YNC Vancouver – Rafting with Raptors

By Cole Gaerber, Age 11

On Sunday, November 25, 2012, members of YNC went rafting down the Squamish river, traveling 10 km in total and seeing hundreds of bald eagles (Haliaeetus leucocephalus). As soon as we arrived in Brackendale, our guide, Sebastian, dissected a female Chum Salmon and showed everyone the different body parts, including the roe (Eggs).

When we first started down the river, we were surrounded by eagles and fly fisherman. The farther we rafted down the river, the number of eagles decreased, and the number of Harbour Seals (Phoca vitulina) greatly increased. At some points there were up to 18 seals playing in the water around us. Since it was very cold, you could see the seal’s breath. Surprisingly, there were almost zero rapids and not a minute of bumpiness during the entire ride.
After we rafted for roughly 5km, we stopped at the end of a creek to have lunch. People spotted White Tailed Deer, American Black bear, Raccoon, Great Blue Heron, Coyote, Bald Eagle, and Red Fox tracks in the sand. Along the creek was actual quicksand. A few kids started daring each other to run across the quicksand. My brother sunk up to his waist! Luckily, nobody got hurt.
For lunch everyone had sandwiches. Everyone was allowed to made their own sandwich from a wide variety of items.
After lunch we rafted 4 more kilometers to a cave. It was filled with water and was made of columnar basalt.
After that we rafted a little while longer until we reached the end of the river, right by where on sunny days there are hundreds of windsurfers.
Almost everyone was cold, yet very happy.
A good day was had by all.

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