dream Grizzly Trip - Day Three
Just to give you an idea of how I spent my sunset this evening. Bliss!

I had a really fun day today. It was something different from the standard wildlife watching from a boat, and considering it's a trip that only people who stay an extra night from the standard 3 night package get to do, I'm glad I pitched in a little more cash for the longer stay and got the opportunity to meet Rick and his son.

See also:


Links & Credits

Shout me a coffeeShout me a coffee