Thursday, September 29, 2011

No time for a long paddle? Try Deer Lake in Burnaby

You don't have to be a rocket scientist - or even a brain surgeon! - to figure out that I love to paddle. (Just look at the name of this blog.)

But I can't always get away for a three- or four-day trip; sometimes it's tough even to get away for a day, even out to a place as close as Pinecone Burke Provincial Park (where there's great canoeing) or to Bowen Island (for kayaking).

Off we go, into the wild blue -- er,
the urban wild blue yonder.
But about 15 minutes away from where I live lies Deer Lake Park. It's a small lake, not even as big as Burnaby Lake Regional Park, but it has one advantage over BLRP: you can rent canoes and kayaks at Deer Lake; you can't do that at Burnaby Lake (although there is a boat launch there, if you bring your own canoe or kayak).

The boat rental facility is seasonal, mind you. After Labour Day weekend, you really need to phone them the day you plan to go to see if they're open, especially on weekdays. Of course, if you have your own canoe or kayak, you don't have to worry about that.

Deer Lake is not challenging, it's not demanding, it doesn't even take very long to paddle around the entire perimeter of the lake. But if you're looking for a nice quiet paddle, a respite from the hustle and bustle of the city, and you don't have much time, you really can't beat it.

There are plenty of ducks and geese there to keep you company on the lake, and they don't seem to be too shy of paddlers, probably since they see them there all the time. If you get close enough to the shore, and have a pair of binoculars, you'll probably be able to spot some songbirds, as well - maybe even a wild squirrel! And overhead, if you're lucky, maybe a raptor will wing its way past you.

One of the striking things I found about paddling there is the way I was within a few metres of wild waterfowl, quiet woods and still water - but if I turned my head and looked in another direction, I could see high-rise buildings off in the distance.

Map of Deer Lake Park,
source: City of Burnaby Parks Dept.
They're far enough away that they don't disturb the ambiance of the lake. It really is quite quiet there, at least during the week, and especially when school is in session. I can imagine it might be a bit busier during the summer months, unless you get on the lake early or late - which you can do, as long as you have your own watercraft.

I'm surprised it took me eight years of living in Vancouver before I actually visited the spot this September.

While that may be my first visit, it certainly will not be the last time I dip a paddle into the waters of Deer Lake.

(If you want to see more pictures taken while paddling at Deer Lake, check out my Facebook photo album, Deer Lake Paddle.)

1 comment:

  1. I came across your blog today while searching for a John Geary who taught high school in Yellowknife in the late 60s & early 70s. He had a profound impact on my life & I'd love to be able to thank him. Who knew there were so many John Gearys in the world though! Anyway, I've enjoyed browsing through your site. My parents live in Burnaby & I've been there many, many times but I've never checked out Deer Lake. I'll definitely have to do that next time I'm there.

    Since I haven't been able to locate the right Mr. Geary, I wrote a tribute to him on my own blog today. If you're interested, you can find it by clicking on the link above.