Darryl Fox and his wooden raft on the Fraser River just west of Island 22 near Chilliwack on Aug. 28. Fox floated down the river from Yale.

‘Hucklecherry Fox’ lands his Fraser River raft in Chilliwack

Alberta man floats down Fraser from Yale to Chilliwack, inadvertently triggers search and rescue incident

It was while picking cherries in Oliver that Darryl Fox hatched his plan to build a wooden raft and float down the Fraser River.

“I call myself Hucklecherry Fox,” he joked during a visit to where he landed his rustic creation near Island 22 on the Fraser River last week.

Inspired by tales of Chinese railroad workers building rafts in the children’s book White Jade Tiger by Julie Lawson, the 63-year-old Albertan decided to go on a little adventure.

Spending very little money on tools and using some clever building techniques, Fox crafted his 12-foot-by-six-foot raft out of driftwood, debris and two fallen trees.

He used a little bucksaw to cut one 50-foot spruce log into the four main beams that made up the raft. A second log cut in two and a bunch of rope helped keep it all together.

“It’s all done with rope, no metal,” he said.

He fashioned a rudder out of a log and a piece of wood debris, and even used a small branch to hang his tent fly on for a mini-sail. He also had one large pole that doubled as an oar to help give him some control over where he was headed.

On Aug. 28, he loaded his pack, his bike and his bike trailer—which he had ridden all the way from Westlock, Alberta—onto his little raft in Yale and floated for three days before hitting the shore in Chilliwack.

He did hit some trouble on the third day of his travel last Wednesday as he got caught up on a rock near Agassiz. A man with a 20-horsepower boat tried to tow him off with no success. Someone then called Kent-Harrison Search and Rescue (SAR), much to Fox’s chagrin.

He managed to disconnect one of his logs and free himself from the rock and continue along his way, unaware of the search effort underway. He beached his craft just west of Island 22 in Chilliwack. A little while later a SAR volunteer cruised up on a Seadoo and said into his radio, “I found him.”

Fox said then he saw a helicopter circling and Seadoos zoomed in from all over to his humble campsite along the Fraser.

“I thought ‘Uh-oh, this might not be so pretty,’ But the rescue guys were pretty cool with it.”

Surrounded by 10 SAR volunteers and one Mountie, he said he didn’t need the SAR help but he was thankful they came out and did what they did.

“It’s nice to feel that somebody is looking after you,” he said.

And Fox decided to take the advice of the Mountie, which was to not go any further. He said the most adventurous part—namely, the Fraser Canyon—was behind him anyway.

So what’s next? Fox said he’d like to float a raft down every river in Canada. And maybe next time he’ll find a raft friend.

“It’d be nice to have someone with me but nobody is quite as crazy as I am,” he said.

Just Posted

WIND WARNING: Metro Vancouver expecting 100 km/h gusts Saturday night

Environment Canada issues warns of possibly dangerous conditions

Agassiz tech training to connect generations

Upcoming event will have youth teaching technology to older residents

UPDATE: 24-year-old Lovepreet Dhaliwal ID’d as victim in targeted Abbotsford shooting

Location of shooting the same as where innocent bystander Ping Shun Ao killed in 2015

Fraser Health asking taxpayers for millions more in health care capital funding

Health authority wants Fraser Valley taxpayers to triple annual contribution to $5.75 million

Harrison continues push for local doctor

Mayor has requested Fraser Health provide primary care services

Week in Review – January 19

Movie filming, water upgrades and more

VIDEO: Thousands join women’s march events across B.C.

Today marks one year since the first Women’s March on Washington

VIDEO: Remember the Voyageurs at Fort Langley

Two-day historical festival underway

Two Canadians, two Americans abducted in Nigeria are freed

Kidnapping for ransom is common in Nigeria, especially on the Kaduna to Abuja highway

Are you ready for some wrestling? WWE’s ‘Raw’ marks 25 years

WWE flagship show is set to mark its 25th anniversary on Monday

B.C. woman who forged husband’s will gets house arrest

Princeton Judge says Odelle Simmons did not benefit from her crime

Snow warning in effect for the Coquihalla

A snowfall warning is in effect from Hope to Merritt as slush and snow is expected on highways this weekend

Vancouver hoping free public Wi-Fi expansion will drive tourism dollars

Mayor Gregor Robertson says expansion bolsters its “leading Smart City” status

Women’s movement has come a long way since march on Washington: Activists

Vancouver one of several cities hosting event on anniversary of historic Women’s March on Washington

Most Read