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Notes from the Field: Day Three from Amanda Booth

Part of the plan Karenn and I made was that I'd start my PSfF Stream Walk photo project of the Conuma River separately as it was around the corner from where I work and I could do it before my 1 p.m. shift. I had the idea to approach the river from the ocean by kayak, paddling upriver as far as I could and then Karenn and I would walk the rest of the way together on the next day. So, day 3 began early. I brought along a friend, Arturo, a fellow kayak enthusiast and we headed up the bay and into the Conuma River. We used kayaks from Moucha Bay Resort, known for their kayak fishing derby and salmon stewardship fundraising, who also support the Nootka Sound Watershed Society. The Conuma River has become one of my favourite kayaking spots, it’s clear slow-moving water makes for a relaxing paddle. However; we could only go so far for my project’s purposes before we had to tie up and go the rest of the way on foot.

Now out of our kayaks, we chose the main channel on our left heading upstream and before long we were waist deep. The area reminded me of my time in the Amazon Jungle.... the many shades of green, hanging moss and lichen and the crystal-clear water had me in awe. As we moved ahead we heard a big splash upstream and caught the back end (adorable but unnerving) of a bear as he ran away, scared off by the sounds of us tromping through the river. Luckily, that was our only run in with wildlife that day other than the schools of salmon that had made their way into the river to spawn.

Day 3 was about getting that amazing shot no matter what! I climbed over large woody debris, froze my toes, met yogi (the black bear) and got stung by some unknown insect; however, these days have been some of my most rewarding and enjoyable days on Vancouver Island so far! One important lesson I will take away from day 3, as soon as you get too confident and comfortable walking in a river, you will fall on your butt.


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