Wow! Has it been cold. The average daily temperatures have been well below the freezing point in Squamish for over a week. Itching to get out, I decided to take the family on a winter outing to the Upper Squamish River to look at bald eagles and river conditions. Knowing the kids would get hungry I packed us a small snack and the ever-so-needed thermos of hot chocolate. We bundled the kids up and packed them and the two dogs into the Jeep. Minus 9 read the thermometer when we pulled out of the driveway.
The kids had a blast pulling the toboggan and looking for eagles in the trees while we walked along a piece of the river with our two dogs. Our final count was 4 eagles, quite a few less than I have seen in the past.
The dogs sure enjoyed searching out the dead salmon carcasses that litter the forest floor. We realized, once they got into the truck and warmed up, that it may not have been a good idea to let them play with the dead fish ….yich.
River Conditions: The river was frozen in a lot of places with ice flows all over the place. I have not seen the river quite so icy. Squamish is usually fairly mild even in the winter and rarely do the temperatures stay cold enough to freeze the river to the extent I saw today. Unfortunately I also observed high and dry frozen areas where I had observed salmon spawning this past fall. These conditions will surely result in the demise of the eggs in those areas.
Below are a few shots of the Squamish River from the road taken today (Dec 20, 2008). As you can see there is a lot of ice. The weather report also suggests that we may receive up to 20cm of snow overnight which means that the road will become too snowy for safe truck travel. If the temperatures do not increase to above zero for a significant amount of time, we will not be back up the road until spring. Thank goodness we have the Cheakamus and Mamquam rivers as options throughout the winter as well as some lower reaches of the Squamish.
Merry Christmas and see you on the water when it is warmer! Brrrrr.
Pearing into the still water of a side channel we noticed some dead chum carcasses on the river bottom. The water was very clear and very cold.