On Bleeker Lake – Kamloops Trails
Posted on: September 11, 2019 1:50 am
by: Doug Smith
Bleeker Lake is a long narrow lake located just north of Roche Lake. To get to the lakeshore, drive up the Roche Lake Road and then turn left onto the Bleeker Lake FSR (3 km before Roche). Follow the bumpy 2WD road to the west end of the lake. There is access to the lake off a side road, close to the dam, but there are better facilities at the BC Rec Site on the north shore of the lake, 1.2 km farther on the gravel road. There are campsites there with outhouses, parking, and a gravel boat launch. I launched and then paddled east along the north shore for a clockwise 5 km loop around the lake.
The shoreline is a bit rocky in some areas and marshy at either end. As an amateur naturalist/photographer, I enjoy watching for aquatic plants, dragonflies, insect hatches, shoreline wildflowers, ducks, birds, and natural formations. A kayak moves quietly along the shoreline and with curiosity always engaged, I watch for what is around each corner.
Damselflies and dragonflies were patrolling the lake and the shallow marshes. These damselflies were starting the process of fertilization for a new batch of eggs for the next year. This position is sometimes referred to as the heart or wheel position.
When we paddle close to reeds, rushes, and submerged fallen trees, we can spot exuvia/exoskeletons when the nymphs of dragonflies and damselflies climb up into the air to shed their skins.
Exuvia are the remains of the exoskeleton and other parts after the insect moults.
Along the lakeshore were old stumps that became flooded in when the lake was dammed. Moss was growing in the wet wood fibers and marsh skullcap was growing in the moss. Scutellaria galericulata is an upright perennial in the mint family. Hooded tubular flowers emerge from the same side of the stem. It only grows in wet areas.
At the east end of the lake in shallow water, lily pads, smartweed, aquatic buttercup and other aquatic weeds grew in the water, rooted in the muddy bed of the lake. We were also pleased to spot some patches of bur-reed. Sparganium is an aquatic perennial that grows in marshy areas. Strap-like leaves grow from rhizomes under the lake and in summer spherical flowers emerge. Seeds are spread after flowering to sink into the muddy bottom of the marsh.
There was no one else on the lake at that time so other than the usual ducks and shoreline birds, it was a quiet paddle, moving along with the water striders and damselflies. We return to the Roche Lakes area frequently to paddle some of the lakes and hike between them. A new phase is upcoming where I will be hiking into some of the more-difficult-to-get-to lakes with an inflatable board. Watch for updates this fall.