Quesnel river

the potato cannon in action

Bart Wagner firing the potato cannon at Paddlefest '95. Paddlefest is held at Quesnel Forks, which is where the Quesnel and Cariboo come together. It's now the site of a ghost town, with just a few old buildings left.

This whole area is prone to landslides, and the hillside that you see in the background of this picture came loose and fell into the river one night when we were camped at the forks. Everyone but me woke up to the rumbling, and in the morning the other side of the river was a huge pile of rocks, trees, and dirt. There was a watermark way up our side of the bank with trees knocked over and the bark stripped off them. Erosion on our side was going so fast that every twenty minutes or so another tree would fall into the water.

Anyway, paddlefest is an excuse for lots of paddlers from all over B.C. to come and run the Quesnel and Cariboo rivers and socialize. The last couple of years there's been live music and other things happening as well. It's generally held about a week after labour day. Get in touch with Red Shred's for information.

Bullion Pit airphoto Devil's Eyebrow airphoto
Click on the thumbnails to download the full-sized pictures (really big files).

There are two runs on the Quesnel: there's from Quesnel Lake (town of Likely) to Quesnel Forks, with a possible take out at the Bullion Pit so you don't have to run the Eyebrow, and there's the Quesnel Canyon, which is way downstream almost at the city of Quesnel, where the Quesnel meets the Fraser. These pictures are from the upper run. Unfortunately they were both taken at times when the water level was really low. The Bullion Pit is on the left side of the left picture. At high water there are some great whirlpools along the rock wall on river left.

The Devil's Eyebrow is the long straight white section from halfway down the right-hand picture down. The only features are a hole at the top (doesn't really show at this water level) and a very narrow notch at the bottom; the rest is basically just waves. I've seen a 14-foot raft go through the notch almost sideways, but it's only just wide enough for that. It's alway fun to go first when there's a big group and sit in the eddy below the notch watching the carnage. When the river level is 1.2 on the gauge at the Likely bridge, the notch surges in weird ways. One person will get a perfectly smooth ride through and the next will find this maw opening up in front of them which will send them ass over teakettle (is that a technical term? :) ) and leave them splatted up against the side of the notch (there's a bit of a headwall on the left side). However, there's nothing dangerous in there that will keep you (I can personally vouch for any level from 1.4 down). The worst thing I've seen in the Eyebrow has been scraped knuckles on the headwall and some downtime before that.

Water levels on the web at http://scitech.pyr.ec.gc.ca/water/StnFrame.asp?stnID=08KH006 (if I make this a link you'll get a message that my site doesn't have permission to link to that page, so just cut and paste this into your browser window). Note that this station is near the town of Quesnel which means it will be a good gauge for the Quesnel Canyon run but not so much for the Devil's Eyebrow run because the Cariboo river flows into the Quesnel at the end of the Eyebrow run but before the Canyon run.

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