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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!
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 Kakweiken River – I love it!
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… 😉
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.